The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy (1981– )

TV Series  -   -  Comedy | Sci-Fi | Adventure
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Reviews: 77 user | 15 critic

An Earth man and his alien friend escape Earth's destruction and go on a truly strange adventure as space hitchhikers.

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Title: The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy (1981– )

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1981  
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Documentary charting the rise of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy from its original guise as a radio series through to becoming a Hollywood blockbuster.

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Cast

Complete series cast summary:
Peter Jones ...
 The Book (6 episodes, 1981)
...
 Arthur Dent (6 episodes, 1981)
David Dixon ...
 Ford Prefect (6 episodes, 1981)
Sandra Dickinson ...
 Trillian (5 episodes, 1981)
Mark Wing-Davey ...
 Zaphod Beeblebrox (5 episodes, 1981)
Stephen Moore ...
 Marvin / ... (5 episodes, 1981)
David Learner ...
 Marvin (4 episodes, 1981)
David Tate ...
 Eddie / ... (3 episodes, 1981)
Martin Benson ...
 Vogon Captain (2 episodes, 1981)
Richard Vernon ...
 Slartibartfast (2 episodes, 1981)
Rayner Bourton ...
 Newscaster (2 episodes, 1981)
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Storyline

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 <aj_lum@postoffice.utas.edu.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Don't panic!


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Details

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Release Date:

30 October 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(6 episodes) | (2 parts) | (7 episodes) (original release) | (6 episodes) (subsequent syndication) | (6 episodes)

Sound Mix:

| (video release)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Zaphod's second, remote controlled mechanical head constantly malfunctioned on the set, resulting in it lolling to the side or staring blankly into the distance. In addition, if Mark Wing-Davey became overly active whilst wearing the costume (something that was very prone to happening, due to the show's plot and Zaphod's inherent character), the motion would often strip the gears inside the head. Wing-Davey later said in interviews that the cost of building and maintaining the head probably exceeded his salary for the program. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[repeated line]
Marvin: I think you ought to know I'm feeling very depressed.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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 »

Connections

Referenced in The Big Bang Theory: The Holographic Excitation (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Journey of the Sorcerer
(title music)
Written by Bernie Leadon
Arranged by Tim Souster
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Well executed, bears up well to repeat viewing
4 July 2006 | by See all my reviews

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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