When you clicked on this article about Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, it was no accident. Somewhere, deep in the crevice of your little soul, you knew that you needed to learn (or be reminded of) a show that is – dare I say it? So many people have said it. I guess I’ll say it: fantastic and criminally underrated. My boyfriend showed me Garth Meringhi’s Darkplace a year before we started dating and I loved everything about it, it is one of my favorite things I’ve watched. (Does this mean the show laid the grounds for the foundation of our romantic relationship? Probably not, but possibly yes.)
Let me welcome you to Darkplace.
Who is Garth Marenghi and what is Darkplace?
Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace was a 2004 British horror comedy series that aired on Channel 4 for six 30-minute episodes. It was a show-within-a-show, in which the characters Garth Marenghi (Matthew Holness) and Dean Learner (Richard Ayoade) filmed commentary tracks on their show Darkplace. The show features Marenghi, a self-proclaimed “author, dream weaver, visionary, plus actor,” and his publisher, Learner. Starring alongside the two men are Todd Rivers (Matt Berry) and Madeleine Wool (Alice Lowe). It is a show of soap opera styled filming, 80’s horror themes, and narcissistic artists.
Darkplace tells the story of four doctors working in Darkplace Hospital, a building located directly above hell. Strange things happen here; men give birth to giant eyeballs, humans turn into vegetables, a doctor can see into the future, the portal to hell is opened more than once.
Each episode begins with Marenghi reading a paragraph from one of his books, followed by a self-praising, bombastic monologue. The title sequence begins, first with a parody of The Twilight Zone and then jovial, sitcom-styled opening credits.
“Garth Marenghi? Doesn’t he write that horror crap?”
Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace is a parody in every sense of the word. The show is filled with plot holes and unresolved conflicts that are never brought up again. One example is with the commentary tracks, in which everyone but Wool provides interviews. The show suggests that she is possibly dead and one of the men are responsible for her disappearance, but we never find out the full truth.
The sound design is also wonky as hell, particularly with Rivers’ consistent off-synch dialogue. The set is shoddy and falls apart on camera, the editing is all over the place with various props popping up without explanation, and the characters are less than qualified actors. The show is masterfully chaotic, and you can get a little taste of the chaos with this original TV trailer below:
Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace is one of the funnest television series I’ve seen. The actors (the real actors, not the fictional ones) excel at playing multiple versions of these characters. Their jokes are unpredictable, their deliveries are pristine. It is something I recommend anyone, horror fan or not, to give a chance. It is a shame the series ended so early, but you can watch all six episodes for free on YouTube or Amazon Prime.(5 / 5)
Are you tired of working all the time? Why don’t you check out some more TV shows to watch at work and get paid to have some fun? Screw those spreadsheets, it’s time to party. If you absolutely cannot do that, you should still check out what we’re watching here at Haunted MTL and add some of these horror goodies to your watchlist.