Dirk Gently,
directed by Tom Shankland
(Acorn, 2010)

Before the novel by Douglas Adams (less well known than Adams' Hitchhikers Guide series but no less cleverly written) was adapted into a big-budget TV series starring Samuel Barnett and Elijah Wood, it was adapted into a small-budget TV series starring Stephen Mangen and Darren Boyd.

I haven't yet seen the former, so I shan't compare the two. But the latter, while by no means true to the novels, is great BBC fun filled with Adams' trademark idiosyncrasies and humor.

Dirk Gently (Mangen) is a holistic detective, meaning he follows seemingly random clues in the belief that everything in the universe is connected. Richard Macduff (Boyd) is Dirk's somewhat hapless but helpful friend who is along for the ride.

The series was short-lived -- a pilot followed by three episodes -- but it was a nice taste of the quirky style so typical of an Adams yarn. Mangen, as Gently, is every bit as eccentric as you'd expect, following disparate threads and seemingly unrelated occurrences to solve cases ranging from murder to a philandering spouse. Macduff provides the solid foundation for his partner's random style of investigation.

If this series had lasted longer, I think it could have become quite addictive. Even so, it's entertaining and worth a watch. I'm curious to see how the more recent version turns out.

review by
Tom Knapp

23 September 2017

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