The late Douglas Adams (“Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”), author of the books from which this gem was skillfully adapted by BBC, creates an elaborate world of the impossible where holistic detective Dirk Gently investigates cases involving the supernatural. The first five episodes or so can seem disjointed and arbitrary, but once you make it through the never-dull momentum, the connections are clear and it all starts with a mantra:
“That’s not how it works, you can’t control it.”
Over the course of two seasons (sadly a total of just 18 episodes), you will see the introduction of such madness as a girl who can shape-change into anything, a mass-murdering killer of killers, a fairy tale land come to life, soul swapping, time travel and psychic vampires.
Dirk bumbles through out-of-control situations on the lookout for clues to solve his case “holistically” — meaning regardless of evidence but by the whimsiness of the universe.
Dirk (Samuel Barnett) moves through chaos finding connections in the universe as “all things are connected.” And much of the clues are referred to as “things.”
“This is a thing!” Dirk and his assistant Todd (played by Elijah Wood — a role suited to his career choices) shout this with giddy glee, trying to find the connection for these seemingly unrelated events.
“Like a leaf in the stream of consciousness” is yet another mantra that is used throughout the two seasons by various characters, including Bart (Fiona Dourif), an unkillable “holistic assassin” who is on a mission to kill Dirk yet bumbles with a naiveté that is hard to fathom.
“Do you know Ken?” she asks of her companions.
“Ken who?” they respond.
“There’s more than one Ken?” she says.
The kookiness of the show is a convoluted marvel of storytelling adapted by Max Landis (“American Ultra,” “Chronicle”). If you survive the sensory overload, the payoff is well worth the watch. By the time you get to the last episode, you’ll be sassing your hip to the side, flipping your arm with a snap of the hand and saying “did it!”
While the novels are available one can hope that the universe will see the connections and renew this show, despite its being canceled. In the meantime, you can catch up with the show on Hulu anytime. Just the “thing” for a summer binge watch.
Named after Stephen King’s fictional town described in his many books and short stories, the drama "Castle Rock" contains references to much of the author's work over the years, (including “Cujo”, “IT”, “The Dark Half” and “Needful Things”) and explores these worlds, unites them and further explores their themes.
Created by Stephen King and J.J. Abrams: Starring Scott Glenn, Bill Skarsgard, Sissy Spacek and many others.