Garth Marenghi's Darkplace

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Title card of the show within the show.

Garth Marenghi's Darkplace is a horror comedy television show which first aired on 2004-01-29 and lasted only six episodes. It was created by Matthew Holness and Richard Ayoade and based on the play Garth Marenghi's Fright Knight which they also created. The show is meant to lampoon other science fiction horror shows, especially those being presented by egotistical creators. The show is set in 2004, and the actors are giving commentary on a TV series they created back in the 1980s that was never released at the time. In the commentary, they dismiss all the terrible effects, bad acting, and ridiculous plots and gush over how great they think it all was.

Unfortunately, the show itself also had a low production value, enjoyed little advertising, and received a late time slot, so it did poorly in ratings, but it developed enough of a fan base to see reruns across various networks, a DVD release with additional footage, a spinoff called Man to Man With Dean Learner, and the request for a film script, though it was never filmed.

Cast

Actor Character 1980s Character Description
Matthew Holness Garth Marenghi Dr. Rick Dagless M.D. Vainglorious author, actor, director, etc. Thinks of himself as a visionary and writes himself as such in the show.
Richard Ayoade Dean Learner Thornton Reed The producer of the show, and plays the hospital's chief. A huge fan of Garth, but completely incapable of acting.
Matt Berry Todd Rivers Dr. Lucien Sanchez The only professional actor in the bunch, but a total ham.
Alice Lowe Madeleine Wool Dr. Liz Asher A stereotype blonde bimbo, butt of jokes, and occasionally psychic. Not included in the commentary, suspected to be dead.

Status

I don't own this show, but I have seen every episode.

Personal

While waiting for the house to open for a stage performance of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, my friend Wallee and I got a couple drinks at the attached bar. This series was being shown on a projector in the bar, and, although there wasn't any sound, the numerous visual gags, as well as the appearance of two actors from The I.T. Crowd caught my eye and I wanted to know what the show was. A few days later, I searched online and found the show on IMDb. I downloaded it and watched it in March 2020, and was quite amused by it. It's by no means a favorite, but I can see myself watching it again.

Review

Good

  • This series takes the idea of a show about a show even further by making it about a lost series filmed in the 1980s only now being shown for the first time with the actors, now all 20 years older, describing it through commentary. It's a clever framing device.
  • There are wonderful lampoons throughout the series, many of which mock all the ridiculous settings, bad visual effects, fashions, camera angles, campy horror writing, etc. seen though the years in more serious media.
  • The additional interviews on the DVD, with the in-character cast, are hilarious.

Bad

  • The show relies too heavily on parodying low-quality films. This is funny at first, but it begins to drag on, and, by the end of each episode, you're tired of it.
  • The episodes don't have very interesting plots. Even when performing parody, the plot still has to be interesting enough to keep the viewer entertained.

Ugly

  • Nothing.

Media

Official

Fan Art

Links

Link-Wikipedia.png  Link-IMDb.png