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Douglas Adams' Dirk Gently Getting TV Adaptation From Chronicle Writer Max Landis

The interconnectedness of people, places and things has long been subject matter for storytellers to base their tales on, but few have handled it with the erratic aplomb of British author Douglas Adams. His holistic detective character Dirk Gently is headed to American television thanks to comic publisher IDW and Chronicle screenwriter Max Landis. Let’s hope this project comes into existence faster than the payments from any of Gently’s clients.

Landis will pen a script for Dirk Gently, though THR doesn’t make it clear whether he’s only writing a pilot or if he’s mapping out something larger. It’s also not obvious whether this will be a direct adaptation of 1987’s Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, its 1988 sequel The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, or if it will be an entirely new story set in Adams’ wild and wonderful universe. I think I’d even be accepting if this series was a comedic case-of-the-week procedural, assuming Gently is the same quirky psychic he is on the page.

Gently does have psychic powers, though he prefers to think of them as perfectly natural intuitive thoughts. He solves strange cases that not only involve time travel and cleverly parceled-out information, but sometimes revolve around inexplicably placed couches. I don’t know if Landis has proven himself worthy of taking on the masterful wordplay of Douglas Adams, but I’m not going to write him off over it, especially since we have to wait until 2015 to get a better idea of his skills through his screenplays for Frankenstein and American Ultra.

Dirk Gently serves as the latest trip to television for both the character and IDW, who teamed up with production company Circle of Confusion last year to focus more attention on creating TV series. (They also have the upcoming V-Wars adaptation in the cards.) Both Dirk Gently novels have been adapted in BBC Radio 4 productions, and BBC4 also brought the character to the small screen for the short-lived Dirk Gently series in 2012. Check out the trailer for that project below.

My hope is that this Dirk Gently series gets picked up immediately and turns into an absolute success, so that it can lay the path for a future Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. I think we can all agree that series of novels deserves the advantages that TV has over movies. I’d almost argue that Gently would work better as a film, but I’ll never complain about anything Adams-related, especially if they find the perfect actor to play the titular detective.

Adams fans should also be on the lookout for Jem Roberts’ The Frood: The Authorized and Very Official History of Douglas Adams & The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which has a wealth of deleted passages from Adams’ intergalactic laugh riot. Grab your towel and find it in stores on September 25.

Nick Venable
Nick Venable

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.