In the Wikipedia page for the 2010-12 TV series there is a section in which it's mentioned the TV series is not a direct adaptation from the books:

The screenplay of the pilot by Howard Overman is not a direct adaptation of the novel, but uses certain characters and situations from the novel to form the basis of a new drama centred around Dirk.

It's also followed by a quote from the TV series' creator, in which he explains why they went that way instead of doing a direct adaptation.

In the Wikipedia page for the 2016 TV series, however, there isn't any mention of whether this newer series is a direct adaptation from the books or not. Does the 2016 TV series try to follow the story from the books, or is it also a "with characters from..." kinda thing as was the 2010-12 series?

2 Answers 2


The story is completely different from that of the books. The show Wikipedia page summary is below (emphasis mine):

The show is based around the eccentric Dirk Gently (Samuel Barnett) who claims to be a "holistic detective", investigating obscure cases based on the inter-connectivity of all things. During the first season he befriends Todd Brotzman (Elijah Wood) and Farah Black (Jade Eshete) who help him with his cases. Dirk's past is linked with "Project Blackwing", a secret CIA project to evaluate subjects with strange abilities. Dirk is not only followed by agents of Blackwing trying to recapture him but also by Bart Curlish (Fiona Dourif), another Blackwing subject who considers herself a "holistic assassin" and believes she is destined to kill Dirk.

While the book's summary begins:

Richard MacDuff attends the Coleridge dinner at his old college St Cedd's, where he witnesses his former tutor, Professor Urban "Reg" Chronotis*, perform an inexplicable magic trick in which he makes a salt cellar disappear, then reveals it by smashing a centuries-old clay pot that a young girl brought to the dinner. The dinner concludes with a reading of Coleridge's poem "Kubla Khan", including a mysterious (and fictional) second part.

Meanwhile, an Electric Monk and his horse find a mysterious door on an alien planet, which leads them to Earth. MacDuff and Prof. Chronotis find the horse in the Professor's bathroom, but this does not seem to overly surprise him. The Monk, misunderstanding a casual comment, shoots and kills MacDuff's boss Gordon Way. Way's ghost makes several attempts to contact the living.

I've read/watched both and they are definitely different stories, as can be seen simply by the characters involved (highlighted). Everything from the show is original to the series, except Dirk and the basic idea of his "agency".

@CrowTRobot mentioned that the first episode had a quote referencing a sofa and Thor, implying that the show follows the two completed novels.

"Have you ever actually solved a case?"

"Sure. Tons. Well, some. Well, a few. There was a bit about a sofa, a thing with Thor..."

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    Despite the age disparity of Dirk and different origin story, the TV show also makes it clear that it's a sequel to the books, in the pilot Dirk offhandedly mentions that "There was a bit about a sofa, a thing with Thor": the stuck sofa is a plot point in the first book and Thor is a pivotal character in the second book. Commented Sep 20, 2018 at 17:45
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    Part of the reason they didn't adapt the book was that the book is essentially a recycling of the plot for Shada, the "Lost" Doctor Who Episode from the Tom Baker years, never completed due to a strike. At the time, there was essentially no way that story was going to see the light of day, so he cannibalized it for the Dirk Gently book. Since then, we've seen the story via a number of adaptations and media, rather requiring they come up with a new story. Commented Sep 20, 2018 at 18:41
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    Yes, Adams was a writer and script editor for Doctor Who back then. He wrote "Shada", "The Pirate Planet", and "City of Death" (under a pseudonym). "City of Death" is probably closer to the plot of the first Dirk Gently novel than "Shada", and certainly closer than any of the TV versions of Dirk Gently.
    – Ross Smith
    Commented Sep 20, 2018 at 20:40
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    implying that the show follows the two completed novels – I wouldn’t consider these more than allusions to the book. There are a lot of things that make a common past rather unlikely, e.g., TV Dirk’s past with Blackwing and resulting general cluenessness about real life does not match with Book Dirk’s years of history of interacting with our world and being much more experienced with life (CC @CrowTRobot).
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Sep 20, 2018 at 20:41
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    The Wikipedia page says it's produced by BBC America, @RBarryYoung. It's also co-produced by Netflix, which is an American company too.
    – JNat
    Commented Sep 20, 2018 at 22:38

Judging from the Wikipedia pages, and having read the books, it appears to me that the 2016 series deviates even more from the books than the 2010-2012 series. I don't see any shared plot points, except perhaps that all use time machines.

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