Posted by Billyjam, August 5, 2008 03:01pm | Post a Comment

American fans of Simon Pegg and his movies Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz are obviously quite happy now that Spaced, the wonderful British television show that predated and influenced both these big-screen action/comedies, is finally available on DVD as the nicely packaged Spaced: The Complete Series (BBC Video). 

The British TV situation comedy ran for two seasons back in 1999 and 2001 and has more recently been shown in the US on BBC America. The new DVD set is available at each Amoeba Music location, including the Hollywood store where, according to Rigo in the DVD department, "it has been selling briskly since it was released two weeks ago."

Featuring many of the same players in Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz, Spaced was also directed by Edgar Wright, and was written by and stars Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes (formerly known as Jessica Stevenson). Spaced also stars Pegg's movie sidekick Nick Frost, as well as Julia Deacon, Mark Heap, and Katy Carmichael. The witty, fast-paced, sci-fi based comedy TV show that ran for just two seasons -- seven episodes each -- nine and seven years ago, is packed with references from pop culture and movies (including Resident Evil and Star Wars) and is given to veering off into surreal scenes in which its main characters become action movie or video game or comic book style heroes. 

As with many UK comedy shows, it can often take a moment to adjust to the uniquely British sense of humor, but once you do you will most likely fall in love with this very funny TV show. Of course, fans of the  2004 "rom zom com" ( romantic zombie comedy) Shaun of the Dead or the 2007 over the top Hollywood influenced action-comedy Hot Fuzz will adapt instantly, plus they will immediately identify where many of the concepts and inspirations for those parodies originated from. 

Spaced is based around the everyday lives of its two core characters, Tim and Daisy (a platonic male and female roommate duo who pretend to their upstairs landlady that they are boyfriend/girlfriend), as they go through their day-to-day lives-- much of it spent sitting around playing video games and ending up in silly and surreal incidents that often morph into Hollywood movie like scenarios. The underlying theme, which comes to light more in the second season, is the amorous feelings that Tim and Daisy have for each other. 

Additionally, the shows, as with many of the other projects that Pegg and Wright have worked on, Spaced draws from the a specific pool of talent -- an extended group of comedy talent that includes Pegg's character's best friend Mike, played by his longtime friend/collaborator Frost (Shaun/Hot Fuzz). The other roles in Spaced are also inspired character studies, including the chain-smoking landlady Marsha (Deacon) and tortured artist (who specializes in anger, fear, and aggression) neighbor Brian (Heap) who each shine in the "Uninspired" clip below from the series, as well as in the second clip below from the episode in which they all prepare to go out clubbing.

The DVD set, which retails at Amoeba for $55, includes all of the show's wonderful episodes plus bonus deleted scenes and outtakes, as well as an hour-long 2007 Q&A with director Wright and the whole cast, including Pegg, who talks about what might have happened had the show continued into a third season.

While Pegg is reasonably well known in the USA for his aforementioned movies and the more recent David Schwimmer directed romantic-comedy Run Fatboy Run (a pretty good movie, but tame compared to his other work), he is a much more high profile actor back home in his native UK. However, his star will undoubtedly rise after the release of the upcoming J.J. Abrams directed Star Trek movie in which Pegg will play the role of Scotty.

For more detailed up-to-date information on Spaced check out the official website.

Relevant Tags

Simon Pegg (1), Edgar Wright (9), Hot Fuzz (4), Shaun Of The Dead (4)