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October 10, 2015

Spaced: The Complete Series - DVD Review

by Brad Trechak, posted Aug 2nd 2008 10:01AM
Spaced: The Complete SeriesSometimes television shows come along that completely change the industry. Spaced is one of those shows. Broadcast on Britain's Channel 4 from 1999 to 2001, it used geeky pop culture references, non sequitur scene injections, flashbacks and other common television practices nowadays way back when it wasn't cool to do so. In that respect, it's a combination of The Big Bang Theory and Arrested Development long before either existed.

When co-creators and co-stars Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson (now Jessica Hynes) created the main characters Tim and Daisy, they created characters that every nerdy person could relate to.

The show does cater to a very specific audience and it's the sort of audience that tends to be the most loyal, even obsessively so. Nobody is particularly super-handsome and the characters are very niche. Also, the show doesn't really talk down to the audience and makes the viewer feel like part of the conversation. This is unlike, say, Arrested Development which tends to be a bit pretentious (sorry to all you Arrested Development fans).

The humor of Spaced comes from the fact that it took common everyday life and made it this big sci-fi drama show. There are constant winks and nods to shows and games such as Star Wars, Star Trek, Resident Evil, Babylon 5, The A-Team, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and various other cult phenomena.

There was an attempt to create an American version of Spaced, but it doesn't really translate across the pond. Plus, they didn't even involve the original creators, so that pissed off the fanbase right there. Without the chemistry, intelligence and enthusiasm of the creators/stars, the show probably wouldn't work.

Jessica Stevenson/Hynes has, since the series began, won two British Comedy Awards and was nominated for a BAFTA and an Olivier Award. Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and director Edgar Wright went on to make movies about zombies and cops.

But that's enough about the show. Let's talk about the DVD.

The menus are very well-designed and fit into the overall theme of the show with their cartoon motif. There are tons of extras that the Spaced fans will enjoy. These include the original commentary tracks and a new set of commentary tracks for the North American audience. These new commentaries are done by the original cast and a special guest star (kind of like those old Superfriends episodes where an extra hero would appear at the end). The guest-stars include Diablo Cody, Matt Stone, Kevin Smith and Quentin Tarantino (who provided the most entertaining of the commentaries, in my opinion. One of the episodes he helps to review is a shot-for-shot homage of a scene from Pulp Fiction).

Other extras include a feature-length documentary on the series called "Skip to the End" which mostly involve interviews with the cast and director and contains interviews with now-celebrity guests on the show (such as David Walliams of Little Britain and Mark Gatiss of The League of Gentlemen). Why is the documentary called "Skip to the End"? Because in the final scene, the viewer learns the eventual fate of Tim and Daisy.

The DVD also has an hour-long Q&A from 2007 with Pegg and Wright (Jessica Stevenson couldn't make it, so a special introduction starring the actress was filmed). There are also the standard outtakes, deleted scenes and biographies of the cast and crew.

One of the recurring themes of the documentaries was about the prospect of a third season of the show. At this stage, it seems like a step backwards. Since Pegg and Stevenson are movie stars (Stevenson was excellent in Son of Rambow) and Wright is a movie director, I think a Spaced movie would be more appropriate. So what do you think, guys? A Spaced movie? Hmmm? Pretty please?

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Jeff Edsell

A Spaced movie is definitely the way to go, if the principals feel like a follow-up. (I've seen the series, but I just got the box set, so I don't know the "eventual fate" of Tim and Daisy.) Perhaps this could be the "Green Cornetto," the third in the Cornetto trilogy, after Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.

August 03 2008 at 10:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It is a really good show, and one of my favs. At first i dident want to buy this box set, since the only new thing compared to my Region-2 box-set is the new commentary tracks, but i'll probely end up getting them anyways

August 02 2008 at 7:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm convinced. How do I get it?


August 02 2008 at 1:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Arrested Development and Spaced are the best comedies - of all time - of their countries. Of all time? Yes I truly think so, although there's a bit more competition for the title in the UK (Alan Partridge, Fawlty Towers, The Office).

In fact I was sad to have to pass the title of 'Best Comedy Ever' from Spaced to AD, but it was deserved.

I definitely recommend both shows to anyone with even a passing interest in comedy.

A film of both please.

August 02 2008 at 11:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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