It’s hard to remember today, in an age where Simon Pegg is a Hollywood luvvie, Jessica Hynes is a respected actress, Nick Frost pops up everywhere, and Edgar Wright nearly directed a Marvel movie, but Spaced probably still is the greatest thing any of them have ever done.
Its genius was not in great jokes. Even when I first saw it I’m sure I’d heard a few of them before. The loving friendships between the gang of freaks sells you emotionally. The running gag in the first series where Tim and Mike would say, ‘…that was a long time ago’ with a soft fade was beautiful, and the acceptance of each other’s weirdnesses, without ever falling into the trite horror of an American sitcom, like Friends, gave me hope for my own life.
The other part that made it unique and brilliant, is the references. The fact they could lift an entire scene and dialogue from Star Wars and get away with it, even sneaking in some Chewbacca love, made my geeky heart jump for joy. And it goes down to tiny references- Tim Bisley’s last name is a reference to 2000AD hero Simon Bisley, and single obscure lines from classic films sneak in, only to be noticed if you turn on the referenceometer on the DVD.
And the roster of minor characters are astounding. Mark Heap’s Brian is a wonderfully creepy artist who lives downstairs, setting up a lot of his roles for the next decade (Green Wing, Friday Night Dinner), Marsha is beautifully tragic, and Tyres should be annoying as hell, but you can’t help but love his ‘Oi oi!’
Words alone can’t get across how great this series was. I think nearly all fans of the show still dream of a third series. Don’t get me wrong, the Three Colours Cornetto trilogy (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End) were great, but for a bunch of us who watched good telly around the turn of the millennium, we would still love to get some closure. Especially if, like me, you’re a Tim and Daisy shipper.