The name Douglas Adams at the top should be an indication on whether or not you'll enjoy Dirk Gently. The British satirist, most famous for his Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series of novels, possessed a distinctly absurd comic voice that shines through in Dirk Gently, the BBC Four series now available on DVD through Acorn Media.
The series revolves around the titular detective (played by the brilliant Stephen Mangan of Showtime's 'Episodes'), who walks the fine line between being a genius and a con artist. He examines his cases holistically, his methods "based on an almost unswerving belief in the fundamental interconnectedness of all things." It's an approach that often appears hyperactive and unfocused, but is strangely always rewarding -- yes, a car accident twenty years ago does explain why a cat went missing three days ago, as it turns out. Gently is aided by his overly trusting assistant MacDuff (Darren Boyd) as they solve a multitude of cases -- sometimes several at once -- throughout the course of the show's four episodes.
That's right -- the show was cancelled after its first series, meaning that we were only treated to four madcap episodes. It's a double-edged sword: it means, unfortunately, that you'll be left wanting more, but it also means that the show doesn't overstay its welcome. And, for a show with a voice as deliberately and distinctively absurd as Dirk Gently, that's rather important.
The DVD set doesn't contain any special features (aside from subtitles for those who don't have an ear for British accents); the two-disc set only includes the pilot and subsequent three episodes.
So, should you buy Dirk Gently on DVD? It's certainly a quirky show -- one of the quirkiest I've seen, actually. If you enjoy this sort of absurd British comedy (and I certainly do), you'll certainly enjoy Dirk Gently -- the quirkiness never overwhelms the humor, and there's plenty of both to go around.
Dirk Gently is available on DVD now.