Dresden Files

I’ve been trying to write a post about the Dresden Files since the second episode. I keep putting it down and then the next week’s episode is broadcast and I have to modify it. Everything below the fold was my draft comments as of last week, take them as they are, I stick by them.

However, I have to say that I don’t like the show anymore. It’s disappointing on a number of levels. What makes the books so good is the mixing of supernatural with the “real” and Harry’s angst in dealing with it all. This is entirely missing from the TV show. I will probably keep watching it, like an incipient car wreck, and I’ll let you know if I think it is getting better. Firefly, this is not. which probably means it will stick around for 6 seasons

Comments from last week are below.

Sunday, February 11, was episode 3 of the SciFi channel’s version of Jim Butcher’s concept of a modern fantasy world set in Chicago, otherwise known as The Dresden Files. I don’t believe my friend Steph would approve of that sentence
Spoilers Follow beneath the fold

As I noted in my previous post after episode 1, there have been a lot of changes in the story/characters/setting from the ones laid out in the books. Not necessarily all bad, of course, and I understand some of the constraints that force changes on a film crew. You can’t film a TV show in a tiny apartment with no room for cameras, after all.

But, I don’t like where they are taking pieces of the story arc. Murphy, for example. At the end of episode 2 she said, “Don’t ever lie to me (again)” or something along those lines. But, she was unconscious or insensate during her possession, so how does she know he lied? Is this supposed to be a illustration of her cop ability to sense deception? If so, it was weak. Also, doesn’t Murphy hire Harry because he is a wizard, with arcane abilities? Which brings me to my second big beef…

Why can’t Harry actually do anything magical? Oh, they’ve shown him calling up someone’s memories in a mirror and placing a protection on a house, but one of Book Harry’s defining characteristic is his dedication to his wizarding skills. The shield-bracelet stunt in the second episode was bogus. Catching a bullet on the actual bracelet is a poor second to using the bracelet to focus his powers into a shield. Maybe SciFi is waiting to see if the show catches on before spending any real money on CGI. I wish they would push more toward a show that describes a wizard-who-happens-to-be-an-Investigator, rather than vice versa.

Another point is Bob. Bob is playing the role of the all-knowing sage, which is useful for moving stories along, but in the TV show it’s being overdone. He’s pretty much all-powerful within his ghostly constraints. He’s got the answers to everything, if only Harry would listen to him. Bah!

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7 Responses to Dresden Files

  1. Jeff says:

    N and I watched it last night, I guess it was the first episode? Our general feeling was “eh”. The acting was poor and the motivation of Dresden was by no means clear.

  2. Bill says:

    If you watched it at 9:00 or 11:00 on SciFi, then it was the fourth episode, and the character hasn’t developed much more than you saw.

    The books are so much better…

  3. James Cronen says:

    You’re the one that sucked us into Firefly… thanks for the comments otherwise you might have accidentally sucked us into this too.

    Congrats on the new domain name, by the way… :-)

  4. Jeff says:

    Firefly on the other hand was excellent, as was the follow up movie Serenity.

  5. Ken says:

    Aww… am I the *only* person who likes Dresden Files? I have my Tivo recording every episode. “Dresden Files” (SciFi), “Heroes” (NBC HD), “Battlestar Galactica” (SciFI), “Doctor Who” (BBC AM), and “Hyperdrive” (BBC AM) are the staples of my wife & my television watching.

    Not having read Jim Butcher’s novels (but interested in picking them up from Borders), we’re watching it without the insight on characters. I’ll agree with your assessment on Murphy and maybe the story arc, but I happen to like both the casting and portrayal of Harry & Bob. Maybe if I had read the books, I’d think otherwise.

    I’m hoping the show catches on. I was REALLY DISAPPOINTED when ABC canned “Night Stalker.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_Stalker_%28TV_series%29) Like BSG and Night Stalker, I think the Dresden Files is a series with potential, and worth watching. :)

  6. Bill says:

    Well, you won’t like my upcoming post about Battlestar then, Ken. I’ve officially declared it a Shark Jumper.

  7. Ken says:

    How depressing… I need to check the Nielsen ratings for both Dresden Files and BSG.

    I hope the networks don’t read your site. :)

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