Matt’s (TV) Reviews: The Dresden Files

Dresden Files TV Series

The Dresden Files TV Series is very loosely based on the series of books and comics by Jim Butcher.    If you are a fan of those books, read this review before you watch the TV series.  If you have not read the books, still finish the review since you are here anyway.   This TV series originally aired in 2007 on the Sci Fi channel and only one season was made.   It starred Paul Blackthorne  as Harry Dresden, Valerie Cruz as Detective Murphy, and Terence Mann as “Bob”.  It is available to stream for free on Freevee through Amazon Prime and probably a few other streaming services.

I mentioned above that the series is based on the Jim Butcher books.  That was giving it WAY TOO MUCH credit.  The series is a completely different animal.  While it shares the basic premise of a wizard for hire in modern day Chicago, and that wizard’s name is Harry Dresden, that is where the similarities end.  These are completely different characters in completely different stories from the books.   They share some of the same names, but do not expect the books to be in anyway represented by this TV Series.  The books are much better. Having said all that, I highly recommend this series.  If you do not come into it expecting The Dresden Files books, but instead treat it like a completely separate set of stories and characters, then it is a really enjoyable series.

Harry Dresden was raised by his stage magician father, and named for Harry Houdini.  His mother died when he was young, but passed on her magical abilities to her son.  As an adult, Harry has set himself up as a wizard for hire, similar to a private investigator, helping out people in Chicago with supernatural cases.  He also regularly helps Detective Murphy of the Chicago P.D. on some of her weirder cases.

If this basic premise sounds like the book, remember THIS NOT THE BOOKS.  If you go into this expecting the books, you will be sorely disappointed.  If you go into to enjoy a fun little urban fantasy, part wizard, part PI, part Night Stalker, then you are likely to enjoy it.  I wish they’d made more seasons, but there is only the one.  Each episode is a complete story so you don’t have to worry about it not being ‘finished’ by the end of the season.  It ends with the potential to continue, but alas, it is not to be.  I can understand why it failed to gain an audience as the most likely viewers would be people who enjoyed the books.  Coming into it with those expectations made it unlikely to keep that audience or to build a larger one.

I was lucky enough to happen across this series a few years ago before I read the books.  I enjoyed it thoroughly and it inspired me to read the books (I think I’ve read all of them now).  I freely admit that the books are much better.  Much richer.  Better stories.  More exciting and satisfying.   But I recently rewatched the TV series, and it is better than a lot of the crap on TV today.  It is still worth watching.   Adjust your expectations, then give it a try.  It is a lot of fun.


Plastivore by Matt Truxaw

Book Cover: Plastivore by Matt Truxaw


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