Dresden FIles

I’ve been trying to figure out what seems off about the Dresden Files tv series and I finally figured it out. So far, it’s seemed rather flat and two-dimensional to me. But then, it should. I’m coming to the show with eight books worth of world-building and mythology behind me, and the series is starting back at square one. They couldn’t hope to show the true three-dimensionality of the Dresdenverse without overwhelming the newbies.

So that’s not really a fault of the show.

There is one thing that’s inexcusably off, though. Bob. Bob is *not* some stuffy English guy (no offense against the actor playing him). Bob has a sense of humor, he’s wacky and mischievous; a trickster. In this week’s episode, when Jeeves Bob finally showed some of that amoral even-disembodied-spirits-have-raging-hormones thing Bob is known for in the books, it didn’t come across as charming like it does in the books, it came across as creepy. And not in a good way.

Anyway, looking forward to when there’s six episodes and my brother mails me my tape!

19 thoughts on “Dresden FIles

  1. It seems like they’re trying to make Dresden a loner, Angel-fashion, instead of a guy with a professional relationship with the police department, a on/off girlfriend, and an entire magical world. It’s only been a few episodes, but SI doesn’t exist, we don’t see the wizard bar (a natural for tv) and what about all the magic? The leather coat, the staff (the credits don’t count), the confidence, for that matter? “The Dresden Files” is pretty cool, but it isn’t The Dresden Files–so far.
    Despite all its problems, one reason why the Harry Potter movies are popular with the fans is because they pack in as much stuff from the books as they can. It adds dimension to the movies and is a nice reward for those who read the books. What would Harry Potter be if they downplayed the magic like they do in “The Dresden Files”?

  2. Yeah, I may be giving the TV show more lee-way than I should. I miss book-Harry Dresden’s sense of humor. But did he have a girlfriend in the first book? I know it took him a while to start dating the reporter Susan.
    I forget a lot of what was in teh first book and what wasn’t. Did book-Murphy know and believe Harry was a real wizard in the first book? Was she already in SI in the first book?

  3. I’m pretty sure Murphy was in SI from the first book, and acknowledged that he was a wizard, although she didn’t really know what that might entail. I don’t think that Susan showed up until the second though, or at least not as a girlfriend.
    Maybe one problem is that Butcher was influenced by many different elements in fantasy and sf, and worked them seamlessly into his own story, making them his own, but those elements might seem too familiar if distilled into a tv show. The small kick-butt blonde, the charming, dissolute gorgeous vampire, the reporter who covers the supernatural beat, etc. It’s a bit like reading John Myers Myers’ “Silverlock.” where half the fun is trying to identify all the literary characters that show up.
    I can wait for all the other people to show up, but I want more magic, more Dresden.

  4. I’m looking forward to the introduction of Susan, assuming they do, and Michael, and Thomas (if they ever, ever do….)
    But yeah, the thing I enjoy the most about the books is how you see the classics of fantasy/horror (vampires, werewolves, witches, etc) and the classics of film noir (trenchcoats and bars and femme fatales and the private investigator, etc) blend together. Good stuff.

  5. I haven’t read any of the books yet, so I don’t have a template for the series. I want to start reading them, because they sound like so much fun. Like movies made from books, TV series based on books have some real issues to get around. Hard to cram all that into a space of time that’s interrupted by commercials.

  6. I don’t see any technical difficulties with making the character of Bob more like the book. It’s a matter of personality–you just need the right actor for the part.

  7. Right! Where’s the Blue Beetle, man? Plus all that technology in his office doesn’t work, either, since he’s supposed to have involuntary ill effects on electrical systems.

  8. I was looking forward to seeing the Blue Beetle too–we had one when I was a kid. Plus it was funny, with the multi-colored parts and troll-sized dents. And Dresden’s apartment would have been cool, with all the candles fireplace and the ice box. So far technology goes awry only when he wants it to. It would be pretty cool to see a guy who was unable to be around anything complex without it breaking. Remember when the tv studio blew up?
    But I’ll be pretty happy if we just get a good sense of Harry’s personality as you say, his humor and cluelessness with women, his thrill at what he can do, and fear of what he might do.

  9. But I’ll be pretty happy if we just get a good sense of Harry’s personality as you say, his humor and cluelessness with women, his thrill at what he can do, and fear of what he might do.
    Yeah, I can live with the cosmetic differences. But I want to see more character development.

  10. Terrance Mann
    This guy has a shitty job of fleshing out a character that (in the book) has no form. I’d bet that whoever thought the series up felt that no one could relate to a formless (well person formed anyhow) character. In a perfect world we may have gotten mist to hint at where the character may be and the voice of Terrance Mann. I like him and I know I had to divorce myself from the book (just like the Dexter books) to start new like I was starting with the Dresden files all over again. I do agree that the missing Kitty is unforgiveable.

  11. Re: Terrance Mann
    It’s not the way he looks that’s the problem. I could live with Terrance Mann, or any other actor, playing the character as someone who visibly appears in ghost-like form, as long as they actually act like Bob acts in the book. This “Bob” doesn’t.

  12. mixed reviews
    I’ve only read a couple of the “Dresden Files” books (and I started with book #3 – Grave Peril – because of the whole she-who-hangs-out-in-graveyards thing), but I was disappointed with the feel of the show. It appears to me that TV-Harry’s office, apartment, and lab are all in the same room!! I’m not fond of how Bob is portrayed. TV-Harry seems more bumbling and smirking (book-Harry seems more constrained by his conscience and morality).
    I liked the first episode and thought the show had promise. The stories are good. Now TV-Harry needs to behave a bit more like book-Harry. And Murphy needs to be told about magic “stuff”! (By book #3 she knows, because she’s been attached by a supernatural being.) And I think the show needs a bigger budget! (Not everything happens at Harry’s “house”!)
    All that said, I’m still going to be watching the show.

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