Good news, everyone! One of England’s best sitcoms ever created – Simon Pegg’s Spaced – has finally come ’round to Region 1 DVD here in America!
Before Simon Pegg and Nick Frost were fighting zombies in Shaun of the Dead, they were slacking around North London as Tim and Mike in Spaced. Spaced is a somewhat dark yet giggly show that wasn’t really about much of anything other than that stale bit of your life that falls between leaving the fun of your 20s behind and laying out how your 30s might pan out. Besides Pegg, the show stars and was co-written by Jessica Hynes (nee Stephenson) who didn’t have quite a large role Shaun but is a central character in Spaced.
The plot is simple – Tim (Pegg) and Daisy (Hynes) are strangers when they meet in a cafe at the beginning of the show, but find that flat hunting is more lucrative as a pair. They find the perfect flat but are told the renter is looking for couples only, so they pose as a couple in order to be accepted. Also living in the house are cougar landlord Marsha (Julia Deakin) and conceptual artist Brian (Mark Heap). Frost plays Tim’s Army-obsessed best mate Mike and Daisy’s best friend Twist is played by Katy Carmichael.
Tim is a graphic artist/comic book writer and Daisy is an extremely unproductive writer. The two bounce around between jobs and being on the dole, inbetween marathon video game sessions and Robot Wars. Daisy is trying desperately to be fun and hip while Tim is trying to hold on to that last bit of childhood fun.
What’s most fun about the show is the endless homages to various sci-fi movies and shows, 70s and 80s pop culture, horror films, cartoons and video games. One of the extra features of the DVD set is a “Homage-o-meter” so you can follow along.
Besides the wink-wink-nudge-nudge of the homages, the writing, acting and filming of this show are all top notch. Each character is a bit of a caricature in contrast to the more boring Tim and Daisy yet they are mostly harmless and genuinely care about each other as part of a new surrogate family. Any resemblance to Friends pretty much ends there – none of the characters are successful, all of the characters are odd and/or awkward and they all live in an apartment they can seemingly afford.
The new Region 1 release has the complete show (all 14 episodes…goddamn that British short series!) plus the extras from the original discs in the form of outtakes, commentary, deleted scenes and a short documentary. New for this release is special commentary by American celebs Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith, Bill Hader (from SNL, not Napoleon Dynamite), Matt Stone, Patton Oswalt, and Diablo Cody.
It’s taken 7 years for this gem to come out in Region 1. Even though I’ve watched it a few times from a few different skeevy sources, I was still moved to buy the DVD set. It’s an absolutely perfect little show that show be part of any Gen Xer’s “I’m so fucking cool” DVD collection. I know the truly cool amongst you had it on Region 2 already but now you can stop pointing out how your pals didn’t hack their DVD players and get your Spaced on without prejudice. I love it when a plan comes together!