Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Dresden Files

I've always been reluctant to be too critical of variations in media.  What I mean is, if someone turns a book into a movie, I try not to get hung up on the differences and simply appreciate each for its various merits.  Not that there isn't room for that.  It's just that the criticisms are often a measure of what you wanted the translation to be, not what it is.

At least, until I started reading The Dresden Files.

Originally, I was introduced to the short-lived (one season) series on the Sci-Fi Channel (before it became SyFy).  The premise:  Harry Dresden is a hard-boiled Chicago PI, and also a wizard.  He's not shy about it; in fact, he advertises in the phone book as a wizard.  He spends his time handling various cases for clients as well as providing his services as a consultant for the Chicago PD on cases that are "unusual."  He uses a hockey stick as a staff and a drum stick as a wand.  It's like Harry Potter meets film noir. 

At the time, I appreciated it for what it was.  Then I found out a friend of mine read the book series, and a few loans later I was tearing through the books.  It's been a while since I've gotten to enjoy fiction like this, and it's been refreshing.  Maddening, too, since I finish them so fast I'm left with a constant thirst for more. 

Recently, my girlfriend rented the DVDs of the television show for me, and it's been bittersweet.  It's fun seeing the show again, but I'm having trouble appreciating it the way I did before I knew about the books.  The show was cheesy, to be sure, and definitely would have benefited from being picked up by any station but Sci-Fi.  Still, I find myself picking it apart for all the things that differ from the book.  There's perfectly reasonable explanations for the changes in many cases, but it's difficult to enjoy all the same when I spend more time thinking about the differences than appreciating it for what it is. 

Not much else to say on this, really.  Just a recommendation to pick up the books, and a plea to some other network to clean up after Sci-Fi's failure to recognize a quality franchise when it comes along.