07 June 2009


I was just commenting to someone the other day about my love for “lost” cult TV series from the hazy memory of my youth: Tales of the Gold Monkey, Frank's Place, Darkroom, Open All Night, Brisco County, Jr., Nightmare Café. (Updated: I can't believe I forgot Tales from the Darkside! “Man lives in the sunlit world of what he believes to be reality. But there is, unseen by most, an underworld, a place that is just as real, but not as brightly lit. A dark side.”)

Perhaps I'm not alone, because the folks at BBC4 have been good enough to re-release Garth Marenghi's Darkplace, which I stumbled across on YouTube. This ground-breaking '80s TV series combined elements of medical drama, horror, and science fiction.

Or, I should say, this parody combines those things. Mr Marengi, who hosts the re-release, is sort of a combination of Chris Carter, Stephen King, and Harlan Ellison ... only with a bigger ego. (He of course has an excellent website.) And if a good pastiche contains elements that you recognize, but cannot quite say where from, then Darkplace is great pastiche.

I've spent only ten minutes watching it on YouTube, but I'm already hooked. The show is so crafty that just as I was admiring the clever imititation of the voice of Mark Snow's scores for The X-Files, there was a joke about the legend about the origin of the The Prisoner theme song for goodness' sake!

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