Sea­son 2 gets weird for ‘Dirk Gen­tly’

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FEATURES - By Rob Low­man South­ern Cal­i­for­nia News Group

“Have you no­ticed an ac­cel­er­a­tion of the strangeness in your life?” says a po­lite, mus­ta­chioed mys­tery man (John Han­nah) to Suzie (Amanda Walsh) a few mo­ments be­fore he kills her boss, the owner of a dy­na­mite com­pany.

An ac­cel­er­a­tion of strangeness de­scribes the sec­ond sea­son BBC Amer­ica’s “Dirk Gen­tly’s Holis­tic De­tec­tive Agency,” the odd­est se­ries on tele­vi­sion not cre­ated by David Lynch.

But the se­ries, cre­ated by Max Lan­dis (“Amer­i­can Ul­tra,” “Chron­i­cle”) and adapted from the nov­els by the late Dou­glas Adams (“The Hitch­hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”), has a de­cid­edly lighter touch.

The new sea­son opens up in the mag­i­cal king­dom of Wendi­moor, which is be­ing threat­ened by ma­raud­ers un­der the spell of the Madge (Han­nah) who has crossed over into the present day.

Pick­ing up from last year, psy­chic gumshoe Dirk (Sa­muel Bar­nett) has been im­pris­oned by the govern­ment or­ga­ni­za­tion Black­wing that is try­ing to con­tain peo­ple like him and their “gifts.”

Dirk’s as­sis­tant, ex-rocker Todd (Eli­jah Wood), and ninja-like Farah (Jade Eshete) are try­ing to reach out to the uni­verse for clues to lo­cate Dirk, which is what holis­tic de­tec­tives do. Along the way, they stum­ble on a case — the dis­ap­pear­ance of a long-miss­ing cou­ple in Mon­tana. It’s there they meet Sherlock Hobbs (Tyler Labine), an easy­go­ing small-town sher­iff and his deputy Tina (Izzie Steele), “five-days sober.”

If you didn’t see the first sea­son of the se­ries, it doesn’t mat­ter. There may be a lit­tle more un­pack­ing to do, but “Dirk Gen­tly” has its own charm­ing weird­ness that you ei­ther go with or don’t. What’s fun about the story is that ev­ery char­ac­ter is ob­sessed with their own fail­ings and problems while the cos­mos keeps play­ing tricks on them.

Mean­while, the se­ries isn’t afraid to mix in more crazi­ness. Suzie, as it turns out, dis­cov­ers she has some magic of her own — first thing she does is give her­self a makeover — and be­comes a force.

Also on­board is Alan Tudyk as Mr. Priest, a de­ranged bounty hunter work­ing for Black­wing, and Alexia Fast plays Mona Wilder, an­other of the “gifted” ones. Back is Bart (played with a lively edge by Fiona Dou­rif), a holis­tic as­sas­sin fight­ing her in­stincts to kill peo­ple.

“Peo­ple are hap­pier when I don’t kill them,” Bart rea­sons, but that doesn’t al­ways work out for her.

When Dirk goes wan­der­ing off on his own while they are in­ves­ti­gat­ing the new case, Tina asks Todd, “Is he be­ing like holis­tic or just rude or just dumb?”

“A mixed bag,” he replies. The se­ries is like that, but even­tu­ally things be­gin to con­nect and there are enough sur­prises and off­beat mo­ments that make “Dirk Gen­tly” worth fol­low­ing.

PHOTO BY KATIE YU - BBC AMER­ICA

Tyler Labine (Sherlock Hobbs) Sa­muel Bar­nett (Dirk), Eli­jah Wood (Todd) in sea­son 2 of “Dirk Gen­tly’s Holis­tic De­tec­tive Agency” on BBC Amer­ica.

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