The Dresden Files was a best-selling fantasy book series by Jim Butcher before it became a television series. Some aspects of the tv series match the books closely, such as Paul Blackthorne’s portrayal of Harry Dresden.
Like Dresden in the books, Blackthorne is tall and dark. He also displays the book character’s wry, self-deprecating charm. His combination apartment and office looks much as I imagined it from the books: subterranean, walls of rough brick, and filled with esoteric clutter.
In the tv show, Dresden displays a few talismans from the book: a pentacle necklace, and a shield bracelet. What happened to his wizard’s staff, though? Why did it get demoted in the tv show to a magical hockey stick?
Bob, on the other hand, vastly differs between book and show. In the books, Bob seems to be a jinni or some other slave-spirit whom Harry acquired. Hence his bowling-league-type name, obviously given to him by Harry in a whimsical moment. You never know when Bob might try to turn on Harry or make a break for freedom. A disembodied spirit of the air, Bob lives inside a human skull and functions as the equivalent of a desktop computer-plus-internet for Harry whose magical powers make him incompatible with technology.
If Bob ever had busted loose in the books and assumed a human form and demeanor, I would imagine him to look and act like a Mel Brooks character or something else reminiscent of the Borscht Belt. I know this sounds weird, but Bob in the books really did seem like a cranky dirty old man. Harry had to keep him placated with romance novels which Bob liked for the sex scenes!
In the tv series, Terrance Mann plays Bob in a much more formal way, complete with (for me) an affected accent that is not really British. Think “mid-Atlantic Snob” like the Frasier brothers from the Frasier tv show. At his best, Mann’s Bob seems more formidable than Bob in the books. I think Mann intends him to be a mentor to Harry. At his worst, however, he reminds one of the disapproving butler. In the 9th episode (The Other Dick), he is so fussy and possessive of Harry (while snubbing Claudia Black’s Liz) that he comes off as Harry’s gay lover!
You can go on like this forever, amusing yourself with the differences and similarities between this fun tv show and its excellent source material. But you really should read the books to get the extra dimension to The Dresden Files!
Click on the Books Link in our Dresden Files Concordance, or check out the following book reviews: