So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish by Douglas Adams (Pan, 1984); audiobook read by Martin Freeman (Macmillan, 2012) The ideas, as ever, are ingenious, and Adams is at the top of his game in reuniting Arthur Dent with the erstwhile-destroyed Planet Earth. The story, however, such as it is, hitchhikes half-heartedly while secretly yearning to become a Dirk…
Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams (William Heinemann, 1992); audiobook read by Martin Freeman (Bolinda, 2006) An ingeniously plotted novel—by far the most coherent of the Hitchhiker’s books—and one in which Adams at last paid attention to characterisation; but the effect is spoiled somewhat by an incongruous (if by then expected) jokiness in the prose style.
Sherlock, Series 3 by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat (BBC, 2014) Having cherry-picked the most famous Sherlock Holmes stories, Gatiss and Moffat in series three give themselves even more latitude for creative adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s material, scripting three adventures that rely very much on the telling. Freeman and Cumberbatch remain resplendent.
Sherlock: The Abominable Bride (BBC, 2016) One of the charms of Sherlock is its modernisation; yet so accomplished are Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in their roles, it seems almost a shame when this special — ostensibly a more traditional standalone period piece — ultimately ties in with series continuity.
Sherlock, Season 1 (BBC, 2010) Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman combine brilliantly in this dark, funny, fast-moving and at times stylistically surreal modernisation of Sherlock Holmes. Perfectly cast and ingeniously scripted in deference to its feature-length format, this is easily some of the best television ever made.
Life, the Universe and Everything by Douglas Adams (MacMillan Audio, 2006) [First published by Pan, 1982] read by Martin Freeman Reprising the vast zaniness and existential satire of the original Hitchhiker’s duology, Adams ups his trademark discursiveness, redoubles his protagonists’ fecklessness and yet achieves an oddly cohesive transcendence (while Martin Freeman’s delivery makes a virtue of Adams’ sometimes facetious approach…
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies dir. Peter Jackson (2014) Alternatively: There, a Feature-Length Fight Melange, and Back Again. Peter Jackson’s Gollum-esque craving to don the ring and turn New Zealand once again into Middle-earth gives Howard Shore’s impassioned score first billing while short-changing Martin Freeman. Too many armies, not enough hobbit.