Friday, September 29, 2017

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency - Season 1

Spoiler free!

I haven't even finished watching season one at this moment, but I'm eager to describe this show because it's not what you might expect. It's not at all what I expected, and if I had expected what I got, I would have watched it a long time ago.

Well -- not a long time ago, since it only first aired in 2016, but you get the drift.

First of all, forget the title, because Dirk Gently is not a detective show. Yes, there is a character who describes himself as and aspires to be a detective, and yes, there is an element of mystery, but it's decidedly not that kind of a detective show. What you need to know is that it's based on books by Douglas Adams. If you know who that is you're a huge step closer to understand what the show is about. If not: he wrote The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Now we're all on the same page. *glances up at my page banner*

Another thing I wasn't expecting was something I love to see happen with TV shows, and doesn't happen enough in my opinion: that the plot runs its course neatly over the whole season instead of being blocked off into episodic adventures that only loosely connect. It's basically an 8-hour movie, utilizing one of the best unique aspects television has going for it today. The new frontier for television! I assume there will be a definite end, but as I said I'm two episodes from finding out. If I'm wrong I'll come back and correct myself. (I was right, it wraps up cleanly. And then it gives a cliffhanger for the next season! Sneaky.)


I've never read Adams' Dirk Gently books, so I can't say as to how accurate this is to them, but the tone is in the right place. Maybe a bit modernized. And even though only one character is British, it has a British feel overall, (and it comes on BBCAmerica) with the same kind of wacky British comedy that comes out of nowhere that everyone loves about Hitchhiker's Guide. It's the kind of comedy where the punch line is so unexpected that you are compelled to repeat it in a high-pitched voice before you laugh -- or more accurately, guffaw -- at it. Also, I found, a lot of short bursts of shriek-laughter. I call it as I see it guys.

Probably the main reason I never gave the show a second glance until now (until my dad convinced me to give it a go -- thanks Dad!) is because it has in it -- as the main character no less. And no, he isn't Dirk Gently. Dirk is the title character but arguably not the main character. I have a history of not particularly caring for Elijah Wood. His being in things has always tended toward being a negative rather than a positive. But he's in this, and it took about to episode 4 for me to admit to myself that he belongs in the role, and he handles both the comedy and the drama well, and is enjoyable, and after all not terribly like Frodo Baggins.

I don't like to say I dislike Frodo. He's the lead character in my all-time favorite films after all. I'm just too familiar with his face. Here, the fur coat helps.

I keep wanting to call him Arthur because he comes across so similar to Arthur Dent, being all disbelieving and on the verge of mental collapse at every moment, yet still manages to be entertainingly casual about it all at the same time. But no, his name is... hang on... Todd! Yes, it's Todd. But no, in my head it's still Arthur. Dirk's name is easy enough to remember, and I have no baggage with the actor, , who I've only seen make appearances on British crime shows. He takes a minute to get used to since the character is super strange and campy and happy and we don't get to see his more human side immediately, but he grows on you eventually and reminds a little of Matt Smith's early days as The Doctor.

If the show where just those two doing their shenanigans I'd be happy, but it's not, and if it was, I wouldn't know what I was missing. (Much like I didn't know what I was missing before I watched the show!) Because the side and supporting characters are all such gems, and there's so many of them! There's a sister (), and an awesome bodyguard lady (). Then there's two cops spoofing crime dramas, a crazy woman hanging out with a random guy she kidnapped, shady military agents (one of which is hilariously dumb), four crazy dudes who go by "The Rowdy 3," and a whole lot of super strange and sinister people (led brilliantly by ) and they all run around in their own plot lines as the plots lines wind together in ways that only a show of this particular brand of meta could handle so humorously.

This is the awesome bodyguard lady. I love her so much.

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency fills a hole in my entertainment soul that has been vacant for a while, since Doctor Who decided to be terrible. A pure-bred kind of sci-fi comedy that cranks up the enjoyment levels and is worth geeking out over. At least, I'm pretty sure. I have two episodes to go still, so I'll let you know when I'm done: Yep, geek away -- this one's a keeper!

Season 2 is coming in October!


  1. Just out of curiosity: when did Doctor Who decide to be terrible for you? Because what I'm looking for is the Doctor Who experience of the 9th and 10th Doctor era, but maybe it's different for you?

    1. I'd say by the time Amy and Rory left it was already over. Dirk Gently definitely reminds me more of the style of the 11th Doctor, but it's much closer to 9 & 10 than most shows I can think of. Actually, have you seen Life on Mars?

    2. Ah, alright. Well, I wasn't a fan of the 11th Doctor in general, but maybe I'll still try an episode of Dirk Gently, just because the trailer really does not reveal what this is all about!
      I haven't seen Life on Mars, only heard about it.

    3. Well let me know what you think! Even if you generally dislike 11, it doesn't necessarily mean you'll dislike Dirk Gently. :) Life on Mars (the US version, idk about the UK) is what I'd reccomend for a more 9-10 show feel.

    4. I thoroughly recommend Life on Mars (UK) and its follow on Ashes to Ashes. Gene Hunt is one of the all time classic TV characters.

  2. For some reason I hadn't heard of this series until today. there was an earlier adaptation of Dirk Gently in 2010/2012 that was enjoyable but hit and miss. definitely gonna watch this one now you have drawn my attention to it.

    1. I hadn't heard of the older one OR this one right up until I started watching it! It was so under-the-radar, and a nice surprise. I hope you enjoy!!