Saturday, March 23, 2013

Garth Marenghi's Darkplace (Ayoade/Holness, 2004)

Fan's of most every genre will likely find a bit of love watching Garth Marenghi's Darkplace. Created by Richard Ayoade (IT Crowd) and Matthew Holness (The Office), it is a show about a show... The fictional, never released Garth Marenghi's Darkplace which Marenghi (Holness) explains was just too much for the networks to handle. Episodes has an "actual episode" of the show interspersed with modern interviews with Marenghi and costar Dean Learner (Ayoade). The show also stars Todd Rivers (Matt Berry, Snuffbox) and Madeleine Wool (Alice Lowe).

In many ways the show is similar to Black Dynamite, in that it is a spoof disguised as lost footage with actors playing actors performing in the show; Matthew Holness is Garth Marenghi as Dr. Rick Dagless, much as Michael Jai White is Ferrante Jones as Black Dynamite... In other ways it is very different. Darkplace takes stabs at many aspects of '80s television, be they soap operas, action shows, horror/supernatural thrillers, medical dramas... but also at movies of the time. Not all are stabs, though. I get a definite Fulci feel from the cinematography, as well as some of the music (I am no expert on Fulci, but I was really feeling City of the Living Dead at times). I think there are definite nods to Italian horror masters throughout the show. Fans of old Doctor Who will likely feel some twinges of recognition.

So far, this is not available on DVD in the US, but is on Youtube. The quality varies per episode, but is overall worth the effort of watching. Below is the first episode, "Once Upon a Beginning" which explains the premise and introduces us to the characters.

I think it is hilarious, and well worth your time.


Video Zeta One said...

I hate watching stuff on YouTube in low quality, and have been dying to get this on DVD. What in the name of all that is holy is keeping this from me? I watched it on Adult Swim a ways back and have been wanting to see it ever since. Dammit!

Darius Whiteplume said...

I have heard Matt Berry complain about how long it takes shows to get here, particularly from the BBC. I ordered the DVD from Amazon yesterday, but it is R2. My DVD player is region free, but also it appears that VLC player does not enforce regions. It was not super cheap, but not outrageous considering the availability.

Ripplin said...

Have you also seen the quasi-follow-up series "Man to Man with Dean Learner"? :)

Darius Whiteplume said...

I have not... I shall have to look for that.

Darius Whiteplume said...

@Ripplin - I finally got around to seeing the first two episodes of MtMwDL. Funny stuff. Ayoade is ridiculously funny. He is always good on The Big Fat Quiz of the ____. The Anniversary one was particularly good, with him paired with David Mitchell in the "Speccy Nerdy Fucknuts" team.

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