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Dirk Gently epsiode 1 and Misfits season 2 finale - The Ex-Communicator

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December 17th, 2010


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11:33 am - Dirk Gently epsiode 1 and Misfits season 2 finale
I watched Dirk Gently on BBC4 followed by the season finale of Misfits on E4, and then immediately watched Misfits again on E4+1, so last night I watched 3 hours straight of TV written by a single person - Howard Overman. This is surprising because he was the writer behind the single worst show I saw all last year, the godalmighty-bad Vexed and he's done a few epsiodes of Merlin, which admittedly I haven't actually seen but reject on principle :-)

I am very interested in him as a writer, and the two shows back to back were a great showcase. Dirk Gently, played by Stephen Mangan, and Nathan played by Robert Sheehan are very similar loveably annoying and gobby characters, even with the same build and hairdo. However Dirk Gently seems more or less asexual, while Nathan is polymorphously perverse.

Dirk Gently was more of a freewheeling association of events arising from Douglas Adams' work than a cut-down version of any of his plots. I thought it made dramatic sense if you were constantly comparing it to the original - for instance when the monk didn't appear, they were on Monk's Road. Everything was different, but you were expected to kind of know what was missing. Also - he went to Barbados like me! hence proving that everything is connected.

I was wondering if anyone has watched last night's episode of Misfits in response to me blogging so enthusiastically about it? I think it was very good, but I am not sure it would have worked if viewed as a stand-alone episode. It is more like Gauda Prime - highly charged in context. I think if you do want to watch Misfits, it's really worth going back to Season 1. I am honestly telling you there are values in there, which are not expressed by the characters, but against which the characters express themselves. Also Simon is the hot.

Something thast struck me about this episode that I haven't seen mentioned anywhere else - I have been reading toddalcott's scene-by scene review of The Shining. Much of the episode was set in an imaginary hotel, which was very similar to the Overlook Hotel. A lot of the action took place in what looked a lot like this bathroom (pic NSFW).

I will continue to blog about Misfits for a while longer I am afraid, as the Christmas Special is on Sunday. OMG. The teasers and the trailer are very tantalising. Simon is going to kill Jesus! He is frickin' unstoppable.

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Comments:


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From:gair
Date:December 17th, 2010 11:45 am (UTC)
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he went to Barbados like me! hence proving that everything is connected.

::has joy::

(I only watched the first episode of Misfits, it is not my cup of tea. But I am enjoying the blogging about it nonetheless!)
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From:communicator
Date:December 17th, 2010 11:52 am (UTC)
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Glad it makes some kind of sense out of context.
From:huskyscotsman
Date:December 17th, 2010 11:57 am (UTC)
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It probably takes me too long to get over a bad first impression. The reviews of Vexed (yours and the ones you linked to) boggled my mind, and 5 minutes of watching it was enough to convince me that you were spot on.

I watched Dirk Gently with my fingers crossed, but I was mostly disappointed. I guess it's good that it didn't slavishly follow the book, and the plot wasn't bad at all, but the characterisation really rubbed me up the wrong way. Richard was just a horrible mean-spirited dick, and Susan was bland and saintly with no real reason to be everybody's love interest apart from the fact that she's played by a rather beautiful actress. Dirk wasn't terrible, though.

And oh god I hated hated hated the music. Cheesy and at times porny, with clunky sound effects to underscore all the jokes (a film friend of mine says this is called "mickey mousing"). I guess you can't blame the writer for that, though.
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From:communicator
Date:December 17th, 2010 03:10 pm (UTC)
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I don't think I was able to watch Dirk Gently as a - you know - dramatic presentation because I was constantly comparing it to the other shows, and to Adams' novel.
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From:gfk88
Date:December 17th, 2010 04:14 pm (UTC)
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As luck would have it, I'm working at home today, so I had a look at last night's Misfits, plus a few bits on the catch-up service. It seems like a lot of fun, reminds me a lot of early Buffy. I probably need to go watch S1 now. Obviously Simon and Alisha are just fab. That Nathan needs a good smack though.
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From:communicator
Date:December 17th, 2010 11:16 pm (UTC)
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The development of the relationship between the two of them is very poignant. I am of your mind about Nathan.
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From:matgb
Date:December 17th, 2010 04:58 pm (UTC)
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Gah, I knew there was something we meant to watch last night.

Ah well, iPlayer was invented for such things.

Haven't watched any Misfits yet, keep meaning to in response to what you've been saying, but it's not available on Virgin 4oD as a series, so it means watching on a small screen and, well, keep putting it off, which is daft.

Especially as I could be wtching it and playing Goldeneye on the Wii, but...
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From:communicator
Date:December 17th, 2010 11:17 pm (UTC)
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I wonder what you'll think of Dirk Gently? I literally think I didn't watch it properly at all, but it was interesting.
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From:matgb
Date:December 19th, 2010 02:51 am (UTC)
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Watched it this evening. I loved it, as did miss_s_b, who's never read the book. Our houseguest, also a fan of the book, didn't like it at all.

I thought it good fun, with a nice update, and the main character was portrayed remarkably well. I loved the twist at the end, even if I do suspect an iPhone would've lost its charge if turned off for that long.
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From:freaky_nea
Date:December 17th, 2010 10:44 pm (UTC)
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Wait! There is a show about Douglas Adam's Dirk Gently? *gasps*
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From:communicator
Date:December 17th, 2010 11:15 pm (UTC)
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Yes, on BBC4 on Thursday evenings. I think it's a series? Hope so anyway.
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From:tehomet
Date:December 18th, 2010 12:33 am (UTC)
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I had great hopes for Dirk Gently, but, um. *shuffles feet*

I might watch the second episode.
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From:communicator
Date:December 18th, 2010 03:10 pm (UTC)
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Very tactfully put :-)
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From:several_bees
Date:December 18th, 2010 02:52 pm (UTC)
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Yes, watching Dirk Gently was very odd, I can't properly imagine what it would have been like without knowing the books very well. I think it was... pretty much okay? Amusing enough sci-fi detective story, not that much in common with the Dirk Gently of the novels, but fine. The differences are arresting, though. Many more uses of the word "bitch" than in Douglas Adams!

I've only seen S1 of Misfits so far, but it didn't occur to me to see Dirk and Nathan as similar; huh. They are both rude and scatterbrained and say brash things, but TV-Dirk (somewhat unlike book-Dirk) didn't seem to be doing it to wind people up, which is Nathan's primary characteristic for me.

I agree with an above commenter that Susan was quite bland, but then so are pretty much all of the women in any Douglas Adams novel - it's a shame that carried through to the show, but it doesn't feel like a change to me. And on the plus side, Helen Baxendale is my new choice of Actress To Play Me In Impossibly Idealised Movie Version Of My Life.
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From:communicator
Date:December 18th, 2010 03:12 pm (UTC)
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Yes, Dirk seemed just to be annoyed by the distance between himself and other people.

You do look a little like Baxendale. I would probably choose Julie Walters to be me.

Edited at 2010-12-18 03:12 pm (UTC)
From:huskyscotsman
Date:December 18th, 2010 04:07 pm (UTC)
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Hell, if Helen Baxendale played me in a movie I'd be delighted.
From:huskyscotsman
Date:December 18th, 2010 04:10 pm (UTC)
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But the bloke who played Richard would be a better fit.
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From:pinkdormouse
Date:December 22nd, 2010 10:45 pm (UTC)
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I'm behind on Misfits, but hoping to catch up over the holidays.
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From:communicator
Date:December 22nd, 2010 11:01 pm (UTC)
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sounds like you have seen season 1? I think it improves as it goes.
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From:pinkdormouse
Date:December 23rd, 2010 05:54 am (UTC)
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I'm up to the middle of the current series. Shall watch the rest before New Year with any luck.

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