8.25.2008

Spaced

For thorough fans of the Edgar Wright-directed Simon Pegg/Nick Frost pseudo buddy flicks Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, Spaced should sound familiar. The series aired on Channel 4 in the UK from 1999 to 2001, starring Pegg and Jessica Hynes nee Stevenson as Tim Bisley (named after Lobo artist Simon Bisley) and Daisy Steiner (named possibly after a German hippy), a mid-to-late 20-something non-couple living together in North London surrounded by a cartoonish cast of supporting characters, including the aforementioned Frost as Territorial Army outcast. The series is a beautiful mish-mash of zombie movies, comic fanboyism, rave culture, performance art, living on the dole, and so much more. It's also out now officially for the first time in the US as a 3-DVD set bustin' out with all kinds of special features, including - my personal weakness - dual commentaries on each episode, one from the original UK DVD release, and one special new one with guests like Patton Oswalt, Matt Stone, Kevin Smith and Quentin Tarantino.

If you've seen and loved the extremely visual style of Shaun and Fuzz, watching Edgar Wright's use of the camera as a character on the small screen is a great experience. Spaced has all the kinetic energy of his blockbusters squeezed into a million dollar budget.

Last, but not least on Spaced's list of virtues is it's relatively brief run. They made only 14 episodes over two seasons. On one of the commentary tracks, Wright and the cast lament the failings of the British television industry in that respect. They feel that the wheels don't turn fast enough to sustain a show the way it would run in the States. That's exactly why I like it. It's the same reason that I love the British Office, but haven't gotten around to cracking into any of the - I looked this up(!) - 65 episodes that have been stamped out of the US version. I'm sure it's good, but people should know when to let a good thing be.

So, anyways. Pick it up. Spaced, that is. It will be well worth your time.

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