Spaced

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Spaced
Spaced.jpg
Title card
Genre Sitcom
Created by Simon Pegg
Jessica Stevenson
Written by Simon Pegg
Jessica Stevenson
Directed by Edgar Wright
Starring Simon Pegg
Jessica Stevenson
Nick Frost
Mark Heap
Julia Deakin
Katy Carmichael
Aida the Dog
Narrated by Simon Pegg (select episodes)
Jessica Stevenson (select episodes)
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 2
No. of episodes 14 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Humphrey Barclay
Tony Orsten
Producer(s) Gareth Edwards
Nira Park
Camera setup Single
Running time 25 minutes
Production company(s) Big Talk
London Weekend Television
Distributor Channel 4 Sales
Broadcast
Original channel Channel 4
Picture format 576i (SDTV)
Audio format Dolby Digital Stereo
Original run 24 September 1999 (1999-09-24)  – 13 April 2001 (2001-04-13)
Chronology
Related shows Black Books

Spaced is a British television sitcom written by and starring Jessica Stevenson and Simon Pegg, and directed by Edgar Wright. Two series of seven episodes each were broadcast in 1999 and 2001 on Channel 4. They were re-aired early in 2011 on both More4 and Dave and have been broadcast on 4Music.

Plot[edit]

Daisy Steiner (Jessica Stevenson) and Tim Bisley (Simon Pegg) are two London twenty-somethings who meet by chance in a café while both are flat-hunting. Despite barely knowing each other, they conspire to pose as a young professional couple in order to meet the requisites of an advertisement for a relatively cheap flat in the distinctive building at 23 Meteor Street, Tufnell Park, which is owned by and also houses the landlady, Marsha Klein (Julia Deakin). Also in the building is Brian Topp (Mark Heap), an eccentric conceptual artist who lives and works on his various pieces in the ground floor flat.[ep 1] Frequent visitors are Daisy's best friend, Twist Morgan (Katy Carmichael) and Tim's best friend, Mike Watt (Nick Frost), who ends up becoming a lodger after Marsha's daughter Amber Weary "flies the nest".[ep 2]

The series largely concerns the colourful and surrealistic adventures of Tim and Daisy as they navigate through life, decide on what they want to do with their lives, come to terms with affairs of the heart, and try to figure out new and largely unproductive ways of killing time. Tim and Daisy repeatedly stress that they are not a couple to everyone but Marsha, but despite (or because of) this, romantic tension develops between them, particularly during the second series.

Main characters[edit]

Episodes[edit]

Production[edit]

The show has a distinctive cinematic style set by Wright and is shot with a single camera. In addition to borrowing liberally from the visual language of film (in particular genre films), it has particular stylistic mannerisms, such as the recurring device of scene changes occurring in the middle of a pan. The series' atmosphere is also established by the use of a particular flavour of contemporary dance music on its soundtrack.[1]

Northern Exposure's frequent use of fantasy sequences was "one of the key influences" in the creation of the show, and Pegg and Stevenson pitched the show to LWT as "a cross between The Simpsons, The X-Files and Northern Exposure."[2][3]

The series is dense with references to popular culture, including but not limited to science fiction and horror films, comic books, and video games. The Series 2 DVD release introduced the "Homage-o-meter", an alternative set of subtitles listing every reference and homage; the "Definitive Collectors Edition" boxed set introduced a similar subtitle track for Series 1.[4] 2000 AD artists Jim Murray and Jason Brashill provided the artwork for Tim's comic The Bear, as well as other incidental artwork for the show. Tim's boss Bilbo wears a 2000 AD comic T-shirt whilst lecturing Tim about The Phantom Menace.[ep 2]

The series is also noted for its regular recreational drug use references, from its title onwards. Tim and Daisy smoke cannabis on a number of occasions, one episode centering on its use.[ep 3] Tim and Mike take speed on one occasion,[ep 4] and it is implied that Tim, Mike, Daisy, Twist and Brian take ecstasy while clubbing.[ep 5]

Awards[edit]

Spaced was nominated in 2000 and 2002 for a British Academy Television Award for situation comedy. Jessica Stevenson won the British Comedy Award in 1999 and 2001 for best TV Comedy Actress. Simon Pegg was nominated in 1999 for the British Comedy Award for Best Male Comedy Newcomer, and the series was nominated that same year for the British Comedy Award for Best TV Sitcom. The show's second series was nominated for an International Emmy Award in 2001 for Popular Arts.[5]

DVD releases[edit]

Spaced Series 1 and 2 were both released on DVD in the United Kingdom. These were followed by a boxed set which collects the previously released single-series DVDs, adding a bonus disc with a feature-length documentary, Skip to the End, behind the scenes of the show,[6] as well as a music video by Osymyso.

Music rights issues long prevented the release of Spaced in Region 1 (U.S. and Canada). Despite the raised profile resulting from Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz (film collaborations between Pegg and Wright that performed well in the Region 1 countries), no DVDs surfaced between 2004 and 2007. In an interview,[not specific enough to verify] it was suggested a deal with Anchor Bay Entertainment failed to come to fruition over the music rights.[citation needed]

Wright announced the release of a Region 1 Spaced DVD release on 22 July 2008, which included an all-new commentary with Wright, Pegg, and Stevenson, as well as special guests Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith, Bill Hader, Matt Stone, and Patton Oswalt. Supplemental features included the original commentaries, the Skip to the End documentary, outtakes, deleted scenes, and raw footage.[7]

Music[edit]

Individual tracks that were particularly featured in an episode included "Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby?" by Louis Jordan,[ep 6] "Smash It" by Fuzz Townshend,[ep 7][ep 8] and "The Staunton Lick" by Lemon Jelly. A Guy Pratt remix of the A-Team theme song, featured at the conclusion of "Epiphanies",[ep 5] was a fan favourite, but was never made commercially available.

In 2001, a soundtrack to the first series was released in tandem with the first series' release on DVD and videotape. A second soundtrack was not released, although the series' official fan website has an episode-by-episode list of music featured in the second series.[8]

End of the series[edit]

Since the show's end, cast and crew associated with Spaced have been quoted with differing opinions as to whether a third series would be produced, with their most recent statements reflecting a consensus that the show has concluded and will not see a third series.

Soon after series 2 had aired on television, the official Spaced fan website announced that, "despite what certain national newspapers might have said, series 2 is not the last series of Spaced. There will be a third series of Spaced - we just don't know when."[9]

Edgar Wright initially was "torn" about making more Spaced, saying "we have genuinely talked about it and have some neat ideas that could work in a Before Sunset/Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? kind of way".[10] However, in April 2007, Wright confirmed that the show no longer had any possibility of returning in any form, as the actors were all now "too old", and he and Pegg feared it would ruin a good thing.[11] In August of that same year, Wright told Rotten Tomatoes that "there's not going to be a third season, it would be silly now" but that they could "do something that sort of like catches our heroes ten years later."[12]

In 2006, Simon Pegg stated in a Chain Reaction interview (conducted by co-star Bill Bailey, who had played Tim's boss, Bilbo) that he would like to bring back Spaced for a one-hour special to "tie up all the loose ends."[13] In a March 2007 interview on a New Zealand radio station,[not specific enough to verify] Pegg was asked by the interviewer if Spaced was "an ongoing production" and responded, "No, I think that's done." In May 2008, Pegg said, "We have never categorically ruled out the possibility of more. Tim, Daisy, Mike, Brian, Twist, Marsha, and Colin all have destinies locked in mine and Jess's collective grey matter, who's to say they won't some day be played out."[14] Pegg tweeted in December 2009 that if he was given the chance to continue Spaced, he would decline,[15] and in March 2012, Pegg tweeted that "We would never do a third series unless we could get the whole cast back together and Aida (Colin) is no longer with us."[16]

In 2007, Nick Frost called the series "dead", saying that Pegg was holding out the possibility only to not disappoint the fans and keep them happy, but that Frost could declare it dead as he had no emotional attachment.[17] Frost said Pegg and Stevenson decided that series 2 would be the end whilst writing episode 7.[citation needed]

During an interview with the Guardian in July 2013 promoting The World's End with Edgar Wright and Nick Frost, Pegg stated: "Whenever we get asked about ... another series of Spaced ... one of the reasons we're not going to do it is because we couldn't possibly write it with any degree of truth now, because that's not where we are or who we are any more. I always find it's better to write from a perspective of truth."[18]

Pegg had joked that a hypothetical third series would end with a Blake's 7 style shoot-out,[citation needed] but a brief in-character epilogue at the end of the documentary feature Skip to the End reveals that Daisy and Tim formed a romantic relationship and had a daughter (whom Tim professes a wish to call "Luke").[6] As one of the show's writers, Pegg noted that Tim and Daisy were always going to end up together from the beginning, and described a moment he envisioned for the show where they both realize they love each other. In the same instance, he outlined the futures considered for other characters: Brian has a long and happy life with Twist, and after his death, his works become incredibly popular and sell for millions. Twist, however, ends up in suspended animation and awakes in the future, to find everyone, to her disgust, is wearing silver. Mike ends up with Dexter and moves to South London.[19]

American remake[edit]

Fox announced on 29 October 2007 that it would commission a pilot for an American version of Spaced, a project they then scuttled in May 2008 following a generally negative reaction from the series' creators and fans of the original show.[20]

Wright was initially approached about an American version after the first series was broadcast in 1999, and felt an American remake was impossible due to the series' fundamental theme. "Same reason it couldn't be a film," Wright said. "Part of the charm of 'Spaced' is it's people in north London acting out stuff from American films ... you know, Hollywood in, kind of, suburbia. [...] American TV is much more glamorous. It doesn't make any sense. I remember that the producer at the time said, 'Yeah, we'd have to change a few things. We'd have to take out the drugs and the swearing, and obviously, Mike can't have guns.'"[21]

Neither Wright, Pegg, nor Stevenson were at any point approached regarding the proposed American remake, which Wright had dubbed "McSpaced", due to the involvement of film director McG. Wright was upset that "they would a) never bother to get in touch but still b) splash my and Simon's names all over the trade announcements and imply that we're involved in the same way Ricky & Steve were with The Office".[21] Pegg and Stevenson also complained of the "lack of respect" demonstrated by the creators of the proposed American series, who left them out of discussions as well.[22]

Wright was also angry at the media for what he felt was their overlooking of Stevenson's role in the creation of Spaced by connecting the series to Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz in news articles.[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lewisohn, Mark. "BBC — Comedy Guide — Spaced". The bbc.co.uk Guide to Comedy. Archived from the original on 1 March 2007. Retrieved 21 October 2011. 
  2. ^ Pegg, Simon; Nick Lee (April 2001). "About Spaced — What Is Spaced?". Spaced Out. Influences. Archived from the original on 5 May 2008. Retrieved 21 October 2011. 
  3. ^ "We Grab the Spaced Leading Man in a Quiet Moment Between Projects...". 24 Hour Party People. Archived from the original on 16 April 2008. 
  4. ^ Perry, Emma. "Spaced (1999-2001)". BFI Screenonline. Archived from the original on 2 March 2008. Retrieved 21 October 2011. 
  5. ^ "Awards for "Spaced" (1999)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 21 October 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Dan Mudford, dir.; Nira Park, prod. (14 August 2006). Skip to the End (DVD). United Kingdom: Channel 4 Television Corporation. Retrieved 6 July 2010. 
  7. ^ Knowles, Harry (6 May 2008). "Details Finally Drop on SPACED!!! The One, The Only SPACED — finally coming to U.S. DVD!!!". Ain't It Cool News. Archived from the original on 10 May 2008. Retrieved 21 October 2011. 
  8. ^ Lee, Nick. "The Series 2 Soundtrack". Spaced Out. Retrieved 21 March 2007. 
  9. ^ Lee, Nick. "About Spaced — The Future". Spaced Out. Archived from the original on 5 May 2008. Retrieved 11 March 2007. 
  10. ^ Downsy (12 October 2004). "Interview With Edgar Wright, the Results Are In". Spaced Out. Margate Steve. Retrieved 6 July 2010. 
  11. ^ Question-and-answer session following the Los Angeles screening of "Hot Fuzz" on 7 April 2007 at the Aero Theater, 1328 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica, California.
  12. ^ Yamato, Jen (2 August 2007). "Edgar Wright On the Spaced DVD (and Reunion Show?)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 21 October 2011. 
  13. ^ Bill Bailey, host (2006). "Programme 6 of 6". Chain Reaction. BBC Radio 4. Archived from the original on 17 October 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20071017194954/http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/comedy/chainreaction.shtml.
  14. ^ Pegg, Simon (2 May 2008). "Simon's Response to the Deadline Hollywood Post". Spaced Out. Retrieved 21 October 2011. 
  15. ^ Pegg, Simon (30 December 2009). "RT @Unclegabby: @simonpegg if given the chance to continue Spaced would you? No.". Twitter. Retrieved 21 October 2011. 
  16. ^ https://twitter.com/#!/simonpegg/status/177072998946320384
  17. ^ Drum Media. 2007. 
  18. ^ "The World's End: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright on their apocalypse comedy - video interview". The Guardian. 17 July 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-17. 
  19. ^ Spaced on Stage — BFI Spaced Reunion (Flash) (Live recording). National Film Theatre, London, England. 10 November 2007. Event occurs at 54 minutes. Retrieved 24 September 2009. 
  20. ^ Lacob, Jace (28 May 2008). "Where Pilots Go to Die: FOX's "Spaced"". Televisionary. Retrieved 21 October 2011. 
  21. ^ a b c Spaced on Stage — BFI Spaced Reunion (Flash) (Live recording). National Film Theatre, London, England. 10 November 2007. Event occurs at 48 minutes. 
  22. ^ Thorpe, Vanessa; Ben Walters (23 March 2008). "Hollywood snubbed us, says angry comedy star". The Guardian (London, England: Guardian Media Group). Retrieved 21 October 2011. 

Episodes[edit]

  1. ^ Edgar Wright, dir.; Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson, writers (24 September 1999). "Beginnings". Spaced. Series 1. Episode 1. Channel 4.
  2. ^ a b Edgar Wright, dir.; Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson, writers (2 March 2001). "Change". Spaced. Series 2. Episode 2. Channel 4.
  3. ^ Edgar Wright, dir.; Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson, writers (30 March 2001). "Gone". Spaced. Series 2. Episode 5. Channel 4.
  4. ^ Edgar Wright, dir.; Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson, writers (8 October 1999). "Art". Spaced. Series 1. Episode 3. Channel 4.
  5. ^ a b Edgar Wright, dir.; Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson, writers (29 October 1999). "Epiphanies". Spaced. Series 1. Episode 6. Channel 4.
  6. ^ Edgar Wright, dir.; Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson, writers (5 November 1999). "Ends". Spaced. Series 1. Episode 7. Channel 4.
  7. ^ Edgar Wright, dir.; Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson, writers (23 February 2001). "Back". Spaced. Series 2. Episode 1. Channel 4.
  8. ^ Edgar Wright, dir.; Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson, writers (9 March 2001). "Mettle". Spaced. Series 2. Episode 3. Channel 4.

External links[edit]