Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace (All 4)
One of the weirdest and funniest programmes I have ever seen, this show-within-a-show deserves to be a recognised comedy classic, rather than the lesser-known cousin of The Mighty Boosh. This spoof depicts characters who’ve created a disorienting and wonderfully-bad TV show called ‘Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace’, which they feel didn’t receive the recognition it deserved. Each episode opens with a short monologue from Garth Marenghi himself (played by Matthew Holness), the self-proclaimed ‘author, dreamweaver, visionary, plus actor’ who is seen throughout talking about his show alongside its director Dean Learner (played by Richard Ayoade). Their commentary includes discussions about why their show wasn’t well-received, such as it being too ambitious and ahead of its time. Their show takes place in Darkplace hospital in Romford, where Garth plays Dr Rick Dagless, who on a daily basis battles evil forces while also dealing with the pressures of ‘day-to-day admin’. The editing jumps all over the place and the dialogue is poorly dubbed which becomes even funnier when partnered with Garth’s serious commentary and praise of the show. It’s crazy, and brilliantly self-aware, and perfect for anyone with a weird sense of humour.
Devs (Sky, Hulu, BBC iPlayer)
This intriguing and innovative series is the first TV venture from Alex Garland, writer and director of sci-fi thrillers Ex Machina and Annihilation, and was released just a few months ago – but it didn’t get as much buzz as his movies. It’s a heavy show, and its themes won’t be for everyone, exploring determinism, free will, science, and religion, topics that maybe aren’t suited to the current climate. However, its genius is not to be missed, as each episode gets more and more interesting, pulling you into a world where you will start to question the nature of your own existence. The show follows Lily (Sonoya Mizuno from Ex Machina), who works for a Silicon Valley-like corporation called Amaya, who run a top-secret facility called ‘Devs’ where no-one, except a select few, knows what really happens there. When Lily’s boyfriend is selected to work at Devs, but disappears on his first day, she becomes entangled in a dangerous world that changes her perception of the nature of our universe. The series is intelligent and mind-blowing with many twists and Black Mirror-like revelations. It is also beautiful to watch and has one of the best soundtracks I have ever heard in a TV series.