- Actors: Stephen Mangan, Darren Boyd, Lisa Jackson, Jason Watkins, Helen Baxendale
- Directors: Tom Shankland
- Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
- Language: English
- Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Number of discs: 2
- Rated: Not RatedNR
- Studio: Acorn Media
- DVD Release Date: April 2, 2013
- Run Time: 240 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 69 customer reviews
- ASIN: B00AZNEVK2
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,351 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
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Meet Dirk Gently. He's poorly dressed, perpetually insolvent .and uncommonly good at solving mysteries. As proprietor of the Holistic Detective Agency, Dirk follows methods that are, in his own words, based on an almost unswerving belief in the fundamental interconnectedness of all things. Affably played by Stephen Mangan (Episodes), Dirk is aided and frequently irritated by his hapless assistant, Richard MacDuff (Darren Boyd, Holy Flying Circus). Together, they tackle cases ranging from a missing cat to a murder that may involve the Pentagon. Based on the novels by beloved author Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), Dirk Gently follows the detective as he spins coincidences into explanations for seemingly unsolvable mysteries. Although he's regarded as a mere con man by some, Dirk often delivers astonishing results with his unusual tactics. This rollicking adaptation also features Helen Baxendale (Friends, Kidnap and Ransom), Lisa Jackson (Daniel Deronda), Jason Watkins (Being Human), and Bill Paterson (Traffik).
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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.
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!
Also, it's worth noting that there is another Dirk Gently series, with Elija Woods, which this isn't. Also worth watching and you can find the other one on netflixs, not this one though.
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!