New on DVD
'Spaced: The Complete Series'
British cult favorite finally arrives on American shores
But now that I'm more familiar with the show, I suspect I'll be applying for membership in the cult any day now.
"Spaced," created by and starring Jessica Stevenson and Simon Pegg and directed by Pegg's "Hot Fuzz" collaborator Edgar Wright, is one of the comedic gems of the last decade. Working from a simple premise -- two underemployed twentysomethings share a London apartment -- Stevenson (now Hynes) and Pegg created a pop culture-saturated world filled with film and television references, pairing it with sharp observational writing about being young and rootless and trying to figure out what do with their lives.
It's been on television only sporadically in this country, so to have the full series (only 14 episodes, but still) now on DVD really feels like a gift.
The Good: Rather than just importing the original DVD packaging, Hynes, Pegg and Wright have recorded new commentary tracks for every episode along with a number of famous fans of the show ranging from Quentin Tarantino to Diablo Cody to Patton Oswalt. Oswalt is especially good in his commentaries, alternately drawing out answers from Wright about the development of the show and expressing a geeky crush on Hynes. The original commentaries are there as well, along with the feature-length documentary "Skip to the End" that does a strong job detailing the history of the show, revisiting old sets and offering up an idea of what might have become of Tim (Pegg) and Daisy (Hynes). The non-sequitur outtake "Daisy Does Elvis" from season two is brief but pleasingly silly.
The Bad: Some of the new commentaries dissolve more into mutual back-slapping -- when Kevin Smith is sitting in, there's a five-minute digression about how Pegg attended a "Chasing Amy" screening in London -- than actual commentary. Deleted scenes, per usual, are mostly deleted for a reason (though the accompanying commentary isn't bad), and "raw footage" of others doesn't add a lot either.
The Price: $59.98