The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy 
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List price: £24.99|
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Average customer rating:
4.71 out of 5
ISBN/ASIN : B00005OCTS
Manufacturer : BBC|
Release data : 18 April, 2005
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The Guide to The Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy
Some reviewers have described this TV series as a poor reflection on the radio series. Although I can see I am in the minority, I think it is an improved version of that series. Take the script: Firstly, with Douglas Adams knowing how the series would progress, certain lines are removed, allowing the character of Ford Prefect and The Guide itself to make a lot more sense. Secondly, Douglas Adams rewrote much of the sixth episode to add a much better storyline which he later went on to use in the second book.
After the Script, there's the Cast: Simon Jones, Peter Jones, Mark Wing-Davey, Stephen Moore and Richard Vernon return to play their original roles- very, very well of course. Whilst the major additions of David Dixon and Sandra Dickinson fall into place well. In my opinion, David Dixon was a better choice than Geoffery McGivern would have been, and Sandra Dickinson acted very well. As for the effects- who's concentrating on the effects? Some of them are actually quite good, but does anybody complain about the sets in Blackadder or Fawlty Towers? And of course there's The Guide itself- Peter Jones' brilliant narrative accompanied by some good looking false computer effects. Although many people don't like these effects, I think they are really very good looking, and one of the major selling points of the series.
One of the major things to talk about is the soundtrack. The new stereo is excellent compared to the old mono track which has also been left on. The picture quality is amazing. Also worth noting is that the series does not include cuts made for the 1992 video or the TV Broadcast. The extra features, too numerous to list, are also very good. The documentary (Not made for the DVD) is like a whole new episode of Hitch-hikers, with Peter Jones, Simon Jones, David Dixon, Martin Benson and Marvin returning to do fifteen minutes worth of acting. The documentary includes contributions from almost everybody- including Adams himself. There is also a second part to this documentary, which includes bits not included in the original episode. The other extra feature worth noting is a nine minute introduction to the series from Peter Jones (You can finally see what he looks like!) The smaller extra features- Tomorrow's World, Pebble Mill etc. are good to see, but unlike the documentaries and Peter Jones, you wouldn't watch them more than once. The DVd also includes a run of adverts, a photo gallery, an originally cut scene (Which Imust admit- I didn't understand at first) and on the first disc- an easter egg feature. What I should tell you about this is it's kind of hard to get too, and what you'll get in the end is a film (With no sound) of what the title sequence was originally going to look like (It did look better than the one they stuck with) followed by a bit of text which was eventually left out of the guide entry on PanGalacticGargleBlasters
On the series itself there are trivia subtitles- which are quite interesting, and using the 'Play All' feature, there are two special DVD inserted parts- A small pre-series gag, and before episode 2, a script for an never recorded scene. Aesthetically, this is a gem- a nice box with nice menus- and I don't think there's much more to say on that
I've had this DVD for six months and it is one of the best DVDs I have ever purchased- If you've read the books but never seen the TV series- buy this- If you are thinking of going to see the film- buy this instead. If you're a life-long fan- what are you reading my review for- Just buy it
Campy yet brilliant, amazingly faithful to Adams' genius
It was this video adaptation of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy which introduced me to the comic genius of Douglas Adams. I saw the series before I ever read the books, so it is rather special to me (though by no means does it succeed as well as the actual written word). You have to love the campy, cheap feel to the whole production because it really seems to fit Douglas Adams so well. Some of the special effects are almost absurd, and Zaphod’s second head is just horrible and completely unreal. The sound quality is unfortunately rather poor at times, especially in the scenes involving the super computer Deep Thought. The presentation of the restaurant at the end of the galaxy, though, was well-done and quite memorable. Trillian, whom I thought was gorgeous in my younger days, is rather different than she is described in the books. Marvin the paranoid android is rather unimpressive in appearance but constantly steals the show for me with his incredibly depressed and often amazingly witty statements. David Dixon is terrific as Ford Prefect, but the true standout performance here is that of Douglas Adams’ old friend Simon Jones as Arthur Dent. I cannot imagine anyone ever picturing Arthur differently than he appears in this series; Simon Jones is Arthur Dent.
The story basically takes you through the experiences related in the first two books of the Hitchhiker’s Trilogy. The video is really amazingly faithful to the books, particularly in terms of the dialogue of the characters. Naturally, there are a few differences between the books and the video, but by and large the two go together hand in hand. It is unfortunate that the series ends where it does; the ending is something of a let-down and feels woefully incomplete, largely because it is woefully incomplete. Arthur Dent’s story is really just beginning by the time the video comes to an end. As a young teenager accidentally discovering this series on PBS, its effect on me was significant, opening up a whole new world of science fiction and comedy before my very eyes. I doubt that the series can have such a profound effect on anyone in today’s more modern world, and I fear that many will see the cheap special effects and dismiss the show out of hand. The genius of Douglas Adams is timeless and rests in the characters and amazingly witty dialogue; the special effects are basically unimportant. Adams will live forever, and this video is just one of his many delightful guises; may many watch it, delight in the foibles of the human race Douglas satirizes so well, and discover the magic of true comedy in its purest form.
The 'hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy' DVD is not perfect. It is far from perfect. If it were to be described in one word, perfect would certainly not spring to your lips. Unless, of course, you were a die-hard disciple from the school of Adams and were willing to tell the odd lie to make your hero look better.
Actually, I AM a die-hard disciple from the school of Adams but I'm going to at least try and be honest about the DVD.
Ok, so it's not the radio series. The original BBC radio series of Hitchhiker's was by far the best incarnation. We all know that.
The special effects aren't particlarly special either. But we can deal with that. personally, I think special effects tend to distract from a series rather than add to it. I'm odd like that.
However, I disagree with a common viewpoint about the non-perfectness of the series - the casting of Sandra Dickinson as Trillian. While she's not the obvious choice for the character, I think she's not given fair treatment by fans. Dickinson CAN act, she proved in the series that she didhave a sense of comic timing and managed to overcome a lot of the problems of being a squeaky-voiced blonde american cast as the very British brunette astrophysics major.
What IS perfect aboutthe DVD? Simon Jones. I hope they never make the movie because, to my mind, Simon Jones is, was and always will be THE Arthur Dent. If you buy the DVD for one reason, buy it for him.