We are in a golden age of television. We are also in an age of excess. As such, we often have to pick and choose what we watch, because we simply don’t have enough time to watch everything that is good. Unfortunately, that means that a lot of great shows slip through the cracks. As a fan of TV, who watches much more TV than the regular person, I am always sad to see some of the best TV shows slip so far beneath the radar that they become obscure and unknown. In an effort to improve the standing of some of these “lost” shows, I have decided to create Spotlight, a new Feature series at TVEnthusiast. Spotlight will be a regular article series that, with each iteration, pleads the case of a different series that has somehow slipped under the radar.
This British comedy series was directed by Edgar Wright, and written by and starring Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson. Most geeks know of Pegg and Wright for their involvement in the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy which began with Shaun of the Dead, and also included Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End. Spaced is a spiritual prequel, of sorts, to the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy. Like the films with each other, Spaced is not directly related to any of the movies in the trilogy. Only linked by the involvement of Pegg and Wright. Spaced also featured Nick Frost, Pegg’s co-star in the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy. It is said that the influence for Shaun of the Dead actually came from an episode of Spaced in which Pegg’s character, after binge playing Resident Evil 2, begins to hallucinate a zombie apocalypse.
What is Spaced?
Spaced is a 2 season, 14 episode British comedy series about a man and a woman who meet while struggling to find apartments in London. They end up pretending to be a couple in order to rent a cheap apartment with a couples only pre-requisite. While the initial premise suggests a solid focus on the fake romantic connection between these 2 characters, that concept quickly fades into the background, as the series instead focuses on the characters within the building they are living in. Besides Simon Pegg’s Tim, and Jessica Stevenson’s Daisy, other eccentric regulars include Nick Frost as Tim’s best friend Mike, Katy Carmichael as Daisy’s best friend Twist, Mark Heap as the comically troubled artist Brian, and Julia Deakin as the Landlady Marsha. Spaced routinely creates high concept scenarios for its cast to tromp through, including over the top imaginary gun fights, and Phantom Menace anger and rejection.
What makes Spaced Good?
Spaced is just an incredibly funny show, from incredibly talented people, who had yet to break out. Most notable is the relationship of Simon pegg and Edgar Wright who, soon after Spaced completed, began to work on Saun of the Dead, a movie that would establish their roles as Hollywood players. Since Shaun of the Dead’s success, Pegg has been in the Star Trek films, and Wright directed Scott Pilgrim, before becoming known as the original Screenwriter and Director of Ant-Man. A Hollywood dispute caused Marvel and Wright to part ways, but that is another story. At the end of the day, we can trace both of their successes back to their work together on Spaced. If you like the humor and kinetic style of the films Pegg and Wright have made together, you will surely enjoy Spaced, the spiritual predecessor of the films.
Why is Spaced Featured on Spotlight?
Despite the phenomenal success Wright and Pegg found in movies, and the massive cult following of their films together, Spaced remains a mostly unknown quantity in North America. Much of this can be attributed to a music rights issues which delayed the American release of the series for years. Unfortunately, this meant that very few people in North America were ever aware of the show’s existence. That is a shame, because Spaced is every bit as funny as Saun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End. Spaced should be a known quantity on the level of The Office, as, like The Office, Spaced launched the significant careers of people who would continue to create and innovate in various mediums.
Should I Watch Spaced?
Are you a bit geeky? Do you like to laugh? Are you a fan of Simon Pegg? Are you a fan of Edgar Wright? Are you an anglophile desperately searching for your next fix of sweet British nectar? If so, then why are you still reading this? Spaced is an amazingly hilarious series, from some amazingly hilarious people. On the other hand, if watching a grown man throw a tissy fit in an argument with a child over how much Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace sucks is not your idea of a good time, this might not be for you. Even so, Spaced is so dense with such varied content that I might suggest you give it a few more chances anyways. Throughout this feature I have been saying a lot about Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, as those 2 have an interesting connection to each other. Unfortunately, that means lessening the focus on Jessica Stevenson. While Wright and Pegg skew towards the geeky, Stevenson expands their reach with Spaced. Stevenson has been involved with projects as diverse as Harry Potter, Bridget Jones, Doctor Who, Swing Kids, and a slew of popular British TV series like Skins, Black Books, and Twenty Twelve. So even if the geekier side of Spaced doesn’t work for you, the comedic pedigree of the series stretched beyond that, thanks to Stevenson.
Spaced ran for 2 seasons in the United Kingdom. It took many years for the series to come to America, mostly due to music rights issues. Thankfully, the series is now available in America. Both seasons of Spaced are available to stream on Hulu.
Have you seen Spaced? Are you interested? Tell us in our comments, and stay tuned to TVEnthusiast for more coverage of all of your favorite shows.