The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (audio drama)
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a series of serialized audio dramas primarily written by Douglas Adams and aired on BBC Radio 4 with the first season released in 1978 and the sixth season in 2018.
I first heard about The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy from various friends and popular media, but my first formal experience was when I read the books. After that, I learned that Adams had begun the series with a radio program, so I sought it out and listened to the first three seasons. In 2018, I finished the fourth and fifth seasons, and learned about the sixth season which I have yet to hear.
I do not own this series, but I have listened to seasons 1-5.
Most descriptions of the audio drama describe each episodic segment as a "series," and thus, there are six series for the complete drama, however, in episodic television each segment would be called a "season," and the collection of seasons would be called a "series." I use this terminology as it is far more popular.
|Season||Episodes||First Episode Broadcast Date|
— This section contains spoilers! —
- Over all, the series is wonderful. The story is exciting, the plot is a humorous mirrored-look at our own society, and most of the characters are relatable and interesting.
- The voice actors are fantastic.
- Marvin the chronically depressed android is especially funny.
- Adams combines his observational skills and wit to describe our reality through the aliens characters. For example, the Vogons are not evil, they're just extremely bureaucratic... which is often indistinguishable from evil. Also, Eddie, the ship's computer on the Heart of Gold, is programmed to be so helpful he ends up hindering everyone, which is extremely common in over-programmed computer interfaces.
- Some of the events are disturbingly accurate, like a space ship AI that won't depart until it is properly stocked with moist towelettes, and puts its passengers in suspended animation until they arrive, but, since their civilization collapsed, they will never receive any towelettes, so the passengers will never be freed.
- The Guide is a great way to explain backstory and settings to the listener in a way which fits the story organically.
- I like the choice of Journey of the Sorcerer as a theme song. It has a rural unearthly quality to it.
- The later seasons start to get a bit jumbled with all the time traveling, and some of the plot elements become so ridiculous it requires you to suspend disbelief too much. For example, in the series, the universe fundamentally alters mathematics while in the vicinity of a bistro which can be seen in the fact of how the bills always seem funny. While this is an interesting observation, it's a bit of a stretch to base an entire line of star ships on it.
- Some of the characters were replaced with a different voice actor in the later seasons. I know they can't prevent people from dying, but it's still annoying.
- Some of the American accents are pretty bad.