Are You Ready For Some Dresden? – The Latest Butcher Block

We’re less than a week from the broadcast of the Dresden Files TV series. Are you ready? Fred talks about Jim’s recent visit to the set, viewing parties, a good reading order for the books of the series, the first five episodes, and some early reviews. Plus, he dishes a little on White Night.
Download the podcast here (16MB MP3, 28 minutes)

57 thoughts on “Are You Ready For Some Dresden? – The Latest Butcher Block”

  1. I can understand what a lot of people are saying on both sides of the aisle.
    On the one hand, yes, they did remove a lot of the elements that made Harry Dresden the cool guy that we all know from the novels. Specifically his lack of success with the fairer sex, his confidence in his abilities as a wizard, and his steadfast determination as a private detective. Where was the detective work? The only evidence we saw was that he showed up in the right place at the right time. How’d he get there? What did he do? Dresden’s magic is so ingrained with his character that his ordinary daily detective work is infused with magic. But there was little mention of using magic for detective work. And we didn’t see Dresden doing anything.
    On the other hand this is an adaptation to television. Maybe Bob looked too cheezy and terrible as a talking skull. And maybe there’s further plot developments with Murphy’s kid and Harry’s relationship with this new woman.
    But the part that really upset me with this whole thing was the absurd conclusion. This was a good show (not a good Dresden Files show) except for the “doom box” thing. The only purpose for putting that element into the show was for a last minute “kill the badguy” scene. If you want to have a good show, you have to at least make a believable conclusion.
    Deus ex machina doesn’t make good television.

  2. I must say, so long as I separate books from TV, it was pretty good. I want to know why, when the skinwalker or whatever they’re called pulled the gag off him as she ‘tortured’ him, he didn’t just blast her. It didn’t seem as if he could do magic on his own. He needed Bob to make the doom box.
    I love Terrence Mann on Broadway, but I’m not sure if I like him as Bob. He seems like a suck up and not at all like the sarcastic, womanizing Bob we’ll all know and love.
    Oh well, I’ll keep watching anyway because I have no life.

  3. I have to admit some disappointment. I know I shouldn’t fret about the small things. Mister, Bob’s personality… okay… big change, but maybe we’ll see it next time. The show in itself was fine, but I was really excited about it. Though when I stumbled upon it, I was heavily disappointed with Bob and the lack of Mister and a few other details. I do believe that changing things like that are very poor indeed. This is why I really don’t watch things that are based on published books. I just wasn’t expecting it to be this horribly wrecked.
    And please, I know I should not complain, but there are major details missing and although it might make the show’s ratings go down, I think they should add what’s really supposed to be there. I can understand the jeep… the tall people thing is a bit hard to fit in the model that was originally in a book. Trust me, I saw that coming since I’ve a couple of friends who’ve tried to get into a vehicle like that. No big problem.
    The part about Bob… what can I say? I haven’t ever seen any of the actor’s previous work, or, at least, I don’t believe I have. Though when he came across as something of a pathetic being who simply acts prude, I have to complain. It just is not like Bob to act that much like a pansy. It just isn’t. He’s not even morally aware of what’s wrong and what’s right. He is a spirit that resides in a skull and I might’ve been okay with the live representative portrayal, but when it’s not even close to what Bob really is, I just have to look away.
    Mister, although minor flaw, was something that should’ve been seen just for a second. Who cares if it’s more than a second. It just would’ve been more appropriate.
    Murphy with a kid… I can’t see it. Maybe in the future novels, but right at the beginning… no. I just don’t see her as one with a kid. It just isn’t the Murphy that I have in my mind.
    And I know you guys who keep saying it’s not bad… but I really do see it that way. I was expecting more oomph, rather than loomph. Si?
    But it was a great starting point for people who have never read the books. Perhaps for them, I’ll let that go. But for the fans of the series, it is sort of a disappointment from what I’ve noticed.
    All right, enough of that. I cannot say more before getting into an unlovely rant.
    Muchas Gracias for reading.

  4. I have a few problems with it, but if they had have launched straight into Fool Moon, it wouldn’t have worked as well for new fans. They could have done Storm Front as a two-parter or two hour premiere, but it’s still good.
    I would like to see them make some the not covered cases from the books in the series. Like his first battle with Kraven, which was background for Book Three, would be a good one for an episode as well as setting up Grave Peril.
    Bob’s personality was completely changed, which sucks but it’s not unworkable. He was always half assistant, half wisecracker so purely in that regard, it would still work if he stops the jokes. The “Self-defenced your uncle to death” was pure Bob, so hopefully he will get more of those in.
    Plus what’s this about not being able to move around the apartment? He was standing near the entrance when Dresden was getting beaten.
    I think the reason they didn’t really show his investigations were the flashbacks eating into the time, but then again he usually isn’t on this tight an schedule, or if he is he knows more about what’s happening
    The Thresholds only have an effect if they don’t invite you in, so it’s all good as long he gets invited. They should set it up so that he pauses a couple of times at doors until invited so when he isn’t invited, people can tell something is different.
    While the Doom Box was cliched, was one of the closest things to the way Dresden acts in the books. Who honestly couldn’t see Dresden getting something like that and using to blow somethings face off?
    He uses holy water paintballs against vampires, Getting something to blow it’s own face off was actually in character. Plus it looked more natural than pulling a Fuego if the cops investigated.
    Dresden needs to wise-crack more though. Even if Bob doesn’t, it’s his personality, it is Dresden.
    His name should be Harry Wisecracker Blackstone Copperfield Dresden. I have always seen him as sort of a wizard P.I. version of John McClane(Bruce Willis’s character in the Die Hard movies)
    If this was a new series it would be good, and people that enjoyed this will probably like the books. Reminds sort of the First X-Files, so hopefully it will get better, but the readers won’t like this as much due to the books being awesome.
    On a side note, who thinks the series Murphy looks like Susan? I think the Murphy actress would have made a good Susan, and they should have gotten some-one else to be Murphy.

  5. Wow, I see these same arguments on every frickin’ board of every book-made-tv show forum. Why can’t people just be happy that they got something that is pretty sweet and not too far removed. The purists will always bitch and moan I guess. As for me, I thought it was an excellent show. Much better than most of the shows that sci-fi puts on, or other channels for that matter. The actors were great too. I think that Blackthorne really nails the character, and even if some of his personality is changed, enough of the original is there. Plus, Blackthorne’s version is compelling in my opinion. He does seem to be a wise-ass, but not too overbearing with it.
    One other thing: I like that magic doesn’t appear so much. It would devalue its importance on a tv show. In a book it is all good, but on tv general viewers would think it looks retarded. There will be times when the “big-guns” will need to be drawn, but we are (as of now) only two shows into the series. There is a lot of room to grow. Let’s help by watching every week (so that a good show doesn’t die…like poor Firefly)!
    Sci-fi did a god job of making an entertaining show that is based on the Dresden novels. Let’s applaud them for that. I doubt that many of us could do any better (Although I am sure many think they could…).
    Bottom line: it was entertaining and compelling. I look forward to each new installment!

  6. Over all, I thought the first two weeks of the show were really good. When I first heard the idea of making the dresden files into a tv series I groaned a painful sigh and was a bit worried. I agree, there were many trivial errors scene but they could be fixed later (such as mister, he could be added later as lost stray who finds harry, as stated in the first book). Mouse can come later. Yes they changed murhpy a little, but hey, good actors who fit the role are hard to find. She did pretty well considering she had to go against countless fans’ own views. and honestly, we all could have gotten the wrong impression of Bob the skull, when hes allowed out of his skull and what he looks like. I agree, his sarcasm and romance tendencies need to be increased, but for only 2 episodes, hes doing alright. The corpsetaker villain (like in deadbeat) for the second episode worked really well. And all the investigating, well theres a time limit, so short cuts are needed. I can’t wait to see Micheal, thomas or half the other characters from the book. They all have potentials, but its a short season and we have to build the popularity before they can bring all the ideas to bear.Also, if this takes place before Storm Front, then Jim and scifi can introduce the gift of sunlight he could only use (used in storm front on Bianca) and use Bianca,his uncle and the demon who walks behind in the tv series as a nasty super villain for the end of the series. I think the guy who plays hairy, short of meeting my thoughts of hi character, fills Harry’s shoes well. Theres the duster inssue, some minor character adjustment and I wish to see a little magic flare here and there,but I like that its not the whole show and is not super drama filled.
    Bottomline: Good opening for the series, lots of room to improve, and hopefully it will bring in other interest to expand and hopefully get this show more flare but doesn’t go into the drama pool but stays like it does and stands as a testament to the novels we fans all enjoy so much and thank Jim Butcher for creating. and I hope it gets the chance to read some of these comments.

  7. Well, its week 2….I have to say that “BOB” acted a little more “Bob-like” this week. I think his part will turn out well once we get use to him. The things that I want to complain about are, first, the shield braclet..What is he Wonder Woman now? That is NOT how it works!! Having it ‘catch’ the bullets was soooooooo lame! It also narrows the field of what the braclet can do for him in the future. Second, Whats up with Harry? They still don’t have him doing any real magic! I read one of the comments that they are glad they don’t have magic that much on the show…Come on, this is Harry Dresden, WIZARD!!! Not Magnem PI. Magic IS who Harry is. Is there no Special Investigations dept.? I noticed Murphy had a cube and not her SI office. I still don’t like the core changes they made. Please at least let Harry use MAGIC…. and what is with the Hockey Stick in the opening? Is that supposed to be his staff? I know they filmed this in Canada, but come on, how cheesy can you get? Better luck next week…..

  8. Hi, I just wanted to say that I absolutely love the books and am converting my friends into Dresden fans as well. Unfortunately I’m not as lucky as eeryone else on this forum who are either loving the show or complaining about about it. I live in the UK and am gutted that this show hasn’t been shown here.
    Does anyone know why that might be and if I will be able to see this in the future?

  9. Well, casting changes aside, I’m finding I really don’t like the show. While it bugs me peripherally that the designers of the show mixed Susan and Murphy into a single character, and that Bob being a ghost instead of a spirit totally alters the metaphysical underpinnings of the Dresden-verse, what upsets me is the writing.
    Butcher’s style has flair, panache and a few surprises in a genre that is, let’s be honest, generally predictable. The author of the book puts time and effort and thought into his product.
    The screen writers, by contrast, seems to have basically vomitted up a pair of scripts, fixed some of the typos and called it good to go. Was there anyone that didn’t know everything that was going to happen in the first ten minutes of this last week(other than the retardation of the shield bracelet)? While everything in fiction has a certain degree of predictability, that a four-year old could unravel the plot before the screenwriters is pretty pathetic. (No, I’m not exagerating. The four year old kid I watched this with was yelling the ending of the show at the television. I am never giving that kid sugar again.)
    I guess I shouldn’t expect something so cannonically (I think that’s a word) basic as a PLOT from the SciFi channel, I know… too bad Jim Butcher isn’t writing the scripts for the show as well.
    I hooked my TV back up because I heard the show had the Butcher Seal of Approval, but so far I’m awfully disappointed. Looking forward to White Night, but I think I’m done with the TV series. It is just to poorly written to be worth my time. Ah well, one less bill I need to pay, and one more book I can buy in a month.

  10. If you like the books you may find the show goes down as easy as dry oatmeal…and comes up much easier.
    So far about all I found in common between the show and the novels is:
    There’s a guy named Harry Dresden.
    There’s a girl named Murphy.
    There’s a guy named Bob.
    What is it with tv-writers that they have to create plots about as deep as the rain puddles in my driveway? (I live in the desert BTW).
    I think the show has great potential…IF they let Mr. Butcher do the writing, or at least for Mab’s sake edit the scripts.
    As a tv show on it’s own…it may make it. A magic-wielding PI is a nice idea. Just forget everything from the books. I watch it on that basis alone and it is moderately entertaining.
    My questions:
    Where’s Mister?
    Why is Bob a person? The idea of dancing motes of light and the skull was much more innovative and well, Dresden-ly unique.
    Where’s Susan?
    What happened to the White Council: Morgan, the Merlin, Ebenezer…etc…and the Doom of Damocles?
    Why is Dresden-clone (tv-unit) violating a prime tenant of the White Council within the first two episodes? (Using magic to harm a human).
    Where’s SI?
    Where’s Harry’s workshop? Come on a wizard in a bathrobe…great setup.
    Where’s Harry’s pentacle? (the one inherited from his mother, his most VALUED possession?)
    Where’s Harry’s gear? (Blasting rod, staff, duster, the Blue Beetle?)
    In the same episode where Bob is ‘impotent’ how did he make a doom box?
    Billy and the wolves?
    I also agree about the whole ‘Wonder Woman’ thing and the shield bracelet…going to give him a golden lasso too?
    A voodoo doll? A VOODOO DOLL? Given how Harry works, wouldn’t a barbie doll been better? Like binding a dark wizard with a ken doll…or a werewolf with a stuffed snoopy.
    Okay, nuff said.

  11. If you are in a country where you can’t watch The Dresden Files, be of good cheer. As of last week, Sci Fi was streaming the first episode on their website ( It may be possible to watch that episode or subsequent episodes through the scifi website. Just a thought.
    The show’s not bad, though it’s more in the Hercules: The Legendary Journeys vein than a straightforward film adaptation. I suspect the omission of the pentacle and the mystical underpinnings may be a desire from the producers to appeal to a broader audience. To be honest, I do enjoy the show, I just think of it as a sitcom loosely based on Harry’s life. Though I like to picture his face if he ever came across the show (why am I so short? Where’s my duster? What the frag happened to my blasting rod? Why does Bob look like Gollum after monoxodil?)

  12. @joe unfortunately the link to the full episode is restricted to US residents only, same as all other episodes on scifi.
    @Rerednaw go to and look up the dresden files. The “all cast and crew listing” shows the following characters:
    Susan Rodriguez
    Ancient Mai
    I bet Harry’s use of a voodoo doll will bring Morgan down on him pretty quickly.
    Please: before spouting off about where all these characters are, remember that they have been spread over 8 books. Also do some research before condemning the show.
    As for some of the other arguments: shield bracelet working differently, lack of a pentacle, jeep v. beetle. Well that may be nothing more than production (budget?) constraints or decisions.

  13. I didn’t expect to like it as a matter of fact I was determined not to like it. The usual biases against the usually lame attempts television makes when translating from books. There is also the fact that I couldn’t imagine another voice on the planet for Harry except that of James Marsters. But I tuned in anyway, now I am glad I did. Granted there are differences between the book and the show but the spirit of Harry is wonderfully captured by Blackthorne. I will tune in again.

  14. Well, Well, Harry did a little magic!!! That was the good part. I am still having trouble with the basics of the show..I am trying to learn how to divide the book from the show…..The “drumstick/blasting rod/lockpick?” was pretty lame. I think it would have been easier for the non-readers to accept that he was doing magic with a blasting rod like in the book than a drumstick… Also, the hockey stick thing…he was holding it like an old lady looking for an intruder!!! And what is the first thing he does with it? He drops it and the silver spikes. Why are they making Harry so incompatent? Lets talk about the Lycanthropes…. Again they broke the rules set up in the books. In Fool Moon, Bob and Harry went over the different kinds of Lupine Thereomorphes….Werewolves, lycanthropes, hexenwolves and Loup-garou. Lycanthropes were the ones that were animals on the inside but did not change on the outside. Also, Silver was only used to kill Loup-garou. Bob also stated that there is NO BITTEN AND TURNED INTO A WEREWOLF EVER. (because the whole planet would be over-run in a couple of years…) I guess that the tv writers just wanted to jump on the common werewolf lore wagon. I am trying to stop comparing the books and the show, but since they call it the Dresden Files it is really hard.. If you haven’t read the books and love the show, you should probably stay away from the books or it will make you angry every time you watch the show….(i was also wondering that if they had to take the hair and teeth from the other victoms, why did she not have to do it to her boyfriend when she killed him for the curse to be lifted?)

  15. Maybe this is set before the books?
    It would explain the lack of magic shown by Harry as he would not be as powerful as the books, as well the fact he trained in normal means of Investigations to get his licence, but still using some magic.

  16. I had never heard of these books before this show, but it definitely motivates me to want to know more about this guy,( especially if James Marsters narates). I think it is really cool the way he suppresses the overwhelming urges and only uses his powers discriminately.
    I also think it’s important for the viewer to feel protective of the main character and that seems to happen almost immediately, (or at least it did for me), mostly because of the good ground work that is provided.
    New shows are usually hard to get into initially, but I do not think this is a hard sell. The main character is rock solid, in my opinion.
    I really liked the Vampire episode.
    Go get ‘im Harry!!!

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