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Warning: Some adult language in the trailer above.
Satirical sci-fi is not exactly a sub-genre that’s bursting with great examples, but it is undoubtedly proving to be increasing in popularity. Not only do we now have “The Orville” of course, but “Star Trek” recently experimented in this arena with the epic “Short Trek” episode “The Trouble With Edward.”
However the best and most successful space-based side-splitter so far is “Red Dwarf” and while “Avenue 5” — HBO’s first foray into cosmological comedy — still has a long way to go to even be considered alongside the current champion, it’s on the right course.
Thankfully, HBO also has faith in this new show and has seen it worthy of a second season, according to Deadline.
Currently airing on Sunday nights on HBO at 10 p.m. EST (0200 GMT), the series begins as the luxury space cruiser the Avenue 5 is en route on its eight-week flight around Saturn. Everything looks “OK-to-go,” but when the ship unexpectedly develops technical difficulties, it’s up to Capt. 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.
Related: In photos: The first space tourists
The nightmare of the cruise experience is portrayed with poetic powers of perception in “Avenue 5.” (Image credit: HBO)
The show is well cast and full of very entertaining twists and turns, Laurie playing a Brit impersonating an American is just one of them. In fact, it could be argued that the humor has more than a sprinkling of uniquely British, Python-esque absurdity about it.
This marks not only the latest venture from Armando Iannucci, the man who conceived the Emmy award-winning political satire, “Veep,” but it also reunites Iannucci with Laurie, who starred in several very successful British comedies before turning his hand to drama like “House” and satire like “Veep.”
Joining Laurie is Josh Gad (who has admitted his character his based just a little on Richard Branson) Zach Woods, Nikki Amuka, Rebecca Front, Lenora Crichlow, Suzy Nakamura and Ethan Phillips (from “Star Trek: Voyager”) co-star.
Epic, understated dialogue like a conversation about the NASA budget of a potential rescue mission, “Is that the figure … or the phone number we have to call to get the figure?” or describing the disaster as “the biggest since Google folded … do you remember when the Pacific went toxic? This is bigger than that” have us excited about more chaotic cosmological comedy to come.
Not to mention some very funny results from the laws of physics.
Season 2 of “Avenue 5” doesn’t have a release date yet, but a January date in 2021 seems probable.