You have probably heard of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency before, as a book written by Douglas Adams, an author of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. In 2016, BBC America came out with a television series of the same name. The series was produced in two seasons then it was, unfortunately, cancelled.
Note: Some spoilers are present.
The show is about the very unusual Dirk Gently, who calls himself a holistic detective. He investigates cases that most people find too obscure or irrelevant, because Dirk believes there is interconnectedness to all things. He befriends Todd Brotzman, a fired bellhop, and Farah Black, somewhat of a bodyguard, to help him find a missing daughter of a dead billionaire. But, along the way, they are threatened by a secret CIA project, a holistic assassin, reluctant hackers and many things more.
My first impression of the show was “trippy and chaotic”. The show basically jumps into it head first and never looks back. It might take you an episode or two to get used to the weird crazy that is Dirk Gently’s, but once you get the hang of it, it gets fun, goofy and really good. I think the thing I liked most about the show is that it does not really take itself too seriously and is full of humor and cheekiness, something I appreciate if it is done well. Here, it is. However, that does not mean that everything is silly, there are a lot of sad, shocking and emotionally wrecking moments in the series, especially in season two when Dirk is captured by Blackwing. It is difficult to temper the two poles, but the showrunners managed to do it.
The only thing that I really did not like was the character development of Ken, a semi-criminal that sort-of-but-not-really befriends a holistic assassin Bart Curlish, who wants to kill Dirk. In the first season, he acts as Bart’s moral compass, tells her she does not need to kill the people universe tells her too and is basically a good person. Then, for whatever reason, he does a complete 180 and joins the secret evil CIA project Blackwing, whose mission is to find, contain, and torture gifted individuals for their own gain. It was completely out of Ken’s character and the show never really explains why he switched sides and became their leader.
The main question you might have is, is the show similar to the book? Answer: Yes and no. The show does justice to the quirkiness of Adams’ writing, but the story of the show itself has little similarities. They have taken the characters and the core concept and ran with it. In this case, I think that was the best possible outcome. I usually dislike it when TV shows do not stick to the script of the book material, but here it was necessary and ultimately, worth it.
While the show itself has been cancelled, you can still watch it on Netflix. I recommend it to all Douglas Adams lovers or just those that appreciate the strangeness that sci-fi can be.
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