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."
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 <email@example.com>
In the original radio broadcast, the worst poet in the universe was given a name of a real person (Paul Neil Milne Johnstone, a classmate of Douglas Adams). Under threat of legal action, Adams altered the name slightly for the television series and novel. See more »
In episode 4 computer Deep Thought is speaking about building the computer Earth, and he calls it "the computer who will give the answer to the ultimate question". Actually the sentence should be the other way round: "the question to the ultimate answer" - they already have the answer (42). See more »
I think you ought to know I'm feeling very depressed.
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Animator Kevin Davies, credited from episodes four to six, receives a different, humorous title each time. The job titles are: Mouse Trainer, Milliways Catering and Bath Superintendent. See more »
Classic British satire mixed with absurdist humour
In the early eighties Arthur Dent awakes to find the council is preparing to bulldoze his home to make way for a by-pass. Arthur is determined to sop them but is distracted by his friend Ford Prefect who is sure the world is about to be destroyed by the Vogons. Arthur is shocked to find that Ford is not from Gilford but really from another planet and that he is correct in his assertions. The two escape by hitching a ride on the Vogon ship and thus begins an adventure that will see them meet old friends and see places in new ways thanks to the guidance of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
Based on the radio show, this was what made Douglas Adams. The plot is pretty thin but is matched by the observations from the aforementioned book itself. The is allows one half of each show to be moving things forward and making the show actually go somewhere and for the other half to be absurdly funny. The story is good enough to be amusing by itself but with the sly wit of the guide taking swipes at things in a sideways fashion it becomes even better.
It is rarely laugh out loud funny, and I've yet to meet an American who gets the satire/wit of the thing (although there are some!). Simply because this is a witty thing rather than a silly, hilarious thing. The plot does require some leaps of faith as our characters escape death in several unlikely ways but this is sci-fi and more importantly we always have the book to put it all in focus. The guide's comments show that the galaxy, like earth, is an insecure place that is really quite meaningless at the end of the day.
Jones is perfect as the book he always sound slightly unbelieving of what he was saying, as if he was taken aback by the sheer amazement he was feeling! Simon Jones is likable as Arthur but I always found Dixon a little too cocky for Ford. Likewise I was never a real fan of Wing Davey but I must admit the two heads were good for the time. The rest of the cast are very good but really the two Jones's are carrying the two separate elements of the show.
Overall those who know the books and the radio show will feel some material is missing, but really these 6 episodes cover the basic material very well and are very true to the source. The wit may go over the head of some people but this is absurd British wit of the finest sort.
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