The Witcher season 2 reviews: Everyone loves Henry Cavill's dad energy

Henry Cavill holds a sword in The Witcher season 2
(Image credit: Netflix)

Toss a coin because The Witcher season 2 reviews are flowing in. The Netflix fantasy drama returns Friday and will undoubtedly lead the lineup of what to watch this weekend.

The Witcher is an adaptation of Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels and comes from showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich. The primary plotline of season 2 follows monster hunter Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill) as he mentors princess-on-the-run Ciri (Freya Allan). She may have left her family behind, but Geralt becomes a sort of father figure as she trains her mysterious powers.

So far, the early Witcher season 2 reviews praise the show's improved production values, more straightforward narrative and deeper characterizations. And The Witcher season 2 just seems to be more fun! According to critics, Netflix may just have the next Game of Thrones on their hands. Fans, though, are angry because The Witcher season 2 changed Eskel in ways that help seemingly nobody.

And if that's got you excited, we've also got Witcher season 2 release date and time info so you can watch Geralt of Rivia latest adventures the second it hits Netflix.

Here is a roundup of The Witcher season 2 reviews. Minimal spoilers ahead.

The Witcher season 2 reviews: Comparisons to season 1

Freya Allan and Henry Cavill in The Witcher season 2

(Image credit: Netflix)

Most critics are finding season 2 as vast improvement over season 1. 

Collider's Carly Lane writes, "Season 2, which comes to Netflix on December 17, seems to not only have learned from the missteps of its predecessor but is even willing to gently poke fun at itself in the process — and its once-taciturn White Wolf who’s starting to feel even more three-dimensional."

Lane's words are echoed by Slashfilm's Vanessa Armstrong. "Fans of the first season will get more of what they like here, and I daresay those who were turned off by the confusion in season 1 but still like getting lost in a dark and gory fantastical world may have better luck with season 2."

Season 2 also seems to expand The Witcher universe by exploring more existential questions. "The result is a show that has a more ambitious, epic feel and one that also loses some of the personality that made it such a hit in the first place," says Andrew Webster of The Verge.

Henry Cavill stars in The Witcher season 2

(Image credit: Netflix)

The more linear storytelling is very welcome to Decider's Kayla Cobb. "Thankfully, gone are the three competing timelines. The series has also finally decided to explain the basics of this world, like what a witcher is and how many there are."

Gizmodo's James Whitbrook is happy about season 2's shift in focus. "The most welcome change this time round, and an almost immediate improvement on season 1, is the careful character driven lens applied to Ciri.

"Season 2 is a marked improvement over that messy, if enjoyable, first season," writes Allison Keene of Paste Magazine. "More episodic in nature, especially at the start, the series can now let us relish in everything that was previously established."

But Joshua Rivera of Polygon actually misses the messiness of season 1. "Now that all of these main stories have converged, season 2 spends much of its time spinning them out again, this time in chronological order," he writes. "The result is a Witcher series that is a little more conventional and a little less odd."

The Witcher season 2 reviews: Performances

Cavill is earning positive notices from critics, with AV Club's Jarrod Jones writing, "Cavill’s physicality has long been a primary highlight of the series, and while he has plenty of opportunities to swing his sword and blast foes with a dose of Aard, he spends just as much time grounding the series with a newfound paternal energy."

Freya Allan plays Ciri in The Witcher season 2

(Image credit: Netflix)

Allan gets more props from Kat Bailey of IGN, who says her "portrayal of the Child Surprise is alternately fierce and vulnerable, buoyed by Henry Cavill’s characteristically excellent work as Geralt. She drives almost all of this season’s most interesting developments even as the story steadily expands its scope."

The Witcher season 2 reviews: Verdicts

"The biggest strength for this fantasy show follow-up, and the one that kept me returning for all six episodes given out, is the found family it offers in Geralt and Ciri." - Carly Lane, Collider

"If the greatest sin The Witcher season 2 commits is being so intent on delivering more of the same but better, then fans excited to toss another coin in Geralt’s direction will find a valley of plenty" - James Whitbrook, Gizmodo

"The second season has great momentum that keeps it moving forward, along with an even more well-rounded cast than before. But it also felt like the show was slowly moving away from much of what made it so distinct." - Andrew Webster, The Verge

"The Witcher’s interpretation of its original text offers up something new—and that’s refreshing, both within this story and for fantasy TV at large." - Allison Keene, Paste

"The Witcher Season 2 is the best kind of adaptation. It takes something known and creates something wholly unique while always respecting its source material." - Kayla Cobb, Decider

Kelly Woo
Streaming Editor

Kelly is the streaming channel editor for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.