Reviews of The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul (1988) and related work

The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul (1988Text)

Douglas Adams (writer).

Read in Swedish.

Fantastic title. The contents are as nonsensical as I would expect from a loose sequel to a spin-off of a couple of episodes of Doctor Who (1963).

text fiction

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (2016Moving picture, 7 hours)

Seen in 2019.

Review refers to the first season only.

A loose adaptation of Adams’ novels, starting with Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (1987). The production is not faithful to Adams and I have no problem with that. Alas, what the adaptation preserves from Adams is the idea of self-contradiction in place of mere comedic incongruity: The detective who does not investigate, with coincidence in place of plot. This is simply contrarianism, specifically the negation of the sixth of S. S. Van Dine’s “Twenty Rules for Writing Detective Stories” (1928), and the sixth also of Ronald Knox’s so-called “Ten Commandments for Detective Novelists”, a.k.a. “The Detective Story Decalogue” (1929). The more novel stuff is mostly stolen from US TV genre SF in a contemporary setting, obsessed with personal betrayal, plus a little Doctor Who (1963) and Twin Peaks (1990) on the side; not a smooth combination.

Samuel Barnett seems to be trying for Jim Carrey at times; he isn’t good. The Missing Persons and Blackwing duos are more fun, and the duo of Fiona Dourif and Mpho Koaho is head and shoulders above the rest. Dourif seems to be channeling her own father playing a more Zen Trashcan Man from The Stand (1994) in the role of Preacher’s Saint of Killers and it is hilarious. A show about her would have been worth watching.

moving picture adaptation fiction series