It’s been some time since we heard from “Avenue 5” — two and a half years to be precise — can you believe that? But thankfully, the second season that we were promised back in February 2020 has finally made it to air.
The series began as the luxury space cruiser, the Avenue 5, is en route on its eight-week flight around Saturn. Everything is running smoothly for a slingshot maneuver around Titan, but when the onboard gravity malfunctions, the trajectory of the ship is inadvertently altered. It’s up to Captain Ryan Clark (Hugh Laurie) and his crew to calm the upset passengers and find a way to deal with the unfortunate events unfolding on board.
The show’s creator, Armando Iannucci, has managed to successfully combine “The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy”-style humor and arguably even a little Monty Python with the absurdity of cruise ship holidays. The result is a side-splitting, satirical sci-fi comedy, without a doubt the best since “Red Dwarf.” (Let’s face facts, “Space Force” sadly didn’t exactly leave an indelible impression.) You could argue there’s more than a little adult-adjusted “Lord of the Flies” influence in there too.
The show is beautifully cast and full of very entertaining twists and turns. Laurie playing a Brit impersonating an American is just one of them. Joining Laurie is Josh Gad (who has admitted (opens in new tab)his character his based just a little bit on Richard Branson and others), Zach Woods, Nikki Amuka, Rebecca Front, Lenora Crichlow, Suzy Nakamura and Ethan Phillips (from “Star Trek: Voyager”) co-star.
The series is set around 2060 and there are fun remarks added to the general dialogue that help paint a picture of what the world is like, just 40 short years from now. Examples describing the Avenue 5 disaster as “the biggest since Google folded” or “do you remember when the Pacific went toxic? This is bigger than that” or even that for some bizarre reason the Whitehouse has moved to Buffalo, NY and there two Presidents — one human and one AI — have us excited about more chaotic cosmological comedy to come. Not to mention some very funny results from the laws of physics.
Related: Designing ‘Avenue 5’: HBO’s epic space cruise ship comedy’s look explained
However, the show has suffered more than its share of bad luck; first, Variety reported that a major fire (opens in new tab) all but destroyed the studio sets in Watford, England before the last two episodes of the first season were shot. And that’s a real shame, because the vast soundstages were at the former Leavesden Aerodrome and were literally the size of aircraft hangars, which enabled such vast, stunning sets to be built. Plus of course there was the COVID pandemic, which obviously also caused additional delays.
Even worse, Deadline reports (opens in new tab) that the show will more than likely be ending after this second season writing, “Given the time that has passed, the options on the cast, led by Hugh Laurie, came up, and the actors were released … Some of them have moved on, signing as series regulars on new shows.”
You should absolutely, positively treat yourself and rewatch all nine episodes of Season 1 before embracing the second. The complete first season of “Avenue 5” is on HBO and new episodes drop every Sunday.
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