Monday, May 30, 2016

Dirk Gently

Stephen Mangan as Dirk Gently.
Premise: The unconventional Dirk Gently (Stephen Mangan) believes in the "fundamental interconnectedness of all things." He operates the incredibly disorganized Holistic Detective Agency with his friend MacDuff (primarily because MacDuff has money and Dirk doesn't). There's also a receptionist who refuses to do any work because she has never been paid. Dirk accepts mundane cases (e.g., finding a cat) and unusual ones (e.g., finding the identity of a stalker...which turns out to be Dirk!). Somehow, he manages to solve his cases because--after all--everything is related.

Running Time:  60 minutes.

Status:  There was a pilot in 2010 and three episodes shown in 2012. They’re available on DVD in the U.S.

Production Notes: The Dirk Gently television series was loosely adapted from two novels by Douglas Adams, who is best known for penning The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Adam's book Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency was published in 1987. It contains elements (e.g., St. Cedd's College) from an incomplete Doctor Who serial called "Shada," which Adams wrote in 1979. Dirk's real name is Sylad Cjelli. In 2016, BBC America launched a new series starring Samuel Barnett as Dirk and Elijah Wood as his unwilling sidekick.

Our Review:  More quirky comedy than mystery, Dirk Gently is a unique and clever television series with science fiction elements. Casting is key in a show like this and Stephen Mangan strikes all the right notes as Dirk. In the hands of a less affable performer, Dirk could have easily become annoying or just plain weird. But Mangan as Dirk makes us believe that, indeed, everything is related (a phrase still used in our household). It's a shame only four episodes were produced.

Our Grade: B+.


  1. Could not agree with you more, particularly about the lack of commitment by the BBC. I loved "Long Dark Tea Time . . ." and worried when I first heard they were bringing Gently on to the small screen. But they did a respectable job even if they grossly altered the books' premise.

    I shudder at the announcement of a new series, given the BBC's latest turn of course.

    1. It deserved at least a six-episode first season to find an audience. I'll give the new series a chance, but really liked Mangan as Dirk.