The first season of Dirk Gently felt like an early David Tennant Doctor Who replacement. It had the same wide-open sense that anything could happen, anything might lie just around the corner, that quick wits were a suitable substitute for fast hands, and that discretion was often the best part of valor. Dirk Gently had that same goofy sense of adventure punctuated by brief bouts of maudlin depression that imbued him with a sense of vulnerability despite his tendency to dance through the raindrops with dry hair. It was a quirky, fun adventure that avoided a lot of the usual pitfalls for genre television.
And then along came Season Two.
It’s not entirely without merit. Several of the characters show real arcs, some for the better and some for the worse. In most cases the changes are slow and organic and feel natural. The new cast members on Team Good include a local Sheriff who stands out as a good guy swept up in the bizarre tidings and managing the weirdness with aplomb. The show stretches its budget to the limit and the story provides suitable explanations for all of the really weird and artificial looking props and settings. The scope of Dirk’s world gets fleshed out, and we learn more about how and why the (kind of) superpowered folks exist and do what they do.
And then they had to dive headfirst into the usual mood-killing nonsense. The big damn hero is gay? Check. Manic-pixie girl with world-crushing powers? Check. The effective male leads are all evil? Check. The frail housewife that physically overpowers her farmer husband in a test of strength? Check, and that one was particularly egregious – it sucked all the tension and impact out of what could have been an effective scene if the housewife had simply surprised her husband instead of out-muscling him. Kids are the wisest of us all? Check.
Swap a few genders. Ditch a couple of clichés. Lose the needless Narrative tropes. You get the same thrills and fun of Season One without the baggage. Once again a viewer can only sigh for what might have been had the producers had the guts to cut against the grain and take a few risks instead of sticking with the same tired old digs at traditional culture.
Which leads to my theory that the poz is changing. It’s…evolving. They are becoming smart enough to feed you a bit of hope, to give you a solid first taste of the story they want to tell. Once they think they have you hooked, they inject large does of cultural poison into the mix, knowing that most blind consumers won’t notice until their ten year old child is sexy dancing for money in front of a crowd of men in assless chaps. It’s insidious, and based on Season Two, I’ve actually gone back and added an addendum to my previous post warning everyone to stay away.