I am a big fan of Douglas Adams in print. Not so much most of the televised or film adaptations of his work because a lot of what Douglas Adams has done just doesn’t translate well to the big or small screen. Probably my favorite take on Hitchhiker’s Guide was the original BBC version from 1981. So when I heard that they were doing Dirk Gently, hey, why the heck not, right? Therefore, here’s my review of the first season of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.
When disgraced hotel bellhop Todd Brotzman discovers a murder scene in his hotel, he runs into Dirk Gently, not quite stable detective who drags him along on a century-spanning mystery involving unlimited energy, mind transference and a cat that turns into a shark.
Of course, this isn’t an adaptation of the books, it has virtually nothing in common with the stories that Adams actually wrote, except a couple of references here and there. It’s told vaguely in the vein of Adams, which I suppose can both be a positive and a negative. Positive in that it might translate better to the small screen, but negative in that fans of actual Adams might only want to watch actual Adams stories. I suppose I fall more into the latter category. This really comes off like the Further Adventures of Dirk Gently and while there are some clever moments here and there, mostly it’s just goofy. There’s nothing deep here. It’s a lot of ideas thrown at the screen that sort of congeal into something in the end, but that’s about all that it is.
And this really isn’t the book Gently at all. In print, Dirk Gently was certainly charming, but he wasn’t the well-groomed and energetic character we got on TV. About the only thing that the televised version got right is the pacing, just keep piling things on and hope for the best. If anything makes any vague sense in the end, you’ve done your job. Most things will miss, but you hope that in the end, nobody notices.
That makes the show a real mixed bag. If you turn your brain off and just go with the flow, it can be a relatively fun ride. If you actually think about what goes on, it makes no sense. Of course, the same can be said of Adams’ books. It’s already been renewed for a second season and I’m sure I’ll be seeing it. Whether they’ve learned any lessons from this year, I guess we’ll have to wait and see.