The body count tells me I may have lied slightly about the ‘wholesome’ part. But the show is an excellent pick-me-up if you’re feeling down. There’s a lot of murder and some intimately depressing moral bankruptcy, but really you’re looking at Douglas Adams absurdity at its most brain-breakingly hilarious.
Full disclosure: I did not like the first episode. I did not like Dirk Gently (initially). Nor did I appreciate the wild, devil-may-care attitude that the writers seemed to have toward their own show. The first episode’s goal seemed to be to throw every vaguely confusing concept into a single forty-five-minute period to convince me that THINGS WERE HAPPENING so I would KEEP WATCHING.
I’m very glad I stuck it out because Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is not really about Dirk Gently. It’s about his friend (who doesn’t want to be his friend) who is an ex-lobby boy named Todd on an adventure of which he doesn’t want to be a part. He is, however, on said adventure because
a) he just saw…himself…in a giant fur coat near a room that was
b) the scene of an excessively violent homicide that preceded
c) a very odd Englishman climbing through his apartment window to become his best friend/partner in solving crime…
Dirk Gently is crazy in the most honest, uplifting way. Its characters are deeply flawed, particularly its protagonist; its side-characters are fantastic creatures and fascinating people; and its plot is, quite frankly, bamboozling – until you get to the end and realize all this madness can be explained.
And that is what makes this show good: For all its wild plot threads, it doesn’t forget to treat its audience like thinking, feeling humans who like the inexplicable to make sense. So, trust this absurdity. Have faith in the Dirk Gently writing team, for they do indeed have a plan.
Season 1 is available on Netflix (picture is courtesy of BBC America and Variety)