Spaced

Several months ago, we purchased a DVD player/recorder that I immediately hacked to ignore macrovision during duplication, and to also remove regional restrictions. Now I can copy anything I want, and I can watch movies from the UK.

One of the shows from the UK that I never hesitate to recommend to people is “Spaced.” Created by Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson, “Spaced” is unlike any other sitcom I’ve ever seen. Ostensibly, it’s about two people in their late twenties, Tim, a comic book artist, and Daisy, a hopeful writer, that act as if they are a couple so they qualify to live in a couples-only flat in north London. I realize that short description doesn’t sound any more unique than other situational comedies here in the States, but trust me, this one’s in a league all by itself.

The show is so mired in popular culture and all things nerdy, that every episode is chock full of homages and references to everything from “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” to “The Evil Dead.” The best thing about the references is that they feel organic and natural, and not at all forced. In fact, the dialogue and the conversations in the show seem oddly familiar, and many times I felt as if I had the same discussions with my friends.

The director, Edgar Wright, did an absolutely brilliant job appropriating the styles of different directors while shooting “Spaced.” If you’re a film buff you’ll probably notice specific camera moves from people like Sam Raimi, John Carpenter, Orson Welles, and John Woo. Normally you don’t see whip pans, overcranking, and dutch angles in sitcoms.

There are moments of pure absurdity in “Spaced,” and many times the dialogue and the cinematography seems surreal, but at its core “Spaced” is a fairly realistic show. There’s a pervading sense of, well, not really nihilism, but definitely purposelessness, that subtly inhabits every episode. The characters are in their late twenties, and while they know they aren’t kids, they don’t really want to act like adults, either. For some reason I felt a connection with that.

Speaking as someone who fell in love with a platonic friend, the budding relationship between Tim and Daisy comes across as remarkably believable. I also really like the relationship between Tim and his best friend Mike. Mike’s a bit odd, but you begin to realize that despite his idiosyncrasies, he’s immensely loyal, and he’d die for his best friend, Tim.

The show only aired for two seasons, and there are only fourteen episodes in all. Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright went on to film “Shaun of the Dead” and the soon to be released “Hot Fuzz,” and Jessica Stevenson most recently appeared in the mockumentary “Confetti.”

Here’s the first episode titled “Beginnings”:

Here’s a list of the other episodes on Google video.

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Comments

  1. Anniina says:

    That rocked! I’ll watch the others later today. BTW, I’m up to 13 episodes of BSG. Did they get a new editor/writer/director combo during the first season, cause the first 8 episodes I thought I would die, it was so slow, and then *boom* it got great? Oh, and you’re right about Olmos. He’s wonderful.
    I’m off to take a nap – worked through the night again. Later, A

  2. Hypermark says:

    Glad you liked it. I love that whole series.

    I was thinking about BSG, and it occurred to me that most shows are lucky if they have one or two things that are so groundbreaking and innovative that you remember them for years to come. I remember Sam telling Diane “Have a nice life” and David and Maddy’s first kiss, and that awful reveal where Bobby was in the shower. But those are single moments. I can think of four specific things from BSG that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. The last episode of season two is particularly memorable, and Adama does something with the Galactica in the first episode of season three that nearly made me piss myself.

  3. Anniina says:

    Ack, just finished season one. Sharon just shot Adama! Eeek! Have to wait till tomorrow to find out what happens – just soooooo glad I didn’t have to wait a whole summer.

  4. Anniina says:

    Wait, you only remember Bobby coming out of the shower? How’s about when JR got shot? And what about that awesome episode of ‘Moonlighting’ where they did a whole episode as “Taming of the Shrew” in full Renaissance costume. I loved that. Which parts of “Northern Exposure” stuck in your mind? And have you and Leigh started watching LOST yet?

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