Friday, 19 September 2014


Gareth Marenghi's Darkplace is a piss-take sitcom on horror tropes. Although current day (for 2004), it's about reviving an old tv show from the 1980s and screening it now with inserted retrospective talking head moments from the main cast. And as such, it takes on not only horror tropes, but also televisual tropes, with one-take only shots, obvious editing cuts, continuity failures and crappy monsters.

The main premise is that it's set at a hospital with Matthew Holness as Garth Marenghi playing the star Dr Rick Dagless MD. (I do wonder if they knew about the New Zealand connotation of 'dag' when creating this?) With him is his writing partner and co-star Richard Ayoade (from The IT Crowd) playing Dean Learner (Garth's publisher), playing Thornton Reed (Rick's boss). And also Matt Berry and Alice Lowe fill out the hospital roles.

(One side point about this show: it is not great for Alice's character. Fine, women then were treated not incredibly, but even so. She's either dead or randomly missing in the "present day", and her character is forced through a fair bit of misogyny in the hospital bits... but as long as the lads 'ave a laf, eh?)

While I like the first episode, with many great touches... I have to say that that is enough for me. The other episodes just draw the joke out. Yes, there are some better moments in the latter episodes, but it is just moments, and nothing really happens to justify it's continuation. Everything that really needs to be said is done in the first episode.

Yeah, just watch that one:


No comments: