From the producers of The Walking Dead (that should tell you something right there), Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is a comedic thriller that follows the bizarre adventures of eccentric “holistic” detective Dirk Gently, played by Samuel Barnett (Twenty Twelve, Penny Dreadful) and his reluctant assistant Todd, played by Elijah Wood (Lord of the Rings). Overall, Gently is nothing short of a huge mess of quirky while Wood wants to make it very clear he is not the Watson to this would-be private detective.
Based on the books by the late great British author Douglas Adams (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy), the story (previously adapted for BBC4 and starring Stephen Mangan and Darren Boyd) revolves around a detective (Barnett) who doesn’t look for clues, a sidekick (Wood) who refuses to play Watson and various animals in peril, all tied together by Gently’s belief that everything in the universe is connected – and that that knowledge can help him solve any crime. “It’s a combination of Supernatural, Sherlock, and Doctor Who,” showrunner Robert Cooper told EW at San Diego Comic-Con earlier this year, “We’re like, Super-Sher-Who.”
The novel Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency has its origins in the incomplete 1979 Doctor Who television serial Shada, which featured Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor. Best known for his 1978 BBC Radio comedy, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Adams wrote several Doctor Who episodes, including “Shada”. Location filming in Cambridge had been completed, but a studio technicians’ dispute at the BBC meant that studio segments were not completed, and the serial was never transmitted. This led to Adams incorporating elements of the DW serial into his 1987 Dirk Gently novel.
Personally, I can’t see anyone but Stephen Mangan as Dirk Gently but that’s just me. When you combine the greatness of Darren Boyd as his sidekick, Richard MacDuff, Helen Baxendale as MacDuff’s girlfriend and Jason Watkins as Dirk’s nemesis DI Gilks cast opposite Mangan, this has all the makings of yet another situation where an American remake is completely unnecessary. I hope I’m proved wrong.
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency premieres Saturday, October 22 on BBC America.