It's official, Netflix’s The Witcher has spent another week off the #1 spot here in the US.
According to the real-time ranking of shows on the service, as can be seen in the screenshot below, The Witcher shows up in second place, dethroned by legal drama The Lincoln Lawyer.
The slip comes just two weeks after reports that the fan-favorite show has been struggling in its third season, with external viewer data from Samba TV suggesting that around 1.1 million households watched the season 3 premiere in its first week, down 15% from the previous season. More worrying still, Samba suggests that the fifth episode of the season only had 505,000 households watching, meaning that the show lost half of its audience by the end of the first release of episodes from the season.
(It’s worth noting that Samba doesn’t track mobile views, so the data above is incomplete, even if the trend is clear.)
So the question we have to ask now is: why? Does the Lincoln Lawyer have something The Witcher doesn't, besides the obvious history involving Matthew McConaughey? Or is not a case of what The Lincoln Lawyer has at all, but what this season of The Witcher lacks?
Let me pitch this to you: Season One of The Witcher debuts with a completed season one arc, featuring main characters that even folks who haven't read the books/played the games fall in love with. After four weeks of being on Nettflix, the season shatters expectations at the time with 49 million hours watched, according to The Wrap.
Two years and one pandemic later, The Witcher follows up with another completed arc in the form of Season Two, which also focuses on the three main characters: Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri. This time, viewers clock in to put mind-boggling 142 million hours watching on the board, nearly tripling Season One numbers.
But the good news was not to last. In 2022, Netflix debuted The Witcher: Blood Origin to a seriously declining viewing public. As we've reported before, watchers gave only 15.9 million hours to the prequel series... the first live-action Witcher entry not to focus on Geralt, Yen, or Ciri. Hmmm...
Cut to last month, when The Witcher returns, once again, to disappointing numbers (73 million hours in the first week). To be fair, Season Three did return to the intrepid ragtag trio of the Witcher, the Witch, and the - er, orphan - but not the same way it previously had. For the first time, The Witcher debuted a Season that was not a complete arc, but an arc in two parts, one of which is still on the horizon.
All this is simply to ask: is The Witcher Season Three suffering by breaking its original format?
That's a question above my paygrade, but it's one worth asking. Still, even with viewing dropping, The Witcher has already been renewed for both a fourth and fifth season, so things could be worse. And yet… when a courtroom drama is beating a big-budget tentpole series for the second week in a row, that’s not a good sign of the show’s longevity overall.
Never mind tossing a coin to your Witcher; if you could throw a few viewing hours to the new season before its second half drops July 27, I’m sure Netflix would be very grateful indeed.
Wondering what all this talk of The Witcher is, anyway? Sound like you need to check the show out from the start.