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The Dresden Files TV Series Review

Posted on January 2, 2008 by Monica Valentinelli

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The Dresden Files TV Series Review
Three-Disc Set Complete First Season
Produced by Lionsgate
Originally Aired on The SciFi Channel

The Dresden Files, a series of novels penned by Jim Butcher, came to the small screen in 2007 on the SciFi channel bringing with it some variations – both good and bad. This is a difficult review to write for two reasons. First, the series was canceled after only twelve episodes. In such a short period of time, there wasn’t a lot of ability for the directors to explore the setting in this format. As a result, the events in this series loosely resemble only a few, choice events from one or two books. Secondly, this television series didn’t feel like a literal translation from the novels and, as a result, could easily stand alone on its own merits.

One of the strongest points about The Dresden Files as a series of novels, is the main character, Harry Dresden. In the television series, Paul Blackthorne plays the wily wizard, and does an excellent job of breathing life into this unusual character. A few quirks were added, in order to make the character more believable in the modern-day setting, like his hockey stick as his blasting rod and a drumstick for his wand. Other characters were altered, slightly, to add more conflict to the setting; the two, biggest differences are Murphy, the cop, and “Bob,” Harry’s spirit-ridden skull.

Harry’s sarcastic voice, his sheer dumb luck, and his big heart add a lot to these one-hour episodes, but some of the best moments are when the secondary characters have the chance to shine. One of my favorite episodes had to do with the character “Bob.” Bob is a cursed spirit bound forever to a rune-marked skull; he used to perform the bidding of Harry’s uncle, Justin Morningway. For those of you who’ve read the novel series religiously, Bob is the visual re-imagining of the lewd spirit Harry referenced in the books. What about Bob? delves into Harry’s past, provides a tempting offer, and explores why he was bound in the first place. Of all the episodes in this season this one gives the most amount of backstory; most of the twelve episodes are heavy on action and intrigue, and light on canon, probably because there wasn’t enough time to explore more.

The Dresden Files TV Series will appeal to fans of the Charmed, Angel, and Millennium television shows. While there isn’t a lot of campy humor, there is just enough to lighten the sarcastic mood when things get dark; Hellboy or Constantine are good comparisons to the mood.

A difficult series to review, The Dresden Files is worth a look for both fans of the modern fantasy genre and the novel series. The only disappointment I had with the TV series, was that it didn’t get the chance to continue.

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4 Responses to “The Dresden Files TV Series Review”

  1. Dark Puck says:

    The only disappointment I had with the TV series, was that it didn’t get the chance to continue.

    You and the rest of the fans. Sci-Fi Channel seriously dropped the ball on this one.

  2. Cinemind says:

    I agree with Monica. The lack of back story might have been a detriment at first, but as “What About Bob?” demonstrates it provided tantalizing possibilities. This series was far from a ‘Buffy’ knock off. Thanks especially to talented acting, “Harry” is a refreshing take on detective noir and “Bob” is a classic that deserves to ‘haunt’ amongst the ranks of Canterville and Captain Gregg.

  3. Zarina says:

    I agree as well. The series may have had a slow start, but it quickly built momentum and became fantastic! The potential for this series is enormous! The acting by all is so skilled that connecting with the characters is almost instantaneous and makes the stories and situations seem completely believable. Harry is endearing and Bob just rules!

    There really does need to be a season 2, and over 9,650 folks have already signed the petition for just that. May we be successful and Season 2 air this year!

  4. Gideon says:

    I didn’t realize until I saw Paul Blackthorne on that insipid cashmere mafia show that Dresden Files had likely been canceled. What a shame. It was my favorite new show of 2007 and I was looking forward to season two.

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