Sep 26

Speaking of Hitchhiker’s…

Well, I’ve had a few days to take in the first episode of the Tertiary Phase of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and I thought I’d log my first impressions. Consider this a review. I don’t know if I’ll review other episodes, we’ll see. Spoilers, of course, for the episode, as well as one or two from the book series.

I’m relieved that they’ve kept the style so close to the original two series. I wasn’t really expecting a Lucas-esque transformation or anything, but aside from a few details you really wouldn’t know so many years had passed since the previous episode.

A few details:

  • Trillian (Susan Sheridan) sounds a bit older now, and to a lesser extent so does Zaphod (Mark Wing-Davey). Still, they put on great performances. Everyone else might as well have stepped right out of a time machine from 25 years ago.

  • We have a new voice for The Book – because the original voice, Peter Jones, passed away years ago. His sucessor, William Franklyn, matches Jones’ delivery extremely well. The sound of the voice of The Book switching back and forth from Jones to Franklyn as the Guide gets updated was funny, produced skillfully, and served as a fitting tribute to the original voice who gave those shows so much of their character. (I wonder… in the Quintessential Phase – the adaptation of Mostly Harmless, when the Hitchhiker’s Guide turns sinister, will our narrator also turn sinister? Hmmmmm….)
  • This time the music isn’t either produced from dinky 80’s synths, or pulled off the stock music shelf at the BBC. Although I liked the quirky musical choices from the original series, the music here is good, and isn’t too intrusive. One bit that annoyed a little was the descending notes we hear as Ford and Arthur catch the Chesterfield sofa and leave prehistoric Earth. It sounded a little obvious, like Shickele Mix demonstrating musically how Jack and Jill fall down the hill. But I’m picking seriously small nits.

Plotwise, I suppose the topic on everyone’s mind is why Ford and Arthur had to esacpe prehistoric Earth again, when they already did it way back in episode 8! (Hey, I’m consulting a script, lay off the fanboy comments!) The explanation given is that Zaphod Beeblebrox has been hallucinating ever since he left the Total Perspective Vortex! But why would he be hallucinating about Arthur and Ford on prehistoric Earth? Something’s a little weird here, and maybe I need to examine the scripts carefully to see if I can figure out what’s real and what isn’t. I can’t imagine that they just invalidated most of the second series. Maybe more will be revealed in upcoming episodes.

It does make sense, however, that they had to do something drastic to get the plot back in line with the books. The last episode ended with Ford and Zaphod stranded on an asteroid with the Man in the Shack, and Arthur flying away in the Heart of Gold. No real easy way to get Ford, Arthur and Trillian back together again so they can save the Universe with Slartibartfast. Speaking of Trillian, the hallucination explanation also gets her back in the story – she was absent for the entire second series. Anyway, this is all getting confusing, and it’s getting late, so I’ll wrap it up here. Good show, and I’ll be back for more next week.

Best new line: “Insanity is a gradual process. Don’t rush it.” – Ford Prefect

Sep 22

Welcome Hitchhikers

An interesting tidbit, courtesy of the hit counter I recently installed: at the moment, this site is the only link to come up on Google when you search for “hitchhikers guide tertiary phase“. Assuming, of course, you include the quotation marks. So far, two people have wound up here because of it.

I assume that shortly after I add this post, Google will send back two links.

Sep 16

The High Council Will Hear Of This Dishonor

Take a look at the picture accompanying this article over at CNN. Was it really that hard to find a good picture of a Klingon?

It’s just begging for a caption contest. Let’s see…

  • “Gee, Billy, it sure was nice of Commander Tomalak to let us into his private museum!”
  • “Watch what happens when I put a Tribble in the box!”
  • “I got as far as the head, and then I decided that building my own robotic Orion slave girl would be a lot more rewarding.”
  • “You know how Klingons rise in rank by assassinating their superior officers? Well, I don’t mean to brag, but you’re talking to the new captain of the I.K.S. Negh’Var.”

OK, I’m all tapped out.

Sep 9

Living With a Hernia

If this guy has strong political views one way or the other, he thankfully kept them to himself: