Spaced, the 1999-2001 gem from Channel 4/BBC America, is worthy of praise for many reasons. Long before The Guild, Comic Book Men, or Community have come along to celebrate and self-deprecate nerd culture of all kinds, Spaced crafted some of the most elaborate comic and niche culture parodies on television. But it never is bogged down by such references – writers Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes (then Jessica Stevenson) and director Edgar Wright have constructed a unique (to say the least) band of characters that embark on bard-worthy tales in their own right.
However, what sets Spaced apart for me is how well the cast and crew know their strengths and limitations, and how they work within those parameters. From the simply structural – that this series is only fourteen episodes long, to the overall themes – not taking life too seriously, supporting your crazy ass friends through thick and thin - this series knows exactly what it wants to say and how to say it. It’s especially worth recognizing when this fundamental awareness is so often lacking in television series, let alone most sitcoms, airing today.
So what exactly does Spaced know that most shows don’t?