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Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency - Season 2 - Advance Preview



The first season of Max Landis' "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency" was aggressively strange television. And while the parameters of what can be considered weird on TV have now shifted considerably after the airing of David Lynch's masterpiece "Twin Peaks: The Return" this summer, "Gently" is still a deeply indiosyncratic show, with its own distinctively bizarre voice. Whether you like the show or not (it, as well as the man who has developed the property for BBC America, has proven to be divisive), its uniqueness should be celebrated.

I enjoyed the first season of the show quite a bit. At first I was skeptical: I enjoyed the filmmaking and the general oddness and seeming randomness of everything, but as the season wore on I was won over, as it became increasingly clear that there was some sort of order - narrative or otherwise - to the chaos. As leftover pieces of plot slipped into place in the season's home stretch, the show demonstrated a terrific command of tone, as well as a solid understanding of its characters.

That understanding of character is on full display in the first two episodes of the new season, and helps push the episodes through their more expository patches. There are more than a few instances in these episodes where the scipt and dialogue strain and groan as the writers attempt to move all the pieces into place for the remaining episodes, but the characters, old and new, are engaging and enjoyable enough so that some clunky set-up can be somewhat forgiven.

The central unit of Dirk, Todd, and Farah remain a delight, and the show has become only stronger now that a strange sort of bond has emerged between the three weirdos that so much of the show revolves around. While the show has yet to fully figure out who Amanda is as a character, her search for the Rowdy Three this season gives her the agency she lacked last year. The astonishing stupidity of Friedkin - who runs a secret government task-force whose goal is to capture Dirk and others like him - still hasn't worn thin, and while these two episodes were frustratingly light on both Bart and Ken (who were easily the highlights of last season), their appearances are hilarious and (in the case of Bart) oddly touching.

There are some notable additions to the cast this season, in particular Alan Tudyk and Batiatus himself John Hannah. While we learn very little about their respective characters in these episodes, seeing those two great actors being given the chance to ham it up on screen (nobody does that better than Hannah) is a delight.

One of the things that most impressed me about "Gently" last year was the deft world-building that was woven through each episode, designed to shade in the world of the show and give it further personality without calling attention to itself. The show felt comfortable intrducing new corners of this strange world without feeling the need to over-explain them. And this season continues in that vain, especially with the inclusion of a wonderfully campy fantasy world in which people fight each other not with swords but with giant scissors (seriously).

These two episodes introduce a lot of disparate plot threads, and the show seems to be in no particular hurry to tie them all together and have everything make sense (according to the show's own internal logic). Given that much of this season's eventual success will depend on how elegantly it does that, these two episodes are not a fair sample size with which to judge the quality of the season as a whole. And while they're also unlikely to attract those who didn't respond to last season (this show is certainly not for everybody), they do suggest that we're in for a strong stretch of episodes, one that doubles down on everything that made the first season such a singular experience.








 
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