Operation KittenShark: An (Only Slightly) Insane Idea for a Fan-Led Project To Conclude Netflix’s “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” to (Most) Everyone’s Satisfaction
Never underestimate the little ones.
Goliath did (and, well, look at him now), pretty much anyone who’s ever picked on Peter Parker has (even Michael Keaton), and today, it’s happening to the Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (DGHDA) fandom. We’re small, apparently too small to justify renewal for a much-needed Season 3 of what is the most uniquely-compelling, entertaining, and fun show in a generation.
The networks left our tiny fandom with some major unanswered questions: what’s the “big thing” that’s coming that Amanda Brontzman and the Rowdy 3* have to fight? What will Hugo Friedkin do from the backstage of reality now that he gets it? WHERE DID THE INFANT, MALE, POLLOCK FRANCIS COME FROM? And what will be the fate of Bart, Ken, and Blackwing, especially when they (inevitably) go head-to-head with Farah, Todd, (Mona), and Dirk in his new Detective Agency?
The DGHDA fandom is small, but we’re punchy. Very punchy. And we’re not done yet. We need a third season.
And…the numbers may not be on our side.
DGHDA was expensive, costing multiple millions per episode. Netflix and BBC America decided that the ratings wasn’t worth the investment. Repeated and concerted efforts to negotiate a third season fell through. The Powers That Be tried their best, and it came up short.
Fair enough. And…we still want a resolution.
We are small. Then again, so was the kitten-shark.
So, in this one fan’s estimation, here’s how we can get the closure and completion that we want.
First, the obvious: TV seasons need funding, writers, production, and talent. Yes, we get that. Crowdfunding remains an option in the absence of network support, but there are many other issues at play (contracts, ownership, copyrights, etc..). While we can emulate what Firefly fans did with “Serenity” (and we should), ultimately the final word on an official third season/film/mini-series is up to a multitude of industry powers, including networks, Max Landis, Arvind Ethan David, Netflix, and others. All we can do is keep the fandom going.
Well, that’s not all we can do.
Fans can produce their own DGHDA fan-episodes, one at a time, featuring writers, production teams, and talent who are all themselves fans of the show. This is already happening on a smaller, individual scale, but let’s face it, it’s not the same thing as a Season 3.
Unless, of course, fans united behind a single project recognized as canon.
Here’s what I propose (and, I will say up front, I have no idea about how we could go about this, just what: I trust the stream of creation to lead us where we want to go):
- a fan-funded and produced mini series of webisodes (similar to the ones produced during LOST) that resolve some of the minor plot threads left hanging by the cancellation.
- These will be stand-alone episodes without an arc, allowing different fan-writers to draft their own scripts that address one or more of the loose plot threads, but leaving the major ones alone, and also avoiding having to worry about continuity. We focus on minor characters and backstory for the most part, all of the “side quests”, leaving the major concluding arcs for the official finale whenever that gets produced.
- They last no more than 10–15 minutes, saving on production costs, but are considered canon within the fandom, freeing up any future Season 3 or concluding movie to focus on the most important threads. We can keep costs low by minimizing special effects and keeping the stories character-focused.
- We fund, cast, produce, and release each episode, one at a time, however long it takes, and in the process, we give existing fans something to look forward to over time, while also attracting new members to the fandom. This will also grow the fandom in a very visible way that studios will see.
- We enlist the help of DGHDA alumni to promote the webisodes, with maybe a few even appearing in them!
- We organize the webisodes in some kind of chronological order, all setting the up for the final storyline, which will be what appears in the Dirk Gently final season/film. Similar to how the MCU brought together the standalone films into The Avengers and Infinity War, we use the webisodes as the building blocks to the finale, bridging the gap between Season Two and Season Three. (Everything is connected, right?). Again, the webisodes need not be in a single plot arc: they may have nothing to do with each other, but they can take us closer to that conclusion.
This isn’t perfect. Not everyone will be happy with the results. There is no substitute for a full third season.
Still, I believe that this route — fan produced canonical webisodes — is a very effective way that everyone can win. We’ll get to perpetuate the Dirk Gently fandom, add to the canon of the DGHDA universe, and set things up powerfully for the Powers that Be to sell DGHDA to a new network because they can, at that point, use the success of the webisodes to justify a finale.
Regardless of how we go about this, the DGHDA fandom can only grow with time. We are all kitten-sharks: small, highly adorable, but concealing the deadly powers of a hammerhead shark.
Netflix has dropped us, kitten-sharks. Time to activate.
(* There are six of them)
Jody Aberdeen is a writer. He lives in Flamborough, a little pocket-dimension over top the city of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, only there are no Flying Purple People Eaters here (one-eyed, one-horned, or otherwise).