13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Spaced was a UK sitcom that ran for two seasons in 1999 and 2001 and was tremendously critically acclaimed at the time. The creative team subsequently moved into cinema, creating the hit movies Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and the forthcoming The World Ends, but Spaced remains by far their funniest and most rewarding work.
The series opens with aspiring comic book artist Tim Bisley (Simon Pegg) and workshy writer Daisy Steiner (Jessica Stephenson) both having to find a new place to live. Randomly bumping into one another in the local cafe, they decide to fake being a couple to rent a surprisingly cheap flat in London. The rest of the regular cast is rounded off by their landlady Marsha (a wine-swigging, ex-groupie single mum), Tim's best friend Mike (a failed soldier with a weapons fixation), Daisy's best friend Twist (who Tim sums up as being a "bit like Cordelia from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and latterly its spin-off series Angel, which is set in LA,") and Brian, the mildly pretentious artist (specialities: anger, pain, fear and aggression) who rents Marsh's basement flat.
It's a pretty traditional sitcom set-up, but Spaced differs from the average sitcom in two important respects. First, it is directed, shot and edited much more like a movie, with fast-cuts, segues, occasionally impressive special effects and the use of real locations (a nightclub sequence is actually filmed in a proper nightclub, for example, rather than a lame set). Secondly, the series is absolutely overflowing with movie, TV and comic references, some verbal, others visual, some subtle and some pretty outrageous. The DVDs come equipped with a 'homage-o-metre' which tracks these references as they fly past. The homage-o-metre almost explodes during Season 2 when Robot Wars, Fight Club ("No-one talks about Robot Club!") and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest are all heavily referenced in just one episode.
What makes Spaced special is the way these elements are combined with some excellent writing and acting, particularly from Pegg and Stephenson as the leads and the brilliant Mark Heap as Brian (who went on from Spaced to win acclaim in a number of other Channel 4 comedy shows, most notably Green Wing). The comedic situations are also hilarious, such as Tim getting loaded on cheap speed and playing Resident Evil 2 for 12 hours straight, leading to him visualising the world as if a zombie apocalypse is taking place (this was the inspiration for Shaun of the Dead), or the gang's attempts to gatecrash their teenage neighbours' party turning into a Close Encounters of the Third Kind homage. There's also plenty of cameos from other comedians, with Little Britain's David Walliams playing transsexual artist Vulva and The Office's Ricky Gervais putting in a cameo as a slimy newspaper worker, whilst the irrepressible Bill Bailey steals every scene he's in as Tim's comic shop boss Bilbo Bagshot (who retains mild guilt about once punching his dad in the face for saying Hawk the Slayer was rubbish, instead of suggesting they watch Krull and compare the two).
The two seasons are linked by ongoing story arcs, although these are fairly low-key. Daisy and Tim having to fake being in a relationship to appease Marsha is a point revisited several times (leading to awkwardness when both end up in other relationships), whilst Mike is battling to be readmitted to the Territorial Army, having been thrown out after trying to invade Paris with a Chieftain tank. The second season is linked together by Daisy's employment problems, Brian and Twist's romance and Tim's utter hatred and loathing of The Phantom Menace, which lands him in hot water on several occasions (and gives rise to the legendary primal scream of, "BUT JAR-JAR BINKS MAKES THE EWOKS LOOK LIKE FU**ING SHAFT!").
Spaced (*****) lasted for just 14 episodes almost a decade ago, but remains one of the funniest, most entertaining sitcoms ever committed to screen. Even now rewatching certain episodes reveals more previously-missed homages to movies or comics, and the series seems to just get better with age. The complete series is available on DVD in both the UK and the USA. The US DVD edition is even more impressive, as it features guest-commentaries from the likes of Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith and Matt Stone.
50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on 17 January 2006
SPACED is a show you hear word of mouth. Therefore when you discover it, its like nothing on earth before. The show is amazingly shot (Edgar Wright living out his fantasy of trying every camera shot and angle, plus the added bonus of recreating some of cinema's finest moments) and the script from Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson is delightful. Pegg is brilliant as Tim, an out of work comic book illustrator and Stevenson as upbeat writer Daisy brings something so real and sweet to the show. Add in upstairs alcoholic Marsha (wonderful!), Mark Heaps' amazing turn as tortured artist Brian and tim's best mate (in real life and on screen) Nick Frost as Mike, and you have everything that makes a funny comedy great. Shame about a 3rd series, but can you perfect perfection?
And that is just the show! The DVD is amazing. Commentary for every episode (14), deleted scenes, hilarious outtakes, bios and of course the piece de resistance, a wonder 2 hour documnatary on all aspects of Spaced, from the cameo's (a brillaint turn by The League of Gentlemen's Reece Shearmsith as a rival to Mike) to the location scouting, the extras and much much more. Worth every single penny and more!
49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on 1 September 2004
If every programme broadcast on television was half as good as 'Spaced', we would all permanately be glued to our screens. Yhere is no doubt about it: 'Spaced' is a fine example of what all contempary sitcom's should be. It has all the ingredients, razor sharp, witty dialogue, a bunch of actors whoes portrayl of their character is sublime and to perfection in every way possible. The character's themselves are a mixed variety, cleverely crafted and brought to life with such eccentric conviction that you believe them to be real, and after a number of episodes begin to feel for them. That is the brilliance of Spaced. Anyway let me introduce to the characters, (I wouldn't like to run into them on a dark night mind!' First there's Daisy Steiner, an ambitious journalist, who believes herself to be a hard worker who regulary produces solid gold work, but however, she will do anything to sway and prevent doing any work, (for instance throwing a house warming party and buying a dog). Then there's skate boarding, science fiction comic book obsessed Tim Bisely, a camudgeonally and emotionally crippled wreck of a man whoes way to deal with life is to play Tomb Raider III. Lurking in the basesment downstairs in insane, sinister artist Brian Topp, who's multi-coloured approach to life mimics the distressing hue of his artwork. Marsha Klein, the land lady is a swear box, a smoke machine who has a somewhat unhealthy addiction to the well being (love life really) of Brian. Then there's Tim's best friend, Mike Watt, a weapons expert who was fired from the army after he stole a tank and tried to invade Paris. Finally the fashion queen, Daisy's comrade Twist Morgan, whoes philosphy of life may be something along the lines of 'looks are everything'.
SERIES ONE - The first series of Spaced was hidden away in the Channel 4 autumn season of 1999. Even though it's rating weren't great, it recieved enormous critcial acclaimed and many subsequent awards. Series One is where it all began (obvisiously), Tim and Daisy are flat hunting and soon become firm friends. So they lie their way to the keys of flat and pretend that they are a professional couple. From then on we encounter, as their tradgic life unfolds, their ups, their downs, their world may be warped, it maybe be 'Spaced', but hell, it's funny! Highlights from the first series include Brian's art reunion with transexual Vulva (played by David Walliams from Little Britain) and Daisy purchasing a dog. Also watch out for the paintball match of the millenium. Great stuff.
SEROES TWO - Spaced returend in early 2001 with a second batch of seven episodes continuing the mangled life's of Tim, Daisy and their hapless friends. Emotions run high as Daisy finds herself on the run from the law, Brian finds death a great painting influence, Tim spices up the gang when he gets a fiery young girlfriend, Mike enters Robot Wars, Twiat has got her eyes on, and then off Brian and Marsha smashes the empty wine glass on the existance of 'Spaced'. A great second series, although I don't believe it to be quite as surreal, witty and original as the unbeatable first.
THE EXTRA'S - A feast of delicious extra's include a commentary by Jessica Stevenson (Daisy), Simon Pegg (Tim) and Edgar Wright (director) on every episode. There are deleted scenes from both series (also with commentary), side splitting fluffs and out-takes, hom-o-meter, trailers, characters and biographies and now, in this special edition collectors set, a third disc, which includes rare interviews from the cast especially recorded for this DVD as well as an insightful and delightfully surreal documentary. Enjoy (but try and stay sane).
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 1 February 2012
This is the epitome of the late 90s, early millenium comedy. The Office was just around the corner and the sitcom had evolved, via Black Books by way of I'm Alan Partridge, into a self-effacing, postmodern, self-referential medium of pretension and cheeky asides. But it was, at heart, still the same beast as Fawlty Towers, Only Fools and Horses and Porridge (all the decent sitcoms)just brushed off a bit for a modern audience. Ironically these days (2012 at time of writing) Spaced itself seems a little dated for the same reasons. But it's still one of the best comedies ever created.
As with all the (British)greats it is slight yet full of talent. I won't go into every episode as they are all both excellent and throwaway. But its the homages to cinema (Tarantino, Romero, Warchowski Bros etc) that stick in the mind most. Frost and Pegg may have come from humble beginnings but it's no wonder they are where they are now on this evidence. And Jessica Stevenson is just a magnificent actress.
Could watch it over and over and over and...
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 3 December 2007
It doesn't matter that this programme was filmed seven years ago - it's quirkier, funnier and better than any comedy on the tv now.
The premise for the show is earth shatteringly straightforward - two people in their twenties are looking for somewhere to live, the only place they can afford states they must be a professional couple. Despite not knowing one another, they pretend in order to get the flat. Simple. Does it sound exciting? Not really.
Now add the combined genius of Jessica Stevenson (now Hynes) and Simon Pegg - they pen and star in the show. The jokes are hilarious, well written and the story line is fab. The real heart of the story is a set of totally loveable characters whose lives depend on pop culture - everything they see, they have to relate to in terms of a film.... which means the programme is in reference heaven - but it doesn't matter if you don't get the Star Wars stuff or the comic book stuff, it's completely, rib-ticklingly hilarious on every level.
Edgar Wright as the director spoils us in this show, his cinematic style adds everything to the show - it is a dizzying, brilliant experience which one doesn't expect to get from a 30 minute episode.
Nearly every episode works as a stand alone piece and there is not a single 'poor' episode. Once you get half way through Series one, you'll not be able to stop until you've seen it all. And then you'll think WHY?! is there no more?!! Both series are equally good as each other. Celebrate the geek in you and buy it today!!!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 7 July 2004
I'd not seen this on TV and a work colleague prompted me to see it next time it was on. However, I spotted this box set so I took the plunge.
The box set is actually just a box for the two original DVDs which arrive in their own separate DVD cases!
As for the actual series - I liked it immensely. The crazy and sometimes touching antics of this group of oddballs hit just the right chord with me.
I'm not a sitcom lover really, although some (Scrubs for instance) are better than most. The Spaced team, however, kept my interest up mainly through the Sci-Fi aspect (of which I'm a fan). I always like those little references. If you're keen on that side of things then the DVD has a special feature just for you! I only discovered the feature on the second disk! Doh.
Basically, as well as the normal subtitles, there is a second subtitle selection that points out the pop-culture references as they appear on screen. It's a big help when you sometimes hear a reference and it leave you thinking 'There's a joke there somewhere but I've no idea where'.
I watched each episode again with the commentaries - all were worth listening to, more for the comedy than for the factual side of things I suppose.
All in all - I enjoyed both disks (I did think there'd be more easter eggs though) and will be tuning in for the third series (if or when it appears). Tivo is set ready!
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 30 November 2004
For all those people out there who enjoy good british comedy - you do not need to be a Star Wars fan or a closet zombie geek to enjoy this fantabulous series.
The comedy is pure genius, you can't stop laughing - but what makes this an absolute gem is you really start getting involved with the characters - You feel the pain and frustration that Marsha the landlord goes through with Amber (her teenage daughter), Mark's joy when he gets accepted back into the TA, you agree with Twist and her some what harsh comments on fashion, you understand where Brian is coming from with his art and most of all you watch with bated breath to see if Tim and Daisy finally notice that they are meant to be with each other!!
You have to get this Boxed set, this programme is a gem and what guts me is that the New Zealand population hasn't been subjected to it and the only way I found out about it is I just happened to go to Shaun of the Dead and have Q&A time with Edgar Wright and all anyone in the audience could ask questions about was this strange phenomenon called Spaced.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 1 January 2008
If you're a fan of spectacular comedy writing, this dvd is for you.
If you're a follower of film, television or computer games, this dvd is for you.
If you're a lover of cleverly directed, brilliantly shot material, if you're into watching loveable, complex but completely believable characters, this dvd is for you.
If, however, you're idea of a good night in is sitting down to canned laughter, obvious plotlines and poorly thought out gags, dont go near it.
Spaced is, without a doubt, one of the all time greats when it comes to entertaining a vast range of audiences. Yes, it's surely been enjoyed by "skateboarders" the world over, but not because of too many head traumas (how many IS too many, by the way?).
Pegg and Hynes (nee Stevenson) created an instantly relateable double-series that has become a must-have for fans of comedy. Wright's direction brings a sparkle to the already glittering script, with his quick witted and dynamic style working in perfect harmony with the tone of the show.
The cast could not be bettered - Pegg and Hynes fulfil the lead roles of Tim Bisley and Daisy Steiner with unfaltering dedication and skill, and no matter what storyline they tackle they never fail to be utterly 3-dimensional; I defy anyone to dislike these characters. Katy Carmichael's 'Twist Morgan' is endearingly bitchy, Julia Deakin's 'Marsha Klein' brings a gloriously bitter edge to the group and 'Brian Topp', played by Mark Heap, somehow manages to win the audience's heart with an often childlike vulnerability that shines through his tortured-artist persona. Nick Frost, now renowned as a great comic actor, proves his mettle in an early triumph as Mike Watt, Tim's weapon-obsessed childhood friend.
In fact, one of the most addictive things about Spaced is the relationships explored through the show. The group begins as a number of individuals, but quickly evolves into a tightly knit gang that could thrive for three times as long as they do. But Pegg, Hynes, Wright and the rest of the cast do what so many shows have failed to in the past - quit while they're ahead. Two series will never be enough, but at least we are safe in the knowledge that we will never be disappointed.
The Definitive Collector's Edition is just that - it is a set of perfectly preserved episodes that stand firm either alone or as a collective. The Skip To The End documentary is a joy for those who want a glimpse of the creative process behind the programme, and an abundance of outtakes will keep the deadest of souls laughing for hours.
Really the greatest thing about the series is, in the words of the illustrious Tim Bisley and Daisy Steiner -
Daisy: We live in a fantasy world, Tim. We've just constructed this fake utopia where y'know we never get old and never have to face the responsibilities of adulthood. We're just stretching our childhoods out as far as they can go.
Tim: Yeah, I know. We're lucky aren't we?
You know what? We are.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 9 November 2004
I live in the US so we didn't get this series broadcast, but I recently ordered the boxed set and didn't stop laughing the entire time. My only question is why aren't there more of these series? Same with "Black Books." It's such a shame that great comedy gets put down in its prime.
38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on 17 October 2004
If you are reading this review, you must be half interested, so buy it now!!!!! This is the coolest, funniest, most life-affirming, heart warming and downright hilarious tv show ever. If youre into films, sci-fi and video games, you'll lap up all the references and homages, and if youre not, you'll still love it just because its so twisted and funny. It might not be for everyone, as not everybody shares the same sense of humour, but
I defy you not to fall in love with Tim, Daisy, Mike, Marsha et al. And at 16.99 for a 3 disc set, which includes a feature length documentary (with a specially filmed ending that all Spaced fans have longed for) and extras on every disc, you cant go wrong. BUY IT!!!!!!!!!