Avenue 5 (2020) is a sci-fi comedy from HBO available on Disney+Hotstar in India. It is about a spacecraft that’s travelling around planets in the solar system carrying thousands of holiday-goers on an 8-week cruise. As imaginable, something bad happens and they are stuck in space for the next three to four years before they can return to earth. Adding to the mix, the ship is piloted by an incompetent crew and an eccentric & stupid billionaire.
Watching the first episode, I was expecting science fiction but what I got were some non-sensical science and dark comedy. I thought, just like I was disappointed with the pilot episode of the “First Mars Mission” story The First (2018) and didn’t go to the second episode, I will stop watching Avenue 5. Boy, I was wrong. Luckily, the second episode of Avenue 5 was on the fence, after that the series got its foot firm on the comedy track it started being enjoyable – I binge-watched the rest of the season through 9 in the last two days.
Hugh Laurie, the protagonist of the hit show House is the captain of the ship in Avenue 5 and he has done the nuanced role well. Avenue 5 is created by Armando Iannucci, the director of fine political comedies like The Death of Stalin (2017) and In the Loop (2009), both are must-watch films.
In a small way, Avenue 5 reminded me of another Sci-Fi space travel TV show called Ascension (2014), a murder mystery that’s available on Netflix.