Well, I suppose I’m a bit late to mention this, but better late than never.

Better late than never is probably what the BBC thought, too, when they finally got around to adapting the final three books in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series to radio, with almost all of the same actors as the original cast (a couple had unfortunately died in the meantime) and the late Douglas Adams himself (or should that be “the late Adams Douglas Adams”) providing the voice of one of the characters.

Astoundingly enough, we non-UK folks are much luckier this time than we were the last time around: the BBC is streaming each episode in 46 kilobit Real Audio for a whole week after it appears on the air; you can listen at the BBC’s hitchhiker’s Guide page. Astonishingly enough, there’s even an option to listen in 5.1 surround (though I haven’t given that a try yet; I plan to when I get home tonight).

The one problem is that today, Wednesday, is the last day on which one can listen to the first episode. I should have gotten around to it a little sooner, I guess.

My review of the first episode: terrific! While a few of the actors’ voices may have changed a touch over the years, they are still recognizable as the same old characters we knew and loved. Arthur and Ford are achingly funny in their scene together; Zaphod and Trillian are a hoot (though it never does explain Trillian’s sudden reappearance in the series after being absent for six episodes and supposedly married off to a galactic Bridge player or something), and Marvin…oh, good old Marvin the badly-misnamed android (he never was “paranoid,” just really depressed). It’s like a chance to meet old friends again. Even the late Peter Jones gets to put in an appearance as the Book, before his voice undergoes a change due to a “faulty vocal circuit.”

Anyway, if you haven’t yet heard it…don’t miss out. I can hardly wait ’til tomorrow for the next one.