Wolfe's 'Dresden Files' Follows Moore's 'Galactica' on Sci FiBy Michelle
January 22, 2007 - 11:03 PM
Deep Space Nine writer and producer Robert Hewitt Wolfe's latest venture, The Dresden Files, made its debut on the Sci Fi Channel this weekend paired with another project executive produced by a Star Trek veteran: Ron Moore's Battlestar Galactica, which has moved from Friday to Sunday nights.
UGO interviewed Wolfe about the series, learning that Wolfe has continued to value fan input ever since his experiences writing for Deep Space Nine. "I got sucked into some of the discussions on one of the Star Trek boards. It's just something I've done ever since," he explained. "On one level, it's fun interacting with the fans, and on another level, to me, it's almost like a value-added service or something. If you can engage the fans, or the amount of fans that are hip enough to the Internet to seek out the creative people who are willing to do this stuff, it's something extra for the fans of the show."
Wolfe felt it was particularly important to engage with fans of The Dresden Files novels by Jim Butcher. "We knew that we were going to have to make some creative changes to the source material in order to really make it work for television," Wolfe said. "For example, one of the things is that there's a lot of people who are very attached to the idea of Dresden driving a blue, beat-up, old VW Bug, and if you know anything about shooting film or television, Bugs are pretty much the worst car in the world to shoot inside of...so we changed it to a Jeep. But, by engaging some of the fans on the net a little bit and explaining that, it just felt like we could help people understand the process a little better."
The producer likened the process of developing the storyline to the way he worked on Deep Space Nine. "We sat down as a group, the writers, and we just brainstorm...understanding every beat of the story. Then, whoever is going to write it goes off to write it, then everybody gets together and gives notes and it's just this continual process of creative feedback. It's how most writing staffs work, it's definitely how we worked on Star Trek."
Reviews were cautiously positive, with many critics saying that the characters and premise needed further development but that the pilot showed promise. "Much of the show's appeal stems from its lead actor, Paul Blackthorne, whose leading-man handsomeness is scuffed around the edges, giving Dresden the right mixture of sex appeal and private-eye weariness," stated the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "The Dresden Files doesn't quite have the storytelling ambitions or super-quippy dialogue of the Joss Whedon shows...but if ghosts, amulets, potions and spells don't put you off, there's a decent helping of mystical escapism here."
"Harry's no Angel, but he has his charms," agreed USA Today. However, noted the critic, "Like Harry, the show has yet to fully master its tricks...while the show can be amusing, it's never exactly side-splitting."
"The Dresden Files will appeal to two types of people: those who love crime dramas and those who are more sci-fi oriented," predicted UGO. "Based on the fantasy elements within the series, the hour-long stories just might be captivating enough to retain the audience for the time slot following Battlestar."
The Morning Call ran a United Features syndicate review that found the pace of the pilot "plodding" but thought that the magical police procedural might grab viewers once it found its stride.