As the weather gets colder and colder every day, we’ve been finding ourselves feeling more hibernate-y lately. And what better way to pass the time when that feeling comes on than to watch a new TV series? Recently, Peder and I did just that when we watched a series that had us highly intrigued from the moment we heard about it — Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.
The show’s eight-episode-long first season just wrapped up on BBC America (and is now available on Netflix, for those of you who prefer not to shell out the bucks for cable!). The storyline is based on Douglas Adams’ book series of the same name — as soon as we learned this, we knew this show was going to be a must-watch for us. It stars Elijah Wood (!!!) as Todd Brotzman, a washed-up, 30-something bellhop who loses his job shortly after stumbling upon a grisly mass-murder in the penthouse suite. As Todd tries to get home and figure out what the heck he’s going to do next, he keeps on running into a highly strange individual by the name of Dirk Gently (played by Samuel Barnett), a colorful-leather-jacket-wearing, flashy-car-driving, self-styled holistic detective. What the heck is that, you ask? Well, there are likely many interpretations, both within the show and without, but as Dirk himself explains, he solves cases by following fate and the innate interconnectedness of all things.
Dirk, without any input or agreement from Todd, decides that the universe has brought Todd to him to be his assistant. Todd tries to resist at first, but before long, he finds himself as desperate to solve the case as Dirk is (and finds himself hoping that, in so doing, he’ll find out what the eff is the deal with all the strange and seemingly nonsensical events that suddenly punctuate his life). Between trying to help his sister, who suffers from a terrible (and thankfully fictional) disease called pararibulitis; finding out why a random corgi keeps popping up everywhere, dealing with the wackos that are suddenly the sole denizens of his world, and following incomprehensible (yet somehow connected) clues with Dirk, it’s all Todd can do to keep his head on straight in his suddenly upside-down life. While Todd is wading through all of this, the POV periodically shifts to Bart Curlish, a holistic assassin (natch) who kills whomever the universe tells her (yes, her) to kill, and Ken, her terrified yet increasingly curious kidnapee. And while they occasionally cross paths with some of the people from Todd and Dirk’s POV, the viewer can only guess just how Bart and Ken fit into this whole scenario.
I won’t say much more about the show than that in terms of story details, because the true beauty of this show is the way the story unfolds before the viewer and somehow becomes slightly more comprehensible with each passing moment, despite the absurdity and strangeness of it all, and I’m not about to ruin that for you. It’s a weird, wild ride, and I loved every moment of it.
At first, I was afraid this show was going to be weird in a creepy, unsettling way that would leave me feeling strange for some time afterward. And it was creepy and unsettling, but in a way that both blew my mind and broadened it, rather than making me feel uncomfortable. It’s difficult to explain, but in making no sense, this show somehow made so much sense. It kept me guessing the whole time as I tried to figure out where on earth the story would go next, all while endearing me to the characters more and more as the show went on. Add that to the fact that it’s wildly, absurdly funny, and you have a show that delights, confuses, and shocks at every turn. In other words, it’s the kind of thing I want to watch all the time, and I already can’t wait for season two!
So how ’bout it? Have you seen Dirk Gently? Is it on your to-be-watched list? Come talk about it with us in the comments!
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