The radio series soon became a series of books, plays, TV shows, and even a feature film. The "Hitchhiker" became a worldwide phenomenon, but fewer readers are aware of Adams's lesser known supernatural sci-fi detective series, "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency."
Now, "Dirk Gently" is set to see the light of day again, this time as a TV series.
IDW Entertainment and Ideate TV have announced that they jointly bought the rights to produce the series based on Douglas Adams's hilarious sleuth. According to IDW's website, they've tapped Max Landis to executive produce and write the pilot episode.
Landis wrote the screenplay for "Chronicle" (2012), a "found footage" movie about teenagers who receive telekinetic powers. The film became an unexpected hit among critics and fans, raking in $123.1 million in box office sales worldwide, despite having a budget of only $12 million. Landis also wrote the upcoming "Frankenstein" film with Daniel Radcliffe and James McAvoy, set to be released sometime in 2015.
Landis, apparently a huge fan of Adams's detective, says he is enthusiastic to take on the new project, according to IDW's website.
“Alongside the obvious yada yada I’m a lifelong fan, 'Long Dark Teatime Of The Soul' [the second "Dirk Gently" novel] is one of the best books ever,” he said, adding that “This is any writer’s ultimate project."
The original novel 1987 novel that introduced the detective is described on the cover by Adams himself as being a "thumping good detective-ghost-horror-who dunnit-time travel-romantic-musical-comedy-epic."
Landis describes the series on IDW's site: "Imagine a playground where you could come with any mystery, no matter how improbable, convoluted, or totally insane and then, simply by finding the right connections, you could tie it all down to one man, one private eye. If you’re familiar with the property, you know: there’s no freaking rules. Ancient gods? Sure. Larceny and petty crimes? Of course. Extra-dimensional aliens? I mean, probably; as long as you can make it funny, Dirk’s on the case.”
Sherlock Holmes relies on deduction to help him solve his cases, so what's Dirk Gently's special skill? Adams's detective believes in the interconnectedness of all things (which is what makes him a "holistic" detective). As such, he doesn't so much solve a mystery as he attempts to solve the society around the mystery. In reality, he's more of a con man than a detective, trying to do as little as possible except send bills to clients. Inevitably, however, circumstances force him into a typical Douglas Adams scenario involving supernatural forces and hilariously over-the-top situations.
This upcoming TV appearance isn't the first time the detective has left the realm of the printed word. According to the Escapist, Dirk Gently has made multiple appearances on BBC radio (much like "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy") and had a short-lived run on BBC television in 2012.
Adams, who died in 2001, had a very close working relationship with the BBC.Some of his work included several episodes of the popular "Doctor Who" TV series. In fact, the ideas for the first Dirk Gently novel came from a collection of serials he wrote for "Doctor Who," some of which were never aired, according to Film.The upcoming TV series, however, will have no affiliation with the BBC.
According to IDW's site, IDW Publishing & Ideate Media will also release a series of comic books next spring featuring the "Holistic Detective" to raise interest for the upcoming TV series.
Ed Victor, a longtime friend and agent of Adams, says that the renewed interest in Dirk Gently will finally get the series the attention it deserves, according to the IDW site. “Douglas Adams himself always maintained that his 'Dirk Gently' novels had much greater dramatic potential than his better known Hitchhiker’s 'Guide to the Galaxy' series. I think he is about to be proven right — yet again.”
A premiere date for the new series has not been set.
Weston Williams is a Monitor contributor.