Avenue 5

Last updated
Avenue 5
Avenue 5.svg
Genre
Created by Armando Iannucci
Starring
Music by Adem Ilhan
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes9 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
ProducerSteve Clark-Hall
CinematographyEben Bolter
EditorGary Dollner
Running time28–29 minutes
Production companyDundee Productions
Release
Original network
Original releaseJanuary 19, 2020 (2020-01-19) 
present (present)
External links
Website

Avenue 5 is a science fiction comedy television series created by Armando Iannucci that premiered on HBO in the United States on January 19, 2020. It stars Hugh Laurie and Josh Gad in lead roles as captain and owner of a fictional interplanetary cruise ship Avenue 5.

Contents

The series was produced by HBO in the United States and Sky UK in the United Kingdom. In February 2020, the series was renewed for a second season. [1]

Premise

Avenue 5 has been described as "set in the future, mostly in space." [2] On board the interplanetary cruise ship, the Avenue 5, a momentary loss of artificial gravity and accidental death of its chief engineer sends the titular vessel a few degrees off course. [3] It's estimated it will take the ship three years to return to Earth, and with only enough supplies to sustain her many passengers for the intended eight-week long cruise, the crew of the Avenue 5 must struggle to maintain order and return the craft safely. [3]

Cast and characters

Main cast

Recurring cast

Episodes

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date [6] U.S viewers
(millions)
1"I Was Flying" Armando Iannucci Teleplay by: Armando Iannucci, Simon Blackwell, and Tony Roche
Story by: Armando Iannucci
January 19, 2020 (2020-01-19)0.571 [7]
Avenue 5 is the luxurious passenger ship owned by eccentric billionaire Herman Judd, which is heading back to Earth. A malfunction on the ship causes it to go off course, and it will now take three years to get home. After the main engineer is killed, captain Ryan Clark is called on to fix the situation, but he was originally hired only to reassure passengers and not to actually captain the automated ship, a fact he initially hides. Meanwhile, passenger service employee Matt Spencer attempts to calm the passengers who have discovered that they will not get home for three years.
2"And Then He's Gonna Shoot Off..." Natalie Bailey Teleplay by: Georgia Pritchett and Will Smith
Story by: Armando Iannucci, Georgia Pritchett, and Will Smith
January 26, 2020 (2020-01-26)0.500 [8]
Cyrus runs some numbers and may be able to cut the trip down to six months. On Earth, Judd meets with NASA. Joe's coffin goes into orbit. Another gravity mishap interrupts a funeral for three passengers who died when the gravity was altered temporarily. The four coffins begin to orbit the ship.
3"I'm a Hand Model"Natalie BaileyTeleplay by: Peter Fellows and Ian Martin
Story by: Armando Iannucci, Peter Fellows, and Ian Martin
February 2, 2020 (2020-02-02) [lower-alpha 1] 0.297 [10]
The crew struggles to adjust to their new reality and a new arrival time of 3.5 years. Meanwhile, Clark discovers that the crew and the bridge, much like his position as Captain, are not real; the crew are just actors and models, and the bridge is no more than a stage. Billie reveals to him the existence of two crews, one for the passengers and one to actually pilot the ship 'backstage', created due to Judd's unrealistic ambitions for his ship to be crewed by the brightest and most attractive.
4"Wait a Minute, Then Who Was That on the Ladder?"Natalie BaileyTeleplay by: Peter Fellows and Ian Martin
Story by: Armando Iannucci, Peter Fellows, and Ian Martin
February 9, 2020 (2020-02-09)0.275 [11]
Realizing that he might have to keep up the charade of being a captain for longer than he thought, Clark begins to contemplate studying up on the spacecraft and interacting with the real engineers. He has Billie make introductions and while the bonding session with the crew seemingly goes well it distracts them from their real duties with disastrous consequences.
5"He's Only There to Stop His Skeleton from Falling Over" Annie Griffin Teleplay by: Peter Baynham
Story by: Armando Iannucci and Peter Baynham
February 16, 2020 (2020-02-16)0.386 [12]
Thanks to Billie's efforts the ship is saved but Clark is declared the hero much to Billie's annoyance, although Clark's perceived recklessness results in the breakdown of his trilateral marriage. Blame for the initial accident is placed on Frank who is distracted from the increasing anger towards him by his fellow passengers by suspicions that the captain is trying to seduce his wife. Meanwhile, the rest of the passengers and crew gather to celebrate what should have been the voyage's half-way point.
6"Was It Your Ears?"Peter FellowsTeleplay by: Jon Brown
Story by: Armando Iannucci and Jon Brown
February 23, 2020 (2020-02-23)0.371 [13]
A woman goes into labour on board the ship and her baby causes Judd to have an identity crisis. Meanwhile, Billie and Clark try to track down the source of a mysterious beeping which they come to realize might be a sign that the ship is leaking oxygen. On Earth, Rav tries to use the goodwill incurred by Clark's daring heroics in order to secure government funds for a rescue mission.
7"Are You a Spider, Matt?" Becky Martin Teleplay by: Charlie Cooper and Daisy Cooper
Story by: Armando Iannucci, Charlie Cooper and Daisy Cooper
March 1, 2020 (2020-03-01)0.400 [14]

Frank thinks he sees an image of Pope John Paul II in the debris orbiting the ship. Harrison, a trillionaire on board the ship, threatens to sue Judd into oblivion, compromising a potential rescue.

Back on Earth, the public becomes aware that Rav's negotiation for government rescue funds has potentially put lives on the line.
8"This is Physically Hurting Me" David Schneider Teleplay by: Georgia Pritchett and Will Smith
Story by: Armando Iannucci, Georgia Pritchett and Will Smith
March 8, 2020 (2020-03-08)0.384 [15]
An argument between Judd and Ryan leads to Ryan being de-captained. After Ryan accidentally reveals to the passengers that he isn't American and is wearing a toupee they begin questioning whether their situation is real or whether they are part of a prank reality show. Seven people, including Sarah (bridge crew) and Harrison, shoot themselves out of the airlock, falsely believing that if they leave the ship through there they will end up back on Earth. Meanwhile, Rav realizes that her rash decision to board a vessel bound for Avenue 5 is likely to have unhappy consequences: she must either leave Judd abroad Avenue 5 or take his place for the duration.
9"Eight Arms But No Hands"William Stefan SmithTeleplay by: Ian Martin, Peter Fellows, and Sean Gray
Story by: Armando Iannucci, Sean Gray, Ian Martin, and Peter Fellow
March 15, 2020 (2020-03-15)0.415 [16]
Guilt-ridden due to his role in the deaths of the seven people who ejected themselves out of the airlock, Matt decides to go into hiding for the next three-and-a-half years, and changes the codes to access the airlocks. The crew go looking for him in order to enact a plan to shorten the journey time to six months by jettisoning unnecessary objects totalling the equivalent weight of 500 non-essential personnel. After being found at the vending machines, Matt reveals to the crew that the code is 0005, believing that it would have been apparent to anyone thinking clearly but impossible for anyone panicking. However, due to a misunderstanding on Karen's part, the excess weight is jettisoned out of the portside airlocks rather than those at the rear as intended, resulting in Avenue 5's journey time being extended from three-and-a-half years to eight. And, after squabbling over the supply shuttle's only other seat, Iris is accidentally sent back to Earth early, leaving Rav aboard.

Production

Development

On September 25, 2017, it was announced that HBO had given a pilot order to a new comedy series created by Armando Iannucci, who was also set to serve as writer and executive producer. In addition to the pilot order, the network also reportedly ordered backup scripts. [2] In April 2019, a series pickup was commissioned by HBO for nine episodes. [17] On February 13, 2020, the series was renewed for a second season, [1] which will also consist of nine episodes. [18]

Casting

In August 2018, it was announced that Hugh Laurie and Suzy Nakamura had been cast in the pilot's lead roles as Captain Ryan Clark and Iris Kimura. [4] [5] On November 7, 2018, it was reported that Rebecca Front had joined the pilot's cast in another leading role as Karen Kelly. [19] In February 2019, Zach Woods, Josh Gad, Nikki Amuka-Bird and Lenora Crichlow were cast as series regulars Matt Spencer, Herman Judd, Rav Mulclair, and Billie McEvoy. [20] [21] [22] [23] Himesh Patel was added in June as comedian on the ship Jordan Hatwal. [24] The main cast members were returned for the second season by the time of its announcement. [18]

Writing

By July 2021, the first six episodes of the second season were plotted out, leaving only the final three to be outlined "next month". [25] Iannucci added, "It's basically about people in isolation. So, we're just waiting to see what the mood might be as to how we pitch. Is it going to be bleak despair, or is it going to be very, very silly? Or maybe silly despair? I don't know. We tried to make season one as silly as possible, but it seems to have strangely become a kind of documentary about present-day conditions." [18] [25]

Filming

Principal photography for the pilot took place in 2018 in London, England. [2] While filming was taking place at Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden in July 2019, a fire damaged one of the show's sets. [26] Production for the second season was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Release

The series premiered on January 19, 2020. [27] In New Zealand, the series is distributed by Sky satellite television provider's SOHO2 channel and Neon streaming service. [28] The second season has been rumored to premiere sometime in 2021, though this has not been confirmed. [18]

Reception

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the first season has an approval rating of 67% based on 51 reviews, with an average rating of 6.34/10. The website's critical consensus states, "If Avenue 5's maiden voyage isn't as smooth as its creative clout implies, it's still a hilarious step in a completely new—while still enjoyably caustic—direction for creator Armando Iannucci." [29] On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 64 out of 100, based on 27 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". [30]

Ratings

Viewership and ratings per episode of Avenue 5
No.TitleAir date Rating
(18–49)
Viewers
(millions)
DVR
(18–49)
DVR viewers
(millions)
Total
(18–49)
Total viewers
(millions)
1"I Was Flying"January 19, 20200.20.571 [7] N/A0.296N/A0.867 [31]
2"And Then He's Gonna Shoot Off..."January 26, 20200.10.500 [8] 0.10.3850.20.885 [32]
3"I'm a Hand Model"February 2, 20200.10.297 [10] 0.10.3580.20.655 [33]
4"Wait a Minute, Then Who Was That on the Ladder?"February 9, 20200.10.275 [11] 0.10.3470.20.622 [34]
5"He's Only There to Stop His Skeleton from Falling Over"February 16, 20200.10.386 [12] 0.10.2920.20.678 [35]
6"Was It Your Ears?"February 23, 20200.10.371 [13] 0.10.3020.20.673 [36]
7"Are You a Spider, Matt?"March 1, 20200.10.400 [14] 0.10.3360.20.736 [37]
8"This is Physically Hurting Me"March 8, 20200.10.384 [15] N/AN/AN/AN/A
9"Eight Arms But No Hands"March 15, 20200.10.415 [16] 0.10.2360.20.651 [38]

Notes

  1. The episode was first made available on January 31, 2020, through HBO's digital platform. [9]

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