Avenue 5 first impression: Stuck in space? Dr House to the rescue

Sampada Sharma
avenue 5 first impression review

Avenue 5 is streaming on Hotstar in India.

Somewhere in the future, mankind has progressed enough that just like cruises on the sea, we now have space cruises. Designed like a luxury vessel, these cruises have all the basic amenities of a resort, but all through the ride, the vacationers are in a spacecraft. This is the basic premise of HBO's latest show Avenue 5.

Here, the captain of the ship is Ryan (Hugh Laurie). While his title is meant to be powerful, he just holds it for show. Josh Gad plays the foolish millionaire Judd, who can only make you laugh if you are even slower than him, and Zach Woods plays the customer relations expert who, in fact, has no idea how to handle people. And then, there's the ensemble cast of passengers which make up for the necessary archetypal characters.

The central joke here is that the spacecraft is now off-course and instead of the pre-designed eight weeks, the craft can now land back on Earth only in three years. Can they fix it? No, because the only guy who could is now dead.

Created by Armando Iannucci of Veep fame, Avenue 5 is a sarcastic take on corporate culture and fancy designations that don't really mean anything. The show is essentially a comedy but judging by the first episode, it's the kind of humour that takes a little while to settle in with the audience.

A recurring joke here is that Hugh Laurie's character has a commanding presence and a trustworthy face. This holds true for the audience as well. Dr House draws you in, and he's the one you stay for.

Avenue 5 has excellent sets, and so far, even the storylines of side characters seem clearly worked on. If the show can pick up its comic pace in the upcoming episodes is yet to be seen.

Verdict: The first episode isn't disappointing as such, though I had personally wished for more with names like Armando Iannucci and Hugh Laurie attached to the project.

Avenue 5 is streaming on Hotstar in India.