I, for one, welcome our new machine overlords

IBM Wins ‘Jeopardy’ With Triple Jennings’s Score Machine bested man yesterday, as International Business Machines Corp.’s computer beat two former “Jeopardy!” champions at the TV quiz show. “Watson,” IBM’s computer named after its founder Thomas J. Watson, finished the three-day tournament with $77,147. Ken Jennings came in second with $24,000, followed by Brad Rutter with … Continue reading “I, for one, welcome our new machine overlords”

Top Gear USA is an Unholy Abomination Straight from the Deepest Pit of Hell

Out of morbid curiosity, I endured the premiere episode of the American version of Top Gear. Here’s my review (I’m stealing a bit from a classic Bloom County strip): Top Gear USA has brought the word “bad” to new levels of badness. This show just oozed rottenness from every bad segment… Simply bad beyond all … Continue reading “Top Gear USA is an Unholy Abomination Straight from the Deepest Pit of Hell”

Dirk Gently detective novels adapted for TV

Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gently detective novels adapted for TV

The BBC is adapting Douglas Adams’ detective science fiction/fantasy novel Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency for the small screen. While Adams is wildly famous for his comic SF series, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, he also wrote two detective novels, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, and started a third novel in the same series, The Salmon of Doubt. While incomplete, The Salmon of Doubt was published after his death along with a collection of other rare material. If you’re a fan of detective fiction, science fiction, fantasy or comedy (or all four!) the first two novels are a must read. While not as hysterically funny as some of the earlier Hitchhiker books, their complicated, witty and intelligent plots (and sub plots), along with the quirks of the central character Dirk Gently, are addictive and warrant a second (or third) reading.

Dirk Gently believes in the “fundamental interconnectedness of all things”, his operating principle when presented with detective puzzles, and he’s not afraid to go off on tangents and rack up massive expense accounts to get to the bottom of any case. First published in 1987, the original novel features time travel, Chaos Theory, an electronic monk from another planet, and the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Some of the time travel plot was borrowed from the Doctor Who story City of Death (part of Doctor Who‘s golden age when Tom Baker was in the lead role). Adams wrote City of Death while working as Doctor Who‘s script editor. On its cover, the first book is described as a “thumping good detective-ghost-horror-who dunnit-time travel-romantic-musical-comedy-epic”.

The BBC is producing a 60 minute pilot first, with plans to do more if the pilot proves popular. The only plot summary offered so far is that Dirk tries to solve the “disappearance of a cat from an old lady’s house.” The script is being written by Howard Overman, creator of Misfits and Vexed, and will be broadcast on BBC4 at the end of this year. The BBC previously broadcast a radio adaptation of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency starring Harry Enfield in 2007, and there was a stage production starring Scot Burklin in 2006.