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Blog: Don't Call It A Reboot

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Imagine my DELIGHT this morning when I saw a headline in the Guardian that said The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy was in line for a radio reboot. "How interesting!" I thought to myself. "I wonder why? Who will be in it? What changes will there be?"

Then imagine my BOILING FURY when I read the actual article and discovered that it is NOT a reboot but in fact THE ACTUAL OPPOSITE i.e. a CONTINUATION of the ORIGINAL version, in the ORIGINAL format (radio) on the ORIGINAL channel (Radio 4) with the ORIGINAL cast. I sat FUMING with INDIGNANCY about it... then wandered why on earth I was getting so annoyed? I mean, I like Hitchhiker's a LOT, and would be keen to hear a new version, so why were my EYEBALLS popping out of my HEAD with uncontained RAGE?

I have boiled it down to TWO things. Firstly it's the mis-use of the word "reboot". It is usually applied to Science Fiction properties and means that a story, or character, or Fictional Universe, that has already been presented is RE-DONE in a way that completely ignores everything that has gone before, usually in order to bring it up to date and find a new audience. There's different KINDS of reboots, and they often include references to the original version for FUN (e.g. the Star Trek FILMS are reboots in that they have a different cast and the ability to completely ignore the chronology of all the Star Trek TV shows, even though there IS an "in universe" explanation for it which KIND OF ties it all together) but that's the general idea of it. The new series of Hitchhiker's is clearly NOT THIS AT ALL and is in fact THE EXACT OPPOSITE for reasons mentioned above. I can only assume, therefore, that the word "reboot" is used by people who have NO IDEA what they're on about and are only applying it because they think it's what happens whenever there's a new version of something vaguely sci-fi and THEREFORE my RAGE is down to journalists not having a clue what they're on about, and applying this dimness to something I care about.

Secondly, for related reasons, I think I'm annoyed that the term is being used in relation to a series that HAS ACTUALLY been rebooted LOADS of times. The original radio series was "adapted" for the books, but Douglas Adams made LOTS of changes which mean that the two sets of stories don't really tie together at all. THEN it was changed all over again, with a partially different cast, for the TV series, which didn't really follow the same story as the radio OR the TV show. THEN it was made into various computer games, and THEN Douglas Adams tried on a number of occasions to make it into a film, the scripts to which apparently changed it all over again. And then FINALLY the film version came out and that was a DEFINITE ABSOLUTE REBOOT with different cast, production company, format AND story. The only version of it for that has NOT been a reboot is this new bloody series that the newspapers say IS!

If you are now thinking "Fair enough Hibbett, but is it really something to get so wound up about?" I would point you in the direction of the BBC Entertainment twitter account - the people who made the originals and are making the new series and so should surely know better - which says THE SAME FLIPPING THING! ARGH! GRRRR!!!! FURY!

At least this does mean they're going to repeat the original series - my CASSETTE RECORDINGS what I did off the radio got worn out YEARS ago! Perhaps I should listen to them from my sick bed when all my BLOOD VESSELS have gone POP?

posted 12/10/2017 by MJ Hibbett

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