Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Dresden and Galactica

Alan Sepinwall's new column teases a bit about two shows I am anticipating greatly SciFi's Dreseden Files and the return of Battlestar Galactica:
British actor Paul Blackthorne...is Harry Dresden, a Chicago private eye who likely has some Eye of Newt in his desk drawer. Magic is real, not that many people know about or believe it, and Harry's a practicing wizard who solves his cases with potions and incantations instead of a gun and some tough talk.

Veteran "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" writers Robert Hewitt Wolfe and Hans Beimler, adapting the series of books by Jim Butcher, struggle at first to balance telling the individual cases with explaining Harry's world and backstory. There's some group called The High Council that Harry's worried about, even though no one ever says who they are, and ravens are a big deal, even though, again, no one says why. At least we get some hints that Bob (Terrence Mann), the English ghost who works in Harry's employ, didn't used to be so benign and helpful, but the cases Harry works in the first few shows drag.

There are some nice little moments early on that show the mix of the magical and mundane -- Harry bribing a wizard friend with a chicken salad, Harry being unable to do anything about a boot on his car -- but it isn't until the werewolf-themed fourth episode that "Dresden Files" finally gives you a trick worth applauding. Hopefully, there's more of that to come.

Jim Butcher is happy and the tension between Harry and Wizardly authority is important to his precarious position as the only wizard in the telephone book. Most importantly from the trailors it appears that the tongue in cheek humor of the book is carried through to the show. I hope Bob still like romance novels.

"Battlestar Galactica" seasons tend to play out like an inverse bell curve. The arc episodes at the beginning and end of each batch are the ones you remember, packed with action, suspense and advancement of all the major storylines. The shows in the middle tend toward the self-contained, which producer Ronald D. Moore has admitted isn't his strength.

The good news is that the first episode back from the break fits the show's usual pattern: a high-stakes showdown between the humans and the Cylons under the glare of a star about to go supernova. There are plenty of slaps, punches and gunshots, all of them hitting harder than normal because of how character-driven each blow is.

1 comment:

Seth said...

great post -- butcher's unofficial involvement is cool. he seems happy with the product and I cant wait to see the premiere this weekend. 9pm Sunday I know where I will be.