Bleats

Maybe This Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy Series Will Finally Be Good

It really deserves a screen version that isn't garbage, please.

There’s a new TV adaptation of Douglas Adams’ beloved novel/radio series The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – and if it works, it’ll be third time lucky for the plucky franchise.

The new push is happening on US streaming service Hulu by showrunner Carlton Cuse (Lost) and co-writer Jason Fuchs (Wonder Woman), and since it’s only just been announced and the people responsible are currently working on other projects we assume it’s at least a couple of years away.

However, would it be too much to hope that it was based on the stuff Adams wrote for once? Because let’s be honest: the predecessors have been a bit… well, crap.

You don’t say?

The BBC did a well-loved TV adaptation in 1981 which used a bunch of actors from the original radio series, but had obvious budget issues (most notably with Zaphod Beeblebrox’s very, very fake second head) and inexplicably turned the sole female character Trillian – a genius mathematician and astrophysicist with a unquenchable zest for life and adventure – into a ditz.

Oh, that head. No. No no no no no.

Meanwhile the 2005 movie version of Hitchhiker’s Guide did a better job of her – played by Zooey Deschanel – but managed to get almost everything else wrong, including giving the main character Arthur Dent a redemption arc which made no sense.

He finally becomes “brave”? The dude lay down in front of a bulldozer in the very first scene! He’s irredeemably stubborn and grumpy and continues to be so in the face of all of the wonders of the galaxy! That’s the entire point of the character!

Anyway: I have annoyingly strong feelings about this material.

OK, I’ll admit that in the movie, Sam Rockwell was pretty great.

In any case, here’s hoping they take in the third and best book, Life, The Universe And Everything, because I for one have always dreamed of seeing an on-screen representation of Marvin the Paranoid Android having a conversation with a wild mattress in the swamps of Sqornshellous Zeta.

Don’t judge me.

Good Luck Explaining Any Of The Top 100 Jobs Of The Future To Your Parents

Well, someone's going to have to farm those crickets… right?

There’s a new report out that predicts what the jobs of the future will be, and the good news is that the future is definitely looking brighter if you’ve ever hankered to be a robot ethicist.

The list of the 100 Jobs of the Future was created in a collaboration of Deakin University, Griffith University and Ford, and it paints a vivid picture of what experts think Australia is going to look like down the road a-ways.

Some of those jobs are very familiar – early childhood teacher, for example, or data storage solutions designer, or personal brand manager and content curator (at least, if you’re Beyonce).

Or this fellow.

And some sound awesome. Cyborg psychologist, for example – which is about getting people used to using hi-tech prosthetics – sounds like a fascinating hi-tech step for current occupational therapists.

And who wouldn’t love to have a decision support worker in their corner wrangling data to help you make informed choices about your life and thus having someone obvious to subsequently blame when everything goes depressingly wrong?

The current system has some flaws.

Others, like cricket farmer, portend a future which sounds downright horrifying – as do de-extinction geneticist and ethical hacker, which is either someone that uses their hacking for good or something who has worked out how to hack ethics. Either sound dicey.

Other jobs appear to be a simple rebrand: for example, “weather control engineer” is job we today know as “supervillain”. And the abovementioned “robot ethicist” sounds like the position held by someone desperately yelling “No! No, iSteve – humans are friends! HUMANS ARE FRIENDS! DEPLOY SHUTDOWN PROTOCOL!” while cold metal claws close around their trachea.

GREETINGS PUNY BIOLOGICAL. I AM HERE TO PROVIDE YOUR MURDER-HUG.

In any case, we look forward to the blank stares your parents will give you when you proudly announce your new position as a nostalgist or virtual clutter organiser in 2028.

Today I Learned: The Original Ending Of Star Wars Would Have Blown Up The Franchise

They had a bad feeling about that.

Being a Star Wars fan requires occasional recalibration, whether that’s accepting the often terrible material of the Expanded Universe novels and comics and games, or accepting the sudden elimination of all of the previous Expanded Universe novels and comics and games, or the prequels, or the Last Jedi, or whatever thing from the larger saga doesn’t quite fit with your own personal conception of the franchise.

Exhibit A.

But there’s one thing which everyone agrees on, and that is that the first film – the one now referred to as A New Hope, then referred to as Star Wars – was perfect.

And so it’s a bit a surprise to discover that the original ending to said film was… well, kind of lousy.

You heard me.

The stories of how most of the actors that worked on Star Wars thought it was a load of arse are legion, and it’s not just because they couldn’t sense how the larger narrative worked with all the groundbreaking visuals, the stirring John Williams score and/or Ben Burrt extraordinary sound design.

It’s because the script was genuinely a load of arse. For example: the ending.

In the original screenplay the attack on the Death Star has a couple of big differences to what you see on screen including Luke taking TWO SHOTS at the trench run to blow up the Death Star. Suddenly the pod race sequence from The Phantom Menace seems like a masterpiece in narrative economy.

Another lap? Oh, great.

But here’s the biggest difference: in the original script, the one which was filmed, the Death Star wasn’t coming to blow up the Rebels. At all.

And you might recall that was a fairly important bit of the film.

That whole thing about the Death Star entering into orbit around the planet and moving into position to blow up the moon with the rebels on it? That was entirely created in the edit with some post-production graphics and overdubbed dialogue.

Like this.

Watch the sequence again: at no point does anyone on screen talk about how the Death Star is coming into range. It’s all in overdub or in a long shot where you can’t quite see lips move.

The genius who put this in? Marcia Lucas, George’s then-wife and film editor.

She accurately noticed that there was zero tension with the rebels zooming off to fight a thing that wasn’t actually a threat, and that this also seemed a bit like bombing a bunch of people for no especially good reason.

And thrilling action!

So she got George to do some new dialogue to drop in, some nice graphics about Death Stars coming into range, and suddenly: we’ve got a race against time on our hands!

No wonder the editors got the only Oscar for Star Wars. Without them – and especially Marcia – things might have gone very differently, and now we wouldn’t have angry fanboys whining about how Rey is a Mary Sue. And who’d want to live in that timeline?


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