Sometimes, the universe just leads you to the right show you need, just at the right that you need it, and more often than not, in my case, these shows end up becoming some of my favorites. This was the case for me with “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency”, a show, which, at this moment, is now ranked second in my list of top five live action television shows of all time, right after “Doctor Who”, even if, it is only in its first season.
If I were to describe “Dirk Gently” to the newbie viewer, I would say that this show is basically what would happen if “Sherlock” and “Doctor Who” had a baby together. Yes, this show is crazy, but its a good kind of awesome craziness, reminiscent of what one would see in “Doctor Who”, and more. Plus, the dialogue is very snappy and witty, and has hilarious moments in which I genuinely laughed really hard at. Basically, when you begin watching this show, throw out all your common sense out the window, and have faith and trust in the show itself.
This show is loosely based on the Dirk Gently novels by Douglas Adams. The key word here though is “loosely based”, as I believe that this Dirk is a little bit different from the Dirk in the novels, but in a good way. I hope though, that those who are familiar with the source material will keep an open mind in watching the show.
Created and mostly written by Max Landis, the first season of the show follows Dirk Gently (Samuel Barnett), a “holistic” detective with a mysterious past; his reluctant friend, Todd Brotzman (Elijah Wood); Todd’s sister, Amanda Brotzman (Hannah Marks) and a bodyguard named Farah Black (Jade Eshete), who team up to solve a particular season long case. Along the way, some light is shed on each character, and they end up getting tangled in a battle that has lasted for quite some time. Aside from this, it also focuses on the “holistic” assassin named Bart Curlish (Fiona Dourif), and her reluctant assistant, Ken (Mpho Koaho), a hacker; who are also connected to Dirk and his friends.
If you haven’t seen the first season of “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” yet, please turn around now and watch it, as there will be spoilers beyond this point!
In the first season, Dirk, Todd, and Farah actively investigate the death of Patrick Spring (Julian McMahon) and try to find his daughter, Lydia (Alison Thornton), who has somehow gone missing. In the process, they bump paths with Detectives Zimmerfield (Richard Schiff) and Estevez (Neil Brown, Jr.), who are also looking into the disappearance of Lydia. They all end up getting tangled up into a wonderful crazy mess, full of soul swapping cultists, kittens, sharks, girls and corgis, maps and labyrinths, a hundred year long battle, things that make sense only in the end, and so much more.
Aside from all of the crazy that is already happening, there’s that side story of Bart and Ken, who, more often than not, act as a certain foil for Dirk and Todd, especially as Ken and Todd both undergo similar journeys into becoming full fledged assistants, albeit in very different ways, and as both Dirk and Bart have the same philosophy. They even repeat the same phrases to their respective assistants!
Aside from the fact that Bart is hell bent on killing Dirk, it shows that these two, and the Rowdy 3, have a surprising connection to each other. They belong to a top secret government program called Project Blackwing, who collected special individuals. It was pretty obvious from the get go that Bart is kind of psychic, and the Rowdy 3 are some sort of energy vampires, but Dirk’s psychic abilities aren’t exactly that blatant, mostly because Dirk himself doesn’t like to show it off that often. This only adds to the craziness of the show, and also begins to provide some backstory on these people. Here, it is stated that Dirk is Project Icarus, and the Rowdy 3 are Project Incubus, but we can only speculate as to what Bart’s code name is. The second season, however, will have more of these individuals, and apparently one of them was already seen and mentioned in the first season.
The show does a great job at weaving all of these seemingly disjointed narratives into one cohesive strategy, while peppering it with witty dialogue, and pulling it all off, with everything making sense in the end. (Everything is connected. Trust me, really, it is.)
Each of the characters undergoes through their own respective journeys, whether it’s Bart realizing another side to why she kills, to Todd’s redemptive arc that comes full circle on him, to Farah growing into someone more confident in herself, to Ken finding new purpose in life, to Amanda becoming more independent from her brother, all the way to Dirk actually gaining a small little surrogate family with Farah and Todd.
In the end, these well written characters are characters that you are going to end up invested in.
The casting of this show was perfect, and I do not think that anyone could have said and could have convincingly pulled off all the crazy that they had to do if it weren’t them, especially in those moments that made me laugh out loud really hard.
The music of the show was great, and the way that they used songs was well done, well placed and well timed.
Another thing that was refreshing about the show is that everything, from the little twists and shockers, to the general weirdness of the show, felt very organic and intrinsic to the show itself. It was almost as if the show could never be the show that it is if it’s DNA was not made of crazy.
This show, definitely, is a breath of crazy fresh air in a sea of shocking twists, turns, and tons of robots. It is mind bending, witty, and half of the time, you will not really understand what is going on, but if you are like me, and enjoy how seemingly crazy plot lines can be transformed into a cohesive story and pull it off, with genuinely hilarious moments peppered throughout the show, then Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is for you. Just remember to leave your common sense behind, and you will not regret anything at all.
This show is perfect for binge- watching. I started watching this on Friday evening, and ended it last Sunday. Also, just a tip, take note of the screens during the cold open for every single episode, and pay attention to the details. TRUST ME.
- Richard Schiff’s eyebrow game
- The moment in the first episode when the local cops, the FBI, Riggins and Milligan all point their guns at each other.
- The Rowdy 3 tearing Todd’s place apart.
- That moment in the second episode when Todd threatens to hurl the dog over the bridge, then a face appears, calls for help, then all hell breaks loose.
- The holistic assassin chasing after Ken the first time they met, and then Bart learning that Ken ISN’T Dirk Gently.
- Dirk and Bart meeting for the very first time.
- The fight sequence leading up to Dirk and Todd going back in time; them going back in time and that entire sequence.
- The entire “final battle-like” sequence in Episode 8 and Bart’s entrance.
- Todd and Ken looking at each other and shrugging at each other before Ken leaves with Bart.
- Estevez realizing that Lydia IS the corgi.
- Amanda’s vision sequence.
- Those last few minutes of Episode 8.
- I’m trying to figure out whether you’re a clue, accomplice, or…an assistant.- Dirk to Todd
- Zimmerfield: You’re a person of interest, permanently, even though you’re not necessarily an interesting person.Todd: That feels unnecessarily rude. –Zimmerfield and Estevez to Todd before letting him go.
- Everything is connected.
- Did I make some mistakes? Yes. Did I only make mistakes? Yes. But did it all work out? Kind of. –Dirk Gently
- It’s very easy to act like a jerk, “Well, I’m a jerk, so that’s that.” But it’s not like being a bloody werewolf, is it? It’s just you making excuses for your excuses.-Dirk Gently
- Episode 1
- Episode 2
- Episode 7
- Episode 8