The HBO sci-fi comedy Avenue 5 has a premise that would also work quite well as a drama — though there are plenty of laughs on set, and stars Lenora Crichlow and Zach Woods confirm that co-star Josh Gad is a major source of them. This is to say, Gad breaks the most, and according to Crichlow, “he makes others break. He’s the breaker and the instigator.”
Right now, of course, a few extra laughs sound good. The second season of Armando Iannucci’s follow-up to the Emmy-winning masterpiece Veep continues exploring what happens when a futuristic interstellar pleasure cruise goes horribly wrong, due to technical mishaps and a whole heap of human error.
As the crew and passengers face the grim reality of dwindling resources as they remain stranded years away from Earth, there’s a lot of yelling and crying, as Captain Ryan Clark (Hugh Laurie), billionaire owner Herman Judd (Gad), engineer Billie McEvoy (Crichlow), Avenue 5 executive Matt Spencer (Woods) and others attempt to find a way home.
Avenue 5 definitely pushes into the darker shades of dark comedy (no spoilers, but characters can and will die in space). But as Crichlow and Woods tell Consequence, coming back for Season 2 just as film and TV production around the world was starting up again post-lockdown had a lot of positive moments, largely due to their collaborators. Below, they dig into why the show might feel cathartic (at least for this humble interviewer), and how the energy of the real world affected the not-too-distant future we see on screen.
To start things off — coming into Season 2, was there a different vibe from Season 1?
Zach Woods: Yeah, there was fear for me — because COVID was going on, especially when we started it was scary. We were on set and it was a real culture shock. The COVID protocols in England were really different from the ones in the United States, so I was nervous making it, to be totally honest. Also, there’s the kind of softening and bewildering effect of the pandemic. It felt a little bit like emerging like a mole into the sunshine and feeling a little bit blinded by your surroundings.
Lenora Crichlow: I felt like a mole for sure, but wanting to know how everyone had coped and how everyone was doing. So there was a lot of caution and apprehension and fear, but also a lot of urgency to get back to the work and each other. So it was different. I mean, everything felt different. Going to the supermarket felt different after COVID.