Spaced: The Complete Series

Spaced: The Complete Series
Spaced was the turn-of-the-century British sitcom that launched the careers of actor/writer Simon Pegg and director Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead), with co-writer Jessica Hynes (nee Stevenson) and Pegg mate (and non-actor) Nick Frost. Conceived as the anti-Friends, it concerned slacker mates Tim (a comic artist, played by Pegg) and Daisy (Stevenson, an aspiring writer) who pretend to be a couple in order to get a cheap flat. But it’s the pop culture-fuelled flights of imagination that set Spaced apart — it stokes the fires of pop culture obsession not as clever homage or meta-commentary but simply because Star Wars or Pulp Fiction or Batman references are the language of these characters’ lives. But what’s remarkable about Spaced — despite its completely absurd flights of fantasy — is how grounded it is, not in TV reality but in real-life: pot smoking, sleeping in, being hung-over and going for greasy breakfast reality. Characters wear the same clothes, have stupid arguments and head to the pub to make up, all while speaking in a language far more familiar and real (to its audience) than any cafe-dwelling fashionista. Spaced is "giant convention, location tours, dress as characters” huge in Britain, but only now arrives in North America in a stacked DVD set that features all 14 episodes — that’s two seasons in Brit TV! To bridge cultural gaps, the principals invite some "token Americans” to sit in on the new commentary tracks — just so happens their Stateside friends list includes Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith, Juno scribe Diablo Cody, South Park’s Matt Stone and more — and it’s geeky joy all around, despite the fact that the commentaries rarely relate to the on-screen action. A feature-length documentary takes Wright, Pegg and Hynes on a memory lane walkabout, as well as dissecting key moments in the series. But at its heart remain those 14 episodes of hilarious, ambitious and absurd comedic joy, with the Tim and Daisy relationship its gooey, grounded centre. That Brit-com revolution that brought so much attention to The Office and Little Britain? It started here. Plus: outtakes, homage-o-meter, original commentaries and more.   (BBC/Warner)