Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency: Two Sane Guys Doing Normal Things
December 10, 2016 7:40 PM - Season 1, Episode 8 - Subscribe

Why's she looking at them like that?

These guys threw me off a bridge.

Ah. Right.
posted by adept256 at 2:01 AM on December 11, 2016

Great season ending AND beginning :-)

I don't know why this show doesn't get more buzz, I really liked it. But as I said on an previous episode thread, this show could benefit from a Netflix style release, it seems perfect for a binge watch.
posted by Pendragon at 4:10 AM on December 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yeah, it just dropped as one big bingeable (sp?) release this weekend on Netflix here in Germany, which was perfect for a grey day in, nursing a cold. I enjoyed the whole series a lot - I don't think I would have, though, if I had seen it in chunks over a couple of weeks.
posted by dominik at 12:42 AM on December 12, 2016

It would have been better all in one.
I think it would benefit from being able to variably pace the speed at which you make it unravel.

I was a little unconvinced by it mid series, but it pulled it round and was fine by the end.

I don't like their interpretation of Dirk though.
It feels like they've decided that the holistic interconnectedness of all things means that dirk has superpowers to just hurl himself into chaos and have it all work out.

I always felt like more it was a big con, much like all of dirks previous cons, which (much like his previous cons) turned out to be true.
I don't get that sense from TV Dirk who wholeheartedly buys into the fundamental interconnectedness of all things to the degree that he can just dig a hole in the ground somewhere and know that it's the right place.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:41 AM on December 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

AV Club recap - Dirk Gently wraps everything up, and then just as quickly unravels it all

‘Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency’ Will Return to BBC America for Season Two (BBC America, "3 weeks ago")

I'm intrigued. I enjoyed this show, even doled out as a weekly portion instead of being binge-able, but I'm not picky (and I have about 50 minutes of idle commute time, so "hour long" programs are good fits).

I don't like their interpretation of Dirk though.

It seems like this is progress away from Book-Dirk, with the prior BBC TV adaptation (trailer; Wikipedia) serving as a waypoint. Neither are too close to the book, but this one is a few steps further than Stephen Mangan's Dirk, who had more of the "let's follow someone and see where they go" holistic everything-is-connected-ness to him.

This one seems to be something of an Americanization, pushing things more towards the quirky, Manic Pixie Boy side of things that definitely were not part of the books. Not bad, IMO, but not "book-true" at all.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:08 PM on December 12, 2016 [2 favorites]

This seems like the right place to dump overall impressions of the season. It showed up on Canadian Netflix yesterday, and I marathoned it quickly. Needless to say, I liked it a lot.

It's definitely not perfect. The two main characters, as well as quite a lot of the dialogue, are fairly weak, but it looks like that's more of a problem with the writing and editing (oh god the editing) than anything else. The strength of any DG adaptation is almost certainly the inescapably great idea of the fundamental interconnectedness of all things, adapted to a detective mystery format.

This was very definitely not faithful to the books. I don't care. This version of Dirk Gently was certainly valid and certainly not what DA wrote. This version of Dirk and Bart, the holistic assassin, were also perfectly faithful to the most interesting aspects of what Adams imagined. I'm very pleased this exists.

Also, I think the idea of Farah as a stone-cold badass who has intense anxiety issues is very compelling.
posted by figurant at 9:09 PM on December 12, 2016 [2 favorites]

Oh, yeah, certainly.
Both Mangan and this differ from the books, but I am glad they both exist.

The general plot is respectful of and in keeping with the source material.
It seems like since they have another season they can develop the characters a bit and smooth off some of the jagged edges. I'm looking forward to seeing it.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:39 AM on December 13, 2016

Drank down all eight episodes in one big gulp yesterday on Netflix UK. Loved it. I grew up on Douglas Adams novels - I spent my Christmas/Birthday book tokens on each new release through the 1980s.

This isn't book-Dirk but it's also no longer 1987. References to pizza restaurants that don't deliver pizza, or the enormous abandoned shell/building site/squat that was the Great Midland Hotel are equally no longer relevant.

I love the modern sensibility. The visual style reminded me quite a lot of Preacher and, even more strongly of Utopia from a couple of years back(US-ian readers, you really need to see this!). This kind of tricksy, time-travelling plot it right up my alley (it's also good for sofa maneuvering, I hear).

As far as I see, nobody's mentioned the soundtrack, which I love and adore, especially the original music by Cristobal Tapia de Veer. He also did the music for Utopia and the parallels between the two shows were really interesting, not only a couple of startling visual cues like Dirk's yellow jacket, but the ultra-violent, unapologetic ending.

Very much looking forward to more. As soon as possible please!
posted by dogsbody at 1:34 PM on December 13, 2016 [4 favorites]

We've tivoed and have been watching an episode per night. Just finished final episode and am not happy about the end. But, I'm still willing to give season two a try.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 5:13 PM on December 16, 2016

I just found out about this Friday, and watched it all yesterday and today.

I loved it! I am a huge Douglas Adams nerd (like I can recite the first 3 pages of HHGttG verbatim from memory), and this was certainly very different to how I imagined the Dirk Gently books, but honestly I think if they were closer I would like it less, because there's no way they're going to get it right. So taking things in a bit of a different direction, while still keeping some of the key points is A-OK in my book.

In fact, I think this was weirder than it needed to be to satisfy me, and that's a pretty high bar of weirdness. This was damn weird. But it still held together. I was pretty impressed that they were able to deliver on some of the more outlandish things they set up, particularly the crime scene.

I am definitely not starting the next season until all episodes are available, because I think if this weren't all fresh in my memory I'd start to lose track of all the crazy shit going on all over the place.
posted by aubilenon at 10:45 PM on January 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

Pros: They tied up the plot really nicely.
Also Bart, and her assistant, is a brilliant character, brilliantly realized. I was freaking in love with Bart. Bart in the hotel room. Bart and Ken were fantastic.
Farah was a great character as well. From her unearthly beauty to her supremely bad-assedness to her being "a total weirdo."
And Amanda and the Rowdy 3 were pretty great. I especially liked how the Rowdy 3 started off as likely evil and then became chaotic good.
Cons: I hated Dirk. Just - didn't like him. Thought he was lame. Didn't mind Todd and actually liked how they dealt with their friendship but - didn't like Dirk.
It was kind of thin in places.

But they sewed it right up! And gave a nice intro to next season.
I didn't regret watching at all.
posted by From Bklyn at 8:19 AM on January 9, 2017 [3 favorites]

Purchased the season from Amazon and watched it fairly quickly. I think we planned to watch one or two episodes last night, and ended up watching the last five. The story got quite interesting as the pieces started to come together.

I really liked both meetings of Dirk and Bart, and how much it changed her perspective. I really liked the Bart/Ken dynamic, and it felt like this was because the show was able to be more free with these two. It made for a really interesting situation; hearing Bart/Ken interact like humans made me want to see the same from Dirk/Todd, but we were denied. Same thing with how Bart changed after meeting Dirk; he barely seems to react.

A similar parallel showed up in the hotel hallway after Todd sees Dirk meet the week-ago Dirk. Todd goes ballistic, until he realizes that he's about to see week-ago himself. This doesn't lead to anything, though, Todd doesn't lay off Dirk, he stays mad. And Amanda tells off Todd and never wants to see him again, she doesn't mean it. Todd tells off Dirk and never wants to see him again, he doesn't mean it. Yet in neither case do we see much of anything that explains their change of heart. Amanda doesn't even explain to Todd that the Rowdy 3 can stop her attacks (he sees it, but doesn't appear to make any connection). It seems like the show likes these parallels enough that it doesn't feel the need to do anything with them.

I mostly liked the show, but thought there was some characterization issues, especially for Todd. Again, it seemed like they needed to get somewhere, so they crammed the character in (which is especially bizarre for an original character) to the plot, rather than letting them live.

The story was really interesting, and I liked where the characters stood at the end (and figured we might have seen the last of Todd claiming he was done with all this/not involved). I wish there was going to be a second season in the same vein that was another case, with the government conspiracy story building in the background. But I suppose I'm still interested in another season, even with the hard reset.
posted by mountmccabe at 3:29 PM on February 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

Also Bart, and her assistant, is a brilliant character, brilliantly realized. I was freaking in love with Bart. Bart in the hotel room. Bart and Ken were fantastic.
Farah was a great character as well. From her unearthly beauty to her supremely bad-assedness to her being "a total weirdo."
And Amanda and the Rowdy 3 were pretty great. I especially liked how the Rowdy 3 started off as likely evil and then became chaotic good.
Yup. I realize an entire cast of badass heroes probably makes for dull television, but I hope we get even more of all of these in the future series. They're all fantastic characters, brilliantly played. I'd watch the hell out Dirk-less spin-off shows featuring any of them.

Dirk was fucking annoying. But, I have to remind myself that Dirk in the books is also fucking annoying. Switching the chubby bumbling idiot for a smarmy actory idiot doesn't really violate the original vision much. I wouldn't want to hang out with him, but his character plays a useful roll in the story and moves things forward.

I found Tod absolutely unsympathetic and pointless, though. The writers are tripping over themselves to make him the stand-in for the audience, but it's impossible not to find that insulting. "What if this happened to you" is only an interesting question if the person asking it doesn't think you've the imagination and intelligence of a toad. (Ken, on the other hand, actually works in the role of the normal person, but he isn't around during most of the plot.)

I'm impressed that they managed to capture the spirit of the books so well in a show that also feels so contemporary and doesn't include much actual content from the source material. Having just watched the last 7 episodes of this back to back with the Twin Peaks premier as a "modern reboots of 30 year old weird franchises" marathon, the contrast is astonishing. Even if you ignore the difference in special effects, casting, racist and sexist content, and editing style, this show is orders of magnitude better. It seems to be written, directed, and acted by people who actually care about what they're doing. I'm impressed.
posted by eotvos at 6:09 AM on May 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm impressed that they managed to capture the spirit of the books so well in a show that also feels so contemporary and doesn't include much actual content from the source material.

This exactly. I liked the comic book analogy that someone gave in another thread that this a sort of Earth-2 Dirk. That said, while I appreciate a good easter egg, I found the throwaway references to the book adventures (Thor, sofa) out of place. It is hard to imagine this Dirk going through those adventures.

I watched episodes 2 - 8 in a fairly quick batch (it showed up on Hulu recently) and it was definitely the way to go. I watched episode 1 via BBC America and didn't think I would return. But having them all available meant that the little things I liked in episodes two and three were good enough to get me to episode four since it was right there. From when the accidentally activated the kitten-shark in episode five I knew I'd watch the rest (only to realize there were only eight episodes).

New season starts soon; not sure if I'll watch week by week or wait to watch all at once again.

Also, who is the kitten-shark going to save in season 2?
posted by mikepop at 11:58 AM on September 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

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