16 votes

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy TV series in the works at Hulu from Carlton Cuse & Jason Fuchs

31 comments

  1. vili
    Link
    There is a curious thing that I have observed happening whenever someone adapts a Douglas Adams work onto the screen without Adams's involvement in the final process. Namely, the end result is...

    There is a curious thing that I have observed happening whenever someone adapts a Douglas Adams work onto the screen without Adams's involvement in the final process. Namely, the end result is terribly silly. This was a problem with the 2005 film, and it certainly was a problem with both Dirk Gently series. Perhaps more so with the BBC America one than the ITV one, but also the latter suffered from this.

    Now, Adams's writing was of course often silly, but that silliness tended to be built on some fairly interesting, and might I even say deeply philosophical musings over human nature and our place in the universe. A lot of his gags work on two levels, with a comic surface level built on a much more solid foundation that carries a message and often ties gags together. This message level tends to deal with our vanities, our inabilities to communicate with others, the effects of technological change, our destruction of nature, and other such topics.

    With the screen adaptations, this depth level has more often than not been lost, the bottom cut out. All that's left of the core material is the superficial silliness, and all that's been written as new material is more superficial silliness. The end result is, well, silly. And quite superficial. And also chaotic. But at their core, Adams's original works, I would argue, were neither silly nor chaotic. And definitely not superficial. Even if they weren't always meticulously planned, they were always thoroughly thought-through, which gave them gravitas.

    I would hope that this planned new series deals with more than just the surface level of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Although to be honest, and with all due respect to his achievements, Jason Fuchs as the writer doesn't instill a lot of confidence in me that this will actually happen. But I am hoping to be proven wrong and to find myself pleasantly surprised.

    11 votes
  2. [16]
    acdw
    Link
    Holy crap, this is exciting! Not because of anyone attached, just for the possibilities. Ooh I hope it's good. Not that it could be any worse than the original TV series, which was simply...

    Holy crap, this is exciting! Not because of anyone attached, just for the possibilities. Ooh I hope it's good. Not that it could be any worse than the original TV series, which was simply dreadful. I used to have a thing where I'd read the novels every year though, and the radio series is a wonder.

    I also thought Dirk Gently was really well done on TV, so maybe this'll be similar (though I don't think it's any of the same people, but maybe they'll borrow some from the tone).

    6 votes
    1. [9]
      Algernon_Asimov
      Link Parent
      Well... yes. But it's lovably dreadful. :) I tried watching that, and got only halfway through the first episode before I gave up. To be honest, I don't remember a lot of details: I just remember...

      Not that it could be any worse than the original TV series, which was simply dreadful.

      Well... yes. But it's lovably dreadful. :)

      I also thought Dirk Gently was really well done on TV

      I tried watching that, and got only halfway through the first episode before I gave up. To be honest, I don't remember a lot of details: I just remember really not liking it. It felt wrong.

      5 votes
      1. acdw
        Link Parent
        You know, I should finish HHG out, learn to appreciate the camp. And I really like frenetic shows that are over-the-top, maybe that's the difference? As my mother says, "That's why they make Fords...

        You know, I should finish HHG out, learn to appreciate the camp. And I really like frenetic shows that are over-the-top, maybe that's the difference? As my mother says, "That's why they make Fords and Chevrolets" :)

        3 votes
      2. [7]
        DanBC
        Link Parent
        Which Dirk Gently tv series did you like? https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2303367/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1 https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4047038/?ref_=fn_al_tt_3
        1. [5]
          Algernon_Asimov
          Link Parent
          Neither. I saw one on Netflix: the second one you linked. That's the one I disliked. I haven't seen the other one; I didn't even know it existed.

          Which Dirk Gently tv series did you like?

          Neither.

          I saw one on Netflix: the second one you linked. That's the one I disliked.

          I haven't seen the other one; I didn't even know it existed.

          2 votes
          1. [4]
            nic
            Link Parent
            I had no idea either existed, and now I want to watch it! On DVD.com, one of the reviews says

            I had no idea either existed, and now I want to watch it!

            On DVD.com, one of the reviews says

            You have to watch at least 3 episodes, maybe even 4, before the plot seems anything but completely insane

            1 vote
            1. [3]
              Algernon_Asimov
              Link Parent
              For me, it wasn't so much the plot I didn't like as the tone. I hated the style of the show. It might suit you better than it did me. Enjoy!

              For me, it wasn't so much the plot I didn't like as the tone. I hated the style of the show.

              It might suit you better than it did me. Enjoy!

              1. Greg
                Link Parent
                That was exactly my feeling about the Netflix version. The BBC one, for me, captured the tone perfectly - I'd recommend checking it out.

                That was exactly my feeling about the Netflix version. The BBC one, for me, captured the tone perfectly - I'd recommend checking it out.

                2 votes
              2. nic
                Link Parent
                I didn't like the book, but it's comedy/ sci fi/fantasy and it's rated well on imdb.com, so I feel obliged to give it a shot.

                I didn't like the book, but it's comedy/ sci fi/fantasy and it's rated well on imdb.com, so I feel obliged to give it a shot.

        2. acdw
          Link Parent
          I saw the Hulu one, with Elijah Wood. I might also just like Elijah Wood a lot. I didn't know there was another one! I'll want to check that one out as well.

          I saw the Hulu one, with Elijah Wood. I might also just like Elijah Wood a lot.

          I didn't know there was another one! I'll want to check that one out as well.

          1 vote
    2. [3]
      mrbig
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I'm a fan of the Hitchhiker's books. I didn't like Dirk Gently. It was too histrionic, too fast, too much of everything. It was hard to follow what was happening on the screen. It's the same...

      I'm a fan of the Hitchhiker's books.

      I didn't like Dirk Gently. It was too histrionic, too fast, too much of everything. It was hard to follow what was happening on the screen. It's the same feeling I get from Rupaul's Drag Race, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Moulin Rouge. Quick delivery, frenetic editing, and too much stylization give me subjective nausea, regardless of the overall quality.

      This is not necessarily a criticism, I'm convinced I have a peculiar cognitive arrangement that makes it hard for me to enjoy those things.

      I was also bothered by how the acting was similar to David Tennant's Doctor Who. The main difference, in my opinion, was the lack of charisma.

      edit: add comment about the acting

      4 votes
      1. [2]
        acdw
        Link Parent
        You know, I'll give you the comparison to David Tennant. Dirk could've been played more irascibly by whoever it was that played him; in the book, isn't he a short guy with like a moustache or...

        You know, I'll give you the comparison to David Tennant. Dirk could've been played more irascibly by whoever it was that played him; in the book, isn't he a short guy with like a moustache or something?

        For me, I like the fast-paced, frenetic stuff. But it's definitely a taste thing.

        2 votes
        1. mrbig
          Link Parent
          I wouldn’t call it taste but I get what you’re saying.

          I wouldn’t call it taste but I get what you’re saying.

    3. [3]
      deciduous
      Link Parent
      What's wrong with original tv series? It keeps close to the original script and has many of the same voices as the radio show. Maybe you're referring to how terrible the costumes, sets, and...

      What's wrong with original tv series? It keeps close to the original script and has many of the same voices as the radio show. Maybe you're referring to how terrible the costumes, sets, and effects are, but I find them kind of endearing.

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        acdw
        Link Parent
        Yep! Also the guy who plays Ford Prefect really let me down. Arthur Dent is great, I think, though. I was also not a fan of the pacing of the show -- I think they should've adapted it more from...

        how terrible the costumes, sets, and effects are

        Yep! Also the guy who plays Ford Prefect really let me down. Arthur Dent is great, I think, though.

        I was also not a fan of the pacing of the show -- I think they should've adapted it more from radio, since TV is a different medium.

        2 votes
        1. deciduous
          Link Parent
          All valid criticisms. I still enjoy it even despite the problems (though obviously the radio show and book are better).

          All valid criticisms. I still enjoy it even despite the problems (though obviously the radio show and book are better).

          1 vote
  3. [3]
    Hypersapien
    Link
    Hopefully they'll get someone to write the script who has actually friggin' read the books before getting the job. Yes, that was a dig at the 2005 movie.

    Hopefully they'll get someone to write the script who has actually friggin' read the books before getting the job.

    Yes, that was a dig at the 2005 movie.

    6 votes
    1. [2]
      vili
      Link Parent
      Since you seem to imply that you know where your towel is, in this topic at least, maybe you can shine light on something that I have often wondered about. Namely, how much did Karey Kirkpatrick...

      Since you seem to imply that you know where your towel is, in this topic at least, maybe you can shine light on something that I have often wondered about. Namely, how much did Karey Kirkpatrick (who I assume you refer to as the person who hadn't read the books) change of Douglas's final draft?

      My understanding is that Douglas wrote the script alone and that the film is based on his last draft, submitted to the studio shortly before his death. But the producers have openly said that changes were made, although other than developing pacing, and that all major new additions were still Douglas's, I have never been able to find out what exactly got changed.

      1 vote
      1. Hypersapien
        Link Parent
        I don't know. I'd love to see the final draft he submitted, even just for its own sake.

        I don't know. I'd love to see the final draft he submitted, even just for its own sake.

  4. [5]
    balooga
    Link
    H2G2 has such a history of bad adaptations, fingers crossed that this time they'll actually do it justice. I think a series is the proper format for it; there's just too much pandemonium in that...

    H2G2 has such a history of bad adaptations, fingers crossed that this time they'll actually do it justice. I think a series is the proper format for it; there's just too much pandemonium in that book to condense into a 2-hour runtime.

    What I'm really hoping for is some coverage of the sequels. One of my favorite mental images from fiction is the restaurant at the end of the universe. It would be great to see it realized onscreen (if they execute it well).

    5 votes
    1. Algernon_Asimov
      Link Parent
      That's included in the original TV series. Episode 5 is set in the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. There's the tacky MC, the animal who wants to be eaten, the species waiting for their...

      What I'm really hoping for is some coverage of the sequels. One of my favorite mental images from fiction is the restaurant at the end of the universe.

      That's included in the original TV series. Episode 5 is set in the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. There's the tacky MC, the animal who wants to be eaten, the species waiting for their prophet who's running late, and so on.

      The first two books: 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' and 'The Restaurant at the End of the Universe' were both adapted from the radio series, and the same material was used in the 1980 TV series.

      As the Wikipedia article says, 'Life, the Universe and Everything' was the first book written without using the radio (and TV) series as source material. And, to be honest, I think this is where the book series becomes weaker. I think the first two books are great - and, knowing that they originate from the radio series, it's easy to assume that's why. The sequels (from books three to five) are a bit wishy-washy.

      4 votes
    2. [3]
      acdw
      Link Parent
      That scene would be so good. I want to see the blacker-than-black ship in the carpark, too. OH and Agragog's lair (I think that's the spider thing?) from book 4(?) I would also love to see. It was...

      That scene would be so good. I want to see the blacker-than-black ship in the carpark, too.
      OH and Agragog's lair (I think that's the spider thing?) from book 4(?) I would also love to see. It was such a funny scene and send back for me.

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        balooga
        Link Parent
        Totally agree about the black ship, I love how it was described in the book. Vantablack. It would be easy to make a flat black cutout in the shape of a ship, but to really sell the effect would...

        Totally agree about the black ship, I love how it was described in the book. Vantablack. It would be easy to make a flat black cutout in the shape of a ship, but to really sell the effect would take some creative camerawork. A slow pan around the ship to show its depth, some characters walking both behind and in front of it, or between a wing and the hull or something. Maybe Arthur touching it and leaving comically smudgy fingerprints. Maybe Zaphod walking into a protruding black greeble he didn't see in front of him. Lots of room for fun here!

        1 vote
        1. acdw
          Link Parent
          I'm loving this practical effects idea. Hopefully they'll do a lot of these!

          I'm loving this practical effects idea. Hopefully they'll do a lot of these!

  5. [4]
    dubteedub
    Link
    I am glad that we are going to get another crack at Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The 2005 movie had a couple of moments in it that were interesting, but to condensing the book and lore into a...

    I am glad that we are going to get another crack at Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The 2005 movie had a couple of moments in it that were interesting, but to condensing the book and lore into a 2 hour movie just made a mess of the pacing and lost a lot of its charm for me.

    Turning Hitchhikers into a TV series seems like a perfect fit to me.

    4 votes
    1. [3]
      mrbig
      Link Parent
      I may be one of the few people that really liked that movie. I only read the books much after. Maybe that’s why.

      I may be one of the few people that really liked that movie. I only read the books much after. Maybe that’s why.

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        Hypersapien
        Link Parent
        I read the books when I was around 15 (~1988) and I really wanted to like the movie, but in the end it was a travesty. They couldn't even get the most iconic parts of the story right. It didn't...

        I read the books when I was around 15 (~1988) and I really wanted to like the movie, but in the end it was a travesty. They couldn't even get the most iconic parts of the story right.

        It didn't help that the guy they got to write the script admitted to having never read the books before getting the job.

        4 votes
        1. mrbig
          Link Parent
          Yeah... to me it was just a movie, I had nothing to compare.

          Yeah... to me it was just a movie, I had nothing to compare.

          1 vote
  6. AlarmedConflict
    Link
    They have an insane amount of potential, if they don’t mess this up that is. Done right, this series could be the next office.

    They have an insane amount of potential, if they don’t mess this up that is. Done right, this series could be the next office.

    3 votes
  7. BoomShalashaska
    Link
    I'm really looking forward to seeing how they handle it, since every adaptation of the series is always so different.

    I'm really looking forward to seeing how they handle it, since every adaptation of the series is always so different.

    1 vote