If you’re a fan of quirky mysteries where “everything is connected,” you’ll have to look somewhere other than BBC America as the network has announced the cancelation of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency after just two seasons. The news comes on the heels of the second season’s finale, which not only solved the mystery of the fantastical land of Wendimoor, but through a series of small but important reveals, also sowed the seeds for the series moving forward. That leaves fans and the creators behind the series in the unenviable position of leaving a great many things unfinished.
The network didn’t give a specific reason for opting not to renew the series in its statement, but it’s a safe bet that ratings played a part in the decision. Though the quirky show had its loyal fan base — as all quirky, niche shows in this age of Peak TV do — Dirk Gently’s ratings were, let’s just say, not great. According to the Nielsen Company, ahead of Saturday’s finale, season 2 was averaging under 250,000 viewers per episode, which, even in this day and age of On Demand viewings, doesn’t paint a terribly optimistic picture. And though BBC America has stuck with low-rated programs like Orphan Black in the past, Dirk Gently didn’t quite earn the same kind of critical praise (or Emmy wins) to act as an incentive for renewal.
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As reported by Deadline, the network released a statement regarding the decision not to push forward with a third season. The statement says:
“We are beyond proud of this brilliant original series and so appreciative of the outstanding team behind it including Max Landis, Samuel Barnett, Elijah Wood, and many many others. It was a privilege to work with this talented and passionate group of writers, producers and actors on these two seasons of Dirk. Thanks also to the passionate fans who embraced this fantastically novel world.”
“Novel” is certainly one way to describe the world Max Landis devised for this most recent adaptation of the character created by Douglas Adams. Dirk Gently was nothing if not game for getting as weird as possible and bringing in elements of science fiction, the supernatural, and, for the purposes of season 2, fantasy, in order to bring its story to life. The show’s willingness to embrace and earnestly accept the fantastical, all while approaching those genre elements from a slightly skeptical outsider’s point of view makes the series’ relatively low ratings even more perplexing.
Worse yet, the de facto series finale, ‘Nice Jacket’, effectively revealed Dirk’s greater purpose and also introduced a greater overarching plot line for the series moving forward. With Mpho Koaho’s Ken in charge of Blackwing and Sgt. Friedkin finding enlightenment in the backstage of reality, two supporting characters found promising new directions as well. As is the case with surprising cancelations like this, the promise of those directions will unfortunately go unfulfilled.
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency can be streamed on the BBC America app and Hulu.
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