Harry Dresden -
Connie Murphy -
OTHER MAGICAL SHOWS
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The Colour of Magic
Mists of Avalon
BIRDS OF A FEATHER
Harry Dresden is a private eye who also has the advantage of being a wizard. He advertises as such and nobody seems to think anything of it. When a young boy comes to him in fear of monsters, he refuses to take the money, but then forces beyond the normal move in and kidnap the boy. There's a creature that wears the skin of others and a clan called Raven who are supernatural mercenaries and might be able to masquerade as birds. The question is, whose side is anyone on and can Harry get the boy back?
This opening episode of THE DRESDEN FILES does a lot right. It's a little underwhelming in the magic and special effects department, but it has all the mood and shadowiness that you could ask for. The skinwalker is a creepy adversary, but the method Dresden finds of dealing with it is a bit 'Deus Ex Machina'. There are hints about the past and the future of both Dresden and the boy which may come back to haunt both or either of them.
The central performance by Paul Blackthorne as the no-nonsense (but with the inevitable noble heart) private eye/wizard is personable enough, but none of the other characters make much of an impact. The dialogue is nicely written and the episode was pacy.
THE DRESDEN FILES has a lot of potential, but there is always the possibility that it might end up as another CHARMED.Top
THE BOONE IDENTITY
Harry is hired by an antiques dealer whose daughter was killed in a robbery and who believes that she is haunting him. The item stolen was an ancient Egyptian tablet that was later shattered. Dresden is sceptical about the killer's fate and finds that the tablet had some very interesting properties, properties that are going to put Murphy in serious danger.
This second episode is as interesting and entertaining as the opening one, though certain aspects of it are a bit too predictable. We're way ahead of Harry in figuring out that the tablet was the target of the theft, that the killer is still about and how he has to go about getting rid of the evil.
That said, the characters are still developing and show a lot of potential and there are some really nice moments, such as the time that Harry has to spend with the woman in charge of the evidence archives. This is delightful stuff that pads out the slim story, but in the nicest possible way.
So far, THE DRESDEN FILES is living up to its advance hype.Top
HAIR OF THE DOG
A woman is brutally murdered, one of a string of such killings across the country, traces of silver iodine in her lungs. Detective Murphy is off the case, but when Dresden starts to suspect that the FBI agents now running it are more involved than is healthy, the race is on to prevent a ninth victim.
A werewolf story is only as good as its werewolf and the ones in Hair of the Dog are far from convincing. That's a real shame because the rest of the show works really well. The plot isn't exactly heavy on the original or mind-straining, but there's enough substance to it and Paul Blackthorne's charming performance lends his burgeoning relationship with the ninth victim-to-be an air of depth and feeling.Top
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
Harry is hired to find a man who stole some money. You just know that it isn't going to be that easy, and so does he. Before he knows it, he's in a battle of wills between two Hellions and the High Council (magic's ruling body) isn't picking a side.
True love conquers all with the help of little misdirection, a wizard's stock in trade surely and something that Harry must have picked up from his dad. There is a soft centre at the heart of THE DRESDEN FILES that borders dangerously on the edge of sickly here, but manages to pull back in time through some not so nasty nastiness. It's something that the show's going to have to be careful about though.Top
Five years ago a beautiful vampire saved Harry Dresden's life. Now she is back asking for his help in return. The High Council seem intent on killing her, but then their retired enforcer ends up dead at the hands of a vampire. Someone is trying to start a war here and both sides are going to lose. As usual, Harry is stuck in the middle of it all.
Following the last, rather limp, episode THE DRESDEN FILES comes up with an altogether more delicious one that proves to be the best to date and confirms the promise that the show has. We're still in the early days of each episode being unlinked and separate, before the darker story arcs start to kick in, but we're getting a feel for Harry's world and the kind of creatures that live in it.
Bianca's a far from original creation, but she is delightful all the same. Completely unashamed of her nature, indulging her every whim and quite willing to do whatever is required, she's positively fun to be around (assuming you're on her good side that is). We'd like to see more of her in the future.
As for the plot, well that's paper-thin again and you'll guess who's behind it all early on, but plot isn't the point of THE DRESDEN FILES, it's the incidental pleasures that are the thing and there are more of those in Bad Blood than any of the other episodes so far.Top
Harry's day doesn't start off well when a man suffering recurring visions of his own, unspectacular death drops dead of a heart attack in his office. It gets worse when the man's wife shows up and drops dead as well. There's magic of the blacket kind afoot and Harry is looking to become its latest victim.
THE DRESDEN FILES are fantastic stories set in the recognisably real world. The background to this fantastic story is not just recognisably real, but rather mundane. Money it all comes down to in the end and a slight frisson of lesbian attraction between the bad guys doesn't spice it up any too much either. Once again, the plot isn't up to much and it's left to the very personable cast to save the day, which they do - just.
THE DRESDEN FILES is seriously going to have to up its game if it wants a long term future.Top
A girl comes to Harry for help and ends up dead before she can even talk to him. Her boyfriend turns out to be involved in a ring of theives using the darkest black magic to carry out their thefts, magic that is eating them up from within.
An OK story gets the OK treatment and it's certainly a step up from the last instalment, but there is still the nagging feeling that there is a much better series in here waiting to get out. Hints about Harry's uncle hopefully point to better times ahead.Top
Detective Murphy calls Dresden in to investigate the deaths of two people whose hearts literally exploded out of their chests. It's magic of the blackest kind, which means that the High Council have Harry right at the top of their suspect list and the penalty, if he can't clear his name, is death.
This is a much better story with some mystery (not too much, you understand) and some tension and a very attractive female reporter to help pass the time.Top
THE OTHER DICK
A fellow private investigator ends up dead in mysterious circumstances and Dresden decides to investigate. He is helped and hindered by the dead man's assistant as the investigation leads to a fertility clinic that is involved in a whole lot more than checking sperm counts.
A story of incubi and fertility clinics might have seemed a little racy on paper, but it barely manages to rise to the mundane. Matters are helped by the presence of Claudia Black (FARSCAPE), but that aside this is a very lacklustre effort.Top
WHAT ABOUT BOB?
Bob the sorceror is cursed forever to live in side his own skull in an existence that allows no physical interaction with the world around him. When Harry's Uncle returns, even though he was dead and buried, to offer him an end to his torment it's all the temptation that he needs. Harry, meanwhile is busy with Detective Murphy, who has exhumed the body of his uncle after a tipoff that Harry killed him.
That Harry had dark backstory has been hinted at before. That it involved his Uncle an possibly murder by black magic has also been mentioned. Here, we get the whole story. His Uncle killed his father and mother (and his name's Harry. Only thing missing is the scar - sorry, wrong story) in order to take control of Harry's power potential. There were others involved, others that we never met, so there's room for that to go forwards.
This really has all the characteristics that would make up an end of season finale with all the secrets coming out and the family truths coming home to roost in a final showdown of betrayal and death, but the season isn't over and it isn't played out with the climactic verve required, leaving it somehow flatter and less interesting than it ought to have been. But then again, that's been the problem with the show. Somehow, it just isn't matching its potential.Top
THINGS THAT GO BUMP
Following an attack, members of the High Council take shelter in Harry Dresden's place just after Murphy arrives. That place then gets sheathed in the very essence of death. There's no way out and it turns out that the person responsible might be in there with them.
Finally THE DRESDEN FILES lives up to its promise with an episode that really rocks. It's got an original twist, it's claustrophobic, it's tense, it requires character sacrifice and it has some real death to it. When Bob walks out into the essence of depth, he learns that the death he has longed for actually holds less appeal than he thought because of his previous actions.
Murphy gets to know everything that the wizard world holds in one go and handles it pretty well, which is going to lead to a whole change in direction for the show, except...but that would be telling. The final blast of CGI is a bit dodgy, but it doesn't stay around long enough to spoil what has gone before it.
Harry Dresden finally comes good.Top
Harry's thinking of packing in the PI business, not least to protect Murphy from the effect their relationship is having on her career prospects. when her estranged father comes to town having recovered from a heart attack he becomes the target of a killer who is taking away all the second chances of people who almost died.
The last episode and THE DRESDEN FILES limps off the screen at the end of season one with a perfectly fine, but nothing more, finale. The plot is nothing to write home about, but then the show has held up only because of the performances that have made the central characters so likeable. They remain likeable, but is that enough to save the show for a second season?
We'd like to think so because we think the show has potential if it went a bit deeper and a bit darker. We'd like to see that happen. If this is the last that we see of Harry Dresden it is unlikely that he will remain long in our memory.Top
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