The US version of 'Spaced': Why watching footage from the never-broadcast pilot may seriously damage your eyesight

A couple of years back, Charlie’s Angels director McG announced that he was overseeing a US version of Spaced, the utterly fantastic, pop culture reference-drenched, British sitcom which starred Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes. At the time, all of the creators of the original show expressed alarm at this turn of events. Director Edgar Wright blogged that he was having “a terrible recurring dream of being burgled in broad daylight (no joke, and no dream analyst required),” while Hynes jokingly declared her intention to oversee a British version of Charlie’s Angels about three women “who love to make biscuits, and wear button up cardigans.”

The US Spaced—which fans of the Brit comedy swiftly dubbed McSpaced—was subsequently abandoned, but not before a pilot was filmed. Now an enterprising blogger has tracked down footage from said show, which you can see below. I could say there isn’t enough material to judge whether it would have been good or not. But, to hell with that. Being British myself, I am instead going to side with director Wright, who has twittered his concern over “the large amount of you who stabbed out their eyes or washed them with bleach,” after watching it.

Does anyone out there think “McSpaced” could have worked? Or, for that matter, would like to see a cleavage-free, baked goods-oriented, Charlie’s Angels? Let us know! Incidentally, the original Spaced is very much available for purchase on DVD complete with commentaries from Kevin Smith and Quentin Tarantino, among others.

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  • Josie

    I love spaced. I think I’m going to have to wait until I’ve psyched myself up to watch this. I may have spent the last 11 years of my life in the States, but I spent the first in the UK. I always prefer the British [insert noun here]

    • adrian

      dentist

      • adrian

        cuisine

      • adrian

        weather

    • bunker

      pen is

  • Bill

    Awful. Just plain awful. It’s like a parody.

    • adrian

      I actually thought the girl was good. Everything else was terrible and a not a patch on the classic original.

      • bunker

        The girl (I forget her name) can be really funny. It’s weird seeing her in this.

      • SM

        Sarah Rue. She’s always good. I kinda liked the different take on the Brian character. But Brian is Brian and will never be replaced.

      • Jeremy W.

        I agree! Sara Rue is awesome! I just don’t think that Will Forte in the Nick Frost role worked at all.

      • Jeremy W.

        Oops. Will Sasso, not Will Forte.

  • Salome Arsinoe

    This doesn’t look too bad. I bet it would’ve been better than most sitcoms currently on the networks.

    • meetsinglefiremen

      such a funny show meetsinglefiremen

  • killervirgo

    glad this didn’t make it to series. what made Spaced great was the great writing/acting by Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson (aka Hynes); and directing by Edgar Wright.

    • Valley Girl

      Completely agree with you! Also, I am already dreading the US version of “Being Human” – alas!

      • tvgirl48

        Won’t work without any of those guys. You can maybe replace the girl, but no one can be Mitchell or George like those two actors can.

    • SM

      It won’t work without Russel Tovey. Just won’t work.

  • Stefanie

    I am American and I loved the original. But after watching 15 seconds of that, my eyes started to hurt.

  • Astro Boy

    The brit version is perfect as is. Why would it have to be re-made?!

  • Taylor Betz

    Woah. That was bad, like really really bad. Further proof that anything McG touches goes to down the shitter, I think I lost a brain cell or two. Edgar Wright is a brilliant director and his spot-on homages to the styling of Raimi and the Coens, along with that stunning camera work made Spaced easily the best looking sitcom ever produced on either side of the world. It’s a mad piece of work, untouchable in how perfect it is and how well it speaks to geeks and the pop-culture obessesed (very much the anti-Friends kind of show). Since McSpaced was destoryed entirely, there may be a god after all.

  • bunker

    I’ve never seen the original, but unsold pilots always fascinate me with their consistent awfulness.

    • moviemenace

      You ever see the “Manchild” pilot, starring John Colbert and Kevin Smith? It was another British remake and I thought it was pretty funny.

  • Cate

    The tone seems true to the original…but it just wasn’t funny. Something was off about it. Glad this never got picked up.

  • Deb

    Love to know why US TV networks feel the need to remake perfectly good British programs. It doesn’t usually work out well (Coupling, Life on Mars etc).

    • tvgirl48

      Well I agree with others who have said that ppl should remake BAD series that need remaking. Life on Mars, Spaced, Being Human, the original versions were already amazingly written and acted. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it!

  • Jeremy W.

    A couple of points: 1) It seems a little unfair to judge on this because this seems like several different clips just jammed together when they weren’t supposed to be shown in that order. 2) The first part of the clip is almost identical to the same section in the original Spaced and I thought they did pretty well. It’s just when Will Sasso is on screen, the whole thing becomes extremely unfunny.

  • Mitch Logan

    Watching this made me feel exactly like when I tried watching the British version.

  • Miss M.

    What on Earth did I just watch and am I going to die in seven days after watching it?

    • Liz

      Thank you for posting this. I am now traumatized for life.

    • Liz

      That wasn’t meant for you in particular. Sorry! *sucks at posting*

  • theladyjournal

    Oh-my goodness.

  • Darrell

    I love Spaced…and I cringed when I heard there was going to be an American version…the only thing Hollywood can do good w/other countries original shows is destroy them…British version of The office= GREAT…American version of The Office= HORRIBLE…

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