Monday, May 21, 2007

Save the Dresden Files?

This is rather upsetting! How can such a fantastic show be in danger of being canceled?

I suppose worse things have happened so I think I will at least send a post card or something to let the network know that I think that the Dresden Files is one of the best shows on television. I was just assuming that there would be a "next season" on this.

If it is canceled, I will be desolate!

Here's the Sci-fi channel website. There's supposed to be a link to watch whole episodes someplace on there.


Blogger Dawno said...

Hi Synova! Thought I'd reciprocate the visit you made. And I also noticed you on Making Light. I don't know if you're a big fan of ML but I can't seem to manage to get through a day without reading over there.

I love the beautiful flower pictures and you do a very good job of expressing your opinions here. Thank you for coming over to my blog and commenting - I do appreciate having a conversation there and your points are good ones.

I was an AirForce brat, so I can empathize with how you feel about moving around.

Anyway, I've added you to my reader, glad to have made your acquaintance!

10:23 PM  
Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Support for these kinds of shows tend to be spread by word of mouth.

this perfectly models the long suffering tradition of true artists. Nobody knows about them, and they scrabble by, even though their work is original, fresh, and excellent.

Battlestar Galactica, was spread about via word of mouth, both against sci fi folks and previous older bg fans.

Firefly the same way. Got to stoke up the fan base as they say, and they provide you free advertisement. Especially in the age of the net.

7:40 PM  
Blogger Synova said...

Hi Dawno, Thanks for stopping by. I had just found a link to Making Light concerning the Simon and Schuster thing from rec.arts.sf.composition, a usenet group I've read and posted on for years as J.Pascal. I'm interested in the writing discussion at Making Light but I'm afraid my politics are probably not very compatible.

Usually when it's something to do with writing I use my real name but this time I forgot. The SF industry really isn't that big, so I sort of try not to be too annoying in it, having professional aspirations as I do. :-)

I was going to check to see if you had your e-zine listed with Ralan (I think that's how it's spelled) and drop you a note if it wasn't.

Thank you for the nice compliments on the pictures.

10:19 PM  
Blogger Synova said...

There... got you on the blog roll. :-)

And am I in trouble, Ymarsakar, if I admit that I don't like Battlestar Galactica?

Firefly's cancellation just makes me want to cry. I never watched it on television because I wasn't a Buffy fan and the key words I recall from the promo ads I saw were "Buffy" and "psychic." That with the name "Firefly" just didn't evoke mental images of a spaceship with a fat glowing butt or something as side splittingly twisted as "Jayne's Town."

10:31 PM  
Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Ya, sci-fi's promo for these sorts of things are far more superior. They would have had more luck on sci fi, even if they did have to bump the show to 6-7. People do have tivo these days, and what you are looking for is simply exposure and a stable/renewing station of residence. These days people either don't watch tv, just buy dvds, get the tv episodes off bit torrent, or they tivo things. Schedules you know.

I think you would only get into trouble, Synova, for not liking BG is if you didn't like it cause you thought it was too cheery and inspiration.

Even after the defenses one would have to develop to tolerate Jihadist Propaganda and world wide current events, I still felt a slight downpull from Battlestar Galactica, and therefore stopped watching it, until I downloaded the season packages of course later on.

Firefly's cancellation just makes me want to cry.

I'm not sure but I seem to remember that FireFly on Fox and Babylon 5 Crusade(rs) were also on Fox. (the creative creator canceled the show because Fox was being a D about trying to change the themes to make it more sexy) Fox is not a good venue for sci-fi shows and their authors, in my view, because... they're bureacrats about it. You don't want bureacrats on artistic works like good sci-fi.

Oh btw, Synova, on your advice, I went, downloaded, and saw the Dresden Files. The show title oh wait, that name sounded familiar. I seem to remember something from Mercedes Lackey about the "Dresden Files" for her Bards series on. Oh wait, memory pitfall, it was actually another author.

Jim Butcher author of Dresden Files

I never liked the books themselves, although I only read one or two. It didn't have Ukiah's suspenseful beginning, so I wasn't attached to it in any strong fashion in the sense of a mystery suspense themed book.

But the concept was nice, and after I saw the tv series, Synova, it was made really good use of the theme.

2:46 PM  
Blogger Ymarsakar said...

One of my vague complaints about the book series is that the book series didn't fit me philosophically speaking. But in the tv series, it actually made those ackward and disagreeable scenes that I found too taxing because of how introspective it was, into a really funny tv flick moment.

Now the ackwardness is funny, and the atmosphere makes it sort of funny-suspenseful.

2:49 PM  
Blogger Ymarsakar said...

I seem to remember that the book did something about over-sexed vampires. But it didn't give the vampires enough humanity. Not like the tv series. The tv series really made the vampires rather seductive and decadent, but not too animalistic like the books. This is if I'm remembering the correct source material of course. But I do know the Bards series and Digital Knight didn't have that scene that I am remembering.

The scene in the book where the vampires are out of control and attack Harry Dresden because... well just because they were pissed. No talking, no negotiations, no humanity, no reason, just pure instinct. Not very... attractive. Sympathetic another term for it.

3:27 PM  
Blogger Synova said...

I plan to read the Dresden Files books as I come across them. Apparently they're quite popular.

I have heard, more than once, though, that the Dresden Files is the rare case where the television show is better than the books.

Which I take the mean that the television show is uncommonly good... which it is.

I read a bit of what Butcher had on his web-site and it was good, but the television show seems to make like no one knows about all the magic people occupying our world and even Murphy resists the knowledge at the same time she calls Harry for answers and defends him to skeptics, she'd prefer to be a skeptic as well.

It really works well.

10:10 PM  
Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Episode eight, Storm Front, was almost a literal translation of the book, Storm Front.

Had dual vision and memory when I saw it. I'm glad they took out all the ackward stuff, and made all the ackward stuff less ackward and more funny rather than embarassing. Like the whole mob boss and looking in his eye and knowing that this is one scary person. Well, why does mob bosses scare Harry who has faced off black magic, demons, vampires, his Uncle, and the High Council? Sure, he seemed like a low fish on a totem pole in the book, and those folks need to stay low and unobserved, but the book took it to fawning and servile degrees that I didn't like.

Then there was that embarassing part where Harry goes all out in wizard gear with the staff (which I loved the hockey stick motiff, regardless of where it came from) to attack the mob bosses' bar and at the end, finds out that the mob boss wasn't his enemy, while being berated to 'watch how he uses his powers'. Except for the fact that it was kind of obvious, even to me, that Harry shouldn't be playing at the tough guy act when he was thinking about how if he gets his ring and his staff, everyone better watch out. It is not weapons that make a person lethal over another, it is attitude, belief, and philosophy. Your beliefs chain your actions more than any weapon or physical circumstance ever will or could.

Our chains both protect us and also hold us back. It is a cruel world out there. The rules of society and the laws that bind, are what protects us. But there comes a time when you are forced to decide whether the law stopped protecting you and has started preventing you, stunting your growth, and endangering your loved ones more than it protects them. Such a time comes for those who have grown in sufficient power and wisdom to break free of their chains, whether that of their childhood beliefs they learned, or their childhood conceptions of limitations, dreams, and lack of freedom, or even the chains that they have put upon themselves instead of those put on them by others.

The chains that bound Harry Dresden in the novel were psychic and internal rules and limitations. Storm Front, the novel that is. Dresden after he saw the initial crime scene, puked up afterwards. Weird in a sense to me if one was fighting evil and powerful forces. If you cannot gain control of a simple autonomic process such as the gag reflex... then how can you resist the darkest of temptations and the most powerful of desires for power? How? Does anyone think the reflex to puke is more powerful than the desire to crush your enemies and achieve vengeance? It isn't.

This goes back to what Harry the hockey stick wielding tv actor keeps saying. That black magic is tempting, you start using it a little, with seemingly harmless pranks such as voodoo dolls or some such that doesn't cause death, and soon after you get into the dangerous stuff. Dangerous both to others and to yourself, because evil corrupts, because evil is powered by entropy, its primary component. Physically speaking, for things to occur, it requires energy, and the use of that energy produces waste or decay or inefficiency. Regardless of what you call it, there is a universal function and it is called entropy, and it does corrupt. And it is very hard to resist or stop. Evil simply seems like a more malvolent version of such a process, something with an intelligence all on its own. A purpose, not just an instinct. A tsunami and hurricane are just as destructive and dangerous as a company of mass murderers, Synova. Evil does not lie in the inherent destructive power of a thing.

And the tv series does show this in a way. Because it shows how a person can resist that evil temptation, like the hand with Caleb. A person who can resist evil, is good. Or at least, better than his common man. And that I think is absolutely true. Good is measured after all, by one standard that never changes, which is whether a good person can touch the face of evil, bath in it, and still come out with his soul intact. The weak ones don't, they give into the temptations and allow hate or evil or whatever to control them, rather than you controlling it.

You know why the Left calls neo-cons traitors and all other kinds of names concerning the quest for human progress on this planet? It is because those who turn their back on the indoctrination and belief system they held as children, are outcasts. And some people believe that outcasts, no longer being pure and what not, are tainted beyond all redemption and therefore weak. Weak morally, intellectually perhaps, and even physically in a sense with the chickenhawk thing. But there's another philosophy, another outlook. Which says that those who have learned what evil is directly, and turned their back on it, have shown greater will, spirit, and goodness than those who have never been tempted at all. Which goes to show you, Synova, that just because the High Council is powerful, it does not make them wise. Same goes for Congress or even the Presidency.

Just because you make the laws that bind us all, does not mean you have surpassed the limitations in your heart. Some people forget that, on purpose it seems.

I liked the personality conflict between Murphy and Harry as well. It is people that make good stories after all, not exciting plotlines themselves. Because we don't care about the events in question, if we dont' care about the people in them. It is the people that make things real to us, not the graphics. Lucas forgot that, while he was on crusade for the Left.

What I found funny was that Harry sounded so insincere when he talked about how he was 'sorry' for the death of this that or the other. At least to me. But when he 'lied', he sounded rather convincing, because there was no hesitation or weird voice tones that might set off something. But people keep saying Harry doesn't lie well, so kind of a joke there.

The tv version of Storm Front was probably the best portrayal of wizardly magic in my view. Combat wizard magic that is. Harry pulls out some stuff right there. Of course one has to keep it low tone for the whole series otherwise the audience gets sick of the old deal. You know, lowered expectations. The special is no longer special if it is common place.

It is too bad they deja vued the whole planar shift house plot line. I thought it was a good intro for Murphy. There were only two incidents where I guessed one of the key plot lines, whether it was because it was too obvious from the clues given or just because I've thought about it too much given my experience from watching Dresden shows before.

The first was Dog, lycanthrope. Figured out the meeting deal, but not the purpose of the hunt. How the hunt was done, but not why. Second, the planar shift deal. Too much Planescape Torment and dealing in alternate realities can have that effect on a person. Not the personal issues, they were pretty good at hiding that by not showing us what we didn't expect, but on the physics questions. Spooky there, like outer limits spooky.

In the end, I like human aspects of the tv series above all. Meaning they show human emotion very well, and thus I bond with the characters easier and faster. For example, the lycanthrope ending was very nice. Seeing people suffer and knowing that there are people who want to help because of that suffering, makes me feel fuzzy inside.

They really give you the total recap on damnation and resistance to evil/black magic, in the beginning. Those were in my view, the best episodes. Those who featured the eternal struggle in a person against evil or good.

Btw on another subject, were the famous group of people you mentioned concerning avenging their 'adanio' the 47 Ronin Bt linked to?

3:34 AM  
Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Jayne's town was very funny. I kept having to pause the show cause I was laughing so much I couldn't hear or see what was going on. I would unpause it, and then have to pause it again soon afterwards.

I saw the 4 part interview with Blackthorne. The part 2 one had a question about the diff between the book and the tv incarnations. Personally of course, I thought the tv incarnation was better, not just on a personal to personal level, but also because of the tv scripting.

10:08 AM  
Blogger Synova said...

Yes, the 47 Ronin Bt linked to.

And I agree about needing to connect to the people in television shows or stories. I was thinking about that yesterday when I was considering making some crit comments on Baen's Bar, and then thinking about it in relation to what I'm writing now.

11:07 AM  
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6:12 AM  
Blogger Ymarsakar said...

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2:36 PM  
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6:21 PM  
Blogger Dawno said...

"I'm interested in the writing discussion at Making Light but I'm afraid my politics are probably not very compatible." I know what you mean - for a long time I was very uncomfortable posting at all as my politics are more conservative than the majority (it seems) there, but the writing conversations are just too good to pass up, so I stay out of the political ones for the good of my blood pressure.

11:23 AM  
Blogger Synova said...

Sorry to delete your comment, Ymarsakar, but I kept the part that wasn't responding to all the other ones I deleted. ;-)

"Critical comments on the bar for what subject, Synova? You sound like you were criticizing a book on baen."

What I typed didn't make any sense did it. I was reading the slush on baen's bar. People are asking for crits and I was thinking about what to say about a story that would be helpful. I didn't end up posting a crit, though. At least not this time. But if I had it would have been about connecting to the character (in that particular story). And it made me think about the novel I'm working on (I tend to rotate through them and never finish any) and if I'd done enough to prompt an immediate connection to the main character.

I don't think that I had.

It's sort of funny in a way. Television and movies (I've attempted to write scripts, too) don't usually have the option of looking inside the character's head to see what they are feeling yet the actor can put so much there. I think that the actor who plays Harry Dresden does a wonderful job showing how he's conflicted about nearly everything.

The writers do a good job too... and director and...

Like the flashback stuff with Bianca. I don't remember if they *said* that Dresden was trying for suicide by vampire but...

10:10 AM  
Blogger Synova said...

Dawno, yes, the writing conversations are most certainly worth it. :-)

10:11 AM  
Blogger Ymarsakar said...

That's okay Synova.
What I typed didn't make any sense did it.

Your comment did make sense, it isn't as if it made absolutely no sense. I just needed more clarification on what "crit" meant, because it would have affected the meaning in your subsequent subjects like when you mentioned your own story. Because it is shortened and slangish, it can change the meaning of your passage if I chose the wrong definition for it.

if I'd done enough to prompt an immediate connection to the main character.

I don't think that I had.

One technique I liked is when the authors lays down the benefits and detriments to an action, and then has his character choose a specific course of action because of say... honor, or duty, or feelings, or emotions, or whatever. This makes the character more real to me because I am putting myself in their shoes when I am imagining the situation with the costs and detriments and thinking of how I would choose. That is an automatic process, because we automatically have reactions to a certain situation if we truly know what is going to happen or might happen. Say that duel incident on Horn Blower's novel Midshipman. I, as the reader, am thinking about what is the right course of action, to duel or not to duel. And then we see the character himself work this out through his own mind, and we either agree or we don't. If we agree, then this cements us more tightly to the character. But even if we don't agree, if we then respect the reasoning and motivation of the character for dueling, such as loss in honor and status if he doesn't, then we can still feel attached to the character even if we are ambiguous about what the character should be doing.

To apply this to Dresden Files tv, is a simple matter. Because Bob tells you why Harry shouldn't help a person, and Harry tells him why he should. And then sometimes it is the opposite, where Bob says you have to help someone, and Harry is the hesitant person. It makes for a very novel like situation, except in novels it is an internal dialogue for the most part, whereas in tv you must make it an external dialogue. With proponents and opponents, to truly get your point across.

I have liked stories and characters without that method of characterization, of course, so there obviously is more than one way to do it. Since I'm just a reader, not a writer, I have only catalogued a few methods.

Television and movies (I've attempted to write scripts, too) don't usually have the option of looking inside the character's head to see what they are feeling yet the actor can put so much there.

I hear you there. I've talked incessantly about the difference between novels and computer gaming/video animation formats such as anime, movies, and computer games vs books and internal dialogue. I knew good from bad, such as good tv and movies such as Babylon 5 and good novels, but explaining why and the difference is another thing entirely. It forces you to understand the medium itself, and I'm not a director or an author of novels, so it became a personal research topic of mine over the years.

Internal dialogue in the sense of hearing a person is thinking, creates an imagined space in our heads. Where we "visualize" what we would do in their place, and empathize with the situation the character is in, by tying their world events to our socio-political experiences. And by that I mean, those who have seen the Leftist media treat Iraq will be better able to comprehend David Weber's portrayal of the media in the Star Kingdom of Manticore. And those who have seen DW's port of the media in the SKM, will have an easier time dealing with the introduction of the media in our day concerning Iraq.

The more we understand, the more we empathize, and thus the more we feel. It is a powerful tool, because there are set experiences everyone has gone through. Joy, sadness, etc. By relying upon the internal processing power and memory of the human mind, the reader in this case, the author is able to fast track a person through the experiences of a character. And very good authors can even run you through experiences you have never had before, simply by tying what is known to what is unknown and bridging the gap with words, that your imagination fills.

But movies and such, require something else. Either active narrative voice, which you notice, Synova, Dresden Files actually has. Active narrative voices are the closest thing to internal dialogue, but it is of course very much shortened. The other tools which tv has over books, is body language, voice tone, facial expression, and thus the total combination of all this.

Let's take the Hellion sequence, episode 2 I believe, as an example. By action alone, facial expressions, and personal testament, that episode communicates a very very human aspect. Because it touches upon our humanity, face to face. We feel because we recognize the characters as humans, as feeling human emotions, as having strengths and frailties. In books, in order to get a fear response in me for example, it would require me to value the character and also comprehend the odds against the character in great detail, combined with a degree of uncertainty over the outcome.

The uncertainty is shared in Ep 2 for sure. The calculation of the odds is a little on the dim side because the chief hellspawn isn't actually seen, more like described. And that is another chief strength of Dresden Files. Their descriptins. Short, to the point, effective, and illustrative of the weakness or general strengths of the subject at hand. Not cynical, nor opitimistic, just factual.

I think that the actor who plays Harry Dresden does a wonderful job showing how he's conflicted about nearly everything.

I tend to think the conflict is not internal, it is more like external. He has enemies and rules that he has to follow, whether he likes them or not. He doesn't seem exactly torn up inside over what he should or should not do most of the time. Most of it seems due to external factors. Storm Front was basically the highest rendition of Harry's confidence.

The conflicts are complex and fullfilling, and I do like them, but it is hard to catalog them precisely because of their complexity. It is never exactly one thing at a time, it seems.

Like the flashback stuff with Bianca. I don't remember if they *said* that Dresden was trying for suicide by vampire but...

It was the dark dress and the makeup. It looked both gothic and... heart seductive. That and the invitation/mirror thing. The flashbacks were nicely done. Also that,

"You want evidence, come to my club"

Nice tone, good body language, communicates more than the words themselves.

I also like the portrayal of vampires as reasonable people. I like reasonable people. Or monsters, regardless.

2:12 AM  

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