The Dresden Files
Distributed By: Sci-fi
Reviewed by Ismael Manzano
Last week, I did a review for the book, Storm Front, book one in a series of Jim Butcher novels entitled ‘The Dresden Files.’ I read said book because of the hype and rumor surrounding an upcoming Sci-Fi show based on and named after the series of books. Being the lover of science fiction that I am, I had to watch it, but first I read the first book to get a feel for the story and the character. So on Sunday evening, when 9pm rolled around, I turned to the Sci-Fi channel and eagerly watched the show that is based on book that I liked so much. This is my first impression of the new series.
In the pilot episode, private investigator and wizard, Harry Dresden (Paul Blackthrone, 24, Deadwood) is asked by his friend, Lt. Murphy (Valerie Cruz, Nip/Tuck) to consult on a case that all her years on the force can not explain. The case? A woman who was found murdered in her apartment. There’s no signs of forced entry, no signs of a struggle, and the woman was completely skinned yet still completely dressed. At the same time, a small boy named Scott Sharp (Dylan Everett) tries to hire Dresden to help fight the monsters he claims are lurking in his room.
At first, Harry doesn’t believe Scott and blows him off, but soon regrets it and uses his connections to try and see if there is anything unusual with the boy. It isn’t long before he finds out that the boy is magically inclined and as such may be targeted by other magical beings seeking to sway an impressionable novice to their side. Helping Dresden in this, the ghost of a once powerful, but now long dead wizard Bob (Terrance Mann), who knows more formulas and spells than most people could ever learn and is bound to Dresden. As a side story, we are given a glimpse into the life of young Harry Dresden (Mathew Knight), the relationship with his stage magician father, and the conflict between his father and his uncle, the man who later becomes his magical mentor.
It isn’t long before Dresden realizes that there’s more to the kid than meets the eye and his seemingly unconnected murder case, actually holds the key to protecting Scott. But can Dresden stop the being who is hunting Scott before it’s too late?
Now for the good part. What was my first impression of this show? Well, I, having read the first of the Dresden file books, I am in the position of having to judge the series a little more harshly than a person who has never heard of Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden before. Right off the bat I can tell you that I liked the book much better than the series and if you were expecting a show on par with the books, you will be disappointed. Blackthrone did a good job playing Dresden, he had the sarcastic wit and charming smugness that I expected from the title character. Cruz, likewise, played her character well, despite aesthetically being nothing like the character described in the book. Terrance Mann’s portray of Bob was not what I’d expected, but I understood why it was necessary to change him from the show—in the book he was trapped within a skull all the time and was only animated inside the skull; not exactly the kind of thing that would go over well on the small screen.
As far as the plot of the story, I thought that it was a weak first episode that did not fully explore the show’s potential. Considering that the fifth episode of the series is slated to be called Storm Front, and the summary for that episode—according to tv.com—reads, ‘We are introduced to Harry Dresden…’ I have to believe that the episodes are being aired out of the original intended order. As many of you many know, such episode juggling has been the death of other great shows such as Firefly, whose full potential was not realized until it came out on DVD because the network choose not to air the episodes that properly explained the concept of the show and introduced all the characters.
As a whole, I thought that the show has potential and if given the opportunity, might grow into a must-watch show, but as far as this one episode went, it was a little bland and left me wanting. Will I continue to follow this unique show? Yes—at least until the fifth episode, to see if the show can hook me in with the real first episode. I’d suggest you all do the same.
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