Sunday, January 21, 2007

Dresden Files

Not too long ago Stewart wrote a post about the Dresden Files, a series of books written by author Jim Butcher. And now the Sci-fi channel has debuted their TV show based on the popular series of books. For those not familiar with the series, it's based on the character Harry Dresden, a private eye who lives in Chicago and has the added benefit of being a wizard. The real kind, not a sleight-of-hand magician-- and who just happens to have a listing in the yellow pages under wizard. I agree with Stewart when it comes to his assessment of the books; entertaining but not profound fiction. And I guess you could say the same about the TV series. Though to be fair, I liked it. The season premier introduces us to Harry and gives us a little bit of information on his background. We learn that he inherited his wizardly powers from his mother's side of the family and that his father earned a living as a stage magician, though he didn't have any powers of his own. The premier is mainly about a little boy, who happens to be a whole lot like a young Harry. The boy is a wizard who has not come into his powers and yet is already in danger of being found and exploited by those who would use his abilities. The boy only knows that he is being followed by "monsters" and comes to Harry for help. Harry dismisses the boy initially, but circumstances, and the prodding of a ghost that lives in a skull, intervene and Harry ends up trying to help the boy. At this point the series seems to be attempting to build up the back story as much as trying to present an interesting show. In some ways I like that, but it does tend to take time away from the main story and that ends up taking away from the build up and tension. Maybe I'm being a bit picky since the show only had an hour for the premier. That's not a heck of a lot of time to grab the viewer and they did a pretty decent job of gaining my interest. I haven't deleted the season pass, and that always a good sign. I also like the actor that plays Dresden, Paul Blackthorn. He has a way about him that makes him easy to like, not a bad quality for a guy you're building a show around. But he seems like he could be a private eye. He looks fairly young, but his face has the lived in quality of someone who's seen a lot, as we assume Harry has. So at this point, I'm giving the show a tentative recommendation; with the hope that as the show builds up the back story they won't take away as much time from the main story in the future. And for someone like me, I'm happy to have a show on television the features a little magic, it is one of my favorite things after all.

22 comments:

ShadowFalcon said...

I hadn't heard of this and it hasn't been shown here, but I'm curoious now!

Stewart Sternberg said...

I have watched the premiere episode of Dresden and liked it enormously. The actor they found is surly, beat up, cynical...he's wonderful for the role. If I may say, I liked this first episode more than I enjoyed Book Seven of the series, "Dead Beat". In fact, "Dead Beat" almost turned me away from watching.

I also tried reading the first several pages of "Storm Front" at Barnes and Noble and was underwhelmed by Butcher. I originally judged him to be a competent writer. I take that back...he is the kind of guy who I read and wonder who the hell he knew, or what the hell he did to get published.

SQT said...

Stewart

I wasn't enthralled with the Dresden books, but I'm reading another book by Butcher right now that's part of a fantasy series and I'm really enjoying it. It's much more detailed and developed than the Dresden series that it's hard to believe it's the same author.

Angela/SciFiChick said...

I loved it.. Finally, another show to watch on the SciFi channel besides the Stargates.

Crunchy Carpets said...

I had never heard of the books until this website talked about it.

I TRIED to watch the show, but found it really boring and the same old same old story lines....

IMO there has been too many shows with this sort of theme and characters....

PLUS when I know Sci fi does them for the cheap productions costs and more profit in their pockets...

eck.

SQT said...

Crunchy, what other shows have you seen that are like this one? Are they only broadcast where you're at? I can't think of another that has the same storyline.

The glut we're having seems to be more along the lines of psychic's, such as Medium and Ghost Whisperer. I like Medium mostly because I think Patricia Arquette is very good in the role. I got tired of Ghost Whisperer fairly quick, though sometimes it could be pretty good.

Stewart Sternberg said...

"The Ghost Whisperer" "Supernatural" "Medium"...there is a word for these shows: drecht. DRECHT.

Dresden Files was more along the lines of The Night Stalker, and I mean the old Night Stalker, not that piece of garbage they threw together to reinvent Kolchak.

Hmmmm....

SQT said...

Boy Stewart, you are a hard man to please.

I don't know if I'd put the shows in the drecht category, though often enough they belong there. The one thing that bothers me about these shows is that they always have the character who's main role is to be the SKEPTIC.

That always drove me nuts in the X-Files. No matter how much she saw Skully remained a skeptic, regardless how unrealistic it was. If I saw half the stuff she saw in the course of the show, I'd pretty much believe in anything.

Crunchy Carpets said...

The Chronicle, G vs E, ....there is so much that follows this formula...rough around the edges guy with (fill in blank) works with usually female cop contact...heck even the blade series was like this!

Even how the whole show play out.....the meet the guy, meet his quirky side kick, see his soft side, meet his contact, see how he is pulled into the case, see how it connects to other things in his past, or whatever....sorry...

It is like there is a book that these writes follow..or software where you just fill in the names.

We would rather have Dresden than Stargate or Farscape???

Stewart Sternberg said...

Crunchy, knowing that I am about to draw ire for the following statement, I would rather have Dresden than Stargate and Farside. However, I would rather have Battlestar above those others.

There was a show a while back that premiered on ABC. It dealt with a priest from the vatican whose job it was to debunk miracles. It was magnificent...cancelled three episodes in. I prayed SCIFI would pick it up. A DVD set has seven episodes..I think.

And what about Carnivale. I would take another season of Carnivale to any of the stuff on network right now.

Stewart Sternberg said...

Whatever I watch, just spare me Stephen King's "Kingdom Come".

SQT said...

Was that Veritas: The Quest?

A lot of times I hate when the new season starts. I stinks when I get invested in a show and they pull it off the air. BSG is a quality show and I will be so pissed if it gets yanked.

jedimerc said...

so much to watch, so little time... I was lucky to catch the BSG premiere, though I will have to give this a shot.

jedimerc said...

I think I would prefer 'Rome' to 'Carnivale' but that's the history nerd in me... though 'Carnivale' had some interesting episodes.

Avery said...

I had a hard time with the show. I watched it until the end, and then realized I had no emotional commitment to any of the characters. That notion solidified when they played next weeks' preview and the cop (who we saw for, what, two scenes?) is in danger and Harry has to sweep in to save her. A little early to be pulling the rescue card, isn't it? At this point, I don't care if she comes out alive. It's like everything began in medias res -- but not in a good way. More like I wandered in the room at nine and realized the show started at eight.

I'm not ready to blow it off, yet, but they need to step up the characterization or I'm gone.

Speaking of Blade, did that show get canned? I watched two episodes and gave up. I couldn't stand the pain of witnessing that guy simultaneously struggle with his bad mimicry of Wesley Snipes AND his prosthetics.

Stewart Sternberg said...

Blade seemed to have come and gone, hasn't it. They never should have premiered it on the Spike Channel. I never saw one episode, but your description made me chuckle, Avery.

Hey SQT, I haven't stopped posting here. I'm just busy. I promise to burn off a posting on Night Stalker in the next couple days, and then maybe a thoughtful piece on God and Sci Fi. Can anyone say ZARDOZ? Would anyone want to?

SQT said...

I tried to watch Blade too-- it pretty much sucked. And why bother when I have 3 movies I can watch whenever I want to?

Don't worry about it Stewart. I was busy this weekend so I was a little behind on getting a post up-- sorry to all who checked in--

I can't wait to see what you have to say about the role of God in sci-fi.

Sidney said...

I was kind of pleasantly surprised by the first episode. I wasn't sure if it would be good or dull, but it kept my attention.

I thought the Raven Clan and the use of the skinwalker were both kind of interesting and a nice departure from many TV monsters.

I'm interested in trying one of the books. I have enjoyed some books in the Weather Warden series which bears a quote of endorsement from Butcher.

I'm also interested in reading some of Simon R. Green's "Nightside" stories which appear similar to "Dresden." Anyone read those?

SQT said...

I've read the first of the Nightside series and though it was pretty good. It's a bit more my taste than the Dresden books.

Neila said...

I have not read the books, but I heard about the new series. I will definitely have to check it out now. It sounds interesting!

Sidney said...

Thanks for the info, Sqt. I think I will try Nightside first.

Angela/SciFiChick said...

I agree... I enjoy the Nightside series a little more than Dresden.