Channel: Channel 4
Recurring Cast: Simon Pegg, Jessica Stevenson, Mark Heap, Nick Frost, Katy Carmichael, Julia Deakin
Spaced’s second season doesn’t really jump forward more in terms of plot. Daisy has been away discovering herself in Asia and when she comes back, she finds that not much has changed. This is a part of the point, especially when Daisy finds herself stuck in a loop. This is good, because there isn’t too much time needed to be spent on exposition, but at the same time, some of the older plot lines (Tim’s ex-girlfriend) have drifted away, so they only become character motivation rather than an ongoing storyline. The change begins to come thick and fast, during the show, especially when Tim and Daisy decide to knuckle down and get a job, but it is handled at a reasonable pace, so we never get lost in the moment.
Sadly, maybe the script does. While Spaced is still the same level of humour, with the pop culture references and clever sarcasm never losing its razor sharp edge, some of the madcap scenarios the team find themselves in aren’t as impressive. This is mainly because there are fewer episodes that don’t have a particular job or story to tell. To explain better, an episode might have the job of showing Daisy attempt her first job, while Tim has to hand his portfolio in. Every character has a specific mini-arc to travel and the episode gets bogged down trying to tell that story. The first season was exciting, because it could end up anywhere, but this season has nothing quite as exciting as the group breaking into a warehouse to steal Daisy’s dog back. It even wastes spare sub-plots on weaker jokes. Daisy takes up jogging for example, but it doesn’t really pan out as well as it could have. It is still endlessly funny and never a waste of time, but compared to Spaced’s last season, you wish that the story gave the jokes a little bit more breathing space to do something interesting.
Of course, there are certain sequences that are perfectly within the standards that we wanted. The first episode is probably the best example of what we expect, taking a zany Matrix parody and adding the mundane characters of Spaced, mixed with Edgar Wright’s surreal comedy. It works and you find yourself unable to quite comprehend what you are watching. Another episode sees a night out in Camden end in a totally unexpected and side-splitting way. Even when the show gets madcap, it still finds time to slip in small pop culture references (look at for Peter Serafinowicz self-parodying his stint as Darth Maul in the Phantom Menace). Yes, there are brief moments when Spaced is beyond good; it is absolutely excellent. Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson seem like they have been playing these character for years now, easily getting across the relevant personality points day in and day out. There are just large gaps in between these terrific moments, while Season One brought them to us with every single episode.
The finale is a little flat as well. It is actually quite funny and pleasing, but at the same time, this is the last episode of Spaced there is. We expected a little more. I am not sure if the show knew it was ending at this point, because the resolutions it gives us are a little weak. It has additional emotional resonance, because it is ending the season, but for the end of a series, it doesn’t quite fit. The last season was also in the same vein, but it got the job done and because it was the end to the season, rather than the show, it worked. Here, we are given a moreish taste of Spaced, rather than the climax to a great show that has come to an end. We want more and the finale isn’t prepared to give it to us. It does seem like it is trying to go big, but isn’t entirely sure how to. The punchline of the episode is side-splittingly hilarious, but it also side-steps the big finale by parodying a big finale. Clever, funny, but it does leave the impression that Spaced never quite peaked. I don’t want to be one of those people that begs producers to make a third season, but… fuck it! I am totally that person. Please, Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, Jessica Stevenson… do a reunion season!
Final Verdict: As funny as ever, but a slight dip in quality coupled with the fact this is the last of the Spaced episodes makes it slightly disappointing. Only slightly.