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.