The Dresden Files
is about a wizard named Harry. "Good marketing," a cynical observer notes in one episode from the Sci-Fi Channel's one-season wonder based on the books by Jim Butcher. "Couldn't you come up with something a little more original?" Actually, this series manages to be plenty original despite echoes of The X-Files
and the 1970s cult classic The Night Stalker
. Paul Blackthorne stars as Harry Dresden, a scruffy Chicago private eye whose gift comes in handy for children menaced by skinwalkers, or for offering Lt. Murphy (Valerie Cruz) of the Chicago police "an unconventional point of view" concerning grisly, bizarre cases involving werewolves, vampires, and other decidedly unfriendly spirits. The Dresden Files
is a paranormal noir (para-noir?) that deftly balances genuine scares, hard-boiled moxie, and tongue-in-cheek humor, delivered with panache by "Bob" (Terrance Mann), an ancient English spirit who resides in a skull and gives.Harry supernatural assistance. Harry's backstory--magician father, wizard mother, treacherous uncle--is revealed over the course of these 12 episodes. The eighth broadcast episode, "Things That Go Bump," was reportedly intended as the series pilot, and may be the best place to start. But Harry's world-weary voice-over in the classic tradition ("If you're a wizard and you fail, people can end up dead") keeps viewers oriented. Low ratings made The Dresden Files
disappear, making this DVD set welcome for the series' hardcore fans who mounted the ultimately unsuccessful letter-writing campaign to save Dresden
from the "Brilliant, but Cancelled" files. But even those who are unfamiliar with Butcher's books or are not on the Sci-Fi Channel's wavelength will be charmed. --Donald Liebenson
Based on Jim Butcher's best-selling novels, "The Dresden Files" chronicles the cases of no ordinary detective. Harry Dresden (Paul Blackthorne) is a wizard, the only one listed in the Chicago phone book. He's got a handle on the crimes that can't be solved by anyone else. Paranormal? No problem. Dresden deals in all matters of supernatural threats. If you need a little hocus pocus or some other worldly advice, Dresden's your man.