Netflix Nosedive: Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

Hi! As you may know if you’ve been with me for a while now, I’ve been working on trying to bring new reviews to you, with…less than frequent results. (But there will be new game reviews in the future. I got games over the holidays, and I need time to play them and get a better idea of how I feel about them.) Well now I have something all new to bring you, the fine, kind, and very intelligent reader who has most graciously seen fit to keep reading my stuff.

Are you ready? It’s NETFLIX NOSEDIVE!

I admit, I’ve never actually used Netflix, though with every ad for a Netflix Original show or film, I’ve said, “Huh, I should look into that.” But there are games to play, books to read, things to write (or edit), and I never got around to it. Then just a few days ago, the TV antenna decided it didn’t want to work. We had nothing, and even trying to scan for channels wouldn’t fix it. So, I’m at the store to buy stuff for Christmas dinner, and I saw a prepaid Netflix card and thought, “I’ve just earned a check for editing and writing. Why not get that card as a Christmas present for myself and my hubby?”

Now I know, some of you probably already know this, but Netflix is amazing, like even better than Kindle. I can be watching a show on my PC or the PS4, pause, go to the bathroom, and keep watching the same show from the very second I paused on any other device. This means I can binge watch anything Netflix has on their service, anytime and anywhere. It’s like living in the future!

But, I’m not so good at binging. I want to, yes, but there’s like 10,000 things I want to watch, and I can only make it through so many episodes of any one thing before I want to see something else. Hence, what I do isn’t binging, and it’s not Netflix and chill. It’s more like a nosedive. (Which is also a clever name for reviews of these programs, in my opinion.)

This is the first of my reviews, and some in the future will be for movies, but the longer ones will be for series. The first of these will be Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. The hubby and I watched the two seasons of this lovely gem over the course of five days, and we both were amazed by how fantastic it was. I myself remember the name because I read a few of the books when I was a teenager. But if I’m being honest, that stretch of time is now slightly hazy in my memory with respect to books I’ve read, so while I recall some of the characters, the actual plots are lost to the blur of brain fog.

That’s probably for the best because I could go into this series knowing who Dirk, Todd, and all the other characters are, but not recall any of the details of these cases they’re working on. It’s watching a mystery show and not knowing who done it, and loving every second of the trip.

The show opens with Todd Brotzman (Elijah Woods), a nobody hounded by his drugged out landlord, heading to his dead end job as a bellhop on what may be the worst day of his life…SO FAR. Because from this point forward, Todd’s life is destined to get much, MUCH worse, thanks in large part to the entry of a private detective into his life, the eponymous Dirk Gently. (Samuel Barnett)

Dirk comes off as a raving lunatic, while Todd seems like a grounded everyman suddenly thrust into a story he cannot possibly understand. It’s only later that the truth begins to come through. Dirk is…possibly still a raving lunatic, but Todd isn’t everything that he seems. Rather than detract from my like of him, the revealing of his rough edges only adds to my enjoyment of his complexity. He’s not a good guy, you see, he’s just a guy who’s been caught up in events so far out of his comfort zone that there’s no way he can rationally cope with it. And yet, he does begin to come to terms with everything.

All this is before you take into account the case Dirk is working on, which involves time travel, a cult of body swapping hippies, a kidnapped girl, and a kitten with a weaponized soul. Just another day at the office for Dirk, but for everyone involved, this is a one-way ticket to Cuckooland.

Then there’s Bart Curlish (Fiona Dourif), a holistic assassin who thinks she’s been set up by the universe to kill Dirk, along with a whole lot of other people. She’s easily twice as crazy as Dirk, kidnapping an assistant of her own and dragging Ken (Mpho Koaho) along to witness her killing spree.

There’s so many other amazing characters and performances that I’d love to list without risking spoilers, including a quartet of mathematically challenged psychic vampires calling themselves the Rowdy 3, a bodyguard desperate to save her ward and make up for all her perceived failures in life, a former rock star turned into a mutinous rebel and…and so much more. Every episode brings in someone else I love whether they’re good, evil or some hazy shade of grey somewhere in the middle.

The first season concludes with the case being somewhat solved, but with a cliffhanger conclusion resulting in Dirk being captured and with most everyone else on the run, hiding out from the government agents who are trying to contain the supernatural and use it to their advantage because of course they would.

This leads to season two, where Todd travels to a small town trying desperately to locate Dirk. Dirk is still imprisoned by an inept government agent until the arrival of another holistic entity who tasks him to “find the boy” before setting him loose and back to Todd. This second season is even better than the first, involving pocket dimensions and sorcery while also expanding on everything that made the first season so great. Todd’s sister Amanda (Hannah Marks) becomes a “chosen one,” Dirk struggles with what it means to be the universe’s tool, Todd learns to embrace the chaos surrounding each case, and Bart chills out and comes to terms with her own place in the nature of things.

I’d love to explain more about each season, but that would be spoiling it, and if you haven’t seen the series yet, I want you to be as surprised and delighted as I was by every episode. There’s really nothing I could find to complain about. The acting is fantastic, the special effects are amazing, and the music is pitch perfect from one scene to the next. Seeing these two seasons now makes me want to buy the books and go through the whole series again.

Sadly, it seems the show was cancelled, though fans are trying to make petitions to get a third season funded. I hope their efforts succeed because I would love to see what else can be done with this cast. The end of the second season just begs for another case to bring everyone together, but it also ties up enough loose ends that I could be happy if it just ended where it did. Plus, like I said, if I really want more of Dirk and Todd, there’s always the books.

There’s also always the chance that if more people watch the show and Netflix sees it’s spiking in popularity, maybe they might change stance and green light another season. So, get out there, dive into this show, and if you like it, give it a thumbs up on Netflix’s rating system. Who knows, maybe if enough of us dig Dirk, he might just go on a new case. The universe could certainly be a better place if that happened.

I give Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency 5 stars and my highest recommendation. If you have a Netflix account, you need to see this. If you don’t have an account, consider going in for the free trial just to see this. It’s well worth your time.