"Avenue 5": HBO, Armando Iannucci's Hugh Laurie-Starrer Might Just Be "'Game of Thrones' of Comedy"

Looking to fill that Game of Thrones gap with a new comedy series from HBO? Yeah, I don't think anybody is. But that's the comparison that actor Josh Gad made during the press junket for his new series Avenue 5 ("It's the 'Game of Thrones' of comedy").

The new space-bound series is a futuristic show set on an "ocean liner" (er, "space liner"?) helmed by Captain Ryan Clark (Hugh Laurie), funded by Herman Judd (Gad), and managed by associate owner Iris Kimura (Suzy Nakamura). Of course, everything is going swimmingly as they take their guests out on a three-month luxury cruise – but that turns into a Gilligan's Island scenario when disaster strikes and they're stranded in the middle of space.

It's basically that one Doctor Who Christmas Special (you know, the one guest starring Kylie Minogue) except with Laurie and… a distinct lack of killer angel hosts? I mean, it could have those too – it's still early.

What we do know is that Avenue 5 certainly has perils and dangers of its own, with the early episodes being described as "bleak". There's a sizable body count mentioned, which makes the Game of Thrones comparison make a little more sense (still… did they see how many people Daenerys took out with that dragon?).

Show creator Armando Iannucci says the series' aim is to instill a constant state of unpredictability while still maintaining dark, comedic overtones, while not shying away from the fact that this is a crisis situation with a lot of people involved.

Traditional comedic elements (even those in his past series, like Veep) like handheld camera shots and zoom in/outs (like those seen in The Office) are said to be toned down for what I'm assuming is an effort to focus in on the individual characters.

I'm glad to see Laurie return to comedy: he's a fantastic dramatic actor, but he is a brilliant comedic actor (if you don't believe me, go watch Fry and Laurie) and it will be interesting seeing how U.S. audiences that might still see him as "Dr. House" react to him in a more overtly comedic role.

HBO's Avenue 5 just kicked off its first season on January 19 – if you haven't caught it yet, I recommend it highly.

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About Eden Arnold

Having spent far too much time in front of the television growing up, Eden has lots of opinions about television (as well as movies and everything else). She puts this to good use along with her journalism degree and writing experience with by-lines over the years in many print publications, books, and online media outlets. You can find her on Twitter at @Edenhasopinions
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