Blood Origin' Has Netflix's Worst Viewership Scores Ever

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What once seemed like Netflix’s answer to Game of Thrones appears to be in serious trouble. The Witcher lost Henry Cavill as its star after the next season, and its first attempt at trying to expand its universe with a new live-action show seems to be going disastrously.

The good news first: The Witcher: Blood Origin is currently the No. 1 show on Netflix, indicating it has a large audience to propel it above Wednesday and Emily in Paris.

The bad news: what people are actually watching can make them wish they hadn’t bothered. Right now, in addition to having pretty bad review scores, The Witcher: Blood Origin literally has the worst audience scores for a major Netflix original that I’ve ever seen.

While a critical 35% on Rotten Tomatoes is certainly not great, I suppose I’ve technically seen worse (my favorite Netflix stat is double 0% for both 365 Days movie series). But for viewership scores? never seen one nine percent before.

The last time I wrote about a series with low ratings scores on Netflix, it was the now canceled series Resident Evil, which had 22% of the audience. Back then, I just hadn’t seen anything close to it, even among other critically panned series. Even shows that were universally considered pretty bad often ended up being liked more by audiences than critics, like Jupiter’s Legacy, which scored a 41% critics and 77% ratings, or Haters Back Off, a show that appears in many “worst shows on Netflix” with 50% critic score and 76% viewership. The only original I saw close to Resident Evil at the time was Infinite Darkness, the CG RE series, which had a 50% critical and 39% audience.

The Witcher: Blood Origin may be the worst-reviewed series, among fans and critics alike, that Netflix has ever seen. Why? Here are some samples from both groups:

  • “The TV equivalent, in a way, of a tangentially related hyperlink you end up clicking on while reading about something else on Wikipedia.” – Ready Steady Cut (Critical Review)
  • “Blatzy, unoriginal, and delivered on the promise of better things – The Witcher: Blood Origin is a mediocre affair. Michelle Yeoh is lost, Lenny Henry lacks conviction, and Minnie Driver delivers great narration. Best avoided. – We’ve Got It Covered (Critical Review)
  • “Bad. Just really really bad. I wonder when will Netflix get to the point where they can’t treat the source material any worse. I certainly hope this is their lowest point, otherwise it might be time to leave this platform forever” = Al R (Audience Rating)
  • “In a generic fantasy setting with various characters ticking boxes, a soulless show emerges from a place it should never have emerged. Between the abominable and the atrocious, this non-Witcher has basically nothing of note. It does absolutely nothing for a Witcher fan: it adds nothing, builds nothing, has no character or resemblance to the source material. I could watch the original Polish show that you might not even know exists, but that was a bit too much.” – Marcelo A (Audience Review)

Simply brutal. I’m not exactly sure what went wrong here, but Netflix really needs to figure it out to make sure whatever poisoned this series doesn’t translate into the final few seasons of The Witcher.

Update (12/27): I’ve seen some people wondering why we’re even having this conversation, as The Witcher is “obviously” being criticized for having such a low viewership score (now down 8%, at the time of this update). So some things to consider:

Yes, it is unfortunately true that many fantasy series that have cast women or people of color in prominent roles have received racist backlash. And yet, none of them were “review bombed” as bad as what we’re seeing here with Blood Origin. This includes House of the Dragon (82%), Rings of Power (38%) and The Witcher himself (75%). If you want to expand the fantasy to things we know were actively review bombed, many in the superhero space, even things like Ms. Marvel (80%), Captain Marvel (45%) and She-Hulk (33%) are still nowhere near Blood Origin’s 8%. Literally nothing is. It’s in a league of its own.

Second, you might want to really… read the audience reviews before saying it’s some specific resistance to the diverse cast. Scrolling through them, I see maybe one comment about “politics” or “diversity” for every… fifty comments? The vast, vast majority of them aren’t about that, nor do they mention Henry Cavill’s recent departure from the series, but instead focus entirely on the show’s strangely poor production value compared to The Witcher itself, and its wooden dialogue and performances. .

Of course, it’s certainly true that The Witcher: Blood Origin isn’t literally the worst show in Netflix history, as these scores suggest. But to get scores so low, combined with low critical scores as well, something went very wrong here, and it’s a big one considering The Witcher was supposed to be such a big IP and world for Netflix to grow and expand on in the future. And it seems like everything is falling apart now.

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