HBO’s Avenue 5 is an underrated madcap comedy (from Armando Iannuci, the creator of Veep!) that is kept afloat by a brilliantly unhinged performance from Hugh Laurie… while also being simultaneously dragged down by a pretty unhelpful title. The series is about the crew and passengers of a space cruise ship who, after a series of mishaps, have to extend their trip by several years. This leads to the rapid decline of any kind of society onboard the ship, with Laurie’s captain—a deeply depressed British man posing as a very cool and confident American man—trying to keep everything together. Avenue 5 is the name of the ship, and no, it doesn’t really make any more sense in context than it does here.
But the show is a blast, and it managed to secure a second season just before the pandemic destroyed the entertainment industry, and now HBO has finally released a trailer for that second season. That’s good news for us, even if it’s bad news for the people onboard Avenue 5, because everybody seems as miserable and as close to destruction as ever. This trailer is mostly about reestablishing the premise—the ship is off-course and running out of supplies, everyone is losing their minds—but there are also some really solid jokes (Hugh Laurie taking a moment to internalize his panic and fear as he stands there, unblinking, with dramatic music) and a handy reminder that Josh Gad is very well-utilized on this show as an insufferable, self-obsessed maniac.
We’re trying to sell people on this show, should we not have mentioned Josh Gad? Look, we’d love to say he’s a minimal part of the show, but he’s maybe the third or fourth lead. Just suck it up, forget about Olaf, and watch the dang show. Season two of Avenue 5 will premiere on HBO on October 10.