Wednesday, April 8, 2020

[Roll Your Own Life] The TV That Shaped Me (Part 6)

Spaced (1999-2001)

Okay, so this is a bit of a different one. Most of the series I've picked so far have been genre shows - dramas, SF, weird, and similar. This is the only out-and-out pure comedy series that's on my list. But it is certainly one that had a massive impact on my life, and inspired and influenced me in a huge way.

Spaced was one of those series that just didn't appeal to me from the adverts. I had the same problem with Misfits - Misfits is a brilliant Channel 4 series about a bunch of ASBOs doing community service who get struck by lightning in a freak storm and gain superpowers. And it's flippin' amazing. But the adverts made it look like a bunch of annoying people and I seriously didn't want to sit through a whole hour of them on my TV. But I was convinced by the owner of my local comic shop that it was brilliant, and he wasn't wrong. The adverts for the series did nothing for me.

Spaced was the same. I wasn't really into comedy series, and the few adverts I saw didn't convince me to even give it a go. Sorry Channel 4.

After the first series was airing, a friend of ours from the local video store (thank you again, Jason) who knew us pretty well told us we should watch the series. Why? "Because it's a series about YOU!" he said.

A bit confused, we took the advice on board and tried it with the episode "Battles" (S1ep4).

You see, at the time I was at home most of the time trying to launch my own business drawing and publishing comics, helping out every now and then at the aforementioned local comic shop. I lived with my future-wife who worked a day-job in graphic design, who really wanted to be a writer. I drew comics, she wrote. We watched movies, TV series, played video games, shouted at Tomb Raider, played Resident Evil until I dreamed of zombies, and both of us felt like our lives were on hold...

Spaced is about about Tim Bisley (Simon Pegg) who really wanted to get his comics published, while working every so often at the local comic shop (Fantasy Bazaar), who lived with Daisy Steiner (Jessica Stevenson) pretending to be a couple to rent a flat in London. Daisy really wanted to be a writer, but they watched TV, played video games, shouted at Tomb Raider, played Resident Evil until Tim dreams of zombies, and both of them feel like their lives are... wait...

Jason was right. The series was us.

We watched the DVD of series one in a day, and loved series two when it aired. We've followed the works of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson since, and the series has been a massive influence on me.

Heck, back when I foolishly decided I wanted to get into youtube comedy and formed a creative group with some friends from work, we made a six part comedy series that was so ridiculously geeky, and so filled with references, that we included a Homage-o-meter as a PDF download - much like the DVD extra where the series pointed out all the geeky references as you watched.

The webseries we made was even reviewed in SFX who called it "the new Spaced". Personally, I couldn't think of a better compliment.

The webseries thing kinda fell apart for me, and we parted ways (creative differences), but I did get to briefly meet Edgar Wright many years later at a press preview of his movie The World's End, and we chatted about The Sisters of Mercy. I spent most of the time trying not to fall to my knees and do the Wayne's World "We're Not Worthy!" thing...

Spaced is still brilliant, and I never get bored of it. It's one of those series I can quote at apt times, and remains one of my faves.

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