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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Quintessential Phase

Title: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Quintessential Phase
Directed by: Dirk Maggs
Written by: Douglas Adams, Dirk Maggs
Produced by: British Broadcasting Corporation
Year: 2005

To set the stage for this review, let me go back to the preceding four phases. I think that the two (primary, secondary), written by Douglas Adams for the BBC and later turned into a hugely successful trilogy in five volumes, are certainly among the best media produced in history. I have listened to them countless of times, and although there are parts I don’t particularly love, the good bits are so good that it more than makes up for it. Thus, I wasn’t deterred when the tertiary phase turned out to be good rather than brilliant (after all, it is adapted from the book instead of the other way around), and happily continued with the quandary phase, which only was awarded three snails.

Extrapolating from these grades, I naturally assumed that the quintessential and last phase would be even worse, so I decided not to listen to it at the time. Only last week did I pick it up again, and let me tell you I’m happy I did. The quintessential phase is what Mostly Harmless ought to have been (and, mark you, I still like the book). Dirk Maggs adapts, adds, removes and directs with a skill I could was not present in the tertiary and quandary phases. He manages to put all the loose threads together, tie them up neatly and end the story in a much better way than did Douglas Adams in the book (the ending is the same, almost, but the way there is somewhat different).

There are a few outstandingly nice episodes in this short series, particularly those that have to do with Collin, the security robot Ford hacks in order to get into the Guide’s headquarters. The new guide is also a favourite. Most other parts are still highly amusing, but Collin actually competes for being my favourite character throughout the entire series. As is the case with all other actors, he plays his parts and he does it well (this is true for everybody, with the possible exception of Sandra Dickinson, whose voice I can’t stand).

Admittedly, there are parts that don’t interest me that much. The bewildered Grebulons are in themselves good characters, but I’m not particularly fond of their part in the plot before the very end. The same goes for the episodes concerning Athur’s hunt for his lost love, Fenchurch.

Bringing all of these sentiments together, though, this last episode is really good. It is by far better than the third and forth, and in some parts even excels over the first two. The not-so-exciting bits lower the grade somewhat, but four-and-a-half snails should still be enough to encourage people to listen to this!

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