The Dresden Files TV Series on DVD. Review by Violet Kane

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My general disinterest in detective stories and crime dramas has kept me away from the Dresden Files novels, written by Jim Butcher, but when the SciFi Channel television series (based on the novels, of course) came out on DVD, I was game to give it a try.

Paul Blackthorne plays Harry Dresden, the Chicago-based wizard detective for hire from Butcher's novels. He is routinely called in by Lt. Murphy to assist in police investigations when something supernatural is afoot, but Harry is also in the yellow pages, which invites other inquiries from various sources—sometimes from your average joe, and sometimes from your average vampire. Harry's world is one teeming with both the supernatural and the mundane.

Ultimately, Dresden Files is a pretty good detective show, but only an okay fantasy show. From what I've heard about the books, the magic is better explained and fleshed out. While not as much detail is given to concepts in the show, the core reason why this show disappointed me was for lack of character intrigue. Most shows are self-contained in terms of plot—the mystery gets solved, the characters start afresh in the next hour. Any threads of character conflict between episodes was weak at best, and at times even confusing. Harry's basic interaction with Lt. Murphy is a particular head-scratcher. Sometimes she seems clearly to know about the details of his wizard life, and sometimes he seems to be keeping her in the dark by writ of the wizard's council. It's as if the basic world-building rules change from one episode to the next.

If you would like a fun detective series with a new twist, then by all means, check out the Dresden Files on DVD. But if you're looking for a new fantasy series with consistency of concept and ever building character conflict, this show will likely disappoint.


Violet "Violanthe" Kane is the Webmaster and Founder of ARWZ.com. She is an editor of ARWZ Literary Zine and has a Master's degree in Medieval studies. For more on Vio, check out her ARWZ blog.