Originally pitched as a cross between The Simpsons, The X-Files and Northern Exposure, Spaced only ran for a couple of seasons on Channel 4 in the UK, but this has to be one of the most clever British comedies series of all time.
Writers and co-creators Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) and Jessica Hynes also starred in the series as two London flat-hunting twenty-somethings who meet by chance in a cafe. Even though they barely knowing each other, they pose as a young professional couple in order to meet the requirements of an ad for a relatively cheap flat. Tim (Pegg) was an aspiring comic book artist, Daisy (Jessica Hynes) an “aspiring” writer. He’s grumpy, she’s upbeat and cheerful.
The series was greatness through some ingenious use of surrealism, it was more of a film than a television series from a style standpoint. There were also numerous references to pop culture with mentions of science fiction and horror films, comic books and video games throughout.
While Pegg has routinely stated that Northern Exposure laid the groundwork for much of the fantasy sequences you see in Spaced, one has to wonder if the producers/writers of Scrubs had a copy of the series in their DVD library when creating that show.
Here’s a classic clip from Spaced to either refresh your memory or to jumpstart your trip to the video store to rent this weekend.
The “kiss of death American re-make” rumor
There were rumors in 2007 but, unbelievably, neither Pegg nor Hynes were going to be involved which, to me, pretty much killed any chance of success from the start. Not that American re-makes don’t shoot themselves in the foot quite well on their own, but in this case, it seems like they not only hit the foot, but they reloaded the gun really fast and fired again dooming it from the start. Thankfully, it was shelved a year later before it ever saw the light of day. If you need more of a fix, here’s the link to the official fan page, Spaced-Out which includes a clip from the failed U.S. pilot.