Deadline says that the series will be a “modern updating of the story,” which follows an earthling named Arthur Dent, who goes on all kinds of strange interstellar adventures when Earth is unceremoniously demolished to make way for an alien bypass.
The title refers to a handy encyclopedic guidebook that aids one traversing the cosmos. Ford Prefect, Arthur’s neighbor and friend, who’s also secretly an alien, first introduces Arthur and the readers to the concept and explains that the guidebook is constantly being updated with tips, tricks, and practices by individuals hitching rides among the stars.
Disney still has the rights to the story; its Touchstone Pictures produced the 2005 film adaptation, and it owns Hulu. As other major entertainment companies launch their own streaming services, there’s been a mad rush to develop as much original intellectual property as possible, in order to entice subscribers into giving their dollars and attention. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has an advantage here: it’s already been a popular TV show, and there is plenty of material for Hulu to work with if the project moves from the “In Development” column into the “In Production” one.
But a prior track record isn’t a surefire sign of success. For one, science fiction comedy is hard to do, and while there are certainly funny books and films out there (Galaxy Quest, John Scalzi’s Redshirts, Catherynne Valente’s Space Opera), the 2005 film largely underwhelmed critics and fans. Hopefully, this reboot will charm audiences in the same way that the first radio serial did back in the 1970s.