Thursday, September 21, 2006

Garth Marhengi's Darkplace (2004)

"Hallaw, Oi'm Gahth Marhengi, ahnd you ah nawh ihn moy Dahk Playce"

Genre: Horror Comedy Series (UK)

Starring: Matthew Holness, Matt Berry ("The Mighty Boosh")

Directed By: Richard Ayoade

Overview: This show set in a hospital tells tales of the supernatural all while spoofing the worst the 80s had to offer, "Ray Bradbury Theater" and "The Kingdom".

Acting: Terrible. Not only is the overdubbing ridiculously obvious, but there's so much overacting it's clearly the fault of the director at this point. Then there's their boss, this administrator who just plain can't act his way out of a paper bag... you know if this wasn't the entire point of the series, this would have been horrible...

Rating: 8

Cinematography: Take the eighties look, big hair, bangles, lighting gels that are all too much, add cheap effects and props, 'special' or otherwise and you have yourself an embarrassing little secret. Do it two decades later and it's genius. You just have to see it to believe it, and no it's not low-budge, it's actually high-budge to LOOK low-budge. I think that adds up to costing more than normal somehow.
Rating: 9

Script: Constant sexual harassment is one thing. Monotonous delivery and all the characters laughing at a horrible pun is another. Again if this were a show from the eighties, it would have been prominently featured in TV Carnage. This way we can be ashamed while still laughing at ourselves as such shows as Miami Vice and The A-Team. Leaps of logic galore, while still going way overboard on the exposition.
Rating: 8

Plot: There's a neat touch here. Not only is this a spoof of the eighties, but the nineties too, because they do this "interviews with the original cast ten years later" thing, and they add little elements of hilarity by adding this laughable context, like talking about how important the series became, how these people were geniuses and innovators... just constant self-praise and glorification. As for the actual episodes, so out there you have to laugh, but don't worry, you do.
Rating: 8

Mood: How best to explain the perfection that is the captured essence of the era? Admittedly it's a little too farcical to be taken remotely seriously, unlike the perfect "Look Around You", but when you have doctors who run around with shotguns and each episode has them facing a new supernatural evil, that often just seems like people were scrambling to come up with something on short notice. Random slow-motion running, chases with bluescreens, guns going off gratuitously, and each episode ends with this deep introspection on the roof, there's even an episode that has a rock video in it, and Lord it's just too perfect.
Rating: 9

"Yeh, a coarse weah loisinst fizishins"

Overall Rating: 84% (Allow Me To Shed Some Light)

Aftertaste: The Brits have this stupid way of making six episodes and calling it a season. The downside is: that's it. The upside is, people like me who don't know if they want to commit to hours of television can be content in this sort of thing because it's two and a half hours. I'll admit the first time I saw this show I thought it was retarded, but I was convinced to watch a couple more and yeah it grew on me. I think you'd like it too.