Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Fundamental Interconnectedness of All Things

So, Wonder Wife and I watched the much-ballyhooed third season of Sherlock recently/finally. After all the hoorar and to-do, I wonder if anything would have lived up to expectations created, byur frankly, I was disappointed. Without being too spoilery for anyone who is going to be finally-er than we were, here are some observations:

§ Regardless of the popularity of the show, two short seasons seems not enough in the bank to start including the sort of self-referential and fan-service bits that have been popping up.

§ Too much Mycroft and too much British Intelligence. Both should be used sparingly; as others have commented, I wanted to see Sherlock tackle more quotidian mysteries.

§ I do not like Mary Watson's backstory at all.

§ The season final reveal: bo-ring.

But all is not lost: do you want to see clever and complex mysteries solved by a brilliant, eccentric, socially-challenged investigator and his stalwart companion? Look no further than Dirk Gently.

Based on the character created by Douglas Adams (of Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy fame) who appears in two novels (Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency and The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul), this BBC series ran only for a pilot and three episodes, so the oeuvre is just one-third the size of Sherlock's, but it packs much more brio into its short run. Dirk Gently bears as little direct correlation to it hero's novels as Sherlock does to Doyle's stories, but while it changes details the show does capture the elan and spirit of the books.

Less mannered than the Baker Street series, Dirk Gently overflows with energy that is chaotic but never random. Dirk's insistence on the interconnectedness of all things and his "holistic" approach bear fruit, but never through coincidence: plots are clockwork in precision, details are important, and the mysteries are fair play all the way. Dirk also moves in a world of lost cats, cheating husbands, and stolen university technology; that these cases are often spiced with fantastical elements makes them no less grounded in the real world.

And it's really funny.

Check it out. It's a shining gem that was unfortunately lost in a reshuffle of BBC-Four broadcasting policies.

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