TV, Venue

The Best of Adaptations: Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

Reboots are fantastic. Some advertising executive sits you down and says: “Right. You know that thing you love?”

And I reply: “Why yes of course. I love it.”

So he responds: “What if I told you that we were going to do this thing you love again, in a totally different way?”

To which I would then have to say: “I think every second you spend talking and not letting me experience this is a moment wasted.”

Remakes do nothing for me. To-the-tiniest-detail adaptations are great, sure, but they’re nothing like reinvention. There’s something just glorious about the barebones, the spirit of a piece of fiction you love being wrapped up in a completely different package.

I adore Douglas Adams’ ‘Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency’ books. A portly middle-aged bloke slovenly bumbles through life, always somehow ending up in the middle of surreal hard-boiled mysteries only he can crack (and was kicked out of Cambridge for whispering clairvoyant predictions of final exam questions in his sleep).

This seems far-flung from the Dirk Gently we see on Netflix. A young, nervous (and a little bit camp) young man in odd ties and colourful leather jackets, who just wants to be the best detective he can (and maybe make a friend along the way). It may also strike a different note when it tosses itself even further into the sci-fi of the novels and even posits Dirk as a psychic on the run from the government.

But they’re both great. And they both have that same wonderful core. You start with the revelation “you don’t know what’s happening, but you know it’s impossible,” and its titular character figures out what happens with a little help from the universal causality and interconnectedness that always seems to bend in his favour.

They’re different. Really different. But the main characters are still Dirk Gently, and he’s still having to explain what he means when he says he’s a holistic detective. 

It’s just wonderful to experience a cool premise done in multiple ways that are different enough to be enjoyed in their own right.

…It’s for this reason I also think Netflix’ ‘Death Note’ is great. Fight me, you weebs.


About Author


Alex Viney

January 2021
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