Part 3 in our series, the Hitchhiker’s Guide as a British TV show. And all the lovely production value that suggests. Why am I posting it so late? This must be Thursday…I never could get the hang of Thursdays…

Peter Jones …. The Book (voice)
Simon Jones …. Arthur Dent
David Dixon …. Ford Prefect
Sandra Dickinson …. Trillian
Mark Wing-Davey …. Zaphod Beeblebrox
Directed by
Alan J.W. Bell

Writing credits
Douglas Adams
Buy from Amazon.com

High Point

I hate to sound like a broken record, but the Guide sections really stand out – the pseudo-computer-generated graphics are especially impressive for having been done by hand, and offer a distinctive style that I really like.

Low Point

The casting for Trillian. Nothing against her acting, but a) she’s not supposed to be blonde, and b) she’s supposed to be a confident, strong, intelligent woman. Not a ditz who happens to have brains.

Review

Working our way through the incarnations of the Guide, we come to the redheaded stepchild. I don’t know anyone who considers this a work of high art – it’s usually just mentioned as a mistake, if it’s mentioned at all. Still, there are those of us that appreciate it for what it is, and know that, as bad as it was, it’s still probably better than what American film producers would do to it. Of course I speak out of turn – I haven’t actually see what American film producers have done to it. But I will. And you’ll get my opinions on that tomorrow.

Following, again, the same general (But not specific) plot of the story as reviewed here before, the discussion thereof would tax your attention not to mention my fingers. And so I move on to the scores – which I’m going to actually assign scores for.

The Scores

Originality? You’re kidding. I mean, granted, it’s a rip-off of a rip-off, but then again, it’s the first television adaptation of the source material by the guy that wrote it all in the first place…so….hm. 3? 4? I have to go with 3/6.

The Effect are what this otherwise decent production is fairly well torn apart for. While they use most of the sound effects from the original radio show and, as mentioned before, the Guide sections are quite impressive, the other effects are all horrible. Zaphod’s second head, most of the sets, and just about any other visual effect in the show betrays the abysmal budget they had. Still, the Guide graphics count for enough that I can give it a 3/6 instead of a 2.

The Story…is the same as before. Again. In previous instances, this was the problem area. But when it comes down to scoring, this one gets a high 4/6.

The Acting was, on the whole, good. Trillian was off, but I blame the casting and production for that (I hated the outfit too) Most of the actors were the originals from the Radio show, and you know how much I liked them. 5/6 – losing one point because the actors were very definitely more used to radio work.

Emotional Response: I giggled as much with this version as I did with each of the previous ones. Sight gags added to the guide sections kept everything fresh, and even my wife (who can’t sit through the radio plays and doesn’t feel like reading the book) laughed as hard as I did. 6/6.

The production is where I come down on their choices for Trillian – she alone knocks two points off (based on our ratings guidelines) and in the end I can only give a few points for the sound (which was good for a piece from the BBC during this time) and some other things, so I give it a 2/6..well…the DVD has a few really good, well produced features…3/6.

Overall, this is one of those things you should only really go watch if a) you’re a huge Hitchhiker’s Guide fan or b) you want to know about this Guide thing and don’t feel like reading or listening to an mp3. Or if tomorrow’s movie is horrible. we’ll see. So, 3/6.

In total, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (tv) recieves 27/42.