tek's rating: ¼

Garth Marenghi's Darkplace, Channel 4 (British)
Channel 4; IMDb; official website; TV.com; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

Okay. Well, I had never heard of this, nor of Garth Marenghi, himself. But apparently the show first aired in Britain in 2004. (I originally watched it a few years later, on Sci-Fi Channel, though since then it aired on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block, which it should be noted doesn't just show animated stuff.) The conceit is that it was originally made in the 1980s, and suppressed by the Powers That Be, until now. But actually, I'm pretty sure it was made around the time it first aired. It's hard to say, though, as most sites seem to like to play along with the myth the show has established about itself. One thing I can tell you is that Garth Marenghi is a fictional character, supposedly a great horror novelist, who wrote and starred in Darkplace, but... like I said, he doesn't really exist. Marenghi is played by a British comedian named Matthew Holness. But whatever, Marenghi and his publisher, Dean Learner (who also doesn't exist; he's played by comedian Richard Ayoade) made this show, Darkplace.

It's set in a hospital called Darkplace. The main character is Dr. Rick Dagless, M.D. (played by Marenghi). His boss is Thornton Reed (played by Learner). Dagless's best buddy is Dr. Lucien Sanchez. There's also a psychic doctor named Liz Asher who just starts at the hospital in the first episode. Anyway, I guess Dagless used to be into the occult, with an old friend who exploded in the first episode. And I think Sanchez is into it too. Dagless, I think, would rather have nothing more to do with such things, but unfortunately, the gates of Hell seem to have opened beneath Darkplace. Or something. So he realizes he has no choice but to deal with all the strange things that will be happening in Darkplace.

The show is framed by Marenghi talking about the show, and interviews with people who were involved in making it. Of course it's all just as fictitious as the actual show. You know, it's a comedy, a spoof of 70s/80s horror shows (Marenghi himself is a spoof of horror novelists). The writing and acting are spectacularly bad. The special effects are bad. It's terribly sexist. Everything about it is just... so... bad. And that's what makes it so hilarious. Hell, even the British accents seem pretty bad to me, despite the fact that everyone involved actually is British. And some of the slang they use, hell, I don't know what they're saying some of the time, I think they just made alot of it up. And Marenghi is so pretentious, yet earnest. He actually seems to believe it's a great show, has no idea how bad everything is, nor that it's sexist, or anything. Dunno what else to say, it's just all so ludicrously ridiculous and cheesy, but it's great. Although I am rather glad there are only six episodes. (When I first did this review, I gave it 2 and a half smileys, but later I dropped it down to one and a half. Maybe it should be two, I dunno. It definitely was fun in its limited quantity, but looking back, I don't know how much interest I'd have in watching it again.)


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