Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect find themselves thrown off the Vogon spaceship into the vacuum of space. Improbably, they are rescued 29 seconds later by the Starship Heart of Gold. This brand new model...
Mere seconds before the Earth is to be demolished by an alien construction crew, journeyman Arthur Dent is swept off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher penning a new edition of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."
This unfinished story from the television series Doctor Who (1963) was released on video with linking material from Tom Baker. When a dangerous artifact goes missing from the study of ... See full summary »
A documentary looking at the making of "Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, The" (1981)_, including interviews with leading members of the cast and production team, behind-the-scenes footage ... See full summary »
Alan J.W. Bell,
When the Earth is destroyed a Vogon Demolition Fleet to make way for a new hyperspace bypass, Arthur Dent joins his friend Ford Prefect (who turns out to be a researcher for an electronic reference guide called the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) for a galactic voyage on which they meet Zaphod Beeblebrox, a two-headed ex-President of the Galaxy, and his human companion, Trillian. Their journey takes them from the remains of Earth to Milliways, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. Based on a radio play by Douglas Adams. Written by
Alexander Lum <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Douglas Adams said that he was pleased with the smooth way the TV series worked out, largely as a result of the radio series: the jokes had already been tried and tested, and the narration (something that he never would have considered if the TV version had come first) became the voice of the Book, providing an easy framework for many of the show's best gags. See more »
In the second episode, when the Vogon captain is reading his poetry to Arthur and Ford, Ford's hairstyle changes noticeably between the first part of the scene and when it returns to them after the Guide's explanation of the worst poets in the Universe; the result of the two parts of the scene being shot five months apart. Of course, it could be that the poetry is so horrible that it made Ford's hair curl. See more »
I think you ought to know I'm feeling very depressed.
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After the credits for episode 3, the voice of the book returns briefly to resolve which one of the characters sustained a bruised arm -- a question that had been raised earlier in the episode, but left unanswered because it was unimportant. See more »
Unlike the recent Movie, this mini-series is mostly good, and does an excellent job of capturing the quirky spirit of the radio original.
Probably the biggest reason why this adaptation works well is that the marvelous dialogue of the radio version has not been messed up. There are changes (as there have been in every medium the guide has been adapted into), but unlike the film version, the best and most memorable parts haven't been tampered with See the memorable quotes section for examples of this. The biggest difference between this version and the film may be that Douglas Adams was directly involved with the production of the Television version, but sadly was not around to oversee the film version, for which the loss is evident.
The special effects aren't great (think Doctor Who, circa 1980), but the performances are enough fun that it doesn't matter all that much. Many of the cast members are the originals from the radio series, and even those that aren't originals mostly do a good job with their characters. The one exception is Sandra Dickinson, who just isn't convincing as Trillian She's supposed to a very bright astrophysicist, but comes across as a bimbo/airhead. Still, the rest of the casting is excellent, so this one lapse can be forgiven.
The best part of the whole series is the visuals for the actual Guide. These are extraordinarily detailed animations, buttressing Peter Jones' voice-over from the radio original with lots of extra visual jokes and humor. One of the best parts about being able to watch this on DVD is the ability to freeze-frame some of the more interesting bits to be able to better appreciate all of the funny stuff contained within. These visuals were actually accomplished using a painstaking manual animation technique to simulate the computer displays, as 1980-era computers just weren't up to the job of doing things like this. Ironically, the simulated computer animations are a lot funnier than the actual computer animations (with 25 years worth of improved technology) in the film version.
In sum, given the choice between this and the film version, I would take this any time. The DVD version also includes lots of extra material production notes, making-of documentaries, and a tribute to the late Douglas Adams.
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