Lost & Found
Rogue Wall Enthusiasts
Two Sane Guys Doing Normal Things
Based on the books of the same name, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is a frenetic, witty, intelligently paced show with a great mystery at its heart. As the show progresses over time, so too does the tone which evolves from an outright comedy to a comedic drama that manages to nail the feel of both sub genres perfectly. The intelligently written script throws a healthy dose of confusion into the mix with numerous questions throughout the 8 episodes. Most of these are answered entirely by season’s end too which is really great to see. There’s enough here to enjoy Dirk Gently as a stand alone season but the open ending teases just enough to keep you wanting for the inevitable second season.
The story revolves around two characters, eccentric, enthusiastic amateur sleuth Dirk (Samuel Barnett) and unimportant nobody Todd (Elijah Wood) who gets swept along on a supernatural, time bending adventure to solve a strange mystery. Together, the two characters whip up a frenzy of comedy, drama and misadventure as they stumble from scene to scene, uncovering more clues about the underlying mystery that encapsulates this season. As they continue their quest, the two characters along with Todd’s sister Amanda (Hannah Marks) and Farah (Jade Eshete) tackle body swappers, soul-sucking humans and more in a bid to get to the bottom of what’s going on. Although the series is left open ended when the credits roll at the end of the finale, the case and mystery itself is concluded nicely and most of the loose ends around this are wrapped up. Its a nice touch and one that helps give Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency a much needed dose of confidence in the writing going into the second season.
The first few episodes of the show are admittedly a little rough around the edges. The fast paced action leaves little time for characterisation and the action cuts between the different characters at such an excited rate that it’s hard to keep up at times. This does improve a lot as the series progresses but it also makes the first few episodes a bit of a rough ride as Dirk Gently throws all of its ideas at you at once in a frenzy of excitement. Once the show settles into a more consistent rhythm, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is outstanding and the fascinating way the show evolves slowly from a comedy to an action-packed drama with the comedy taking a backseat, is handled really well and helps to sell the serious yet outrageous situations the characters find themselves in.
Although Dirk Gently is full of imaginative ideas, good visual effects and lighting, its the chemistry between Todd and Dirk that really stands out. The two characters gel really well together and the way the duo stumble upon different situations with reckless, comedy-fuelled abandon makes each episode a joy to watch. These two certainly help anchor the more fantastical elements of the show and keep the focus on the characters’ issues rather than lost on the stranger aspects of the show. This focus ultimately pays off and what we get is a solid season of entertainment, full of clever twists and turns that slot together like an intricate puzzle.
Although the series does suffer from uneven pacing and a frantically charged opening few episodes, as the season progresses so too does the confidence this show projects. Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is a cleverly written, action comedy that manages to do a great job of adapting the book of the same name. Although the plot developments and pacing may not be identical to the book, this series more than proves it’s capable of doing the source material justice. Todd and Dirk anchor the series with their excellent chemistry and brilliant acting around a sea of fantastical sci-fi. Coupled with a satisfying conclusion to the case and an open ending ready for the second season, this is one cleverly written puzzle box that’s well worth investing the time to watch.
Verdict - 8/10