If you don’t like Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, best move on a few paragraphs below to some other recommendations on Netflix. Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency was another series of books that Adams wrote in the late 80s. There were only two books, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and then The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul.
The intended 3rd book was meant to be The Salmon of Doubt but Adams never finished it and part way through decided it fit better in the Hitchhikers universe than Dirk Gently’s. In the end, the book was released posthumously as a series of short stories.
The BBC Version
A few years ago, there was a 4 episode British TV series starring Stephen Mangan. I enjoyed it a lot and it was fairly true to the spirit of books. Unfortunately the BBC had to cancel it for some bullshit reason about money and concentrating on importing foreign shows. Begs the question, what does the British license fee payer want? British made drama or foreign shows?
The 2016 version
Queue 2016 and I recently came across a new adaption on Netflix. This one is a little different than the BBC adaption. It stars Samuel Barnett as Dirk and none other than Elijah Wood as a new character, Todd Brotzman. I don’t want to give too much away here and that means I can’t actually say much at all about the show or plot but the gist of it is this. Todd works at a hotel and comes across the scene of a weird murder. Weird stuff happens, Todd meets Dirk breaking into his apartment where it turns out he was hired to solve the murder. Oh and this is set in the US, not UK.
Other than the premise of Dirk and how he operates in a holistic, “everything is connected” way, this show bears no resemblance to the books or BBC version.
Who will like this show?
If you area Hitchhikes Guide fan or have read the Dirk Gently’s novels, then this is for you. If not, it still might be. If you can imagine Dirk Gently as Sherlock Holmes meets The Doctor (Doctor Who) then and that sounds interesting to you then you will love this show. The Doctor Who thing makes total sense when you consider that Douglas Adams created Dirk Gently after writing a couple of episodes of Doctor Who. Dirk believes in “the fundamental interconnectedness of all things”
A piece of advice I can give you is don’t fall at the first hurdle. There’s a lot going on in this series and very little of it makes any sort of logical sense. That is, at first it doesn’t but remember, the premise of the show is that everything is connected so as the series progresses, stuff that made you think WTF starts to fall into place.
There are little nods to Adams in the show too. There’s a group of supernatural nutters called the Rowdy Three which consists of 4 members and eventually a 5th. If you recall, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy was a 5 part trilogy. It was described as a trilogy on the release of the 3rd book. Then a “trilogy in four parts” on the 4th book. The US edition of the 5th book said “The fifth book in the increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhiker’s Trilogy” on the cover.
I have read some extreme fanboys being horrified that it doesn’t stick religiously to the books and anyone who says different doesn’t understand Douglas Adams and to them I say that they themselves don’t understand Douglas Adams. They seem to forget that Douglas Adams couldn’t even stick to his own plot-lines when bringing out a new version. Hitchhikers Guide for instance started as a radio show and then a series of books. He also wrote movies, TV series and computer games. He was forever changing things to see how it worked. I think Adams would have been very happy to see this version on the small screen.
Where to now?
The first season deals with the whole hotel murder case in a very roundabout way. There are many sub plots and one that remains unresolved at the end of the season. This plot may play a part in the second season. The original novels were set in the UK and we know that this show is set after those events because when Todd asks Dirk if he ever solved a case, Dirk replied “Sure. Tons. Well, some. Well, a few. There was a bit about a sofa, a thing with Thor…” and these are the plot-lines of the two books. This might lead us to believe that we won’t be seeing these plots in the new series but then again, this is Dirk Gently’s world and pretty much anything is possible.
There are so many possible ways for this show to go and that’s what makes it exciting. I think there’s a real chance for this to become a major cult hit like Doctor Who.
Two things we do know from the first season is that everything is connected and Karma is a bitch.
Other Netflix Shows
I’m just pasting in something I wrote on Facebook a few months ago. Very quick recommendations of shows to watch.
OK Netflix junkies, recent shows I have started watching and I think are really good and worth a look.
– Luther – About a broken and violence prone London detective. Really interesting.
– Power, About a drug lord/nightclub owner in New York.
– Marco Polo season 2 – Brilliant, watched the first episode last night and am still fascinated by Genghis & Kublai Khan/Mongolian Empire. I know it’s an entertainment show but some of the things in the show are fascinating. Khan showed a strange tolerance to all religions and even encouraged his subjects to convert at will, strange for a conqueror. The Chinese Swallow opening scene thing is also real, amazing stuff. I had never heard of that war tactic before.
And the big one, Stranger Things! How good this show is can be hard to convey but the internet has been raving about it. I finally watched the first 2 episodes last night but I was hooked 5 minutes into the first one. It’s like an adult version of Erie Indiana with hints of Stephen King and Stephen Spielberg. It reminds me a lot of the movie Super 8.
After finishing Brooklyn Nine-Nine on Netflix, I needed another show. Netflix suggested a number of French shows for some reason but eventually suggested Master of None with Aziz Ansari from Parks & Recreation. It’s absolutely brilliant. It’s not a sitcom, it’s sort of like a funny look at life. Each episode has a specific theme but revolves around mostly the same characters.
It’s charmingly funny and insightful too. Watch it!