Dirk Gently, BBC Series I (2013)

by | Apr 16, 2013 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews

Dirk Gently, BBC Series I (2013)

Pilot and first three episodes
Cast: Stephen Mangan, Darren Boyd, Lisa Jackson
Based on books by: Douglas Adams
Studio BBC/ITV/Acorn AMP-8841 [4/2/13] (2 DVDs)
Video: 16:9 color
Audio: English DD 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH
Length: 240 minutes
Rating: *****

Hilarious, I say. But then I thought Douglas Adams (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) was a genius. I think most TV series are silly, and only watch one regularly, but I was disappointed that there were only four episodes on these two discs. First of all, the series’  bouncy theme features the harpsichord, so I’ve got to love it.

Dirk Gently is a poorly-dressed, moneyless proprietor of the Holistic Detective Agency, with a sometimes partner-assistant named MacDuff. His office and apartment are a total shambles, he never pays his secretary or cleaning lady, and his car—an old Peugeot Princess—seldom starts when he wants to go anywhere and he and MacDuff have to walk. But Dirk may be a genius of sorts, who has an unswerving belief in the fundamental interconnectedness of everything. He writes the various things in a case on a wall and then connects them with arrows. His cases may range from a missing cat to some sort of skullduggery involving the Pentagon. He stops at nothing to try to get business; he even signs up both members individually of a couple who want a divorce, and in another case of a woman client dealing with a stalker, reveals that he himself is the stalker in question. Most people—especially his nemesis, the local police inspector—consider him just a con man, but often he solves a seemingly unsolvable mystery. Though it usually results in him still not getting paid.

If you have watched any of the BBC/America detective series, you will see that Dirk Gently is an often not-so-gentle satire of those shows. He’s not an idiot like Maxwell Smart; he just…well…strange.  In the pilot the duo begins trying to find an old lady’s lost cat and ends up with a missing billionaire who used to date MacDuff’s girlfriend. In Episode 1 they try to learn whether a programmer who is supposedly tracked by the Pentagon is a quack or a genius. Episode 2 has them return to the college from which Dirk was expelled, and his former professor there is murdered. Three of Dirk’s former clients are mysteriously killed in Episode 3 and Dirk must find their killer, plus there’s the mess of his client and the stalker.

Obviously, I loved the slovenly detective and his baffled assistant, and I want more episodes, please! As another reviewer said: British comedy at its best.

—John Sunier

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