Tuesday, 16 February 2010

37 - Once upon a beginning

Six years ago I watched an episode of Father Ted. I was too lazy to roll over and turn off the TV so watched what came next; the first episode of Garth Marenghi's Darkplace, and so the love affair began.

Due to low ratings a second series was never commissioned. In some ways I don't mind because what we do have are six episodes of some of the smartest and finest comedy in TV history.

For those who don't know, the show concerns Garth Marenghi, a pulp horror writer who created a TV show in the 1980s entitled Garth Marenghi's Darkplace. Apparently considered ahead of its time Darkplace was never shown, until now. In the present day Garth has knocked together interviews with some of the actors and spliced these into the episodes as we watch.

What we get is brilliant comedy from watching this abysmal TV show. Poor acting, out of sync dubbing, poor scripting, poor editing, poor SFX, poor sets, dreadful continuity, errors, sexism and ill-judged musical numbers.

But look past the fantastically observed comedy and the frequent silliness, and beneath there's a dark believable world. We have a pathetically vain and deluded man who, spurred on by a hero-worshiping publisher, created a badly-made and badly-written horror that was deservedly lost for decades.

There's so much to get from the scripts, from the sets, from the actors. I don't exaggerate by saying I'll find something new to laugh at and gawp over every time I rewatch it, which is every few months. The attention to detail is beautiful. I go on about rich worlds in novels, films and games but here's a comedy so rich you can practically taste it. Simply beautiful.

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