Avenue 5 – Episode 1: I Was Flying

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20th January 2020

Who wouldn’t want to see a new space comedy penned by Armando Iannucci (“The Personal History Of David Copperfield”, “The Death Of Stalin”) and starring Hugh Laurie (“The Personal History Of David Copperfield”, “Holmes & Watson”)?

Sounds pretty good so far, right? Then throw in Josh Gad (“Frozen”, “Murder On The Orient Express”), Rebecca Front (“The Thick Of It (TV)”, “The Aeronauts”) and a producing credit for Will Smith and we’re on to a winner? Right?

I’d love to say yes, I really would, I feel we are pining for a new space comedy to pick up as the likes of Red Dwarf have dwindled in quality in recent series.

Avenue 5 has a decent premise, from what we can ascertain from episode one at least: Gad plays Herman Judd, the new billionaire Elon Musk type character who has built this gigantic spaceship that provides people the opportunity for eight weeks in space.

Judd, it appears, is fairly clueless as to what is actually going on aboard his spaceship relying heavily on his assistant Iris, Suzy Nakamura (“Modern Family (TV)”, “Horrible Bosses 2”), whilst Clark (Laurie) has his own secrets.

When a failure of the gravity system occurs, this massive ship is thrown ever so slightly off course, just 0.21 degrees. However, in space, that matters, a lot. This 0.21 degrees turns their eight-week pleasure cruise into a three year ordeal, and the passengers know, before some of the crew.

Things are nicely directed, the sets / effects look impressive, the setup is a bit ‘seen it all before’ but there could be interesting ways that they pan out (the arguing couple now forced to spend three years together).

It doesn’t have the instant hit of some of Iannucci’s other work, be that TV or film, and I’m worried to see that Nakamura, who features so heavily in episode one, is only listed as being in one episode. I’m not quite sure how that will pan out.

Obviously early days for Avenue 5, it has a stellar cast, but so far we’re struggling out of orbit.

Space captain Ryan Clark of the Avenue 5 tries to get along with others in the space tourism industry.

22nd January 2020

Armando Iannucci

Armando Iannucci

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