|Content Rating||TV-14 (TV-14)|
|Awards||Top rated TV #160 | 2 wins & 6 nominations total|
|Company||Paramount Comedy Channel, London Weekend Television (LWT)|
Spaced is a British television sitcom created, written by and starring Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson, and directed by Edgar Wright, about the (comedic and sometimes farcical and action-packed) misadventures of Daisy Steiner and Tim Bisley, two twenty-something Londoners who, despite only having just met, decide to move in together after she gives up on squatting and he is kicked out by his ex-girlfriend. Supporting roles include Nick Frost as Tim's best friend Mike, Katy Carmichael as Daisy's best friend Twist, Mark Heap as lodger Brian who lives downstairs and Julia Deakin as landlady Marsha.
The first series of the show, comprising seven episodes, premiered in the UK on Channel 4 on 24 September 1999, and the second and final series, also consisting of seven episodes, started on 23 February 2001 and concluded on 13 April.
Both series were nominated for the BAFTA TV Award for Best Situation Comedy.
Daisy Steiner and Tim Bisley are two London based twenty-somethings who meet by chance in a café while both are flat-hunting. Despite barely knowing each other, they conspire to pose as a young professional couple in order to meet the requisites of an advertisement for a relatively cheap flat in the distinctive building at 23 Meteor Street, Tufnell Park, owned by resident landlady Marsha Klein. Also in the building is Brian Topp, an eccentric conceptual artist who lives and works on his various pieces in the ground-floor flat. Frequent visitors are Daisy's best friend Twist Morgan and Tim's best friend Mike Watt. The latter ends up becoming a lodger after Marsha's daughter Amber Weary "flies the nest".
The series largely concerns the surreal and awkward adventures of Tim and Daisy as they navigate through life, come to terms with affairs of the heart, and try to figure out new and largely unproductive ways of killing time. Tim and Daisy repeatedly clarify that they are not a couple to everyone but Marsha, but despite this, romantic tension develops between them, particularly during the second series.
- Simon Pegg as Tim Bisley
- Jessica Stevenson as Daisy Steiner
- Nick Frost as Mike Watt
- Katy Carmichael as Twist Morgan
- Mark Heap as Brian Topp
- Julia Deakin as Marsha Klein
The show has a distinctive cinematic style set by Wright and is shot with a single camera. In addition to borrowing liberally from the visual language of film (in particular some kind of unspecified genre films), it has particular stylistic mannerisms, such as the recurring device of scene changes occurring in the middle of a pan. The series' atmosphere is also established by the use of a particular flavour of contemporary dance music on its soundtrack.
Northern Exposure's frequent use of fantasy sequences was "one of the key influences" in the creation of the show, and Pegg and Stevenson pitched the show to LWT as "a cross between The Simpsons, The X-Files and Northern Exposure."
The series is dense with references to popular culture, including but not limited to science fiction and horror films, comic books, and video games. The Series 2 DVD release introduced the "Homage-o-meter", an alternative set of subtitles listing every reference and homage; the "Definitive Collectors Edition" boxed set introduced a similar subtitle track for Series 1. 2000 AD artists Jim Murray and Jason Brashill provided the artwork for Tim's comic The Bear, as well as other incidental artwork for the show. Tim's boss Bilbo wears a 2000 AD comic T-shirt whilst lecturing Tim about Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.
The series is also noted for its regular recreational drug use references, from its title onwards. Tim and Daisy smoke Cannabis on a number of occasions, one episode centering on its use. Tim and Mike take speed on one occasion, and it is implied that Tim, Mike, Daisy, Twist and Brian take ecstasy while clubbing.
Individual tracks that were particularly featured in an episode included "Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby?" by Louis Jordan, "Smash It" by Fuzz Townshend, and "The Staunton Lick" by Lemon Jelly. A Guy Pratt remix of the A-Team theme song, featured at the conclusion of "Epiphanies", was a fan favourite, but was never made commercially available.
In 2001, a soundtrack to the first series was released in tandem with the first series' release on DVD and videotape. A second soundtrack was not released, although the series' official fan website has an episode-by-episode list of music featured in the second series.
Series 1 (1999)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|1||1||"Beginnings"||Edgar Wright||Jessica Stevenson & Simon Pegg||24 September 1999|
|Daisy Steiner and Tim Bisley meet in a small cafe and bond over their shared frustration in searching for accommodation (he has been kicked out by girlfriend Sarah, she is a squatter desperate to escape her down-and-out acquaintances), and gradually form a friendship. Just when all seems lost, they stumble upon what seems to be a perfect place – trouble is, it is listed as being for a 'professional couple' only. Thus begins a complicated plan involving faked photos and memorizing every significant (and not-so-significant) fact about each other to pass themselves off as a long term couple in order to fool Marsha Klein, their prospective landlady. To their surprise, it works.|
|2||2||"Gatherings"||Edgar Wright||Jessica Stevenson & Simon Pegg||1 October 1999|
|To avoid doing any actual work, freshly unpacked Daisy plans a housewarming party – something to make their home the "new hub of North London." Unfortunately, all of Tim's friends are busy attending skateboarding meets or science fiction conventions (except for Mike Watt, present to provide door security), and Daisy's media contacts extend about as far as the paperboy (except for Twist Morgan, present to provide fashion commentary), so there are hardly any guests (except for Marsha, present to consume alcohol, and Brian Topp, present to provide artistic critique of Daisy's aluminium foil decorations). Brian discovers Daisy and Tim are not really dating after they slip up by mentioning they have separate rooms. Meanwhile, Marsha's daughter Amber is throwing her own party in conflict to the housewarming party (such that it is one).|
|3||3||"Art"||Edgar Wright||Jessica Stevenson & Simon Pegg||8 October 1999|
After accepting some cheap speed from some violently friendly Scottish blokes, Tim has spent all night fighting zombies (or, more accurately, hallucinating while playing Resident Evil 2) and Mike has somehow managed to get to Sheffield on the Tube. Daisy has a job interview at a classy women's magazine ("Flaps") and Brian has an invitation to a new art show by Vulva (David Walliams), his former partner and non-gender-specific-ex-chaste-heterosexual-lover. This causes much angst and feelings of inferiority all around. "Girl Power!" fails to impress the magazine editors, Brian's much-practiced air of indifference fails to impress Vulva, and Tim's Twiglets allergy and hallucinations of zombies leads to Vulva getting a much-deserved punch in the face. The episode concludes with Daisy's idea for performance art, a parody of Bruce Nauman's work "Clown Torture", which leads Tim to remark that it is obviously harder than it looks.Note: This episode served as the inspiration for the 2004 horror comedy film Shaun of the Dead, which both Pegg and Wright were both heavily involved in.
|4||4||"Battles"||Edgar Wright||Jessica Stevenson & Simon Pegg||15 October 1999|
|After getting dumped by her boyfriend Richard, Daisy decides to cheer herself up by getting a dog. Having suffered a fear of dogs since childhood, Tim is not pleased by this. As Daisy bonds with an interesting little dog she calls Colin (named after the pet box she had as a child), Tim and Mike go paintballing, and encounter Tim's arch-nemesis, Duane Benzie (Peter Serafinowicz), the man who stole Tim's girlfriend. By the end of the episode, Mike will have made the (sort-of) ultimate sacrifice, Tim will have had his revenge, and Brian will have imparted the tragic, yet artistically interesting, tale of his own dog's horrible death.|
|5||5||"Chaos"||Edgar Wright||Jessica Stevenson & Simon Pegg||22 October 1999|
|Daisy is strongly bonding with new dog Colin, much to Tim's displeasure. Forced to take Colin out on a walk in an effort to bond with him, Tim is rather alarmed when Colin disappears after Tim challenges aliens to abduct him. When Daisy will not speak to him, and when he receives an anonymous tip-off revealing Colin's location – in the hands of a ruthless, sinister cosmetics testing vivisectionist – he plans a daring rescue attempt in order to redeem himself. Will they succeed? Will a psychotic Marxist dog reveal itself? And more importantly – will Tim let Mike's callsign be Han Solo?|
|6||6||"Epiphanies"||Edgar Wright||Jessica Stevenson & Simon Pegg||29 October 1999|
Tim's bicycle courier friend Tyres (Michael Smiley) pops round for a cup of tea and decides to take the gang clubbing, forcing Brian to relive a terrible event in his past (where a spilled drink during Dexys Midnight Runners' Come On Eileen had disastrous results). Mike, thrown out of the Rough Ramblers following a disastrous eskimo roll (which was more a case of 'rolling right Inuit'), rediscovers his manhood with the help of some ecstasy and a remix of The A-Team theme. And Tim and Daisy have their eyes opened.Featured songs: "Synth and Strings" - Yomanda
"Let Me Show You" - Camisra
|7||7||"Ends"||Edgar Wright||Jessica Stevenson & Simon Pegg||5 November 1999|
|Tim is ecstatic when his ex-girlfriend Sarah decides she wants him back; Daisy is less so, causing much tension around the flat. Mike has an interview at the Territorial Army to determine whether he should be allowed back in following the 'Eurodisney Incident'. Following a heated argument, Daisy finally manages to bash out a few articles, and Tim finally realises the right path for him. And Brian summons the courage to ask Twist out on a date which, against all expectations, actually goes quite well.|
Series 2 (2001)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|8||1||"Back"||Edgar Wright||Jessica Stevenson & Simon Pegg||23 February 2001|
|After receiving an injection of money following the sale of her articles, Daisy returns from her holiday in Asia, but finds it hard to settle back into the mundanity of her normal life after her adventure. Tim has been struggling with his issues with George Lucas and The Phantom Menace (which saw him ceremonially burn his Star Wars merchandise), and, after being chucked out of home for shooting his cat up the rear end, Mike has been sleeping in Daisy's room, transforming its decor into a tribute to Apocalypse Now. Things are not normal, and sinister black-suited Matrix-like Agents (Kevin Eldon and Mark Gatiss) following Daisy around, after an encounter at the airport with a mysterious stranger (John Simm), make things even more surreal.|
|9||2||"Change"||Edgar Wright||Jessica Stevenson & Simon Pegg||2 March 2001|
|Following a dispute with a young customer over Jar Jar Binks merchandise and Tim's inability to cope with the Star Wars prequels, Bilbo fires Tim. Daisy is trying to get money out of the Job Centre people, despite not having signed on to the dole for three months due to her holiday. Brian is horrified to discover that his relationship with Twist is affecting his artistic output. After Amber runs out, Marsha finds herself a new lodger – Mike.|
|10||3||"Mettle"||Edgar Wright||Jessica Stevenson & Simon Pegg||9 March 2001|
|Tim and Mike have to be careful as their chances of winning the Robot Wars quarter final are sabotaged by a rival (Reece Shearsmith). Meanwhile, after being fired from several jobs, Daisy starts working in a kitchen, where her new boss (Joanna Scanlan) begins to make life difficult for her. Brian comes under stress as he is given little notice of an upcoming exhibition of his work.|
|11||4||"Help"||Edgar Wright||Jessica Stevenson & Simon Pegg||23 March 2001|
|After receiving a call from the mysterious Damien Knox (Clive Russell) of Darkstar Comics (and his seductive assistant Sophie (Lucy Akhurst), Tim employs Tyres to deliver his portfolio of artwork. Tim wisely removes an unflattering caricature of Damien, but Daisy replaces it in an attempt to be helpful. Tim must then retrieve the job-threatening picture before Damien sees it, aided by Mike and Tyres, and comes away with a little more than he expected....|
|12||5||"Gone"||Edgar Wright||Jessica Stevenson & Simon Pegg||30 March 2001|
|While spending an evening on the town (well, Camden), Tim and Daisy run afoul of some young hooligans (Lee Ingleby and Adam Deacon) who accuse them of substituting oregano for marijuana. Meanwhile, Tim's nemesis Duane Benzie steals Tim's house keys in an act of revenge for the paintball incident. Daisy saves the day when she leverages her newfound knowledge of masculine telepathy.|
|13||6||"Dissolution"||Edgar Wright||Jessica Stevenson & Simon Pegg||6 April 2001|
|At Daisy's birthday party, cracks begin to form between members of the group...Mike is jealous of Sophie taking all of Tim's time, Brian is tired of Twist using him like a fashion accessory, Colin is tired of Daisy's inattention, Daisy is tired of Sophie's very existence, and to top it all off, Marsha thinks Tim is cheating on Daisy. Can the gang pull together and save the day?|
|14||7||"Leaves"||Edgar Wright||Jessica Stevenson & Simon Pegg||13 April 2001|
|Mike comes up with a foolproof plan to stop Marsha from selling the house, Brian comes up with a foolproof plan to get Twist to come back from Manchester, Daisy comes up with a foolproof plan to get her writing career on track, Colin comes up with a foolproof plan to stop running away from Daisy, and Tim comes up with a foolproof plan to commit to the woman he loves. Who will succeed, and who will fail?|
Spaced was nominated in 2000 and 2002 for a British Academy Television Award for situation comedy. Jessica Stevenson won the British Comedy Award in 1999 and 2001 for best TV Comedy Actress. Simon Pegg was nominated in 1999 for the British Comedy Award for Best Male Comedy Newcomer, and the series was nominated that same year for the British Comedy Award for Best TV Sitcom. The show's second series was nominated for an International Emmy Award in 2001 for Popular Arts.
Spaced Series 1 and 2 were both released on DVD in the United Kingdom. These were followed by a boxed set which collects the previously released single-series DVDs, adding a bonus disc with a feature-length documentary, Skip to the End, behind the scenes of the show, as well as a music video by Osymyso.
Music rights issues long prevented the release of Spaced in Region 1 (U.S. and Canada). Despite the raised profile resulting from Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz (film collaborations between Pegg and Wright that performed well in the Region 1 countries), no DVDs surfaced between 2004 and 2007. In an interview, it was suggested a deal with Anchor Bay Entertainment failed to come to fruition over the music rights.
Wright announced the release of a Region 1 Spaced DVD release on 22 July 2008, which included an all-new commentary with Wright, Pegg, and Stevenson, as well as special guests Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith, Seth Rogen, Diablo Cody, Danny Antonucci, Matt Stone, Seth MacFarlane, Seth Green, Christopher Sabat, Bill Hader, Dave Willis, Tim Heidecker, Greg Sestero and Patton Oswalt. Supplemental features included the original commentaries, the Skip to the End documentary, outtakes, deleted scenes, and raw footage.
End of the series
Since the show's end, cast and crew associated with Spaced have been quoted with differing opinions as to whether a third series would be produced, with their most recent statements reflecting a consensus that the show has concluded and will not see a third series.
Edgar Wright initially was "torn" about making more Spaced, saying "we have genuinely talked about it and have some neat ideas that could work in a Before Sunset/Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? kind of way". However, in April 2007, Wright confirmed that the show no longer had any possibility of returning in any form, as the actors were all now "too old", and he and Pegg feared it would ruin a good thing. In August of that same year, Wright told Rotten Tomatoes that "there's not going to be a third season, it would be silly now" but that they could "do something that sort of like catches our heroes ten years later."
During an interview with The Guardian in July 2013 promoting The World's End with Edgar Wright and Nick Frost, Pegg stated: "Whenever we get asked about... another series of Spaced... one of the reasons we're not going to do it is because we couldn't possibly write it with any degree of truth now, because that's not where we are or who we are any more. I always find it's better to write from a perspective of truth."
Fox announced on 29 October 2007 that it would commission a pilot for an American version of Spaced, a project they then scuttled in May 2008 following a generally negative reaction from the series' creators and fans of the original show.
Wright was initially approached about an American version after the first series was broadcast in 1999, and felt an American remake was impossible due to the series' fundamental theme. "Same reason it couldn't be a film," Wright said. "Part of the charm of 'Spaced' is, it's people in north London acting out stuff from American films... you know, Hollywood in, kind of, suburbia... American TV is much more glamorous. It doesn't make any sense. I remember that the producer at the time said, 'Yeah, we'd have to change a few things. We'd have to take out the drugs and the swearing, and obviously, Mike can't have guns.'"
Neither Wright, Pegg, nor Stevenson were at any point approached regarding the proposed American remake, which Wright had dubbed "McSpaced", due to the involvement of film director McG. Wright was upset that "they would a) never bother to get in touch but still b) splash my and Simon's names all over the trade announcements and imply that we're involved in the same way Ricky & Steve were with The Office". Pegg and Stevenson also complained of the "lack of respect" demonstrated by the creators of the proposed American series, who left them out of discussions as well.
Wright was also angry at the media for what he felt was their overlooking of Stevenson's role in the creation of Spaced by connecting the series to Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz in news articles.