Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency arrived in 2016 on BBC America as a welcome TV series oddity, going on to amass a vocal fanbase and a second season renewal. However, its existence was hampered by low ratings, which led to its cancellation in December 2017. While a fan-driven campaign to find a new platform for the show left a sliver of hope, it appears that said effort has also reached its conclusion.
One of the main visionaries of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, executive producer Arvind Ethan David, relayed some bad news to the fans who have been pushing #SaveDirkGently, confirming that the effort is essentially over. As David puts it, as frankly as possible, “there just isn’t a big enough audience for the economics to work out.”
Indeed, Dirk Gently was a welcome peak television oddity, which saw writer/executive producer Max Landis dare to put the intrinsically British stories of Douglas Adams’s classic novels through an American lens to concoct a delightfully esoteric TV series synthesis, shifting the story’s setting to the States. The series starred Briton Samuel Barnett as the titular detective and American Elijah Wood as reluctant partner Todd Brotzman, with Jade Eshete as the agency’s hard-hitting third, Farah Black.
Unfortunately, the show’s ratings woes were always apparent. Dirk Gently debuted on October 22, 2016 to what would be a series peak of 437,000 viewers; a viewership that plummeted to 277,000 viewers for the finale, leading to a Season 1 average of 287,000 viewers. However, after its (in retrospect miraculous,) Season 2 run concluded this past December, the clearly diminished average of 249,000 viewers had chummed waters for the proverbial cancellation sharks; something exacerbated by the fantastical – exorbitant – dimension-crossing creative direction of Season 2.
Consequently, David, in his letter, explains that fans should avoid the typical indignation directed at “the powers that be” after the cancellation of a beloved show. In an expression of gratitude, he clarifies, “our partners are fans too,” adding, “they supported us with a mixture of blind faith and fantastic enthusiasm and many, many millions of dollars that allowed us to make the weirdest show on television.”
Thus, the cancellation of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency will have to remain a tough pill to swallow for the fanbase who properly recognized it as an impressively unique television offering that threw out the rules of serial television. However, David’s letter also maintains a small level of optimism, expressing hope that this beloved iteration of the property could still see a revival of some kind, teasing:
“We’re not saying never. In years to come, perhaps there will be Dirk Gently: The Movie, or Dirk Gently the Animated Series, or Dirk Gently: The Role Playing Towel Game.”
Truly, the (let’s be clear, hypothetical,) idea of getting the occasional Dirk Gently movie, possibly on Netflix – the platform that carried the series outside the U.S., also once speculated as a prospective home for (the now-nixed) Season 3 – would be a stupendous silver lining to the cancellation of the series.
Here’s the full letter to the fans from Arvind Ethan David (the producers also released a version for the #SaveDirkGently Twitter account):