Categorised | UK TV

Tags | None

Mini-review: Dirk Gently 1x1

Posted on March 9, 2012 | comments | Bookmark and Share

Dirk Gently

In the UK: Mondays, 9pm, BBC4. Available on the iPlayer

I'm not sure this is worth a full-on review, so innovation time! It's a mini-review. Staggering hey? That's how imaginative I am.

Now there was obviously a pilot to this, based on the Dirk Gently books by Douglas Adams, and when I micro-reviewed it c. Christmas 2010, this is what I said:

Very disappointing, given it was based on a Douglas Adams character and written by the creator of Misfits. A pilot for a series, rather than a straight adaptation of any of the books, it changed all the characters and made them less interesting, and strip-mined the books for anything that could be achieved on a budget of 50p and wasn't too fantasy/sci-fi. Only the last 10 minutes was in any way interesting.

And we're pretty much there for the series proper. Even moving on from the fact that this isn't Douglas Adams' Dirk Gently but a different Dirk in his own right, so that we can judge the show on its own terms, this still isn't a particularly funny or entertaining programme. There are a few good ideas struggling to get out, mostly inherited from the books (and it turns out that there were still a few things that could be strip-mined from those, such as the strangely accurate horoscopes); there were some original, mildly entertaining concepts, too, that actually fit right in with Adams' thinking.

But it's still not as good as it could or should be, especially given Howard Overton's presence on the scripts and Stephen Mangan and Darren Boyd in front of the camera. There wasn't much laughter, action or anything. It was just sort of 'there'. This first episode was also missing Helen Baxendale, which didn't help, but at least she's in next week's. And Darren Boyd was effectively reduced to Doctor Who assistant level - and I'm talking Nyssa or Harry here, not Rose.

So I'll forgive you if you watch it - I might watch next week's episode, too - but don't be expecting to do much other than see Mangan and Boyd do their level best to make something funny that just isn't.

Related entries

  • June 26, 2015: What have you been watching? Including Rules For Living, True Detective, The Last Ship and Suits
    A review of the TV, films and theatre I saw in the week ending June 26 2015
  • January 26, 2016: Review: Stan Lee's Lucky Man 1x1 (UK: Sky 1)
    A review of the first episode of Sky 1's Stan Lee's Lucky Man
  • July 2, 2013: TMINE recommends
    All the reviews I've written about all the shows that I've recommended on the blog. 24 - 5x1 (2006.01.24) 24 - 6x1-6x4 (2007.01.09) 24 - 7x1-7x4 (2009.01.14) 24 - 8x1-8x4 (2010.01.19) 30 Rock 1x1 (2006.10.11) 30 Rock (Third-episode verdict) (2006.10.25...

  • "What do you expect them to do?"

    1) Funny
    2) Well written
    3) Tonally similar to the books

    But the last two episodes were good.

  • Wakey19

    I could not disagree more with the reviewer.  Having just watched all four episodes, and having read and re-read the Dirk Gently books (along with everything else Douglas Adams), I think the show is fantastic!  The writers have done a great job of capturing the essence of the characters and Adams' dry, cosmic sense of humor, while balancing this against the needs and strictures of working within a one-hour TV show format.  What do you expect them to do?  Do you think it is possible to take the mental images you created in your mind while reading, transport them magically onto film and then create a word-for-word script directly from the book that actually works?  People who compare a TV show to a book they love will always be disappointed until they realize their expectations need to change.  Please television gods, let this program continue.  We don't need another Firefly on our hands.

  • Ms M

    I loved it! (like the books more but hey..) Please please BBC, make more!!!

  • The next two episodes were a lot better - episode 2, episode 3

  • Andy

    I found the whole series of Dirk Gently entertaining. Two superb actors make and excellent plots. Please please please make another series

blog comments powered by Disqus

Allowable comments

You can leave just about any kind of comment you like. You can argue, suggest I am (or anyone else is) wrong, leaving general messages of love – anything. However, you absolutely can't leave messages that attack other commenters (or me), are simple variations of "your review sucks" or that are misogynistic, racist, homophobic, etc: your comment will either be edited or deleted and you'll be barred from leaving any further comments. We want to keep it civil here.

Featured Articles


The best Exorcist remake this year