I’ve had Avenue 5 in my downloads list for quite sometime now but somehow managed to put off watching it until now, it seemed my wife and I reached the point where we’d caught up with all the weekly shows as well as the binge-worthy ones. I believe I presented it as – “Well, might as well check this one out, it’s like the Orville, but with a luxury cruise ship instead of an exploratory one…oh, and it has House in it and Josh Gad – Gaston’s right-hand in the live-action Beauty and the Beast.”
That was enough to sell it – so we watched it all in two days.
So some important things to know, season one consists of 9 half-hour episodes, it ends leaving you wanting more and HBO have already renewed it for a second season – this last point is especially important due to how season one ends, so it’s better to know this going in for obvious reasons – especially given the cutthroat nature of prime spots, viewership numbers and all that other shit that goes on in the background that pretty much controls the fate of your favourite shows.
So why write an piece on this show in particular? Well, I enjoyed Avenue 5, it’s light-hearted yet clever at the same time, and the melting pot of characters including Hugh Laurie (obviously) make this the perfect distraction for the COVID-19 induced lock-down most of us seem to find ourselves in. Besides, black-comedy space shows are welcomed amongst the wealth of Star Trek reboots, Star Wars sequels and other endless space-operas trying to make their mark in the sci-fi department. Seth MacFarlane had the right idea with The Orville – a show that’s certainly humourous, but at the same time, oozes charisma, wit and has a penchant for clever story-telling.
So, without giving too much away – Hugh Laurie plays Ryan Clark, captain of the luxury cruise spaceship Avenue 5. Despite having to placate the thousands of spoiled, self-absorbed and often-times just plain shitty passengers (there’s a Karen on board, *eek*), the nightmare is compounded when the ship’s engineer is impaled to death and the ship itself is knocked off course, turning an 8 week journey into a 3 year nightmare.
Thankfully for us, this creates the perfect condition for humour as the funny and quite-frankly ubsurd (at times) interactions of Herman Judd (Josh Gad) – billionaire owner of the Avenue 5 whose name is quite literally plastered all over the ship, Head of Customer Relations, Matt Spencer (Zach Woods, Silicon Valley), no-nonsense Iris Kimura (Suzy Nakamura) and second engineer Billy McEvoy (Lenora Crichlow) all play off of one another beautifully, oh, and not forgetting the absolutely deplorable Karen Kelly (Rebecca Front), who as you can imagine really lives up to being a Karen.
So why haven’t you heard of Avenue 5 you might ask yourself? Fuck all marketing from what I can see and relatively low IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes scores are most likely the cause, but don’t let the idiotic opinions of aggregation sites deter you, Avenue 5 is an enjoyable watch, that opens itself up to a lot of potential for upcoming seasons should this cruise ship manage to navigate itself up and above the ocean of shitty, heavily-marketed mediocrity that seems to so-often plague our screens.