Garth Marengi’s Darkplace

Filed Under Sitcom

A friend of mine today passed this along in the email today and it’s already become my new favorite obsession. Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace was ostensibly independently created by Stephen King-esque horror author Garth Marenghi (Matthew Holness) and his publisher Dean Learner during the 80s but never saw the light of day until television faced a severe creative drought. This fictional set-up leads to a couple of wonderful conceits about the show :

  • Plotting, direction and tone that matches and mocks the tone of many a disposable 80s adventure show. Anyone who wishes they made more of Ben Stiller’s lost pilot “Heat Vision and Jack” will appreciate this instantly
  • Intentional incompetence littering the entire production including some pitch-perfect good bad acting - particularly on the part of Richard Ayoade as the character Dean Learner who is playing the character of Thornton Reed, the hospital administrator. Not only does he have to keep that house of cards together - he does to make it look like they’ll fall at any moment.

The fake amateurism lingers into the direction as well—in the first episode there’s a shot where the main character walks into a graveyard that takes 20 seconds longer than it should. Those twenty seconds absolutely killed me. I can see why this might not be for everyone, but you owe it to yourself to see if you’re one of those who will dig it. First episode below:

Darkplace did have a US run last year on the Sci Fi channel, but - alas - I never heard of it ‘til now. If nothing else, Darkplace redeems the last name Holness in the eyes of any comedy fan. Holness family - consider the scales balanced for the crimes of Carlos Mencia.

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Posted by Mike on 05/24  at  10:22 AM

Sci-Fi channel probably wasn’t the best forum for it—if it aired on Comedy Central, it may have cultivated a better cult (and consequently profitable) US following. 

Nonetheless, Darkplace is way overlooked.  It’s among the best TV comedies I’ve seen in several years. I purchased a universal region DVD player in large reason so I could watch the DVD’s in-character commentaries and the other special features.  Well worth it, by the way.

Posted by Anthony on 05/26  at  09:37 PM

Holy SHIT!  How have I never seen this show before?  Amazing.  Thanks a lot.

Posted by ryan on 05/29  at  01:25 AM

“Maybe the gates of hell had closed for good, maybe the hadn’t.  It was a double-edged point.”

I have never seen this show and was surprised that I had never heard of it.  This episode was incredible and hilarious.

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