I saw this series as a preteen and agree with the previous reviewer -- it was wonderful! With such suave men as David Niven and Gig Young, how could it fail. My mother was British, so perhaps my sense of humor was a bit perverse, but then, look at the success of Monty Python! I'd love to know where you can find this for purchase or to watch in syndication.
If you're a fan of great comedy, this is definitely the series for you. Too bad the American audience didn't see it that way. I'm pretty sure most (or all) of the primary characters are gone now, alas, so this will be a lesson for some in 'when actors were really actors.'
I am always apprehensive about seeing a screen adaptation of a beloved book, so I was almost afraid to see this. I've read all the 'Hitchhikers' books at least three times and I love Douglas Adams' humor. I'd also seen the BBC series many years ago and loved it. So, we bought the movie yesterday and watched it last night. I can't imagine seeing the movie without having read at least the first book...it just wouldn't make any sense. In a nutshell, I found the movie at least as zany as the book and imbued throughout with Adams' wacky sense of humor and sarcasm.
NPR ran a Talk of the Nation segment on the movie/book, etc. on the day before it opened and talked to many people who were either involved with the movie, were Hitchhiker 'experts' (how terrifying is that??) or mega-fans. Some liked it, some didn't. The main thing that came out, however, is how very involved Adams had been with the screenplay, etc. for this venture. It had been in the works for years prior to his death and it was his baby. I think the producers did it right.
If you're going into this movie with the idea that it will be a line by line adaptation of the book, you won't like it. If you suspend your expectations and look at this as a merry romp through absurdity, you'll love it.