Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (2016)

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (2016), created by Max Landis, based on characters and novels created by Douglas Adams, starring Elijah Wood, Samuel Barnett, Jade Eshte, Hannah Marks, Dustin Milligan, Aaron Douglas, Richard Schiff, Fiona Dourif, Mpho Koaho

I didn't warm up on Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency after the first episode. I didn't really like it all and it took me a month before I watched it further. The second episode I liked. It was better, I thought, but still not quite it. But as I had heard good things about it, I decided to muster on to the third episode. It didn't take long for me to binge watch the rest, as by then I was already hooked on the weird world based on Douglas Adams' creations.

Dirk Gently (Barnett) is a detective, a holistic detective, who doesn't really do any detecting, as he believes everything is connected and that the universe will take him where he needs to be. And that is, more or less, what happens. Just like it happens with Bart (Dourif), a holistic assassin, who doesn't get hurt, as the universe wants to make sure, that she's where she needs to be in order to kill the right people. Todd (Wood) and Amanda (Marks) are siblings who get mixed up with the whole ordeal by a change and don't seem to be controlled by the universe. Or at least they don't know it like Dirk and Bart do.

The whole thing gets started, really, when Todd, an overaged hotel bellboy, sees himself coming from a room that has bodies in it as well as clear signs of carnage. He also finds a lottery ticket, that has a prize on it, which he pockets. The whole ordeal is odd, to say the least. Then he, later on, meets Dirk, who wants his help, as like he says, the universe wants Todd to be his assistant, which is something Todd doesn't want to be. Who would want to be an assistant to a weird man that has broken into their house?

Anyways, Dirk Gently has a case, hired by a dead millionaire to find out who killed him and at the same time to save his kidnapped daughter. One of the bodies in the hotel room, by the way, did belong to the said millionaire. The plot is, by the end of the first episode, thick as molasses.

At the same time, elsewhere, a hired technician Ken (Koaho) is trying to build a machine for some shady characters, when Bart enters the scene and like a deranged universe driven killer she is, she kills the baddies without a sweat but takes Ken with her, as it turns out Ken is not Dirk. And even universe driven assassins need someone to talk to at times. Oh, the baddies, those weird bald guys, who work for an obnoxious tubby, screaming guy Gordon Rimmer (Adams).

Of course, the story being the tangled web it also has the cops, the FBI and the military involved, but everyone has a different goal in mind. Come to the end, most don't even know what the hell has been going on in this tale of time travel and body swapping. But what it basically is, is universe straightening itself up from a mess its meagre inhabitants have caused.

I don't really want to say more of the story, as while it did take a bit to win me over, I do think Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency is a series best enjoyed knowing very little of what happens in it or how or why the things happen, as some of the greatest moments in the series really do come out from the blue.  It is in many ways a gift that keeps constantly giving more.

I freely admit, that besides the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the works of Douglas Adams are relatively unfamiliar to me. He has, for some reason, always been a writer I've known of, but of whose works I've read very little. That in mind I can't really say how well the series keeps up with the novels, as while I do recall reading one book on the series ages ago, I remember very little of it.

Obviously, as the novels were written in the 1980's, the transfer to the current era has brought in some modernizations, like new tech that didn't exist back in the day, but besides the technological advancements I wouldn't be able to say what has changed and what has remained the same, if anything.

But in any case, like I said, it did take me a couple of episodes to get warmed to the series and its style. Genty particularly felt like a bit too much as a character to me at first, as Barnett does play him with an overflowing sense of mania and naivety, which is almost a polar opposite to the silent melancholia that Woods has as Todd, a man worried about his sister, that spends most of her time in isolation thanks to a crippling mental illness that makes her feel like she's on fire when the attacks strike.

Then again, no-one in the world of Dirk Gently is a typical person free of demons. Good or bad guys, all they have their baggage, be it Bart who lives her life as wanderer that has very little human contact. Even someone like Farah (Eshete), a security guard of the dead millionaire looking for the kidnapped daughter, is only a seemingly normal, as she suffers from mental issues of her own. And to think of it, most of the characters in the series do seem to have mental issues.

Like I said though, as I remember very little, as in nothing, of the only Dirk Gently novel I've read, I can't really say if the mental issues were a big part of the novels themselves. I do assume, that it had a certain amount of serious stuff mixed with a lot of weird and peculiar and funny things, that were rooted in all kinds of things, humour being one of the things Adams was known for.

Apparently, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency is getting another season as well, which is a good thing, as there is quite a cliffhanger at the final episode. Considering I did end up liking the series,  I won't mind at all seeing what will come next.

As a side note, this series made me want to read Adam's Gently novels so I might give a write up of them as well at some point. It always looks good when a lesser writer tries to cover someone better.