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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A respectful use of Douglas Adams' creation
When one watches this series, one can't help but think "what might have been", had Douglas Adams survived his heart attack and written more for Dirk Gently. How would he have written current technology into Gently stories? But then you remember that A Spoon Too Short (later renamed A Salmon of Doubt) had been sitting in his notebooks for the best part of a decade before...
Published on 20 Mar 2012 by Stephen Buxton

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
Of course there was only one Douglas Adams so I expected too much. It's OK but it is just impossible to follow the master.
Published 18 months ago by Lindley Parkinson


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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A respectful use of Douglas Adams' creation, 20 Mar 2012
This review is from: Dirk Gently [DVD] (DVD)
When one watches this series, one can't help but think "what might have been", had Douglas Adams survived his heart attack and written more for Dirk Gently. How would he have written current technology into Gently stories? But then you remember that A Spoon Too Short (later renamed A Salmon of Doubt) had been sitting in his notebooks for the best part of a decade before Adams' death, and you are forced to conclude that he might never have gotten around to writing anything at all.

But Adams is no longer with us, so fans of his works will have to make do with other people writing scenarios for the characters. Dirk Maggs set the standard very high with his radio adaptations of the later Hitchiker novels and first two Dirk Gently novels. Garth Jennings made a fine effort with the Hitchiker film, but unfortunately it was not as well received as I think it should have been, flaws such as the Trillian/Arthur/Zaphod love triangle notwithstanding.

And now we have a Dirk Gently television series. I must admit I was sceptical about the casting - Stephen Mangan is a fine comedy performer (as can be heard on Elvenquest), but he can be a bit hit-or-miss (as seen in Confetti). However, he exudes arrogance and confidence, so after a short while you tend to forget that you are watching Stephen and are now witnessing Dirk Gently.

Darren Boyd works well as Richard MacDuff, as stories like this do require a "Watson" style character, if only for exposition purposes. However, I do have a few issues with Richard. First of all, come the end of the second episode of the 2012 series, you start to question why Richard is staying with Dirk. Dirk is abusive to him, constantly belittles him and is down-right nasty at times. And yet Richard remains. It is like a wife remaining with an abusive husband, and in this case the "husband" is the eponymous protagonist.

Another thing that puzzles me is why Richard MacDuff at all? He could so easily have been a new character played by the same actor and nothing would be that different in the way the storylines progressed. I suspect that this is because the writers wanted to stick with the source material as much as possible. And considering that the source material consists of two novels and a few notebooks, they are a trifle limited.

However, they are faithful to the works, and you can excuse a certain amount of Dirk's odd behaviour and treatment of Richard as "rule of funny". And there are a fair few continuity nods to the novels, such as why Dirk was expelled from St Cedd's College, or the existence of the computer software Reason.

But what of the plots themselves? I have to say that the writers have done a good job. You can imagine that Douglas Adams could have written stories like these, knowing his love of modern technology. The characterisation of the principle cast is pretty good.

Secondary cast members, such as Detective Inspector Gilks, do seem to be more of a comic exageration of their original novel counterparts. In the case of DI Gilks, he has moved from serious sarcasm and dislike (but with a hint of respect) of Dirk to serious loathing of him, coupled with shadenfreude at the potential demise of Dirk.

Nevertheless, it is a good series, and it has potential to become great in future series.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mr Adams would be very happy, 31 Mar 2012
By 
J. Lyne (Forres, Morayshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dirk Gently [DVD] (DVD)
I have been a massive Douglas Adams fan for as long as I can remember. And I have always found Dirk Gently to be funnier than the HHGTTG. Probably due to the overexposure of the latter. So I was pleased to see that Dirk was finally making it to the telly after all these years. I watched the pilot a year or two ago and thought it to be a very good representation of the book. Sadly I missed the other episodes but spotted the DVD on Amazon an placed an order.

It arrived yesterday and I have already watched it twice.

If you like the recent BBC Sherlock series then you will find that this follows that format very closely but with more laughs. The acting is excellent and the sets fit perfectly with the stories.

The humour sticks closely to the books. The stories not so much. However, despite the deviation from the original stories in the later episodes I am sure that Douglas Adams would be happy that the humour is pretty much spot on. The writers have managed to capture the important bits and not limit themselves to the two written books. This leaves the possibility open for many more episodes. Yes please!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gentle comedy, but perhaps too gentle, 23 Mar 2012
This review is from: Dirk Gently [DVD] (DVD)
Following on from 2011's pilot episode from BBC4, the first series of three episodes detailing the adventures of the holistic detective was entertaining, although not as entertaining as it could have been. The problem that many Douglas Adams fans focussed on is that the show had little to do with the books. Apart from mentioning character names and minor plotting points from the two and a quarter completed novels, there's little in the series that actually comes from the novels. I didn't view that as an issue as a BBC4 show doesn't have the budget to tackle the stories properly.

For me the main problem is that the show is unsure what it wants to be, which is sad as it seems obvious that it ought to pitch itself somewhere between Dr Who and Sherlock. Viewers who find Dr Who's fantasy too fantastic can take solace in Gently's grounded fantasy while those who find Sherlock not fantastic enough can enjoy a show that can incorporate science fiction ideas. Two of the four episodes took that approach (the pilot and the middle episode of series 1) and they worked excellently, while the other two were less successful and came over as a very low budget Sherlock featuring ideas that were too whimsical for that series. In fact even the theme tune sounds like something composed and then rejected for Sherlock.

The pilot featured missing cats and time-travel, which was in the spirit of the novels, while the middle episode concerned robots, artificial intelligence, and body-swapping. The resulting stories were exactly what the show should be, namely a comic, science fiction detective series in which the solution to the murder plot involves an element that a reality-based detective series could never use. Sadly the other two stories prove this point as they could have been told in any other detective show as they centred on such disparate elements as hired guns from the Pentagon, nefarious cleaners, horoscopes and stalkers.

Despite that, all the episodes feature good running jokes (along with plenty of actual running when the story needs padding) concerning Dirk's money troubles, his amoral attitude, his downtrodden side-kick, his downtrodden secretary, and his downtrodden office. Better still, the science fiction episodes have better acting with Helen Baxendale appearing as Dirk's sidekick's girlfriend, and in the middle episode there's some genuine character development and emotion with Dirk enjoying a touching love interest.

I hope the show gets commissioned for a second series as these episodes show a lot of promise. But I hope the makers realize that the unique quality the show can provide for the tv detective genre lies with the fantastic and not with the mundane.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wish it would come to the US, 10 April 2012
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This review is from: Dirk Gently [DVD] (DVD)
Really enjoyed this show. Glad I could get it on DVD to watch in the US. I hope there is more to come!!!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't pick it up, pick it up, pick i... Actually do - pick it up, pick it up and buy it!, 21 Mar 2012
By 
Andromeda Descendent (Tarn Vedra) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dirk Gently [DVD] (DVD)
From what I remember of the two Dirk Gently books, which I really enjoyed, read at least twice and have subsequently forgotten a great deal of, Dirk Gently was an eccentric anti-hero who made a living (or at least would make a living if anyone actually paid his outrageous expenses claims) by being a "holistic detective". (a side-note here that Douglas Adams was way ahead of his time in cheekily subverting a physics concept into what is essentially an incredibly clever plot device allowing him to indulge his imagination untethered by any actual need for the eventually connecting plot elements to be grounded with any conventional sense of reality or to progress in a linear fashion. Today, as lines in this series stand out as proof of, it is all too easy to explain to the audience what is meant by the "fundamental interconnectedness of all things") Where was I? Oh yes,

This TV series based on the Dirk Gently novels doesn't stray too far away from that original premise. Stephen Mangan is ideal for the part - I'm almost positive he must have been the producers' first choice - and Darren Boyd makes an excellent partner (or, as Dirk would call him, "assistant") as Richard MacDuff, who is captivated by the idea of being a detective and solving cases himself and wants to learn from Dirk, though hasn't the slightest clue how he does it. Helen Baxendale makes an occasional appearance as Susan, MacDuff's girlfriend, who doesn't like him playing detective, and especially doesn't like him hanging around with Dirk. Jason Watkins is also excellently cast as D. I. Gilks.

The pilot episode takes elements straight off the written page, featuring time travel and a missing cat, but the other three episodes that make up the first series are new creations, not quite as surreal as the books were, but still fairly offbeat, involving such subjects as horoscopes that come true, humanoid robots, a stalker who is Dirk himself, and the mysterious deaths of Dirk's clients. There's a great deal of humour of course, and it's one of the most entertaining series to come out of BBC4 in a while.

Fans of the modern "Sherlock" may see some (perhaps unintended) similarities in "Dirk Gently", almost as if what they are aiming for is an 'anti-Sherlock', but I don't really think this is the case. As with Sherlock though, and pilot episode aside, they seem to be making just three episodes at a time, which is a shame as I would love to see it come back for a longer run.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Have now watched this many, many times, 7 April 2014
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This review is from: Dirk Gently [DVD] (DVD)
This is so good. I'm not a fan of Douglas Adams' books, and could live without the Hitchiker's Guide - but Dirk Gently is wonderful. Have now watched this many, many times and still love it. The time-travel bits don't involve aliens, thank god, and the mysteries are brilliant. Wish the writers would extend the series beyond the life of the book - I could happily watch this forever.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Second season?, 16 Mar 2014
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Took a while to get into this series but by the end I was hoping for a season 2. Main characters were fun to watch while their secretary voiced emotions felt by all secretaries, pardon, personal assistants around the globe.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good and under-rated, 14 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Dirk Gently [DVD] (DVD)
From the mind of Douglas Adams comes this great short lived detective series, written by Howard Overman, the brains behind C4s Misfits.

The series is like Sherlock's bonkers little brother, and Mangan is so good as Gently. It's such a shame that this was cancelled, but these 4 episodes will remain shining examples of what could have been. The plots are well thought out and you will enjoy the places Gently's crazy investigations will take you.

I've never read the Dirk Gently books, but this series is awesome
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed, 24 May 2013
By 
Lindley Parkinson "Lin" (Minnesota) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dirk Gently [DVD] (DVD)
Of course there was only one Douglas Adams so I expected too much. It's OK but it is just impossible to follow the master.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars love it, 20 Mar 2012
This review is from: Dirk Gently [DVD] (DVD)
fabulous show, still plenty of material left in the books for a few seasons yet, but BBC? Wheres my Blu-ray version?
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Dirk Gently [DVD]
Dirk Gently [DVD] by Stephen Mangan (DVD - 2012)
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