BBC America’s newest series, “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency,” delivers a story about a number of odd events that are interconnected (premieres Sat, 8pm). Written by Max Landis, Dirk Gently is adapted from the books of the same name by Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The absurdism makes the books “hard to adapt for TV from a production and relatability standpoint,” explained Dirk Gently showrunner Rob Cooper. So don’t look for a retelling of the books, but rather a series that will “capture the spirit of Adams.” Writer Landis “put it eloquently when he said, ‘it’s not a cover, it’s a tribute album.’” Cooper warned that it would be easy to let the story get away from viewers, but it was important to “create something that would work on a cable network… that people can hopefully relate to.” Landis created most of the characters on the show, aside from Dirk Gently. Arguably the most valuable character is Dirk’s reluctant sidekick, Todd, who Cooper said becomes the viewer’s lens with which we can understand the show. This is done by slowly integrating the abnormal through the episodes. At the beginning, “we see a very grounded, relatable world, and slowly that begins to unpeel… revealing the aspects that lie beneath,” said Cooper. What begins as an ordinary day at work for Todd slowly becomes larger than itself—involving the search for a missing girl, her father’s killer, a corgi and a kitten. Cooper warned that it would be easy to let such a far-flung story get away from viewers, but that complexity is a reflection of what we see in our own world. “What we can all identify with is that in the face of that complexity, we still need to find ways for us to connect with each other as human beings,” he said. “And that was what was important for me to nail for our characters in the story because our plot was so complicated.” – Hayley Spillane


Reviews: “Rats,” Saturday, 9pm ET, Discovery. Your reviewer made the colossal mistake of screening this awfully excellent Morgan Spurlock documentary not long after eating in NYC. We learn early on that there’s at least 1 rat per person in NYC, that’s more than 8 million rats in NYC. (My stomach begins churning). But wait, exterminator Ed Sheehan featured in the film, who’s been stalking rats for more than 50 years, disagrees. There are probably more than one rat per person, he insists. He tells us he’s seen them in hospitals, graveyards and, of course, “the finest restaurants.” (My stomach begins churning rapidly). Later a professor discusses the biology of how rats spread pathogens to humans. Beyond interviews, Spurlock provides copious images. Oy. The worst part: humans basically are inviting rats to thrive by leaving our food-laden trash in bags at night. Rats don’t need the help. They’re extremely clever and adaptable. “I have to admire them,” Sheehan says. (At this point my stomach is… no, I’ll spare you). — “Berlin Station,” Sunday, 9pm, Epix. The reviews have been split about this Germany-based spy caper. We come out on the positive side. “Berlin” provides a behind-the-scenes look at CIA life that’s rare on the screen. The cast is strong, especially Richard Jenkins (“Six Ft Under”) as the CIA station chief. – Seth Arenstein

The Daily


Battle at the FCC over Apartments

The FCC voted in September to refresh the record on a 2019 proceeding examining broadband competition in apartments, gated communities and other multiple tenant environments.

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