Avenue 5: I Was Flying
January 20, 2020 6:23 AM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

I think this one is a pass for me. From the articles, I can see what kind of satire they're going for, but, the injuries/deaths in the episode were too real for me to be able to enjoy the comedy.
posted by oh yeah! at 6:39 AM on January 20, 2020

It's the sort of unfunny that makes the few jokes that land stand out. If a fairly humorless show about people stuck on a cruise ship, except space, and looking like it was shot in a shopping mall, (though there was that one room in engineering that looked a bit Red Dwarf,) then this is your show. It goes so far into not nailing the tone they were going for that it's like they gave up on the whole Ikea kit and threw it in the dumpster.
posted by Catblack at 7:13 AM on January 20, 2020

I actually loved this to the point where I’m mostly willing to ignore the science fails (namely, anything that can do an Earth-Saturn round trip in eight weeks has more than enough delta-V to correct for a slight error in trajectory), and a large part of that is getting more Zach Woods: “I’m a nihilist!” damn near made me fall off the couch. Also, realizing that the Canadian astronaut (and thirtieth human to orbit Mars) is Ethan Phillips—Neelix himself!—seems like it will have some good pay-offs later.

The deaths and injuries were a little tough but struck me as closer to the over-the-top gore that you get in black comedies like early Peter Jackson than real life. There also needs to be real stakes in order for the comedy to land. This show won’t work at all if it’s bloodless—then it’s just a Next Generation episode drawn out over a full season.
posted by thecaddy at 7:43 AM on January 20, 2020 [5 favorites]

I LOL'ed a couple of times, mostly at Zach Woods ("He had very few loved ones."). I'd watch Hugh Laurie read the phone book, and Sepinwall's other-wise lukewarm review hints that things are not exactly as they seem. So I'll be sticking around for a little while, at least.

But I'd like a LOT less Judd, please. It's not unusual for Iannucci to make character so one-note, but this one is also SUPER annoying and unfunny.
posted by Frayed Knot at 8:56 AM on January 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

I liked this show when it was a straightforward science fiction movie called Aniara that came out literally less than a year ago.

Here's hoping the basic concept is where the startling similarities between the two end, because I'm struggling to appreciate the show's "humor." I'm a MASSIVE fan of Zach Wells' despair-porn comic delivery style from Silicon Valley, so that's enough for me to stick through a few more eps before deciding whether or not to stop watching entirely.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:50 AM on January 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

Am wondering if this will make more sense when the full season has aired.
posted by ZeusHumms at 4:06 PM on January 20, 2020

I was super stoked about this, but it was kind of a slog until Laurie broke the Captain character then it started taking off. I think this has potential.
posted by porpoise at 4:17 PM on January 20, 2020 [7 favorites]

The premise has potential, but the "snappy" West-Wing-style dialogue feels very dated, and cinematographically the show does look a bit like a 90s sitcom "shot in a shopping mall".
posted by Pyry at 5:25 PM on January 20, 2020

Just from the trailer, is it a satire of "The Orville"?
posted by sammyo at 5:52 PM on January 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

is it a satire of "The Orville"?

More 'Hitchhiker's Guide' and not-quite- 'Idiocracy.' Kinda "Golgafrincham Ark Fleet Ship B" - the gazillionaire owner/ genious is a Richard Branson satire, the Captain is a "I was hired purely because I look like I'm one" but at least he's honest about it, yet no one cares.

Thinking more about it, the pilot has been too mild to actually be much of anything. We'll see.
posted by porpoise at 8:39 PM on January 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

I liked this enough to keep watching. I think Iannucci's style is an acquired taste, and also takes a while to really get going -- during the first few episodes of The Thick Of It I wasn't really sure WTF I was watching and whether I liked it, but I really got into it after that.

And I like a lot of these actors (I didn't recognise Neelix!), so that's another reason I'll be sticking it out.
posted by confluency at 4:02 AM on January 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

"I'm a nihilist!"
"No, you're not."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:10 AM on January 22, 2020 [4 favorites]

I read the skeptical/ critical comments here first and then watched it, and I dug it. Maybe my expectations were lowered, but I found it to be low-key fun. My one critique is that it doesn't feel like an HBO show, but more of a Fox-type show -- less prestige TV, more decent production. Perhaps the Fox-ness came from the couple on the verge of divorce + rich idiot at the helm?

For what it's worth, I was on a conference call today, and the audio delay made me laugh to myself, thinking about the 26-second delay in this episode. So some elements of this show stuck with me.

Also, I'm here for the redemption of Space Pony, the 30th astronaut to orbit Mars. And Matt Spencer as the nihilist guest relations manager. This is fate. And it is freestyling with us. This is, like, jazz fate.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:52 AM on January 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

Yeah, other than a few segments with the guest relations manager dragging on longer than they possibly could have in a 29 minute show, I enjoyed it too. Yeah yeah, you need to apply the MST3k theme maxim to it (it's just a TV show, you should really just relax), and I'm not sure how they're going to manage to keep it going as a comedy for 3 more episodes, but it was entertaining enough.
posted by Kyol at 1:53 PM on January 23, 2020

i think it's just weird-pilot-itis. I can definitely see it getting on its feet soon. If not well, they gave it their best shot.
posted by bleep at 10:52 AM on January 24, 2020 [2 favorites]

It's worth noting that this show is signature Armando Ianucci. His comedy always does revolve around depicting the cruelty of large systems made up of self-interested, inept and emotionally cold humans in power positions.

This comedy model worked really well for politics - but that's because we hate politicians even when we're into politics. This is that but applied to optimistic science fiction tropes, which many of us really love so...
posted by mit5urugi at 2:55 AM on January 30, 2020

Thanks for posting these, oh yeah! I'm not crazy about it but was hoping to have the opportunity to chat about it here. An SF comedy series that seems to have been partially inspired by the liner from the Fifth Element starring Hugh Laurie? How can they fuck it up? Well, ...
posted by mwhybark at 9:56 PM on January 31, 2020 [1 favorite]

I liked this show when it was a straightforward science fiction movie called Aniara that came out literally less than a year ago.

Having had Aniara on my list for a year or so in perfect plot ignorance, it struck me that perhaps tonight was the night to run it.

So, yes. Avenue 5 appears to have borrowed a precipitating plot element, the space cruise ship, weird timelines, and so forth.
posted by mwhybark at 11:04 PM on February 1, 2020

... Also, I loved Aniara and cannot stop thinking and talking about it.
posted by mwhybark at 12:01 AM on February 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

I just started watching this, and for fuck sake, there are a dozen Voyager episodes I can't even stomach because of Neelix, so why is that guy in this show too?
posted by zadcat at 3:42 PM on July 12, 2020

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