BBC America has ordered a new adaptation of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, to be written by Max Landis.
The eight-episode series follows Dirk Gently, an unconventional (to say the least) private investigator and his assistant, Todd, as they delve into metaphysical mysteries. The novel — described by the author as a “thumping good detective-ghost-horror-who dunnit-time travel-romantic-musical-comedy-epic” — was the brainchild of Douglas Adams, best known for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
The production comes from AMC Studios, Ideate Media and comic book publisher IDW Entertainment with Circle of Confusion producing. Exec producers are Landis, Ideate’s Arvind Ethan David and Zainir Aminullah, IDW Entertainment’s Ted Adams and David Ozer and David Alpert and Rick Jacobs from Circle of Confusion.
This is the second TV project for Landis, who made a critically-acclaimed debut with his screenplay for Chronicle. He’s also on board Syfy’s horror anthology series Channel Zero. His involvement with Gently came out of his connection with David, who has a long history with the story. While he was a student at the Stowe boarding school outside of London, he and James Goss wrote Dirk, a stage adaptation of the series. While the original 1991 production didn’t go over too well, an expanded revival in 1995 was called by SFX Magazine, “As fine a piece of science fiction theatre as you are likely to find anywhere.”
Adams attended a the final performance of that run and befriended David, who says, “I’ve been waiting almost 20 years for TV to be ready for this and to find the right person to do it for TV.”
David says Landis has the understanding of the character, and that the deal with BBCA is “symbiotic” given Adams’ relationship with Doctor Who in the 1980s. BBCA is said to be contemplating Dirk Gently as a … (ahem) … companion piece to Doctor Who.
“Dirk Gently is a very original series, fresh and unlike anything else. The novels have legions of fans, and with Max Landis’ brilliant and audacious take on this material we are excited to bring Dirk to life for our BBCA super-fans,” said BBC America president Sarah Barnett.
Dirk Gently will also relaunch as a comic book series through IDW Entertainment that David will write.
This is not the first adaptation of Dirk Gently for other media. BBC Radio produced two adaptations, one in 2007 and another based on the sequel in 2008, with a television production on BBC 4 in 2010.