Dirk Gently – First Impressions

Hmmm. You know, for a TV show based on the work of Douglas Adams, that wasn’t too bad at all.

Howard Overman, who created the quite excellent Misfits for E4 wrote this TV version, which quite sensibly didn’t attempt to convert the mind-bogglingly complicated Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency into one hour of television[1]. The book as written might be filmable, but it would take more money and more hours on-screen than anyone is likely to be likely to create. Instead, he took the characters from the first book, rearranged them a bit, borrowed a few of the situations from the book and wrapped them all up into a new story, which just like Doug’s original work, did involve a missing cat.

There were some nice touches for people who’ve read the book – we got a brief view of Dirk’s whiteboard, with notes of what was presumably a previous case involving an Electric Monk, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, a salt cellar and a horse, not to mention a newspaper headline about a horse in a college. Nice.

And it all sort of worked. Stephen Mangan doesn’t look anything like the way Dirk is described in the book, but then John Thaw was not a lot like the way Morse was originally described either, and that didn’t seem to matter either. He did manage to create a Dirk who’s strange enough and most importantly annoying enough to be sufficiently authentic to make me want more.

[1] The radio version made a pretty good attempt, but took over three hours to do it, and that involved some major rearrangement and jiggery-pokery.

4 thoughts on “Dirk Gently – First Impressions

  1. alf stone

    I curse you roundly. I was surfing the net and lit upon your latest post and decided to look at BBC iPlayer and watch the first few minutes of Dirk Gently with the full intention of watching the programme another night. Needless to say 58 minutes and 29 seconds later I was watching the end titles roll. My Friday night was completely wasted on a brilliant programme. I loved it. Thank you for reminding me.

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