Passengers and crew aboard a luxury spaceship find themselves in grave danger in Avenue 5, the new “space tourism” comedy series from HBO. Judging by the first teaser, the show looks like it could be a sharp, witty addition to the cable giant’s slate of programming.
Clearly there’s an appetite for space-based comedy in Hollywood these days, as Netflix teased its own comedy series, Space Force, earlier this year, with three major vets of TV’s The Office on board, including Steve Carell as both a co-creator and a star. Netflix has yet to release many details about the series. All we know is that “The goal of the new branch is ‘to defend satellites from attack’ and ‘perform other space-related tasks’… or something,” per the Space Force teaser text. “This is the story of the men and women who have to figure it out.”
We don’t know much more about Avenue 5, but it also boasts some serious comedic chops. The series is the brainchild of Armando Iannucci, best for creating the stellar HBO comedy series, Veep, which won multiple Emmy awards over its seven-season run. And before he was Dr. Gregory House in the US, Laurie was best known across the pond for yukking it up as one-half of the comedy duo in A Bit of Fry and Laurie (with Stephen Fry), as well as his hilarious turns in Jeeves and Wooster and the various Blackadder series.
Avenue 5 is set roughly 40 years in the future, when private spaceflight, aka space tourism, is totally a thing. The titular space cruise chip is modeled after today’s luxury ocean liners, complete with fine dining and regular exercise classes. But then the ship experiences major technical difficulties, putting everyone aboard at risk, while the crew scrambles to solve the problem while keeping the passengers from panicking.
In addition to Laurie, the cast includes Silicon Valley‘s Zach Woods as Matt Spencer, head of customer relations—who does a very bad job reassuring passengers when the trouble starts. “This is a safe space,” he says. “Emotionally. Physically we’re obviously in terrible danger.” Josh Gad (Frozen 2) plays smarmy billionaire Herman Judd, who owns the Avenue 5 and pretends to be a man of the people, when he’s frankly quite the snob.
Making Captain Ryan’s job even more difficult is Karen Kelly (Rebecca Front), a bossy passenger who apparently is on board under false pretenses, having used her sister’s (nontransferable) ticket. Rounding out the cast are Suzy Nakamura as Iris Kimura, an associate owner of the ship; Lenora Crichlow as second engineer Billie McEvoy; Himesh Patel (Yesterday) as stand-up comedian Jordan Hatwal, performing on the Avenue 5; and Ethan Phillips as former astronaut Spike Williams, whose boozy womanizing ways are bound to cause tensions.
Avenue 5 is coming to HBO in January 2020.
Listing image by YouTube/HBO