‘The Phantom Menace was eighteen months ago, Tim.’
How time flies… Premiering on Channel 4 in 1999, Spaced brought nerdery into the light and sparked its own army of decade-spanning hardcore fans. Amongst them Quentin Tarantino. Ooh. Get them.
Nearly eighteen years since the Spaced title graphic first whooshed onto our screens, here are CultBox’s five favourite episodes…
5. ‘Gatherings’ (Series 1 Episode 2)
An episode that sees Tim and Daisy cementing their dynamic – and also for director Edgar Wright to premiere the tropes (the fast cut, the cutaway gag) that are now Wrightian in cinema.
It’s clear to see in Jessica Hynes’ frenzied typewriter segment with marching pans and spinning ladles in the background – of course, it’s not Daisy’s opus she’s typing, but a cleaning rota utilising an episodic recurrence of Daisy’s procrastination skills – and what better distraction than a rubbish house warming party? And one that quotes Evil Dead, no less.
4. ‘Back’ (Series 2 Episode 1)
The gang reforms after time away (the show itself took an 18-month break between series) and upon revisiting it, we’re still struck by the excellent soundtrack – Mint Royale, Mr Scruff, all tracks that we still listen to, all recommended by a sitcom.
Jessica Hynes excels in pub kung-fu for bringing in ‘sensitive materials’ – “What, a kite?” – and the always strong Nick Frost reprises his war-obsessed yet emotionally intelligent Mike Watt. And bonus shifty John Simm! An episode where nothing really happens, and it’s excellent.
3. ‘Epiphanies’ (Series 1 Episode 6)
The raving episode. Class. And it has an odd quality of simultaneously making you really want to be in a club while also making you never want to step foot in one again.
It widens the gang’s world a little bit, and I like it because everyone has their moment in the club. Though I have a soft spot for Brian’s dance realisation (LET’S WEEEEAVE!), it’s a real team song. The outfits – too ‘90s to function – must be applauded and cannot be done justice with mere words. Havin’ it major.
2. ‘Gone’ (Series 2, Episode 5)
Ah, the episode the launched a thousand finger-gunfights. It’s a lovely re-evaluation of Tim and Daisy’s relationship with a sweet nod to the first series when Tim answers the phone to Daisy’s boyfriend and says “Ah yeah, she’s just getting her clothes on.”
Apart from anything else this episode is a Camden-based caper where our erstwhile heroes meet Duane again (the amazingly deep-voiced Peter Serafinowicz) and a gang of youths. There’s a Blood Bubble track, thrills, spills and Daisy doing spot on Elvis and Naked Chef impressions. Pukka.
1. ‘Leaves’ (Series 2 Episode 7)
Spaced‘s curtain call ventures into comedy drama in places, with the gang in danger of fracturing – even Mike and Tim’s bromance is on the ropes.
Ultimately, though, the most satisfying thing about this episode is the conclusion of Tim and Daisy’s relationship – in and of itself a strong friendship that is not marred by romantic love. That said, there’s always room for a rom-com trope in Tim choosing Daisy over Sophie, rushing to the train station, providing a typically understated moment with a long pause and then:
Beautiful. So let’s all have a bit of a cry and remember Spaced by listening to Lemon Jelly’s ‘The Staunton Lick’…
What’s your favourite Spaced episode? Let us know below…