So this happened …. I watched the first few episodes of DIRK GENTLY’S HOLISTIC DETECTIVE AGENCY and I still couldn’t figure out what was going on. Something about it, though, reminded me of the sublime madness that piloted the now ancient BBC radio series “The Goon Show” to heights of absurdity. The plot of Dirk Gently eventually makes sense (well, sort of) but that really isn’t the point. I’m talking/writing/posting about the recent American version here, not the British adaptation.
Series creator Max Landis (son of filmmaker John Landis, of An American Werewolf in London fame) based the show on the novels by Douglas Adams. Although people that have read the books claim the current series (available in North America on Netflix) has little in common with the original works, that rarefied air of whimsy that seems to be an English specialty is in keeping with the spirit of the author’s work.
The late Mr.Adams (who died of a heart attack at the age of 49 in 2001) was the author of A Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a rabid fan of the venerable British TV series Doctor Who (in fact, Adams wrote several episodes) and once collaborated on a script with future Monty Python star Graham Chapman.
It’s a safe bet that if you appreciated any of the above, you’ll be hooked by Dirk Gently. Others have been cast in the role but Brit TV actor Sam Barnett (Penny Dreadful) is such a natural in the American version that I can’t imagine another actor as the title character. And Lord of the Rings star Elijah Wood, as his “assistant”, Todd Brotzman, has the same bemused expression as viewers will probably wear during the first few episodes of this oddball series. The cast also includes the delightful Jade Eshete, the delectable Hannah Marks and the amazing Fiona Dourif (daughter of memorably offbeat actor Brad Dourif.)