NNWIJ: Spaced (1999-2001)

Director: Edgar Wright

Notable Cast: Simon Pegg, Jessica Hynes, Nick Frost, Julia Deakin, Mark Heap, Katy Carmichael

Rating: UR

Review:  Life goal: Have a drink with Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright.  After viewing all their work, how does that not sound like an epic night?  If “Spaced” is any indication, I’d fit right in.  Would have killed for more episodes though.  Such a shame British shows run much shorter season and series lengths, but by golly quality points out why.  Written by nerdist Simon Pegg and ever so bubbly Jessica Hynes, director Edgar Wright’s influence is impossible to ignore and works phenomenally with Pegg’s brain (based off later efforts like Shaun of the Dead/Hot Fuzz) on their early joint TV show project “Spaced”.  Over here in the States we were exposed to Shaun of the Dead first, marking our initial exposure to Pegg and Wright.  Since then the duo have flourished (along with buddy Nick Frost), but getting back to where it all began was somewhat nostalgic.  Not to discredit Jessica Hynes in any way, but she only appears in small cameo’s considering Wright’s other work, so “Spaced” was the launching pad for our guys more than gals.  The story of “Spaced” brings two recently single nobodies together in Daisy (Hynes) and Tim (Pegg) who find a common bond in-house hunting.  After searching to no avail, finally a rentable flat falls under their noses with one tiny catch: it can only be rented to a couple.  So for the sake of living arrangements, Daisy and Tim create a fake relationship for landlord Marsha (Deakin), struggling to keep the truth from escaping.  Antics are had with a loner artist neighbor (Head), Tim’s military obsessed best friend (Frost), and Daisy’s fashionista best-friend Twist (Carmichael).  Antics don’t begin to explain the silliness to follow though, as Pegg plays pretty much exactly who I’d imagine him to be in real life and Hynes plays right into his comedic hand.  Geekish references flood “Spaced” in every scene, and Wright works clever gags into even the quickest shot (the trademark Wright quick cuts).  One of my favorites involves Pegg cowering back with a horrific expression on his face, just as you notice an Evil Dead film poster framed perfectly in the background mimicking Pegg’s exactly reaction…or vice versa how you look at it.  Also, Season 2 starts off with a shot for shot Pulp Fiction nod executed perfectly.  Sly smirk engage.  For the true film fanatic, “Spaced” is an homage filled treat with easter eggs hidden in every scene, bolstered by the love for cinema all involved display.  But again, considering tastes, all these references and side jokes tend to be on the action, sci-fi, horror, and cult film following type side.  An average/simpleton viewer will miss half the comedy itself in these moments, so keep genre in check.  Aside from that though, every single character is an absolute riot.  Pegg’s slacker attitude mixed with high energy make for gut busting rants and top-notch reactionary emotions.  Hynes is just as funny, playing ditzy and oblivious to a tee.  Frost comes in for these really hilarious moments off and on again, playing more of a side character here.  As does Mark Heap, playing the tormented creative soul that is Brian, whose presence typically serves as the cherry on a “Spaced” ice cream sundae via strange social behavior and again bang on facial expressions.  Marsha and Twist round out a cast aided by some noteworthy guest spots along the ride (see how many people you can recognize from recent Wright projects), presenting a tight knit group of characters linked together as charming cast.  All and all: Genius, pure comedic genius.  “Spaced” will always hold a special place in my heart, hitting on areas I personally love, but I implore any one of you to give this quirky sitcom based fun holding wit, spunk, and heart a proper go.  Only passionate lovers of cinema could churn out a love letter like this, as we’re led down one enjoyable/outrageous adventure after the next.  Only fourteen episodes, yet ten times more efficient than any single 20 episode season I’ve seen.

Netflix Rating: 5/5

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About Matt Donato

I love all things film. I'll watch any genre, any actor, at any time. This whole film critic thing is a passionate hobby for now which I'm balancing with working in the business world, but hey, someday, who knows?
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One Response to NNWIJ: Spaced (1999-2001)

  1. Pingback: NNWIJ: The IT Crowd (2006-2010) | Cinema Scrutiny

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