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TOP 50 REVIEWERon February 23, 2013
Lots of laughs at this loony London PI. An enjoyably jolly interlude for the investigator genre fan. Based on Douglas Adams' whimsical hero. Book was 9th on UK best-seller list in 1987, TV series piloted in 2010 and episodes in 2012. It is balmy but beguiling. Zanny; like "Borat" as a Private Eye. Intended to be a bit fantastical. Stephen Mangan has the look and temperament of his role of Dirk Gently. He solves cases using a chaotic web of interconnected events- not coincidence. Dirk needs a code of conduct and a cleaning lady.

Actors from Little Dorrit appearing include the regulars Darren Boyd as MacDuff the conned partner; Jason Watkins (also from Lark Rise to Cantleford) as DI Gilks, and Bill Paterson as Prof. Jericho, he in Ep. 2 only. Unpaid secretary for HDA (Holistic Detective Agency) by Lisa Jackson (Daniel Deronda).

SDH SUBTITLES an option for all.
PILOT- CoinciDUNCE driven private eye Gently & college chum MacDuff hot on the case of a missing cat; only to stumble into a missing billionaire (Anthony Howell -Foyles War; Wives & Daughters) case. Girlfriend Susan (Helen Baxendale) leads the daffy duo to clues and the bizarre complexity. Also watch for Doreen Mantle (`The Queen', `Clatterford', `One Foot in the Grave')

Episode 1 Pentagon stalks a programmer to death, Dirk must find out if he was a quack or genius. An irrational web of chance reveals truth. Well, Gently truth.

Episode 2 MacDuff & Dirk turn security consultants from where Dirk was expelled. That offers a look at why, which leads to murder of Prof. Jericho. Dead man's colleague (Sylvestra le Touzel -Mansfield Park) might know something.

Episode 3 Dirk's former clients are killed forcing the agency must find the killer before copper Gilks finds them, plus find Melinda Fultone's (Lisa Dillon- Cranford) stalker. Is it Robbie Glover (Tony Pitts- War Horse)? You will be sad to see episodes of this dim duo end.
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on April 21, 2013
This (mostly) sticks to the book for the pilot (with a few added amusing bits), and expands greatly for the rest of the series. Even though it's only a pilot and 3 episodes, it's well worth buying, and a must have for fans of Douglas Adams.
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on July 14, 2013
Seriously had doubts about this, as couldn't imagine how any TV production wouldn't do a decent job of bringing the Douglas Adams hero to the small screen - WITHOUT the original plot lines. and new characters BUT the team here has done it and done it brilliantly well! My only objection is ONLY FOUR episodes including the pilot, and I was just whetting my appetite!
With a nod & a wink here to the original DNA plot-lines these episodes are well thought out, excellently acted and well produced!
(An Aside - just incidentally - Stephen Mangan would make a great smallscreen 'Jerry Cornelius' if anyone is reconsidering dramatizing the books f Michael Moorcock)
Can't recommend this DVD set enough...sure to become a collectors item, get it while you can!
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on January 13, 2015
Douglas Adams had a uniquely unconventional approach to writing which effortlessly took the kindly cynicism of a Kurt Vonnegut the proverbial one step further, and a few steps beyond that as well. for my money his magnum-opus, The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, remains the very finest science-fiction book(s) ever written. to say nothing of the fact that he wrote two and a half of the very best adventures for classic Doctor Who, "The Pirate Planet" and "City Of Death." (a third, "Shada," was stalled in mid-filming by a BBC production strike, but had the potential to be everything the other two are.)
but alas, he was such a slow writer that he was equally famous for missing his deadlines. (he once quipped "i love deadlines. i love the wooshing sound they make as they whiz by.") he managed only two non-Hitchhiker novels, those centering on Dirt Gently, a "holistic" detective who's ideals and methods are bizarre enough to make Sherlock Holmes look like Sgt. Joe Friday. the character couldn't help but get lost in the shadow of Arthur Dent & Company, but he has managed to develop enough of a following in his own right to make you wonder what took him so long to make it to film.
on the whole this series is as delightful as it is overdue. it's creator, one Howard Overman, clearly has an affection for the source material. it is presented and built upon in such a way as to surely make Douglas proud. it can't quite replicate the plots of the two novels for a number of reasons, but it does manage to transfer the feel and spirit of this singular character and his singular world. Dirk's unique adherence to "the fundamental interconnectedness of all things" finds him going on all sorts of seemingly random tangents, and he finds himself dealing with everything from murders to conspiracy theories to time travel.
fitting the role of our almost but not quite bumbling hero like the proverbial glove is one Stephen Mangan. he faultlessly conveys the character's obsession, unconventionality, and quirky outside-the-box way of thinking. his interpretation comes off as Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock's goofy kid brother. indeed the promising series is (or maybe i should say "could've blossomed into") the point where Doctor Who and Sherlock meet. (makes you wonder what Stephen Moffatt thinks of it, doesn't it?)
as has already been said more than once, a lead is only as good as his cast enables him to be. sure enough, Mangan's performance is only enhanced by Darren Boyd as his more by-the-book assistant/partner (depending on who's making the introductions), Helen Baxendale as Boyd's tart but tolerant squeeze, Jason Watkins as a police inspector with less than a fondness for Gently, and Lisa Jackson as his disgruntled secretary. (the agency isn't exactly thriving, you see, and she can't remember when she last collected wages.)
so the good news is the series isn't at all bad. but there's news of the other kind as well...
the BBC, for typically vague reasons worded in textbook bureaucratize, opted not to renew Dirk's adventures.
this is a particular bummer because there's a certain foreplay quality, a suggestion that the best is yet to come. it experiments with a range that could've evolved into something quite special. one episode in particular makes the tantalizing but unfulfillable suggestion that the Pentagon has their eyes on Dirk. how did he get their attention? at what point and under what circumstances were their paths destined to cross? what did they suspect him of and how would he go about defusing those suspicions? chances are the world will never know. (or as Douglas would say, "i decline to answer on the grounds that i don't know the answer.")
so if such a dead-end is likely to frustrate you, you probably shouldn't bother. but on the other hand, anyone who appreciates Douglas Adams' whimsically iconoclastic vision won't be sorry.
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on April 18, 2013
I found this series(? it only contains four episodes) to be charming and offbeat - two things I adore. Dirk Gently is perfect - wacky, brilliant, eccentric and he manages to be loveable even though he is pretty selfish. Darren Boyd is wonderful (I love him!) as Dirk's somewhat confused sidekick. He is the brick tied to the balloon string that keeps Dirk (sort of) grounded. Helen Baxendale, although a wonderful actress, is nasty and icky in this show - I didn't enjoy her performance at all. Maybe she wasn't meant to be likeable - if so, she did that really well. She plays the doctor girlfriend of Richard McDuff (Darren Boyd). Not to be forgotten: Dirk's old and unreliable car - The Princess - is almost a character in her own right and was a fun addition to the show.

The series is based on the novels by Douglas Adams, of Hitch Hikers's Guide to the Galaxy fame, and you can see a little of that sense of humor in this show and his unconventional approach to reality is present as well.

I wish there was more to this series, it was very enjoyable!
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on December 17, 2015
Bottom Line First: Not that funny. For some reason holistic detective work looks a like all other Sherlock Holmes based detective work. The lead is a mostly hateful twerp, made up to look and directed to act as ugly and creepy as possible. This is not too far from the Dirk Gently books, but on screen it can be hard to watch. For diehard fans of the late Douglas Adams and for those who like misogynist, socially repulsive private eyes who can solve their cases. An attentive viewer who is not snowed by the holistic stuff will usually have an idea of the solution long before the reveal.
There were only two books in the Dirk Gently series, mostly because of the early passing of author, Douglas Adams. I found the first one a tad hard to read. The second, was a fun ride with a wacky detective. The original broadcast of this TV show somehow got by me and I was eager to see the 2 DVD set. I am happiest that it is only a 2 DVD set.

The character of Dirk Gently was never meant to be attractive. This much the writers and director got correct. The problem is that the TV Dirk Gently is not intended to be taken in controlled bites. You are expected to watch him be aggravating, dishonest and otherwise unlikable for an hour at a time. This tops being funny and starts being aggravating. This is not what I want as my television watching experience.

The various plots are more or less tinged with Sci-Fi aspects, and the politics of the late 1980’s, actually more like the 1970’s but Adams was not one to produce copy on time. Of course he does not get along well with women, real ones anyway. Of course Dirk does illegal break ins and hides evidence, is hated by the local police and in turn has a low opinion of them and takes it personal when his clients die, esp before paying for services rendered and so on down the usual check list.

I had been hoping for something more like A Hitch Hikers guide to the Galaxy and got something more like Sherlock Holmes but with a less pleasant personality. Keep in mind the original Sherlock Holmes was not known for his social graces.
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on September 2, 2013
About the only things the series had in common with the books were the character names ( though not the actual characters),the concept of the interconnectedness of all things, and the personality of Dirk Gently.If you never read the books you won't know this and won't care, because the series is good.
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on November 9, 2013
Meet Dirk Gently (Stephen Mangan): half conman, half detective, half mad and all insolent cheapskate. In four movies loosely based on the Douglas Adams books, Dirk spins his bizarre and implausible cases to their twisted inevitable conclusions. Readers of the Adams books will recognize the tongue-in-cheek inclusions of the refrigerator from hell, unpaid receptionist, mysterious homicidal cleaning lady and Gilks, the enraged police detective.

Dripping snark and pizza remnants, Dirk runs up unlikely expenses while stealing food and linking random coincidences with his quantum-level theory of the interconnectedness of all things. He dupes Richard MacDuff (Darren Boyd) into financing and joining Dirk as his partner? assistant? patsy? much to the dismay of MacDuff's girlfriend, Susan Harmison (Helen Baxendale). They shamble though each case, often to MacDuff's horror, yet somehow survive and sorta triumph in the end.
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on April 16, 2014
The late great Douglas Adams is famous, of course, for his funny and crazy Hitchhikers Guide science fiction novels. But these books aren't his only claim to fame. His brand of quirky and amusing science fiction is also well displayed in the made-for-TV episodes of this DVD, that are all based on some of his short stories about Dirk Gently, a wacky but effective private detective who solves complex crimes of a bizarre nature. A missing cat, time travel and the concept of synchronicity (even seemingly random occurrences are connected in the fabric of our reality) are all involved in one particularly enjoyable story. There are only a few episodes, which is disappointing. Sadly, Adams was not with us long enough to provide more stories of this kind. He is missed.
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on October 1, 2014
It's not Holmes and Watson, but still thoroughly enjoyable. I enjoy British comedy with brilliant dialogue and interesting plots, and this series has both of them. All three of the main characters play well off of each other, and the dialogue is clever and fast-paced. If you're particularly slow, you'll miss all the good jokes.
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