If you listened to the previous BBC radio productions of Douglas Adams "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" series (including the "Tertiary Phase" and the "Quandary Phase"), you've probably already decided to complete the story by getting the "Quintessential Phase." You're in for a treat.
In my reviews of the previous two "phases", I said that portions were over-produced and too faithful an adaptation of the novels. All four radio episodes that make up the "Quintessential Phase" are free of those problems. Well, mostly free; there are one or two spots when there's too much going on. But they are brief, and you can figure things out afterwards.
If you've read the fifth book in the HHG series, "Mostly Harmless," you know that Adams ended the series on a depressing note. It was a clear message to his readers: that's the end of the story, there will be no more.
The radio series includes that ending. I listened to it... then saw on my iPod that there was still ten minutes of audio left to go. Huh?
I don't know if this was Adams' intent before he died, or a decision on the part of the writer who adapted the series for radio, but the radio story goes on. It ends on a glad note, not a sour one as in "Mostly Harmless." I laughed out loud at the inventiveness of it, for the first time since I started listening to the "phases." I don't mean to imply that the rest of the radio series is humorless, but I'd read all the books and was already familiar with the jokes. This was new... and funny.
It is a fitting celebration to the end of the story, and a touching tribute to Douglas Adams' creation. If you're fan of HHG, it's worth getting this audiobook for the ending alone. It even explains the transition between the end of the second BBC HHG radio series, and the start of the "Tertiary Phase." A neat trick!
I hope that someday Audible will make the first two BBC radio productions of HHG available, so new listeners can hear all five in sequence.
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