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Spaced is a sitcom like no other. The premise is simple enough: Daisy (Jessica Stevenson) and Tim (Simon Pegg) are out of luck and love, so pretend to be a couple in order to rent a flat together. Downstairs neighbour and eccentric painter Brian suspects someone's fibbing, and almost blows their cover with their lecherous lush of a landlady, Marsha. Fortunately he soon falls for Daisy's health-freak friend Twist, while Daisy herself goes ga-ga for pet dog Colin. Tim remains happily platonic with lifemate Mike; a sweet-at-heart guns 'n' ammo obsessive. The series is chock-full of pop culture references. In fact, each episode is themed after at least one movie, with nods to The Shining and Close Encounters of the Third Kind proving especially hilarious. Hardly five minutes goes by without a Star Wars reference, and every second of screen time from Bill Bailey as owner of the comic shop where Tim works is comedic gold. The look of the series is its other outstanding element, with slam-zooms, dizzying montages, and inspired lighting effects (often paying homage to the Evil Dead movies). It's an affectionate fantasy on the life of the twenty-something that's uncomfortably close to the truth.
The second series finds the gang at 23 Meteor Street a little older, but definitely none the wiser. Tim's career is hampered by severe hang-ups over The Phantom Menace. Daisy's career is just plain non-existent. There is still a spark of sexual tension between them, but it's overshadowed by Brian and Twist getting it on. Propelling the seven-episode series arc is the threat of Marsha discovering that none of the relationships are what they seem, Mike's increasing jealousy and a new love interest for Tim. That's the basis for a never-ending stream of in-jokes and references that easily match the quality of the first series. Tim has a Return of the Jedi flashback, then déjà vu in reliving the end of The Empire Strikes Back. There are spoofs of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Robocop, The Sixth Sense and comedy rival The Royle Family. There are guest spots from Bill Bailey, Peter (voice of Darth Maul) Serafinowicz and The League of Gentlemen's Mark Gatiss and Reece Shearsmith. Every episode is packed with highlights, but this series' guaranteed geek pant-wetting moments have to be the mock gun battles, slagging off Babylon 5 and learning that "The second rule of Robot Club is: no smoking." Jessica Stevenson won a British Comedy Award for this year. It deserved a whole lot more. --Paul Tonks
On the DVD: This three-disc collector's edition contains all the extras from the previous DVD releases, plus a host of brand new features including music promos, cast interviews, and an in-depth and specially filmed documentary featuring interviews with cast members including Simon Pegg, Jessica Stevenson, Nick Frost, cameo actors (Bill Bailey, David Walliams, Mark Gatiss, Reece Shearsmith) and journalists. It also includes a tour made by Simon, Jessica and Edgar of different show locations with clips of archive footage from the very first programmes Simon and Jess appeared in together.