Armando Iannucci is headed back to HBO with the new comedy Avenue 5, as the network makes the series order official. Iannucci has long been associated with political comedies, after heading up such memorably foul-mouthed series as The Thick of It and HBO’s own perennial Emmy-winning comedy Veep. The writer and producer was the showrunner of the Julia Louis-Dreyfus-led series until season 4, paving the way for David Mandel to take the reins leading into its currently airing final season.
Iannaucci has kept busy since his departure from Veep, writing and directing the feature film, another scathing political satire, The Death of Stalin, which starred Steve Buscemi, Jason Isaacs, Paddy Considine, and more. Now, Iannucci is headed back to television with a series that has a dramatically different premise and setting from what he’s used to. Avenue 5 is a sci-fi comedy set 40 years in the future, and is being billed as a “space tourism comedy… when the solar system is everyone’s oyster.”
As reported by TVLine, Avenue 5 has officially been given a series order from HBO, making it the latest new comedy to join the network’s ranks and help fill the void left by the departing Veep. With Iannucci on board and the futuristic premise, the series already sounds like a worthwhile endeavor for the network, and the cast that’s been lined up just sweetens the deal. Iannucci will reunite with Veep guest star Hugh Laurie, as well as Silicon Valley standout Zach Woods, and Josh Gad (Frozen). The series will also feature roles for Niki Amuka-Bird (Hard Sun), Suzy Nakamura (Veep), and Ethan Phillips (Better Call Saul).
The report from TVLine sees Laurie (will next be seen in Hulu's Catch 22) playing Captain Ryan Clark who is described as ““suave, outwardly confident, controlled and personable.” Woods will play Matt Spencer, a “nihilist…who can’t wait to get to the end of his final cruise before promotion to a more senior role on Earth.” Gad, meanwhile, will play Herman Judd, the “face and name behind Avenue 5, and the whole Judd brand, including hotels, fitness clubs and space tourism.”
Though Avenue 5 show won’t have a direct relation to politics, it’s not hard to imagine Iannucci using the notion of “space tourism” as a vehicle to satirize any number of topics — politics included. From the sound of it, this new comedy will be a bold step for Iannucci and his unique brand of comedy.
Avenue 5 does not currently have a premiere date.