Dirk Gently

I am simultaneously excited and skeptical. Douglas Adams is one of my favorite writers. For anyone who is unaware the late Mr. Adams, novelist and TV writer, wrote The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, as well as episodes of Doctor Who and Monty Python’s Flying Circus. I’m always happy when I hear that one of his novels is being brought to the screen in one form or another.

At the same time I’m always skeptical of American versions of British (or other foreign) shows. It always strikes me as slightly insulting in principal – as if US producers feel that British accents are simply too exotic for US audiences (unless it’s in a historical setting – if it’s medieval or colonial it’s fine).

Usually, but not always, the US nets manage to botch it and even when they don’t I always feel like the British series might have had a longer run if a US network or cable outlet had been airing the UK version. For example, the vastly superior British version of Life on Mars and the Office (with Ricky Gervais and Martin Freeman) could have had more than a few seasons.

Currently HBO is remaking Utopia (one of the best shows of the decade) and Fox is making a US version of Broadchurch (but keeping the Scottish star, David Tennant).

Now, according to /Film, a US version of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is coming.

Now a new Dirk Gently TV series is in development, from IDW and Dave Alpert (The Walking Dead) of Circle of Confusion.

“Dirk Gently has been on television before, thanks to the BBC, which ran a pilot in 2010 and three series episodes in 2012…THR reports details on the show, the pilot for which will be written and exec produced by Max Landis (Chronicle). While Landis has proven to be adept with reworking well-known story concepts (see Chronicle, and his forthcoming Frankenstein movie) he’s one of the last people I’d think of to adapt the wry work of Adams, which manages to be understated even when it goes over the top.”

So, again, I’m left with a mix of excitement and dread. There is no word on whether this is a new adaptation or a remake of the British series. In either case though, US TV producers seem to believe that anything British is over the heads of US audiences and Dirk Gently is British. It is set in England, not LA or New York and the character is as necessarily British as Doctor Who or Arthur Dent.

If this version is set in Chicago starring someone who looks and sounds vaguely like Han Solo/Indiana Jones – it is going to suck. However, if Landis decides to buck the trend and sets the series in England, with British stars and manages to capture the understated dry yet absurdist humor of Adams – then I’m really looking forward to it.