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."
The alumni cast of a space opera television series have to play their roles as the real thing when an alien race needs their help. However, they also have to defend both Earth and the alien race from a reptilian warlord.
Based on Douglas Adams' series of novels following the intergalactic adventures of Arthur Dent, a hapless Englishman, following the destruction of Earth by the Vogons, a race of unpleasant and bureaucratic aliens.
Arthur Dent is your average middle-class Briton. One day, while trying to prevent his house being destroyed to build a highway, his friend Ford Prefect whisks him away to the pub and explains that the Earth is about to be destroyed and they need to escape. Intergalactic, inter-time adventures ensue.Written by
David Dixon was cast primarily because he had a serious face, but "weird" eyes. It's nearly impossible to see in the film, but he wore *purple* contact lenses while playing Ford, to make his eyes look even stranger. See more »
The person operating Zaphod's third arm can be seen on multiple occasions. See more »
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 »
The first episode, when it was shown to a live audience for the purpose of recording a laugh-track (see above) included an 8:30 comedic video introduction by series narrator Peter Jones. This sequence was never broadcast on TV, but has been included as an extra on the Warner Brothers DVD release. 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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