REVIEW: DIRK GENTLY’S HOLISTIC DETECTIVE AGENCY
This is something I’m going into with no prior knowledge of the subject matter. Yes I have heard of Douglas Adams I’m not a complete savage. Just generally his stuff isn’t in my wheelhouse. Reading TMNT every month from IDW I have seen the ad campaign gaining momentum as the release date approached. Also I am aware there is a comic launching to coincide with the Netflix series, which as already had a second season green lit. So all positives. This review is for the pilot only and spoilers will be kept to a minimum.
First things first does Elijah Wood ever actually age? Kidding. Thats a terrible place to start. That being said though I did like him in this. Which I was expecting as his spineless Frodo irritated me so much! Now there was a lot to enjoy from the pilot episode although for me there was one major stumbling block and its quite a big one. I didn’t feel any connection with Samuel Barnett who unfortunately is Dirk Gently! For me he was the least interesting and least likeable character in the pilot. That doesn’t bode well moving forward. His character has the trait that I will refer to as ‘Sherlock Syndrome’ although it can be applied to Dr Who as well. The trait being fast talking, bordering on nonsensical before suddenly arriving at a solution with the audience having no clear idea how he got there. Gently was also perhaps stereotypically socially awkward whilst possessing an air of invincibility. Again its a trait that has been done to death. Remember this is just my opinion but I felt every other actor brought their A game to their character.
Two words Richard Schiff. Richard Schiff is always amazing and he is again here. He had a great chemistry with his partner Neil Brown Jnr. They play missing persons detectives Zimmerfield and Estevez. These two probably had all the best moments and generated the most laughs. In fact there were a few double acts at play in this opening episode. Assuming the series is one mystery each double act will follow their respective story arcs to the end. The second most interesting would be Bart Curlish (Fiona Dourif) and Ken (Mpho Koaho). Curlish is a holistic assassin and she is thrown together with Hacker Ken in rather odd circumstances. Lastly CIA odd couple Sgt. Friedkin (Dustin Milligan) and Col. Riggins (Miguel Sandoval). Again they provide plenty of light relief. Okay other positives. Theres plenty here. The episode moved at a good pace. The pilot came in under and hour but it didn’t feel like it was stalling at any point. I have been watching a lot on Netflix lately and there are some shows that are forty odd minutes that feel a lot longer than this did. I liked the music. It had an eerie, psychedelic vibe with a modern indie rock/pop vibe. Yeah thats a thing. The colour palette was bright and vibrant and often contrasted the gloominess. At a time where the colour palettes of Marvel and DC movies are scrutinized with a fine tooth comb its refreshing to see something where they let the colours add to the story.
When the story got dark the colours remains vibrant. There were even moments where they weren’t afraid to go really bright for objects that would draw the eye. Gently’s jacket being one and the stolen sports car another. They were do bright but didn’t seem out of place. The story opens with Todd Brotzan (Wood) who has a classic Stan Lee Marvel feel to him. He is stuck in a dead end job, low on money and has a crazy landlord. Then he is thrown into a series of unbelievable events that will completely change his world. At times watching this I found myself asking how much of this is comes from Douglas Adams original source material and how much has been reinvented by Max Landis? Also I was thinking throughout weather I would be coming back for the other episodes. In its favour like I said the episode moved at a good pace. The rest of the episodes are only forty odd minutes and there are only eight of them. Then the pilot ending with a great hook. So I will definitely be back for the second. I think at some point I will watch them all, just not in any rush. I can always watch one when I can’t find anything else. At the end of they day it was an enjoyable watch without being brilliant. Plenty of positives moving forward I just don’t know how much of Gently I can take.
About Ian Wells
Ian currently runs the THEBLOGOFCOMICSHOTTOPICS blog. Check him out on Twitter @IanWells87.
About Language of Bromance
Together Richard and Shawn formed the podcast The Language of Bromance and from there it has been nothing but fun. The duo laugh about things they go through, stories in the news and even getting serious discussing net neutrality along with other issues. Every so often their friendship turns to a bitter rivalry with their nerdiest creation the draft episodes. An original take on a best of or a top 10 list. The draft episodes are done like an NFL Draft 7 rounds where Richard and Shawn flip-flop picks on various topics.
To become a LOBarmy Contributed
If you are interested in writing an article for the LOBarmy Intelligent Reports please contact Richard and Shawn at EatTheBeaver@LanguageOfBromance.Com or reach out to us via twitter @LanguageOfBro.