There are few people out there who would question my geek credentials, my knowledge of film, television and video games far exceed that of many of my compatriots, and recently, my party in Dungeons and Dragons managed to exorcise a Glabrezu in one round whilst attempting to foil the plans of a Necromancer (Geek credentials, check! Cool credentials… what were those again?)
Regardless, if there is one thing that sends a small shiver down my spine, it is the perfect use of a film reference in conversation to emphasise a point or add an extra layer of humour to the proceedings. It is this reason why Spaced by director Edgar Wright and starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Jessica Hynes (Nee Stevenson) as a group of twenty-something Generation X-ers as they navigate a strangely surreal life, full of insanity and pop culture galore.
The protagonists of Spaced were Tim Bisley and Daisy Steiner (played by Pegg and Hynes respectively) as two recently homeless strangers who pretend to be a couple in order to rent a flat owned by Landlady Marsha Klein (played by Julia Deakin). A large portion of the show’s jokes in the first couple of episodes revolved around the fake lovers attempting (and failing) to hide their true relationship from the other tenants in the building. After a little while, this aspect of the plot fell to the wayside as more characters were introduced, such as struggling artist Brian Topp (Mark Heap) who pays his rent to Marsha using… other methods, Mike Watt (Nick Frost) who was kicked out of the Territorial Army for trying to invade Paris and fashion obsessive Twist Morgan (Katy Carmichael.) Together with the other three characters, they helped create a cult TV show that is still popular with many to this very day.
A lot of the comedy came from the interactions between the cast, alongside the almost relentless onslaught of pop culture references that surfaced throughout each episode. It was almost guaranteed that if you missed an homage in one scene, you’d pick another one up within the next two shots. The show itself featured several allusions to films and TV series such as The X-Files, The Evil Dead, 2001: A Space Odyssey and so many more that to continue listing them would require several thousand more words than I’m capable of writing.
Alongside the core cast, there are a number of actors that have since gone on to be big names in British film and television, including John Simm, Kevin Eldon, Peter Serafinowicz and Anna Wilson-Jones. Once again, the list of cameos is far too long to write out, but, suffice it to say, it is once again very lengthy.
There is so much going on and so much to discover that to describe much more would completely ruin the joy of watching the series for the first time. So, I say to you, go forth and watch this lovingly crafted, nerdy masterpiece with a pack of Jaffa Cakes to hand. You won’t be disappointed.
Happy 20th Anniversary, Spaced!