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Monday, March 17, 2008

The sorry affair that is the Spaced remake.

This is unusual. For once, movies don't come into this. It's about cinema's little brother, television. As you may or may not be aware, there is a remake currently in the process of being made in the US. Remakes, for the most part, are bullshit. Occassionally they manage to improve on the original (John Carpenter's remake of The Thing, David Cronenberg's remake of The Fly). But for the most part, remakes are uninspired, tired rehashes of material that doesn't warrant a retelling. History has seen many attempts at remaking British television. And now the much-loved (by those of us in the UK and Ireland and a select audience in the US) Spaced is being treated to the remake treatment.

First of all, why bother? Spaced was so perfectly judged and executed that there is literally no reason to remake it. There's very little in it that US audiences couldn't latch onto. Sure, there are one or two cultural references that they might not get, but there's more than enough for them to 'get.' But aside from the film and television references that are spread throughout the show, Spaced was such a brilliant piece of work because of the spirit of the show. There's a tremendous amount of love that is put into the work and it oozes out of every scene. It's a personal piece of work and is absolutely imbued with the personalities of Simon Pegg, Jessica Hynes and Edgar Wright. It is their child, and they nurtured it into the little genius it is. Will any of this be in the remake? Hell no.

Why? Simple answer really. The powers that be have decided, in their infinite wisdom, to completely ignore Simon, Jessica and Edgar when it comes to the remake. Aside from a shameless piece of name-dropping in the press release, which went so far as to COMPLETELY IGNORE Jessica Hynes' input on the show, none of the creators have been consulted on the show. Legally, Warners aren't obliged to consult Pegg, Hynes and Wright on the show. They unfortunately signed away their rights way back in the day. However, that this has happened shows an enormous amount of disprespect for the creators. And now the show is in the hands of a 'director' known only as three letters. McG. The 'talent' behind such cinematic gold as Charlie's Angels and Charlie's Angels 2, and director of the already controversial (at least in geek-dom) new Terminator trilogy is executive producer on this remake. Were this hack to do the right thing, he'd involve the show's creators in the remake. With or without their concent, the show will go ahead. Hell, there's money to be made here, people! But if they're so insistant on dumping on the show's origins, at least have the decency to chat to the creators about it.

What I'm saying here isn't new. It's been commented on many times already. But as a fan, I just had to voice my thoughts. If what I'm saying here reaches some folks (and it's not like this place has a huge readership!) well then, I'll be chuffed. Some of you who read this may not have heard of Spaced. If you haven't, seek it out. Immediately. You already love movies, or else you wouldn't be here. And anyone who has the remotest bit of love for movies will fall for the charms of Spaced. It's essential watching. The remake is a disaster in the making. The Office worked. But it worked because Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant were involved from the very start. And when the show stopped trying to be the British Office, it became something quite good. The same will not happen with Spaced. And it's a sad state of affairs.

Simon Pegg's thoughts on the situation.

Jessica Hynes' thoughts on the situation.

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