Monday, June 04, 2018

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency – season 1 – review

Director: Various

First Aired: 2016

Contains spoilers

Despite being a life-long fan of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I never got around to reading Douglas Adams' series of Dirk Gently books. However, I do understand that this series (which relocated the plot to the USA) is more loosely based upon the books than a dramatization of them and that even the character of Dirk Gently (Samuel Barnett, Penny Dreadful) is radically different from the books.

The reason for me reviewing the series is due to a group of characters called the Rowdy 3 – who are energy vampires. However, before we look at them let’s look at the general plot.

Elijah Wood as Todd
Todd Brotzman (Elijah Wood, Paris Je T’aime) is a bellhop in a hotel – a dead end job he hates, but which he needs as he uses the money from the job to help buy medication for his sister, Amanda (Hannah Marks), who suffers from a (fictional) disease called Pararibulitis. The hereditary disease causes the sufferer to experience frightening hallucinations, especially at times of stress. For Todd, however, things are going to get weird. He is sent to the penthouse, sees himself on a corridor, finds a blood-stained lottery ticket and discovers a scene of slaughter. Then he gets fired.

Dirk and Todd
At his apartment he catches a man breaking in – Dirk Gently. Dirk declares that Todd is his assistant and Todd’s life goes further and further down the rabbit hole in a story that involves soul swapping, steampunk, time travel and plenty of murder. Dirk is a holistic detective, believing that everything is connected. There is also a holistic assassin in the show, Bart (Fiona Dourif, True Blood), and she and Dirk were both subjects of Project Blackwing a CIA Division who used to trap and test, and now monitor “anomalous entities”.

The Rowdy 3's van
One group of anomalous entities – called Project Incubus – are the Rowdy Three. The Rowdy Three consist of Martin (Michael Eklund, Supernatural – Monster Movie & Blood Ties), Cross (Zak Santiago Sanctuary, Dark Angel: Love in Vein & Chupacabra Vs the Alamo), Gripps (Viv Leacock, Sherlock Holmes in the 2nd Century: the Adventure of the Sussex Vampire Lot) and Vogel (Osric Chau). They are anarchistic energy vampires – they can feed off humans (which will kill or damage them) and anomalous entities (who will not sustain permanent damage) – they are following Dirk as the series starts, as his energy is particularly pleasing to them. Through this they see Amanda and become drawn to her.

Hannah Marks as Amanda
Dirk persuades Amanda to try leaving the house and she goes to the store but then suffers a pararibulitis attack. Her panic at the hallucination is filmed by a couple of guys but the Rowdy 3 come along, beat them up and then feed on Amanda – the act of feeding ending the hallucination, causes Amanda to have a vision and then pass out. They take her home. By the end of the season Amanda (who discovers the secret Todd has held on to and feels betrayed) leaves with the Rowdy three, a member of the group.

feeding, from the victim's pov
Now, should you be wondering about the name – there being four of them but being called 3, and then becoming five… It is generally considered that this is a reference to Douglas Adams and his misnamed Hitchhiker’s trilogy. The group is always in the background, through the series, but not particularly main players in the case until the very end of the case, where they are essential (as is Bart and prisoner/friend Ken (Mpho Koaho)). However they are an essential piece of the puzzle and the series meanders weirdly to a satisfying conclusion. 7.5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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