The Dresden Files

2007, TV Show


Matt's TV Week in Review

Elisabeth Moss and Jon Hamm

As summer TV begins to hand off to the fall season, some thoughts and observations on a few of the shows and headlines that stood out.

Instant Classic TV: I haven't been able to stop thinking about Sunday's episode of Mad Men, regarded by many as the high point of the season to date and a series peak as well, a blistering tour de force for Jon Hamm and Elisabeth Moss, who now have dynamite entries for their Emmy reel next year. (This season has been particularly strong for Moss, as Peggy Olson comes into her own: partying with bohemians, doffing her clothes to unnerve the chauvinistic new art director, and now standing up to Don.) "The Suitcase," so masterfully penned by Matthew Weiner that it wouldn't be a surprise to see him at the Emmy podium yet again next year, felt like watching a three-act play — or maybe a three-ring circus veering from drama to comedy back to drama, or perhaps an emotional heavyweight bout that went on much longer — and with more actual ferocity — than the legendary Cassius Clay-Sonny Liston rematch knockdown of May 1965.

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I heard a rumor that Sci Fi ...

Question: I heard a rumor that Sci Fi is thinking about renewing Flash Gordon, despite the lousy ratings and being a lousy show, because of its cult following. It seems a little strange to me that they would renew such a downright awful show when The Dresden Files, which was much better and had much better ratings, lingers on without renewal even though there are lots of fans out there asking (and even begging) for it. If any show deserves renewal, it's Dresden, not Gordon. Is there any truth to this rumor? On another Dresden-related note, will fans ever get to see the two-hour "Storm Front" episode? Answer: Got a bunch of similar e-mails all at the same time earlier this week asking this same two-part question. Hmmm, Internet fan conspiracy, anyone? I can't address the specifics of the Dresden Files episode — which I believe was a trimmed version of a longer episode originally intended as the pilot — except to say I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for Sci Fi to step up where this show ... read more

I'm not sure you actually get ...

Question: I'm not sure you actually get why we "greedy" fans are so upset about the Battlestar Galactica scheduling issues. Unlike all the long-hiatus shows you mentioned in your recent column, these episodes will have already been written and filmed, even gone through postproduction, and the Sci Fi Channel would be simply refusing to show them, just to package the DVDs separately and stretch the shelf life of their flagship show. Yes, patience is a virtue and we'll get the episodes eventually, but this would be a terrible marketing move. Heroes had a significant ratings drop after just a few weeks on hiatus, and the network responded with the exact opposite strategy: no midseason breaks at all. As you said, this meant a longer wait between seasons for Heroes fans, but that's the price for a full, unbroken run of episodes that hooks people and tells a complete story. Meanwhile, the way to send Galactica out with a bang is... to go off the air for eight months (already), then insert an ... read more

: I know that you love The ...

Question: : I know that you love The Dresden Files, as do so many of us out in TV land. We fans are very disappointed that the Sci Fi Channel would cancel this fine show that garnered good ratings. Instead, we are stuck with wrestling, superhero reality shows and other programming well outside of the sci-fi genre. We are hoping Lionsgate, which makes the show, will shop it around to other networks. USA Network would be a great place for it, given their "Characters Welcome" slogan. Anything you can do to help get the word out would be greatly appreciated! Answer: "Love" may be putting it a big strongly, but I certainly enjoyed what I saw of The Dresden Files (I was especially keen on its star, Paul Blackthorne), and I admit I was surprised when the channel didn't rally more strongly behind it. Beyond the fact that reviving a show that has been canceled is incredibly rare, in this case further complicated by the fact that Blackthorne already has a new job (on the ABC series Hot Shots), it ... read more

Paul Blackthorne Takes on Big Shots

Paul Blackthorne by Steve Wilkie/Sci Fi Channel

Paul Blackthorne may not be a household name... yet. But the British actor, who recently starred as Harry Dresden on the now-defunct Sci Fi Channel fantasy series The Dresden Files, has guest-starred on Medium, Deadwood and Monk. He’s also racked up recurring roles on 24 and ER. Next up? The chameleon actor will play a Wall Street CEO and costar with Michael Vartan, Christopher Titus, Joshua Malina and Dylan McDermott on the new ABC drama Big Shots. “He’s what’s described as a corporate raider,” Blackthorne tells “He’s somebody that buys up companies, sells companies, just an all-around outrageous moneymaker.”Blackthorne’s story arc kicks off on Oct. 4 for nine episodes. “He’s someone that these other guys are slightly wary of in a business sense,” reveals the actor. “It also seems our man is circling around Dylan’s ex-wife, the one he still has the hots for.”Just don’t pin your hopes on Bla... read more

Dresden in Sci Fi's Circular File

Paul Blackthorne in The Dresden Files by Steve Wilkie/Sci Fi Channel Photo

After months of fielding questions from fans desperate to know if Sci Fi was ever going to make a decision on the fate of its clever private-eye/fantasy hybrid The Dresden Files, it's official: The show isn't returning for a second season.A shame, but hardly a surprise, given the reticence to discuss the matter every time I brought it up to Sci Fi or NBC Universal Cable execs during the recent TCA press tour. In their world, it's all about "running the numbers" (in other words: looking at the ratings and budgets, etc.) and to them, Dresden just didn't seem to measure up.This confirmation came my way the same morning that there are reports in the trades that Paul Blackthorne, Dresden's very appealing star, has joined the cast of ABC's Big Shots in a recurring role as what's being described as the show's "fifth CEO... a sophisticated, iconic tycoon that the [other] four (Dylan McDermott, Michael Vartan, Christopher Titus, Joshua Malina) aspire to be."At least he's landed on his feet. ... read more

Sci Fi seems to be dragging ...

Question: Sci Fi seems to be dragging its feet regarding the renewal of The Dresden Files. Do you have any info on this?

Answer: My sources say the show is toast, but a Sci Fi rep insists that no decision has been made. Do with that what you will.

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Any clue why Sci Fi hasn't ...

Question: Any clue why Sci Fi hasn't re-aired episodes of The Dresden Files on Sunday nights? I watched the whole season and can't get enough of it. Paul Blackthorne was the perfect choice to play the quirky wizard. I'm hoping there will be a second season. Any news on that or on the release of the first season on DVD? Answer: It would take a better wizard than Harry to figure out the whys and wherefores of cable scheduling. Some shows air in perpetual repeats regardless of the broadcast cycle and others sit it out between seasons. I guess Sci Fi simply figured it could do better by resting the show for a while. As for a second season: No word yet, and from what I hear, they're not exactly in a rush to make the call. Maybe the execs are waiting to see how some of the new summer programming will do before making a decision. And the DVD question? That's not my beat. I suggest you visit our sister website, ... read more

When will we know if there ...

Question: When will we know if there will be a new season of The Dresden Files? I've stopped watching Battlestar Galactica, but I never miss Dresden Files. Paul Blackthorne is so endearing as Harry Dresden. Answer: Generally, a show tends to wrap its first season before you get official confirmation of a second. Dresden wraps April 15, and in a release accompanying the season-finale screener, Sci Fi Channel notes that Dresden delivers more female viewers than any other current scripted Sci Fi original series. Which I take as a plus, because it seems to me the appeal of Dresden Files is in its charmingly disheveled hero. The appeal isn't universal, as witnessed by this response from Jill: "It's hard for me to understand your positive review of The Dresden Files and your negative comment regarding Blood Ties. Blood Ties has more of what I want in a series: a strong female lead, strong male leads who are also good-looking, and a great romance in its buildup phase. Dresden has... damsels in ... read more

I don't recall a mention of ...

Question: I don't recall a mention of The Dresden Files in your column since it debuted, and I was wondering if your opinion has changed since your review of the show, where you called it "mildly entertaining" and "an agreeably escapist hour." I hadn't thought about the Rockford Files similarity until I reread your review. Dresden does seem to look worse at the end of each episode for trying to do the right thing. The show reminds me of some of the old detective stories, especially The Adventures of Harry Nile (yet another Harry), that I enjoyed listening to on the radio. The Feb. 25 "Bad Blood" added even more depth to the lead character, who is self-loathing but still struggles to come to terms with his abilities and how to use them. With a wizard who has a hockey stick for a staff and a drumstick for a wand, how can you go wrong? Thanks for your hard work. While I may not always agree with you, I do always read and appreciate your views. Answer: I've caught it once or twice since ... read more

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Premiered: January 21, 2007, on SyFy
Rating: None
User Rating: (144 ratings)
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Premise: The adventures of a wizard-detective in Chicago are chronicled in this dramatic series based on the character created by author Jim Butcher.



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