Back Comments (1) Share:
Facebook Button
Introduction
The world consists of two types of people. Those who think the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything is something religious and then those who think it's simply Forty-Two. I fall into the latter and if you do too then this DVD is certainly going to be on your wish list.

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The
Series
In 1977 a man named Douglas Adams wrote a book and a radio play (which aired on BBC Radio 4) about a man named Arthur Dent who woke up one morning to find his house was about to be bulldozed to make way for a bypass.  Little did he realise a matter of hours later the planet Earth was also about to be bulldozed to make way for an intergalactic hyperspace bypass.  The main difference being that he, along with his friend Ford Prefect and some dolphins were about the only people who knew what was about to happen.  Ford wasn't a normal person though and unbeknownst to Arthur did in fact hail from the planet Betelgeuse and was merely passing through Earth to compile its entry for a guidebook he worked on. The book in question was perhaps the most successful book in the universe - The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy.

Following the book/radio versions of The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy came the inevitable TV adaptation and this is what we have on disc 1 of the DVD. Coming in six episodes we follow Arthur and Ford across the universe as they encounter strange occurrence after strange occurrence, such as discovering the Fjord Designer who won an award for his work on Norway, dabbling with Infinite Improbability and having a bite to eat at Milliways - the Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The
Video
As made for TV, low budget, 20-year-old programs go the transfer for HHGTTG is more than acceptable. The series was repeated last year and the picture quality wasn't a patch on this DVD. The colours aren't as vivid as you'd like but then pictures were dull back then and I'd rather they didn't tinker too much with the colour saturation, as the effects are often worse than the original.

Audio
I don't know what they did to the audio but it has been improved immeasurably, often sounding better than many TV Series DVDs from programs made in the last few years.  Gone is the original mono track and we now have a new stereo version. Actually, mono is available but the stereo version sounds much better.  The brilliant soundtrack really benefits from the stereo mix and while surround sound isn't really used it does have its moments especially when the voice of Peter Jones as the Book comes from the left or right channel rather than the centre.

Extras
There is an entire disc of extras for the HHGTTG but it should be noted that Disc 1 does have extended versions of 3 of the 6 episodes as well as an On Screen Production Notes feature, which adds subtitles with lots of extra information about the production of the HHGTTG. This is kind of like a commentary but in subtitle form and is a lot less intrusive.

Disc 2 contains an hour long Making of Documentary that aired on television in 1993 and there is also a new 20 minute documentary that didn't make it to the final version of the former.  There are numerous other bits and pieces including a segment from a BBC education program as well as pieces from Tomorrow's World and Pebble Mill.  Finally we have the original trailer, an extra deleted scene that didn't make Disc 1, and some out-takes and last but not least, the obligatory Photo Gallery.

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The
Overall
As a fan I would say HHGTTG is a must have DVD but I must admit I do prefer the book and the radio recordings and the visual version is my least favourite of the 3.  That said if you prefer to watch your entertainment and are willing to sacrifice 3 hours of your time to Douglas Adams' special brand of insanity then you should buy this DVD.  I will certainly be watching mine again.


Links: