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Lianachan
2005-Sep-17, 02:06 PM
Fairly simple - which, for you, is the definitive Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy?

I think for most people, it's whichever they encountered first. For me, though, I encountered the radio series third - and consider it the best.

Matthew
2005-Sep-17, 02:24 PM
Likewise I encountered the books first and found them the best. Maybe I should look up the original radio shows....

parallaxicality
2005-Sep-17, 03:26 PM
It's not that simple. I can discount the film; the only thing it had going for it was Stephen Fry. Of the rest, well it's hard to discern them; they each had pluses and minuses. Many classic sketches from the books, such as the Main Dish of the Day, aren't in the radio series, and the radio series has a number of clunkers, such as the far too topical joke about a local villiage becoming a rest station for a bypass. However, the radio series also has a number of gems that were lost in the books, particularly the second phase. One has become axiomatic with me:


It is of course perfectly natural to assume that everyone else is having a far more exciting time than you. Human beings, for instance, have a phrase which describes this phenomenon: "the other man's grass is always greener". The Sheltanac race of Broopkidron 13 had a similar phrase, but since their planet is somewhat eccentric, botanically speaking, the best they could manage was: "the other Sheltanac's Juppleberry shrub is always a more mauvey shade of pinky russet", and so the expression soon fell into disuse, and the Sheltanacs had little option but to become terribly happy and contented with their lot, much to the surprise of everyone else in the Galaxy who had not realised that the best way not to be unhappy is not to have a word for it.


The TV series had the wonderful Guide illustrations, which were rich mines of humour in their own right, but had a terrible cast of characters, in particular the actress playing Trillian and the woefully miscast Ford. The books suffer from the diminishing returns of the sequels, beginning with SLATFATF.

Gillianren
2005-Sep-17, 07:42 PM
the books will always hold the highest honour in my heart, but I don't think it's possible to have a "definitive" Hitchhiker's. (btw, shouldn't it be "Hitchhikers'?) the simple fact is, each version had the Hand of Adams on it, and he was the Ultimate Authority of Life, the Universe, and Everything--at least in the universe defined by his writings. when he changed it, as he did in each and every incarnation, it became different versions of the same story. I accept that as the Way of Adams.

and for the record, I quite liked the movie, even though some of the bits I liked most in the books got changed--but it was okay to me that it was changed, because Adams himself changed it. (it just took until after he was dead before his new idea became a movie.)

soylentgreen
2005-Sep-17, 10:23 PM
It really isn't quite that simple. :o

Each format had their own strengths. I'm personally more fond of the BBC TV show. I think it has more to do with the fact that I was at a crucial age beginning to open my mind in the arts and it just stuck as the version to measure all following by. It probably goes a long way towards explaining my affection for British comedy. (Mr. Humphrey's, are you free?;))

The same thing happened elsewhere as the PBS Patrice Chereau/Pierre Boulez WAGNER'S RING was my first time seeing the cycle, so for better or worse, I measure all subsequent productions by that experience. (Still hasn't been beaten, IMHO!)

oh yeah, no one mentioned the old Infocom text-based game for HITCHHIKER. That was certainly one of the first times I remember in my life being able to actually interact with a literary work. Ahh the old Apple II+.

eburacum45
2005-Sep-18, 12:39 AM
My daughters are big fans of the dolphins in the film, and their little Ethel Merman type theme song-
So long and thanks for all the fish
So sad that it should come to this
We tried to warn you all but oh dear?

You may not share our intellect
Which might explain your disrespect
For all the natural wonders that
grow around you

So long, so long and thanks
for all the fish

The world's about to be destroyed
There's no point getting all annoyed
Lie back and let the planet dissolve

Despite those nets of tuna fleets
We thought that most of you were sweet
Especially tiny tots and your
pregnant women

So long, so long, so long, so long, so long
and thanks
for all the fish

eburacum45
2005-Sep-18, 12:41 AM
Basically, the film didn't make an awful lot of sense, but it has attracted a new generation of fans.

jt-3d
2005-Sep-18, 05:23 AM
I have to go with the BBC tv series. I read the books after I saw it so while they were very good, the tv series was my first and best exposure to this brilliant work. Also I just watched the movie. Bleh, though Trillian has vastly improved.

EvilBob
2005-Sep-18, 05:43 AM
Oh, don't make me choose!

Lianachan
2005-Sep-18, 08:31 PM
I read the books first, and rate them extremely highly. The first three, anyway. After that, I found them increasingly bad. The TV series was next for me, and I'm in two minds about it. The humour is good, but it's poorly cast and made. Using more or less the same cast from the radio series is fair enough in many respects, but it would have benefited from having actors who're used to using more than just their voices to act with. They all looked awkward, all the time - unaccustomed as they were to moving around, and doing stuff. A friend introduced me to his CD's of the radio series, and they register slightly ahead of the books on my fondnessometer. I've not seen the film - the trailers I saw were enough to convince me that I should assidiously eschew it.

Everybody is right, of course, it's not that simple. Each has their strengths and their weaknesses - but the people out here in real life that talk about it do tend to have a favourite, at least the ones I know.

Inferno
2005-Sep-18, 11:37 PM
It's a close shave between the Radio series and the TV series. While the radio series was the original and of course it wasn't limited by special effects budgets, I feel the tv show just beats it as some of the gags and timing of the jokes Adams perfected by the time he got to doing the tv show. eg Having Ford telling Mr Proser to lie down in the mud worked 10 times better than having Arthur do it.

But they're both great, as are the books. Only the movie is the one version I will never watch again. A (near) total disaster.

SeanF
2005-Sep-19, 02:10 PM
I've got a soft spot for the BBC TV series, because that was my first exposure to it. Someone mentioned the "woefully miscast Ford," but that is, to me, the definitive Ford Prefect - that's who I picture even when I read the books.

However, I will agree that, after reading the books, the TV Trillian was just simply not right.


(btw, shouldn't it be "Hitchhikers'?)
Nope, it's a guide for a hitchhiker. Same as all those "The Complete Idiot's Guide to..." books they sell. :)

CJSF
2005-Sep-19, 02:33 PM
I caught the radio series by accident about a month after reading the first three books, and I enjoyed it 10000% better than the books - which are AWESOME.

CJSF

captain swoop
2005-Sep-19, 03:12 PM
Has to be Radio, I listened to it when it was original broadcast many years ago. I thought the TV series was very close second and I think the TV Ford is great.

Jakenorrish
2005-Sep-19, 03:27 PM
The book 'Life the Universe and Everything' is the best in my mind. I can read it over again and find new things to laugh at each time!

Dr Nigel
2005-Sep-19, 03:27 PM
Okay, this is a question that is very close to my heart. I think the TV series had the best Guide excerpts (e.g. the illustration of the Vogon's grandmother being eaten by the ravenous Bublatter Beast of Traal, and the animations associated with the G'gugvent / Vl'hurg invasion of Earth). I think the story is most coherent in the books, and the humour is better integrated into the flow of the narrative. I think the radio play had some of the best ideas, such as the dialogue that starts with Zaphod hanging from the ice-covered marble of the Cup by his fingertips 13 miles above the surface of Brontitall (sp?):
Ford: I'll get my towel.
Zaphod: What?
F: I'll hang onto this end and throw you the other end ... OK, that's it, now pull.
Z: (pause) Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
F: You stupid ghent!
Z: You said pull, man.
F: Yeah, not that hard.
Z: Well how hard did you expect me to pull, just not quite hard enough to actually pull me up?
F: I can't stand heights.
Z: Well don't worry, we're on our way down. Look, maybe we'll land in the water or something. Can you swim?
F: I don't know.
Z: What do you mean, you don't know?
F: I just don't like to go into water, you know, in any great detail.
Z: Hey, what kind of traveller are you, man? Don't like heights, don't like water?
F: It's perfectly natural. I just get a kick out of being on the ground.
Z: Yeah? Well, pretty soon you'll have the biggest kick of your life, baby. Look, maybe we'll land on a bird or something.
F: A bird?
Z: Yeah, you know, with wings.
F: Oh, come off it. The chances against one man landing on the back of a bird are ten to the power of my overdraft, but two is just- oof!
Bird: Oh, look, this is utterly ludicrous!

And so on.

Dr Nigel
2005-Sep-19, 03:35 PM
Sorry, got carried away there.

The film did have some highlights, such as the bit where the improbability drive turned them all into woollen dolls. And, Marvin from the TV series in the queue at the Vogon office where Ford, Arthur and Zaphod went to try to rescue Trillian. One thing I didn't like about the film was the resurrection of the love interest between Arthur and Trillian. It was clear from every previous version that the relationship was never going to happen.

Oh, yes, and don't forget the LPs. HHGTTG and TRATEOFU were recorded and released as LPs (the first part as a double album, the second as an ordinary album). This version was based closely on the TV series, and the correspondence between the two is the closest of any two versions. They were released in the UK before ownership of VCRs had become widespread (back in about '81 or '82, I think).

Inferno
2005-Sep-20, 12:09 AM
The second debate: Which "second" series do you prefer, the second radio series or the 3rd, 4th and 5th book?

captain swoop
2005-Sep-21, 09:43 AM
Second Radio Series.
I love the Foot Soldiers.

MrClean
2005-Sep-21, 10:28 AM
They all have their strenghts and weeknesses, I like them all. I understand folks having favorites. I also think they should get used to saying, 'This didn't work right for me' instead of this was wrong. Trillian wasn't right, Ford was inept, what's up with the over/under head instead of side by side. Who are YOU to judge another mans visions and the form which he uses to bring it forward. We wouldn't have the same statue of David if Michalangelo used wood or plaster or paint instead of marble, but I'm betting it would still be a masterpiece.

I say hang it all and just try to keep busy. I'd rather be happy than right.
So, are you happy.
Ahhhh, no. You see that's where it all falls down isn't it.

Dr Nigel
2005-Sep-30, 08:43 PM
I say hang it all and just try to keep busy. I'd rather be happy than right.
So, are you happy.
Ahhhh, no. You see that's where it all falls down isn't it.

Pity. It seemed like quite a good lifestyle otherwise. :)

Charly
2005-Sep-30, 10:35 PM
I think you have to:

A - see the TV series first, to get the characters in your head
and then...
B - Read the books.

I thiink the Radio series was overindulgent, and the humour didnt always work. The film was okay, but it just doesnt compare well to the tv series.

Gillianren
2005-Oct-01, 04:14 AM
I read the books first. long first. as in, nearly ten years before seeing the TV show/listening to the radio plays. I have the characters in my head just fine; they just look different from the ones on the TV show/in the movie, that's all.

iron4
2005-Oct-01, 02:09 PM
I'm actually reading the book, and is better than I thought. I'm actually in a scifi mood, I've just ended reading "Between the strokes of night" (Amazing book, BTW)

Avatar28
2005-Oct-03, 11:26 PM
See, I actually liked the movie. Certainly it was better than I'd initially thought it was going to turn out. And because Adams DID have a hand it in and wrote most of the script, I can accept the changes that were made. I have only seen a bit of the TV series and haven't heard the radio series at all. Probably my favorite is still the book.

I was somewhat disappointed at not getting to see the RBBBoT in the movie (aside from an animation of it chasing the Vogon's grandmother).

Lianachan
2005-Oct-05, 10:42 AM
See, I actually liked the movie. Certainly it was better than I'd initially thought it was going to turn out. And because Adams DID have a hand it in and wrote most of the script, I can accept the changes that were made. I have only seen a bit of the TV series and haven't heard the radio series at all. Probably my favorite is still the book.

I was somewhat disappointed at not getting to see the RBBBoT in the movie (aside from an animation of it chasing the Vogon's grandmother).

A friend of mine, whose judgement on the merits of films I generally trust, informs me that he rather enjoyed HHGTTG. I may not assidiously eschew it for much longer, but watch it with the same attitude I adopted to watch the Lord Of The Rings films (ie treat the film as an original and stand alone project, as if the story had never been told on any media before).

Avatar28
2005-Oct-05, 07:08 PM
A friend of mine, whose judgement on the merits of films I generally trust, informs me that he rather enjoyed HHGTTG. I may not assidiously eschew it for much longer, but watch it with the same attitude I adopted to watch the Lord Of The Rings films (ie treat the film as an original and stand alone project, as if the story had never been told on any media before).

And I believe that's exactly what you should do. Because it IS independent b/c of the fact that DNA changed it slightly every time. And I thought it was, in many ways, still faithful to the originals (or at least the book) anyways. There were a lot of things that had to be cut for time, of course and others that were slightly changed, but the overall feel is still there.

Andromeda321
2005-Oct-05, 11:32 PM
I have to say the movie despite loving the books and listening to the radio show. I don't know why I loved it so much, though the song with the dolphins was a big part of it (if you go to the website and check under games they have a singalong, hehe). I think one of the reasons, however, was because I really really liked Trisha. I mean in the radio screenplays she comes of sorta b:tchy especially for the first impressions and in the books you get the feeling that she's the "token" female a lot of the time, but in the movie she plays enough of a role that you could argue it's about her and not Arthur at all! I also identified with her charecter a lot, I guess... that and ppl kept saying how much we were the same, in looks and the fact that I'd run off with a guy who had a spaceship no matter how badly dressed he was. ;)
I figure the reason ppl like HHG, btw, is because when it all comes down to it it's a celebration of life and just how fun and cool the universe is around us. We shouldn't forget it but we often do by getting all serious, and a bit of humor is enough to remind us when we need to remember that!
A final question: what's the song they play at the beginning of the radio screenplays? Someone told me once but I do not remember at all... thanks.

EvilBob
2005-Oct-06, 12:28 AM
A final question: what's the song they play at the beginning of the radio screenplays? Someone told me once but I do not remember at all... thanks.
It's "Journey of the Sorcerer" by The Eagles - from One of these Nights (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000002GXX/qid=1128558239/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/002-3102639-2701635?v=glance&s=music). I don't really understand why everyone says the Dolphin song is the best part of the movie - I found it kind of boring....

James_Digriz
2005-Oct-06, 12:55 AM
Whoops. I voted too soon. The books then the BBC TV series. I did not like the movie becuase it took way too many liberties with the plotting of the books. The BBC TV stuff was straight from the books almost word for word.

I kept waiting for them to explain how that one guy was the 2000 generation desendent of Ghengis Khan but they didn't. I spent the whole movie like that.

Gillianren
2005-Oct-06, 01:38 AM
remember that, for the most part, "they"="Douglas Adams."

Lianachan
2005-Oct-06, 01:18 PM
remember that, for the most part, "they"="Douglas Adams."

The fact that Douglas Adams changes something may mean it is still authentic, and uncorrupted by another's pen, but it doesn't neccessarily follow that any changes he makes will be good. George Lucas learned that the very hard, and very public, way.

Gillianren
2005-Oct-06, 08:14 PM
The fact that Douglas Adams changes something may mean it is still authentic, and uncorrupted by another's pen, but it doesn't neccessarily follow that any changes he makes will be good. George Lucas learned that the very hard, and very public, way.

that's true enough. however, complaining because "they" changed things isn't fair. he changed things. in every version. you are certainly free not to like said changes, but if you don't like any version that's been changed, you're only allowed to like the radio play, which came first.

Dr Nigel
2005-Oct-07, 10:40 AM
But Douglas didn't write the song with the dolphins.

They did. The MIB. It's all a conspiracy to discredit Douglas' legacy.

Or not.

Overall, although I enjoyed the film, I found it too linear - it simply didn't convey the feeling that Arthur is suddenly adrift in a totally bewildering Universe, with so many things that he took for granted suddenly not being the case. The books, TV series, radio play and LPs did this quite well. So did the text-adventure game.

MrClean
2005-Oct-08, 11:55 AM
Well then you've only got one choice. Go, find every copy, every reel, every CD that's been burned from the soundtrack, every MPG player, Ipod and minidisk player with every reference to the movie in them. Everything. Then burn, burn it all. Remove from creation every memberance of the movie. Then find all the people that watched it and remove those memories from their mind. Wipe it all back down to hunger till there's nothing left. Wipe it so far back that people won't even say 'So Long' when they part. Then, when it's all done and everything is once again in it's place, wipe your mind clean.

Or we could just get on with life.

I here they're making Hitchhikers guide to the Universe now. Staring Tom Hanks as Arthur, Gweneth Paltro will be Trillian, Danny Divito-Marvin, Lawrence Fishburn-a more powerful Ford and Jim Carey as Zaphod.

Oh it outta be RICH. You see they all start out at planet hollywood.....

Andromeda321
2005-Oct-08, 05:33 PM
Geez, what a fuss over a song! Don't forget people, if you don't like it you can always start the DVD in the second scene or something. ;)
For the record, it's not actually the dolphin singing I like as much as the musical melody that repeats during the entire movie, and I LOVE the finale at the end with all the shots of life on Earth from the water drop to the kangaroo to the busy city streetcorner. There are few better movie sequences I have ever seen, really, and Joby Talbot's awesome. :)

Gemini
2005-Oct-08, 10:18 PM
It is a catchy tune, I bought the movie last night. I've had the song stuck in my head

Big Brother Dunk
2005-Oct-09, 04:33 AM
I read the books first, and now they're the yardstick.

Lianachan
2005-Nov-24, 03:36 PM
Sorry if this is regarded as resurrecting a dead thread, but I only just found out about the different descriptions of the Rory Award in the American and British versions of Life, The Universe and Everything.

A colleague here was talking about "The Most Gratuitous Use Of The Word Belgium In A Serious Screenplay", and I thought he was just plain wrong. Turns out, his is an American copy.

Very strange editorial choice, especially given the language of Mostly Harmless (or has that been cleaned up for the US market too?)

Edited afterthought: If you don't know what I'm talking about and go looking this up you will encounter blue language. So proceed with caution if this that likely to cause offense.

IsaacKuo
2005-Nov-25, 02:57 AM
I like the Radio Series the best. It's the freshest; all other versions including the books feel to me to be a bit too "processed". My favorite bits were done superlatively in the Radio version, including:

1. Shooty and Bang-bang. "I write novels." "He writes them in crayon."

"'Cause there are some things you've got to do even if you ARE an enlightenned liberal cop who knows all about sensitivity and everything."

2. The whale's (brief) philosophical ponderings. "I wonder if it'll be friends with me?"

3. Arthur: "You know it's at times like this when I'm trapped in an airlock with a man from Betelgeuce about to die of asphixiation in the vacuum of space that I wish I listened to what my mother said when I was little!"
Ford: "Why, what did she say?"
Arthur: "I don't know I didn't listen!"

4. Zaphod: "You've got a whole new life ahead of you--"
Marvin: "Oh, no, not another one."

5. Arthur: "It's not a question of who's habitat it is, it's a question of how hard you hit it!"

There's just something about the way the lines in the original Radio series are expressed that gets filtered down with each retelling.

Waspie_Dwarf
2005-Nov-25, 04:33 AM
I suppose I could be awkward and say the records (which are almost, but not quite, entirely like the first radio series). However for me it is the radio series which is the original and the best.

Jakenorrish
2005-Nov-25, 10:58 AM
1. Shooty and Bang-bang. "I write novels." "He writes them in crayon."

"'Cause there are some things you've got to do even if you ARE an enlightenned liberal cop who knows all about sensitivity and everything."


Good work, I'd forgotten how much I laughed at the enlightened cops!