Even the most casual of ‘weird fiction’ fan will know about the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams. The irreverent and hilariously doom-filled series has radio plays, TV shows, a feature-length film, and incredibly hard puzzle PC game adaptations under its belt.
But less known outside of the Adams fandom (and I will admit now, I am firmly within this group) is the Dirk Gently novels.
Only two were ever completed (Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, and The Long Dark Tea Time Of The Soul). The third, The Salmon Of Doubt, was left unfinished due to Adams’ untimely death.
Written by Max Landis and starring Samuel Barnett, Elijah Wood and Hannah Marks, the Netflix adaptation over the course of two seasons incorporates the spirit, if not strictly the plot, of the novels to an exemplary level.
What is Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency About?
Dirk Gently (Samuel Barnett) is a ‘holistic detective’. This means he investigates the ‘fundamental interconnectivity of all things’. It basically means he's quirky!
Throughout season one there are many seemingly nonsensical but fun plot threads. They are all revealed to be directly related as the show progresses. Even if virtually none of the characters can piece it together.
In season one Dirk is hired to investigate the murder of his client, by the client himself before he is actually murdered. Bellboy Todd (Elijah Wood) happens across the brutal bloodbath. It was seemingly caused by a large and vicious animal, shortly after inexplicably seeing a duplicate of himself in a hotel corridor.
Dirk inserts himself in Todd’s life (suspiciously) and goes about simply being there and looking at anything of interest. The general logic is that it will all somehow be relevant, no matter how apparently disconnected things seem at first.
Of the plot threads to intertwine we have: Todd’s sister, Amanda who suffers from pararibulitis, a hereditary disease invented for the show. That causes her to suffer vivid and painful hallucinations.
There is the odd biker gang trio, the ‘Rowdy 3’, who pursue Dirk and suck inexplicable glowing energy from him. We have body swap technology that can plant the souls of people into other people (or animals!).
Plus time travel conundrums and a psychotic murderess who kills whomever the universe tells her to (the ‘universe’ helping her to escape without consequences each time). Lastly, there are Black Ops style goons called ‘Blackwing’ who veer from ultra secrecy to ultra-violence in a heartbeat. And this is just season one!
Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency Trailer
Is Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency Worth Watching?
It is actually incredibly hard to describe a show like Dirk Gently. All I can really say is that, as an Adams fan, I applaud how the show captures the essence of the books perfectly.
And considering I watched the show with a non-Adams fan, I can confirm that background knowledge is not a must to enjoy what is on offer. Season one has eight episodes giving the Dirk Gently universe a hugely funny yet brutal lease of life.
The show's humour is quintessentially Adamsesque – smart, quirky, and unexpected. The comedic elements don't just provide relief but are integral to the plot and character development, making the show thoroughly enjoyable.
One of the greatest strengths of the show is its well-rounded, multi-dimensional characters who break free from stereotypes. Whether it's the disenchanted Todd or the enigmatic Dirk, each character has depth, flaws, and growth throughout the series.
The series is a masterclass in non-linear storytelling, connecting dots across timelines and dimensions. It encourages the viewer to think critically, rewarding those who pay close attention with a rich, woven tapestry of interconnected stories.
Words by Michael Record
How Many Seasons Of The Show Are There?
Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency had two seasons. The show premiered on October 22, 2016, and concluded its second season on December 16, 2017.
Unfortunately, the series was not renewed for a third season and was cancelled by BBC America.
Each season contained its own self-contained narrative but was also a part of the larger universe that the series was building.
Despite its cancellation, the show has maintained a strong cult following. Fans have often expressed hope for a revival or continuation in some form, but as of yet, no such plans have been confirmed.
Cast Of The Show
Samuel Barnett as Dirk Gently, the holistic detective who believes in the fundamental interconnectedness of all things.
Elijah Wood as Todd Brotzman, Dirk's reluctant assistant and friend.
Hannah Marks as Amanda Brotzman, Todd's sister who suffers from a nerve disease.
Jade Eshete as Farah Black, a skilled security officer who joins Dirk and Todd.
Fiona Dourif as Bart Curlish, a holistic assassin who believes she is destined to kill Dirk.
Mpho Koaho as Ken, a tech-savvy individual who initially finds himself on the wrong side of the law.
- Apple TV brings you the future of television, right at your fingertips. Immerse yourself in the world of laughter, inspiration, and heartwarming moments with the critically acclaimed show, Ted Lasso, and a plethora of other captivating content.
- Star studded, award winning series and films.
Amazon Prime Video
- Welcome to a world of boundless entertainment, where thrilling stories come to life at your convenience. Amazon Prime Video invites you to explore a universe of gripping narratives, including the adrenaline-pumping series, "Reacher," and an extensive selection of captivating content that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
- Additional benefits of Prime Membership: Music Streaming Service, Amazon Photos and Exclusive Offers
- Delve into a world of original storytelling, where Disney's creativity knows no bounds. With Disney+ Originals like "The Mandalorian," "WandaVision," and "Loki," you'll witness new narratives and characters that expand the enchanting tapestry of the Disney universe.
- Great collection of Kids series and movies.