I'm sitting here at round table, tucked in a corner of the San Diego Convention center, talking with the creators of SPACED, the British television show that garnered a huge geek following across the pond and is building buzz now with the American DVD release.
It also paved the way for the two films Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, for those of you who thought you didn't care.
In addition to being school-girl giggly at the sound of their voices at the other table (this is TIM, this is DAISY, this is SHAUN and NICK ANGEL and that guy with the long hair from all the special feature DVD documentaries!), I'm shocked at the vide from the other reporters. So "professionals" so aloof so ... not fans.
Simon and gang sit down, seeming quiet and reserved; I guess it makes sense with all the strangers they have to meet, all the folks that will grill them through their short American tour. But NO ONE at our table says a word. Folks from BBC and all sorts of well known affiliates are there with limited time, and suddenly everyone is tongue tied. So it's up to me, the unprepared fanboy to ask the first question.
"It's been seven years since you made SPACED, and now it's becoming popular in the States. What's it like to have it come back into your life, or has it always been there?"
Simon was particularly candid about the experience. He and Jessica Hynes wrote the first scripts in each other's living rooms, running out for food, lounging on the sofa, never really dreaming the impact of their little "brit-com" would hook fans around the world and build creative relationships that would produce two hit movies.
And that creative momentum continues. Simon Pegg and fellow Spaced alum Nick Frost have written a film called Paul which will shoot in the States next year, and Simon, Egdgar, and nick will be back together for The World's End, the last of their "Blood and Ice Cream" Trilogy.
Of the original gang, Simon has achieved the most visible fame, having supporting roles in Mission Impossible: III and now staring as Scotty in the Star Trek reboot. Rumors abound as to what iconic role Pegg will step into next, ranging from the net round of BBC's Dr. Who and buddy Edgar Wright's Ant Man, to which, when asked, he quipped, "I'm too OLD ... and I'd screw it up (in regards to Who).
Despite their success, the gang is still dewey-eyed about the days when all they had to worry about was getting their low-budget TV show made. The price for success is larger budgets, and the curse of larger budgets is more studio control.
Jessica reminisced about the freedom they had on Spaced, and how one producer argued with her about the choice to don her character with lenseless eyeglasses, but never even blinked at the episode where all the characters were high on ecstasy.
This type of subject matter was important to them as they wrote the series ... not to condone or condemn, but to simply show the aspects of twenty-something life that are often ignored. Show that sometimes people takes drugs and don't die on the way home, that sometimes irreverent makes sense, that young folks aren't always idealistic, and sometimes, but not often enough, a little show with great talent can also be a hit.