The Dresden Files

In 2007, the SciFi channel premiered The Dresden Files TV series as an adaptation of author Jim Butcher's first book in his Dresden Files series, called Storm Front. The purpose of this page is to first show the reasons for its failure and show further adaptations of the source material.

The Concept

The Dresden Files are urban fantasy stories set is present day Chicago. Protagonist, Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden, solves mysteries and crime by offering his services as a private investigator who is also a wizard. Frequently, he works with the Chicago Police Department's Special Investigations unit, especially when the cases are too strange to explain.
In the world of Harry Dresden, human are not the only sentient beings, although, most are oblivious to the fact. There are other witches and wizards, as well as werewolves and vampires, cohabit the realm we see. Below the surface lies the Nevernever, where scarier creatures roam, and, in surprising places, portals lead not only directly to other geographic locations on Earth, but also into the dimension of faerie.

The TV Series

To see the trailer, click here.
Like most television adaptations, the producers of The Dresden Files intended to cover the content of a full novel each season. This one did not make it past one season. While there is no official reason for its cancellation, there are several factors that may have contributed to the shows failure.
The fact that SciFi hosted the show hurt it. All science fiction and fantasy fans know that "SciFi original" equates to a B rating. Regardless of how well the production of The Dresden Files turned out, they could not completely shake the stigma.
Serious fans of the books were not pleased with the lack of consistency between what they read and what they saw. Although the spirit of the narrative remained, characters, setting and story line were altered. Here's a look at the differences.
  • Harry's Office: a single room on the 5th floor of a 12-story midtown Chicago office building vs. a multi-room combined home and office. The problem breaks the Dresden world rule of thresholds -- things can cross those of a public office where they can't in that of a private home. His lab is below his apartment through a trap and he doesn't let people know it's there.
  • Harry's Home: a daylight basement tiny one-bedroom apartment with a subbasement cellar through a trap door in the floor vs. the same combined home office noted. Harry doesn't have many place to hide and always does his magic work in the subbasement. His home is heavily warded against things that cannot cross his threshold.

  • Harry: towers over people at around six-foot-seven, wears a duster, drives a VW beetle, and uses a rune-covered staff, a blasting rod, a sword cane, and a Smith and Wesson .38 Chief's Special vs. not that tall, wearing a leather jacket, driving a Jeep, and using a rune-covered hockey stick and a drum stick. Who struts around with a hockey stick or a drum stick? Harry is supposed to stand out, but not for stupid reasons.
  • Karrin Murphy: petite with Shirley Temple blonde curls and blue eyes vs. a wavy brunette by the name of Connie Murphy. This part was actually acted very well despite the hair color. The name change came about due to a real Caryn Murphy working in the Chicago PD. Her sidekick, however, (Ron Carmichael in the book) was completely changed for the show.
  • Bob: a spirit of air (sort of like a faery) that lives in a skull and manifests as an orb of light vs. a ghost that lives in his mortal skull and manifests as a man. They are not the same and there could have been bigger problems because of it later in the series.
Episode OrderThe episodes were filmed in a certain order to present the overall story, beginning with a 2-hour pilot called Storm Front the followed a similar story line to the book. For unkown reasons, the pilot was chopped down to 1-hour and not shown until the eighth episode. Here are the episodes and the order they should have been watched for continuity.
  • E8: Storm Front
  • E4: Rules of Engagement
  • E1: Birds of a Feather
  • E2: Boone Identity
  • E3: Hair of the Dog
  • E7: Walls
  • E5: Soul Benificiary
  • E10: What About Bob?
  • E9: The Other Dick
  • E11: Things That Go Bump
  • E12: Second City

The Source

A woman hiring private investigator Harry Dresden to find her husband and the police demanding his help to solve a case of a couple's heart exploding from their chests converge in Storm Front, the first novel in the series and the basis for the single season of the TV show. It introduces several mainstay characters for the series, including:

  • Harry Dresden, Wizard and private investigator
  • Karrin Murphy, Director of Special Investigations at the Chicago PD
  • Susan Rodriguez, reporter for the Chicago Arcane
  • Toot-toot, a dewdrop faery
  • Bob, a spirit of air
  • Bianca, a vampiress of the Red Court
  • Morgan, a warden of the White Council
  • "Gentleman" Johnny Marcone, Chicago's leading crime boss

The story takes place over a span of days. The couple is killed with Black Magic. The woman was associated with Bianca, while the man worked for Marcone. They both, as well as Morgan, suspect Harry is the murderer, because of his experience with in as a teenager. In actions that resemble a noir, he encounters each to learn information and builds his enemy list along the way. In the mix, he's attacked by a thug in the street and targeted for killing by both a toad-demon and a scorpion the size of a small car.

The Graphic Novels

Click to find the latest Dresden Files graphic novel.
The Dresden Files have now been adapted in graphic novels. Storm Front, in two volumes, tells a shortened version of the original story closer than the TV series. However, the first graphic novel for the series, Welcome to the Jungle, is a new story written specifically for the medium.

Read an interview with Jim Butcher about the graphic novels here.

The Roll Playing Game


As if a TV series and graphic novels are not enough, serious fans can join the author (or just their own city) for The Dresden Files Roll Playing Game (RPG). I have not delved further into it for this page.

The Author, Jim Butcher


The following bio is taken from Good Reads:

Jim Butcher is a martial arts enthusiast with fifteen years of experience in various styles including Ryukyu Kempo, Tae Kwan Do, Gojo Shorei Ryu, and a sprinkling of Kung Fu. He is a skilled rider and has worked as a summer camp horse wrangler and performed in front of large audiences in both drill riding and stunt riding exhibitions.
Jim enjoys fencing, singing, bad science fiction movies and live-action gaming. He lives in Missouri with his wife, son, and a vicious guard dog.
Jim goes by the moniker Longshot in a number of online locales. He came by this name in the early 1990's when he decided he would become a published author. Usually only 3 in 1000 who make such an attempt actually manage to become published; of those, only 1 in 10 make enough money to call it a living. The sale of a second series was the breakthrough that let him beat the long odds against attaining a career as a novelist.
All the same, he refuses to change his nickname.

His Amazon bio is slightly different and can be read here.

Here is the list of books in The Dresden Files series.

  • Storm Front
  • Fool Moon
  • Grave Peril
  • Summer Knight
  • Death Masks
  • Blood Rites
  • Dead Beat
  • Proven Guilty
  • White Night
  • Small Favor
  • Turn Coat
  • Changes
  • Ghost Story
  • Cold Days (up-coming)

The latest book, Ghost Story, made it to #1 on the New York Times best sellers list and sat in the top 10 of five weeks, as reported by his literary agent, Donald Maass.

For added interest, here is what Solar Flare: Science Fiction Magazine had to say about the TV series adaptation and a TV Tropes Wiki article.