Douglas Adams chat and listening

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:50 pm

{{One of only about two things the otherwise appalling Hitchhikers film did well- their version of the theme music, the Eagles Journey of the Magi- it was always a great tune, but I really enjoy this one for the cleanness and clarity and arrangement of the banjo in it }}



{{Oddly enough by a strange coincidence the other thing they got right was their other theme tune (the film has two for some reason) which whilst an original song is one of the few things which is very much in the mood and feel of the original radio shows }}}


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Post by Bluebottle Tue Feb 27, 2018 5:23 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:{{Oddly enough by a strange coincidence the other thing they got right was their other theme tune (the film has two for some reason) which whilst an original song is one of the few things which is very much in the mood and feel of the original radio shows }}}


The song is glorious, best part of the movie. Nod I also liked the whale and Petunias part. Nod



But, yeah, much the rest is very much meh much.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Tue Feb 27, 2018 5:51 pm

much the rest is very much meh much.- Blue

{{Its way worse than that- the things they get so wrong are almost too many to count. On the small list of things I like - some of the special effects, Sam Rockwell could be an excellent Zaphod, but they neuter him entirely by making him a drooling idiot for half the film, and the one thing visually interesting about him everyone knows, that he has two heads, they screw by hiding the second head in his neck for some reason then remove it entirely for half the film!  Mad   Evil or Very Mad
Then there is Arthur Dent, now I am notoriously NOT a proud Englishman, but if I was the weasel Arthur of the films would offend- Arthur Dent is no action hero, he'd rather have a quiet afternoon down the village pub or a nice cup of tea on the lawn watching the cricket- but when pushed he stands up to authority, gods and a plethora of other entities in the name of fair play, decency and trying to get a proper cup of tea. Arthur Dent in short has balls. They may be discreet and he may never boast or acknowledge in polite conversation that he has, but when push comes to shove, there they are! Freeman's Dent is a social awkward recreation of his role in the Office where the humour around Arthur is centered on 'cringe-humour' arising from the awkwardness of the situation- seen from the off in the party scene where he meets Trillian and says something embarrassing that everyone accidentally hears.
And Marvin!!! Oh dear god how can they have missed the point so much?- why did they make him look like he was built to be depressed? with his big head that always hangs downwards, the sad eyes and 'mouth'? The whole point of the joke is that Marvin, like all the rest of the systems on the Heart of Gold are prototypes- Marvin was designed by the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation to be 'You're plastic pal who is fun to be with!'- he is depressed because every device the Corporation makes is screwed up in some way. So the doors get so much satisfaction out of just doing their job of opening and closing they can't help but sigh at the pleasure of a job well done, Eddie the ships computer is hyperactive and over enthusiastic and Marvin is so intelligent and has been given such massive processing powers that being a robot made for menial tasks depresses him beyond belief. That's the joke- to make Marvin look like he was supposed to be depressed as a design choice is just mind mindbogglingly bad!!!!!
Oh and the nutramatic- in the film it does exactly what its supposed to- reads your mind and taste buds in super complex ways then gives you exactly what you want to eat or drink- only its not supposed to work- the whole joke is that after doing all that scanning and complicated stuff in invariably produces an undrinkable beverage that is not entirely unlike tea!
The worst misunderstanding as a joke is probably the last 'joke' in the film when they fly off to the Restaurant at the end of the universe only for Marvin to tell them they are going the wrong way as the restaurant is 'at the other end of the universe'.  WTF? Its at the end of Time not Space, assuming space even has an end. Its unbelievable they could made that pathetic a joke at the complete expense of the source material.
And then there is the neutering of Trillian from one of the most independent characters in the story to the centre of a love triangle between Arthur and Zaphod Mad  Oh and the complete miscasting of Ford too (and not because he is black, that's irrelevant he's an alien what does it matter? but because he is just really wrong for the role in terms of performance and that the character is portrayed often as an idiot, which is one of the few things he isn't in the radio plays or books).
And I havent even touche don how badly they screw up the plot or the set ups for it  Evil or Very Mad
Oh dear Blue- see what you've done now- you've started me on a crabbit rant!!! Twisted Evil better drink some buckie to calm down drunken drunken  }}}

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:07 pm

{{Examples of point missing!
Heres is the film version of the nutramatic scene- note how most of it is used as an excuse to spend time on the completely unnecessary love triagle nonsense and is completely devoid of any of the observational humour or any of the points of the original concept- plus just how different the film Arthur is from the original }}



{{radio original scene animated}}



{{And one for you Blue Smile }}


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Post by Pettytyrant101 Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:45 pm

{{The final part of the Hitchhikers radio show is being broadast on BBC radio 4 and is available on iplayer (the Hexagonal Phase)- the original radio cast reunite one final time to complete the Hitchhikers set. Haven't listened to the first episode yet, but as this is the only one not based on a book by Adams, and I was not a big fan of the book its based on, going to be interesting to see if it works better as radio and with the original cast. My thoughts on it to follow as I hope to get a chance to listen to it later today }}}

https://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/play/b09th4hf

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Sun Jan 19, 2020 4:18 pm

{{ Stumbled on this- the BBC radio 4 adaptation of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, with Harry Enfield excellent as Dirk, Olivia Coleman likewise excellent as his long suffering secretary Janice and Billy Boyd as Richard McDuff. Enjoy the best adaptation of the book thats been made (the BBC tv series only nicked a few concepts from the book not the plot or characters, and the American version is completely different and has almost no bearing on the original books at all beyond character names and a few concepts again. As far as I know this is the only true adaptationof the book, and as it sproduced by the same team that worked with Adams on the Htchhikers radio shows its got the right feel too. }}


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Post by halfwise Sun Jan 19, 2020 4:47 pm

Listened to the first few minutes, didn't catch me the way hitchhiker did. Unlike a book you can't just skim over the obviously boring parts of an introduction.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Sun Jan 19, 2020 5:30 pm

{{ Worth hanging in to get to Dirk in my view- and not that much introduction, and it is rather necessary. Of course you could just watch the opening sequence from Doctor Who City of Death- as its almost exactly same opening! Smile  Though as a favourite episode worth watching it all  Nod }}


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Post by Pettytyrant101 Sat Jan 23, 2021 10:19 am

{{
Why Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and Dirk Gently are Really Doctor Who in Disguise


When Douglas Adams was creating and writing Hitchhikers he also had a second job, as showrunner of Doctor Who during the 4th Doctor (Tom Bakers) run on the show.
If you are a fan of both you couldn't help but notice how with a few reworkings here and there entire pieces of dialogue appear in both.

Ever wonder how the TARDIS can materialise and no one notice it?  Well its for the exact same reason Slatibartfast can materialise his Bistromatic spaceship at Lords Cricket Ground with no one noticing. In Who its called the Perception Filter, in Hitchhikers the Someone Else's Problem Field. But they do exactly the same thing. Its one of the many small, but consistent comparisons that can be drawn between the two things he worked upon.

But its more than the bleeding over of lines of dialogue or sci-fi concepts that makes Hitchhikers a comedy version of Who, there are the characters too.

Most prominent is Ford Prefect. Ford is the Doctor if the Doctor rather than wanting to get involved in everything just wanted to kick back and have a good time instead. Not that it works for Ford as he finds himself embroiled in all the major events anyway. He is mysterious to the viewer, we never really find out too much about Ford- we know the name of his home planet, and we meet two others of his race in the course of events, he has vast knowledge of the Universe and its history, he is a fast thinker who comes up with solutions on the fly and often operates on a sort of flying by the seat of his pants premise, he's an adapt time traveller, and he is an oddly, quirky, alien.
Sound familiar? The Doctor is a mysterious character, we know his home planet though rarely meet others from there, he has a vast knowledge of the universe and its history, he is a fast thinker who comes up with solutions on the fly and often operates on a sort of flying by the seat of his pants premise, he's an adapt time traveller, and he is an oddly, quirky, alien.
But Ford similarities to the Doctor doesn't end with just his background and personality. He also has his own Sonic Screwdriver, in his case the Electronic Thumb which through the course of the stories he uses for a variety of things from hitching a lift on a Vogon ship to unlocking doors and bypassing computer security systems. Its held in the hand, is roughly wand shaped and waved at things to work. Exactly like the Doctors Sonic Screwdriver.

So having established Ford as the Doctor of the tale what does the Doctor always have? Well a companion. And here is where Arthur Dent comes in, just like a Who companion he is an ordinary human with no idea what's out there and so can ask all the questions. He is caught up in events surrounding the mysterious alien character and whisked away into scifi adventures, just like the introduction of a new companion.

Next what's the Doctor without a TARDIS? Well Ford doesn't have a ship, but the Heart of Gold largely serves the same purpose- its an impossible vehicle that does impossible things. Just as Time Lord technology is so advanced as to be indistinguishable from magic, so too the Heart of Gold is equally preposterous with its Improbability Drive. And both serve the same purpose, they act as abase for characters to catch up with the plot and plan, and mainly its a means of moving all the characters to where the plot needs them to be all but instantly, even if it's on the other side of the universe.
And just as the TARDIS is more than a device being a character in and of itself so advanced it has gained a form of sentience, the Heart of Gold is likewise given a personality in the form of Eddie the ships computer. Neither are just mere plot devices.

Next we have Zaphod Beeblebrox, who at first glance does not seem to have much in common with Who. But taken at his basics, he is President of the Galaxy, then ex-President, he is the same species and from the same planet as Ford, and he is a rebel. We get some background between him and Ford, they were best friends growing up, went to school together  (one of the few flashbacks we get to Ford and Zaphods past is an account of them at school together and Zaphod failing to know a crucial piece of galactic history as he was too busy trying to work out how to get off with the girl in the next cubicle) and got into a lot of scrapes and schemes, listened to loud music and drank too much, then drifted apart and never saw each other again for years. Neither Ford or Zaphod is held in much esteem by their own people and are considered to be rebels.

In Who the Doctor has the Master, an old friend, they grew up together and went to the Academy together, they were best friends who got into scrapes together then drifted apart and never saw each other for years. Neither the Doctor or the Master are held in much regard by their own people and are considered to be Renegades.

There is also another similarity, Zaphod is President of the galaxy, the 4th Doctor was made President of Gallifrey, and as Time lords are the most advanced and powerful race in existence its defacto President of everything. The role of President in 4th Doctor era is also one that is mainly ceremonial, full of stuffiness, pomp and ceremony, the real power lying elsewhere with Council and the Doctor reacts to being made President by doing what he does best- running away to have a good time instead.
Zaphod of course likewise is President, steals a ship and runs away to have a good time too (notable also that the Doctor stole the TARDIS originally and ran away just as Zaphod stole the Heart of Gold and ran away) and Zaphods role as President was entirely pompous and ceremonial withthe real power lying elsewhere.

In what is either a deliberate nod, or more likely a quirk of fate Adams would probably appreciate, Zaphod is how he is because has had his brain tampered with in order to fulfil a great task at a later preplanned date, and in NuWHo we learned the Master is the way he is because he had his brain tampered with in order to fulfill a great task at a later date.

And whilst the Master is set up as a bad guy who does bad things often, Zaphod, whilst not a bad guy in any sense is often callous, unthinking, selfish to the extreme and looks out for number one at all times. The basic personality traits are very similar. In that sense Zaphod is the fun version of the character.

Trillain is at first glance a bit trickier to fit into the Who template. But in a sense I think that is her point. And why she is not a companion of Ford but of Zaphod. Who has always had strong well written female character since the very start with Barbara, but its also had since the very start characters like Susan, whose main jobs are to get in trouble and need rescued and to scream at the monsters (indeed it was for these very reasons the actress who played Susan gave up the role). Trillain is the exact opposite of such characters. She takes to discovering the universe like a fish to water, is completely at ease and at home in it, never screams at monsters and his very intelligent.
In that sense she is Adam's version of what a female companion could be like, but he runs into the reason they are not  of course which is that such characters come off as somewhat uninteresting and Trillain is notable as being the least interesting person among the characters of Hitchhikers. And is wisely used sparingly and probably also explains why Adam's made her Zaphods companion and not Fords. As a main character she doesn't have enough on the page.

Much like Trillain being the opposite of a certain traditional Doctor companion, so the Vogons are the humorous opposite to the Daleks.
Daleks destroy worlds because they are the ultimate racists, they have a zeal and fervour to seek out and kill anything not like themselves. They are physically repugnant and kill without a second thought, and so they are despised by everyone else.
Vogons destroy worlds too, but they do it with the complete opposite of zeal and racial fervour, they couldn't care less, they are the indifferent face of bureaucracy, destroying worlds for no more a reason than its on the schedule for that day. But they are similarly unpleasant to look at physically, will kill you without a second thought though for different reasons, and are despised by everyone else as a result. “energise the demotion rays” is just Vogon for “exterminate”.

Adams has never been shy of recycling his material. The entire novel Life, the Universe and Everything is a rewrite of a Doctor Who story that the BBC rejected for being too silly, the Krikkit Wars, and it follows the original story beat for beat. That Adams could adapt this to Hitchhikers without having to alter 90% of it shows just how interchangeable all the roles are (you can now read Doctor Who and the Krikkit Wars as a novel).

But Adams didn't stop there as well as Hitchhikers we have Dirk Gently, it doesnt need much indepth analysis as its so obvious. The first novel is a mashing together of two Adams era Who stories, the televised City of Death, and the untelevised thanks to industrial action at the BBC, Shada. And like Hitchhikers whole scenes, set pieces and lines of dialogue are lifted one to the other without alteration. Dirk himself can, like Ford, be seen as another version of the Doctor, what if the Doctor were just as clever, just as amazing, but was simply too lazy to save the universe. And its easy to imagine that if the Doctor were stuck on earth he too would be terrible at practical things like paying the bills or house cleaning or having a real job. And I could certainly see the Doctor were he stuck nn earth having to drive about employing Dirks Zen method of navigation, where he picks someone who looks like they know where they are going and follows them on the basis the results are usually more informative than they are practical. Its a very Doctor attitude. Dirk even dresses like a Doctor to the point that the description the police officer is given by his superior when told to lookout for Dirk is that he looks like "Doctor Who, one of the fat ones."

So there you have it, why I believe without Adams life long love of Who and his time as showrunner of it, we'd ever have got the Hitchhikers we have, or indeed the Dirk Gently novels either.

Oh and one last nod, this time from Who to Adams, in the 10th Doctor (David Tennants) debut episode where he is weairng a dressing gown for most of the run time, he references Arthr Dent as being a nice man as if he knew him.}}

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Post by Bluebottle Thu Jan 28, 2021 9:42 am

I always loved Adams line on the Kakapo, a flightless New Zealand parrot that sometimes has a tendency to jump out of trees with only it vestigial wings like it has forgotten it has forgotten how to fly: "Flies like a brick."

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Thu Jan 28, 2021 7:22 pm

"The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't"- Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, description of the Vogon Constructor Fleet over Earth.

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Post by Bluebottle Thu Jan 28, 2021 9:19 pm

Ah, and I guess this supports your above point Razz

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Fri Jan 29, 2021 12:45 am

{{ Not directly but I do like that Who and Hitchhikers seem to be the same universe, as well as the Doctor apparently having known Arthur Dent in Rings of Akenaten there is a Hulavaloo, which is an alien species that appears in Hikers and is said to be a sentient shade of the colour blue.
Oolon Colluphid, author in Hitchhikers of works such "God's Greatest Mistake," and "Where God went wrong" is also referenced in Who when Adams was writing it, with the 4th Doctor scan reading one of his books and declaring that 'He got it wrong on the first line.' And in a 6th Doctor BF audio drama Adams himself gets a place in the Who universe, with the Doctor claiming his old friend Douglas when asked what was wrong with getting drunk responded with, ask a glass of water. Which is something Ford said in response to the same question from Arthur Dent.
In the 6th Doctor episode Ghostlight the Doctor also makes a comment abut humans never inviting their ancestors round for tea, a line from the Book in Hitchhikers.
As a little addition the merged universes seem to have some BBC acknowledgment, my DVD boxed set of the BBC tv series of Hitchhikers has the TARDIS fly across the menu screen before the chapter select, for no obvious reason as there is otherwise no Who content on the DVD's. }}

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Post by Forest Shepherd Fri Jan 29, 2021 5:11 am

What charming connections!

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