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Avenue 5 Season 2 - What We Know So Far

In the HBO sci-fi comedy Avenue 5, creator Armando Ianucci boldly goes where no work of his has gone before.

Ianucci, the mind behind the TV series The Thick of It and Veep as well as the films In the Loop, The Death of Stalin, and The Personal History of David Copperfield, has a penchant for puncturing some of the planet's biggest egos: government officials, political candidates and — as co-creator of the character Alan Partridge — television talking heads. Like his other work, Avenue 5 explores the tension between people at the top who possess lots of influence and little knowledge and their underlings who may possess the knowledge but have little influence. The true power here comes from public relations, the construction of a convincing-enough illusion of competence to get the people onboard with whatever it is you're trying to do.

Not that the people have much choice as to whether they want to be on board in Avenue 5's case. The show transports these familiar Ianucci themes outside the realm of terrestrial politics and media and onto a not-quite-doomed space luxury liner, the Avenue 5, whose eight-week voyage gets extended to more than three years by a mechanical failure. The disaster exposes the ship's crew as in way over their heads, even as they work to keep the passengers from panicking and to get the Avenue 5 safely home.

Season 1 premiered on HBO back in January 2020, so enough time has elapsed that we can reasonably start questioning what's going on with season 2. Here's everything we know so far.

When is the release date for Avenue 5 season 2?

Good news for audiences, bad news for the ship's crew and passengers: The Avenue 5 is going to have to spend a bit more time lost in space. The show was renewed by HBO in February of 2020, after approximately half its first season had aired.

But the pandemic has delayed production, with no word yet from HBO on when audiences can look forward to the second season's debut. For his part, Ianucci spoke last year about the effect the pandemic would have on the show's material. "It's basically about people in isolation," the creator told The Hollywood Reporter about working on season 2 under lockdown. "So, we're just waiting to see what the mood might be as to how we pitch. Is it going to be bleak despair, or is it going to be very, very silly? Or maybe silly despair?"

Season 1, he clarified, was made "as silly as possible," but he said the writers would have to see what new reactions were drawn out in response to the last year. "It seems to have strangely become a kind of documentary about present-day conditions," he said.

Who is in the cast of Avenue 5 season 2?

While the first season showed that there are technically ways on and off the Avenue 5 for a select few, it's safe to say that the show's "trapped together in space gimmick" means most of the cast will be returning for season 2.

Captaining the Avenue 5 through its disastrous voyage is Ryan Clark, played by Hugh Laurie, taking an opportunity to get out of the House. Clark looks the part of the ideal leader, tall and with good hair, but it turns out it's all an act. He's an actor, hired to project an image of calm and competence as he plays the part of captain and reassures the passengers that there's someone in charge of a ship that's mostly automated. Even the hair, it's revealed, is fake.

Josh Gad plays the ship's gazillionaire owner Herman Judd, who made his name in luxury resorts and so knows little about the aspects of the Avenue 5 that don't pertain to hospitality. Zach Woods of The Office and Silicon Valley fame plays Matt Spencer, the ship's Head of Customer Relations, whom you might imagine is having a particularly difficult voyage. Lenora Crichlow plays Billie McEvoy, the ship's Second Engineer who winds up taking on most of the technical tasks after the death of its First Engineer.

Nikki Amuka-Bird plays Rav Mulcair, the head of Judd Mission Control on Earth who winds up stranded on the Avenue 5 by season's end. Suzy Nakamura plays Iris Kimura, Judd's right-hand woman, who actually does wind up with one of the seats on Rav's shuttle back to Earth at the end of the first season.

What is the plot of Avenue 5 season 2?

After the accident that turns their three-hour tour ... err, eight-week space cruise into a three-year nightmare, the fake crew and the actual, much smaller one work together to devise a solution that will get them back to Earth in six months, rather than three years, all while trying to maintain some semblance of calm and order among the passengers. 

This becomes more difficult after an argument leads to Judd relieving Clark of his now-kind-of-real command, and Clark revealing that he was a fake all along. Some of the passengers wonder whether the whole situation isn't an elaborate prank, and eject themselves from an airlock, killing seven. Then, when it comes time to pursue a maneuver that will alter their course, a miscommunication leads to the cargo being ejected from the wrong airlocks, throwing them further off course so that their return journey will now take eight years.

There's little clue so far as to whether there will be other opportunities to get the ship home faster, but it's safe to say conditions on the ship are bound to deteriorate now that they know the caliber of person in charge of the operation and how much longer they'll be stuck with each other. Is there anything that can keep crew and passengers pulling in the same direction now? Will any of the actually competent people ever get a chance to shine? How will everyone involved fall on the scale between silliness and despair? Audiences will have to wait to find out.