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The Dresden Files (The Complete First Season) - sci-fi television series DVD review
Not Rated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 3 1/2 stars
Actors: Paul Blackthorne, Valerie Cruz, Terrence Mann, Conrad Coates
  Studio: Lionsgate
DVD release: 07 August 2007   Runtime: 530 minutes (3 discs)
Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Widescreen, NTSC
Features: Audio tracks (English, Dolby Digital 5.1), 13 Episodes, Audio Commentary, "Making of" Featurette, Deleted Scenes

Most books adapted to shows or to movies change quite a bit in the transition. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher are no different. His modern-day fantasy series has been adapted for a series of shows by the Sci-Fi network. The feel of the episodes are pretty true to Butcher's works, although the stories themselves have been edited with quite a lot of literary license. Nicolas Cage has a hand in directing, and it is produced with some level of continuous involvement and official O.K. from the author.

The 13 episodes of The Dresden Files focus on the life and quirky adventures of one Harry Dresden, a wizard slash private investigator who is used periodically as a consultant for the police. Paul Blackthorne is Harry and pulls off the essence of the written character pretty perfectly, actually. He's been seen in various television shows before this, perhaps most notably as a terrorist agent in Day 3 of the thriller 24.

Beside Dresden most often is his sometime advisor, Bob, played by Terrence Mann, who lives in his own skull as punishment for wrongdoings while alive. His dry wit and bitterness add an interesting flavor to an already darkly comedic show. Connie Murphy is the beautiful brunette cop who reluctantly relies on Dresden - and who is often left at loose ends trying to explain, in legitimate terms, how things got cleaned up. Morgan is one of the Society, which keeps magic users tightly reigned in. He is the fellow tasked with keeping very close tabs on Dresden's activities.

Harry is called on most often through his ad in the yellow pages in Chicago. He makes his living as an investigator for hire, taking on the strangest and typically unsolvable cases. The pretty young thing with a vicious vampire hot on her trail would do well to engage the services of Mr. Dresden. If a nasty possessed wax hand takes over your conscience and sets you on the path of robbery, a call to Dresden might be in order.

The special effects are very hit and miss. Some of them are fantastic, and some are so incredibly bad that it drags the viewer entirely out of Harry's world and into the 'why am I watching this' world. However, complete with demons and vampires and where black magic abounds, how bad can it be? Ahem. Forget I asked. It does stick to the general tone and feel of the books though, so it is acceptable.

Trite quips, cynicism and a big heart all equal a wizard of questionable goodness with outrageous experience to qualify Dresden as the man for the job. Works for me.

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reviewed by Carolynn Evans
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