Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Sci-Fi Hoedown: The Dresden Files
I've been reading Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series off and on. I am currently on book 5.
I decided to watch the Sci-Fi show "The Dresden Files," even though friends have told me it was not very close to the books (and not very good period.) The author was even quoted as saying that the tv show was not the books. That is was based on an alternate reality/version of the books and if you watch it thinking it will be about the books, you'll be disappointed. Too bad they didn't just follow the darn books.
Every episode is a Monster-of-the-Week. There's no long story-arc. There's hintings of past events, etc. but there is no Big Bad, no long sweeping arc; it's kind-of boring. Every episode gets solved in 42 minutes. Bo-ring. No wonder it got cancelled. You need an arc, people! And evil uncle mentioned once in a while does not cut it.
The only episode where you see anything remotely like the books is episode 8; Storm Front. Episode 8 was supposed to be 2-hour pilot. The network, for whatever reason, did not use it, so they took the 2 hour pilot and chopped it down into a one hour story. It's in this episode you see a lot of book 1 Harry. They did cast a blonde white girl in the role of Hispanic Susan. Boo. Other than that, we see the Blue Beetle make a guest appearance in a garage being fixed. It was weird seeing episode 8 because you could see the exposition that would have worked for a pilot episode. Sticking it in as a random episode felt off.
The differences between the books and the show are obvious and sometimes silly. BookHarry carries a staff with runes. TVHarry carries a hockey stick (no joke) or sometimes a drum stick (not chicken, for playing drums) as his power staffs. Really? Only is episode 8 do we see runes on the hockey stick, and that was supposed to be the first episode, not episode 8. BookHarry hides his staff in a long black leather cloak. Maybe the production staff did not want to have to deal with that long cloak and hiding a staff, but a hockey stick?
BookHarry lives in a cave-of-an-apartment in a basement, because his magic powers tend to zap anything electrical. BookHarry has no lighting, no electricity, no central heating. TVHarry has an amazing home/office space with a gas stove, working lights and all the creature comforts. I like that BookHarry can't be near technology because he fries it. In the tv show, they do mention that Harry has problems with technology, but not until like episode 6, and of course episode 8, which was supposed to be episode 1. All out of order.
BookHarry has a ghost named Bob who lives in a skull. TVBob does live in a skull but 90% of the time, he takes on a human form to talk to Harry. That was a weird adjustment.
BookDetective Murphy is names Karrin. TVMurphy is named Connie. Big whoop, I know. (from imdb: "The character of Karrin Murphy became Connie Murphy for legal reasons after it was discovered that there is an actual police officer named Karyn Murphy in Chicago." funny) The tv version though, is not as clued in to what Harry does as the book version. The book version has her on a squad that just deals with supernatural cases. She and Harry are really tight. The TVMurphy acts like she can barely tolerate him. Bah.
Like I said, all the episodes are M.O.T.W. so there's nothing really to be invested in. Paul Blackthorne is a good actor. He is apparently 6' 4" but he does not look that tall in the show. I was surprised to read he was 6' 4". BookDresden is tall too. He's got a sexy charm in the show. Not sure if BookDresden does. (side note: the actor's got some full lips.) Good actor, just..bad writing, or bad story-arcing. Something. Not his fault. They should have had Jim Butcher write for the darn show.