Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Microreview [TV Show]: Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency: Season Two

Does season 2 live up to season one's charm?

I enjoyed the first season of Dirk Gently quite a bit. It was an occasionally frustrating, but often charming and strange show with a focus on friendships that I appreciated. So I was looking forward to season two quite a bit. Did it live up to the promise of the first season?

Mostly only in the frustrating parts. The show throws everything from fantasy tropes into the blender and adds it into the world of Dirk Gently to mixed results. The season follows a new case—one where Dirk must find “a boy.” The reasons he needs to? There’s a witch, a house with portals to a fantasy land, knights who use scissors as weapons, and a mighty battle set to begin. Some of this works very well: the incorporation of childhood fears and imagination into the fantasy kingdom and some work not at all.

On the plus side, the set of characters from the first season are back. Samuel Barnett is particularly excellent in this season as Dirk. His blend of over confidence that hides a supreme lack of confidence is played with a skillful, madcap balance. Alongside him, Jade Eshete is still a stand out as Farah and Fiona Dourif is given a little more room to take Bart in compelling directions. However, there’s so much going on that all of the characters end up feeling as if we’ve spent barely any time with them and the relationships so carefully built in the first season are shaken up with not such great results.

The humor this time around often falls flat as well, going too far into being weird for weirds sake rather than the more careful balance of weird and funny that the first season had (and which was somewhat more in keeping with Douglas Adams’ sense of humor.)

Additionally, the villains in this season range from supremely uninteresting to one character (who becomes a villain) that just pissed me off that that’s where the character’s direction was taken in.

Are there elements to enjoy? Certainly. Again, the acting is excellent. The music choices are spot on and the visuals are often strangely delightful.

Ultimately, this is a second season that feels like it should’ve been saved for a later season in the show—when these risks might have felt more earned for the characters. I was really rooting for Dirk Gently to succeed, but having heard that BBC America has chosen to cancel it, I can see that it was a few risks too many. That being said, definitely check out season one which (save for the last few minutes) works well as a stand alone mini-series.

 The Math

Baseline Assessment: 6/10

Bonuses: +1 for the corgi returning, +1 for Samuel Barnett

Penalties: -1 for aggravating character decisions, -1 for being somewhat of a mess

Nerd Coefficient: 6/10

POSTED BY: Chloe, speculative fiction fan in all forms, monster theorist, and Nerds of a Feather blogger since 2016.