he long-awaited season two of BBC America’s Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency dropped rather quietly on Netflix on January 5th. Based on the series of books by Douglas Adams, it was described by him as “a kind of ghost-horror-detective-time-travel-romantic-comedy-epic, mainly concerned with mud, music and quantum mechanics"*.
There has been considerable argument as to whether this series is true to Adam’s creation. A great deal has been changed, nevertheless, Samuel Barnett is fantastic as this exuberant, befuddled detective who believes in the interconnectedness of all things. He muddles through ‘cases’ and inexplicably manages to be exactly where he needs to be in order to save the day. As the books were derived from two Doctor Who serials Adams had written, it seemed quite fitting that this new Dirk is reminiscent of the recent incarnations of the good Doctor, in that he has such energy and uncontainable enthusiasm.
In series one Todd (Elija Wood) is roped into being Dirk’s reluctant Watson-like side-kick and in this series, it seems he is ready to accept that his life will never be the same again as he fervently searches for Dirk with Farah’s (Jade Eshete) help. Immediately you are thrown into Dirk’s strange world of happenings and you truly have no idea what is going on until very much nearer the end.
We have Hannah Marks returning as Amanda, Todd’s sister along with the Rowdy 3, who turn into the Rowdy 6 but you will understand that at some point. Ken (Mpho Koaho) and Bart (Fiona Dourif) return after becoming firm friends in the first series after Bart, who is a holistic assassin, kidnaps Ken. This relationship takes an entirely different and unexpected turn as we see Blackwing, the secret government agency, get into a spot of bother.
There are some spectacular new characters which I will not spoil for you. There are some real rotters in this series who you will love to hate. What I will also say is that I am very pleased and impressed with the way that writer/producer Max Landis tackles gender and sexual identity in this series. Bart especially is completely un-sexualised and it is refreshing to see a character that can just let go and be themselves. We also see sexuality imagined from a child’s perspective and it lacks any prejudice and bias; suggesting these things are learnt over time.
Sadly it will not be back for a third series due to poor viewing numbers in the US. Fans were understandably upset and began the hashtag #SaveDirkGently
I’m upset, but if this is the end of our experience of the story I think it left us feeling a little fuzzy-warm and content that everyone was where they needed to be, when they needed to be and who they needed to be with.
I’m going to re-watch season one… see if I missed anything.
*Gaiman, Neil (2003). Don't Panic: Douglas Adams & The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Second U.S. ed.). Titan Books. p. 169. ISBN 1-84023-742-2.