The Cambridge Geek

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Hexagonal Phase

You see up there in my header image, the book? The choice of that should tell you how excited I was for the new series of H2G2 out now on BBC Radio 4. I've re-read the book a couple of times, but I've listened to all five series of the radio show even more often.

Though I will admit I never read "And Another Thing". It felt wrong, reading what was effectively fan fiction of one of my favourite author's work. But I always felt that the radio series was a little more open, being created by multiple people.

Which is why I was very keen indeed to listen to this, being based on that book. And I have. And...I don't love it. I'm not sure I even like it.

It just feels all a bit wrong. The episode starts with a nearly ten minute long recap of the previous series, given by John Lloyd, which is a bit too full of the pseudo-technical silliness that the Guide was written to contain. It drags on rather terribly, and feels more forced than that sort of jokery should. I also found John Lloyd sounded a little bit too much like an overenthusiastic sports commentator.

Worse than that though, it all feels a bit too much like someone trying to do an impression of Douglas Adams' writing, rather than being a continuation of the original series. The "cheat" to skip the final end of the fifth series just feels cheap, and all of the characters feel like parodies of themselves.

Weirdly, probably the worst example of this is the fact that Stephen Hawking is a rather important cast member. I'm not sure how an astrophysicist managed to become an over-exposed actor, but he did. My reaction to him turning up was "oh god he's in this as well?" not "how cool!" That is not a good sign.

Still, Jim Broadbent does a reasonable impression of Stephen Moore as Marvin, though even he feels more miserable than he should be. No subtlety.

I'll listen to all of it, because I rather have to. I'm just not sure I'll enjoy it. Feel free to tell me I'm horribly wrong in the comments.

(And if you've got here far too late and missed it on the radio, you can listen to it here.)

Score 2

Tagged: Radio Comedy Cast Fiction Science fiction