Third-episode verdict: The Dresden Files

The Dresden Files Carusometer3 Minor Caruso

Handily enough for UK viewers, given that the series starts on Sky on Wednesday, it’s time for a third-episode verdict on The Dresden Files.

I decided not to go as far as episode five with the show because, frankly, I’m bored. It’s just so dull. Now it’s a rare sci-fi/fantasy/horror show that’s just plain dull. Even Friday The 13th: The Series was moderately interesting, even if it wasn’t exactly Shakespeare.

But The Dresden Files is dull.

I’m not quite sure why that should be. The scripts are quite imaginative – you can tell they’ve been adapted from books. The acting’s fine for the most part, with both Terrence Mann and Paul Blackthorne doing the best they can with what they’ve got. The creators have a reasonable pedigree, with Deep Space Nine and Andromeda under their collective belts.

It’s just not very interesting. It feels like it’s been through various committees at the SciFi Channel that have removed anything really new and original. The direction’s been bog standard. Character development and indeed characterisation have been pretty non-existent, sacrificed on the great altar of plot developments: I’ve no real feel for who these people are and why I should care about them.

Not wishing to hold up Smallville as a paradigm of well, anything really, but a typical Smallville episode is 40 minutes and only about 30 of that is dedicated to the plot – the rest is ongoing character development (albeit not very consistent character development). As a result, you care about the characters, even when there’s a rubbish plot. Here, 100% of the run-time is plot, with not so much as an errant line of dialogue dedicated to making anyone and their interactions with the other characters three dimensional.

So, for having consistently kept me neither interested nor repulsed, The Medium is Not Enough declares The Dresden Files to be a three or “Minor Caruso” on The Carusometer quality scale. A Minor Caruso corresponds to “a show in which David Caruso might guest star. He will speak each of his seven lines at half the proper speed in order to increase his on-screen time. A runner will have to be sent out halfway through filming to get some more cue cards, since he will have ripped them up prematurely in an effort to prove what a professional he is.”


  • I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.