TV Review: Spaced - The Complete Series.

Seeing as Shaun of the Dead is one of my all-time favorite movies (and I really like Hot Fuzz, as well), I've wanted to see this series for a long time. It's a short series, 2 seasons and 14 episodes long. But it's definitely fun. Directed by Edgar Wright, Spaced tells the story of Tim (Simon Pegg) and Daisy (Jessica Hynes), two strangers who meet after having some relationship issues and end up looking for a place to live. Tim is a comic artist trying to catch his big break, and Daisy is a writer who can't get over her writer's block. They grow a bond and eventually find a place, but it's advertised as only rentable to a "Professional Couple" only. So, of course, Tim and Daisy pretend to be in a relationship so that they can rent the flat. While there, they grow a friendship with the landlady, a drunk named Marsha (Julia Deakin) who is also the mother of a troubled girl named Amber. Then there's Brian (Mark Heap), a troubled artist who lives in the same building. Add in Tim's army-obsessed friend Mike (Nick Frost) and Daisy's shallow fashion diva friend Twist (Katy Carmichael), and you've pretty much got the main cast.

This is one of those shows that gets better as it goes on. Unfortunately, it only goes on for 14 episodes, so the upward slope takes a bit longer than hoped. It's not to say the show isn't good. Much like the other Pegg/Wright works, it's brilliant in its presentation. In fact, there are a ton of similarities (and shared jokes) between this show and Shaun of the Dead, for instance. However, I didn't laugh as much as I'd figured I would. The second season was better than the first, in my opinion, but throughout the whole series, I only laughed a handful of times. Nevertheless, the show was always amusing and constantly intriguing, mostly thanks to the likable (albeit strange) characters.

If the heart of the show is its characters, then the tone is its brain. It's a comedy, but it takes itself so seriously. Half the time, scenes are set up as horror scenes, but end up (because of its seriousness) being funny... again, much like Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz. In other words, if you liked the bizarre mix of tones from the aforementioned films, you'll know what you're getting yourself into with this show. It's exactly the same. And not only is the tone the same, but so is the editing style (juxtaposing different things to add humor... for instance, one group watching and reacting to skateboard accidents on TV while another character gets bad news... or repeating things that happened earlier on, but in a different way).

There are also a lot of movie or TV references, the biggest being Star Wars and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and yes, there are a few zombie references, too... there's actually an entire episode dedicated to zombies, which is actually what later inspired Shaun of the Dead). There are also some other obvious ones, like The Shining and The Matrix. So if you're into catching those kinds of references, the show is full of them, from acting out entire scenes to just random bits of dialogue.

The acting is good, of course. Simon Pegg is his usual Simon Pegg self, which is always great. Nick Frost as the army-obsessed friend was fun to watch, as it was totally different from his characters in Shaun and Fuzz. I particularly liked Mark Heap's Brian, who is such a dysfunctional character that you never know how he's going to react. And Julia Deakin's Marsha was just bizarre to watch (and mostly creepy). There are also a few appearances by Peter Serafinowicz (who, of course, played "Pete" in Shaun of the Dead). There's also a fun, brief cameo by Ricky Gervais in one of the final episodes (though at the time of this show, I don't think he was big enough for it to really be a "cameo," but still).

I know this show has a ton of fans, and I can see its appeal. I didn't find it raucously funny, but I did find it highly amusing and sprinkled with genius. There were great characters and some great character development. The story is complete with every little detail wrapped up, which is nice, though I would have liked a bit more closure on the relationship between Tim and Daisy (I suppose the final shot of them could say it all, but come on!). Overall, if you're a fan of the Edgar Wright gang, you'll be a fan of Spaced.

1 comment:

  1. I've been meaning to check this out for ever now, this might just be the what I needed. Good review, man.


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