Avenue 5's Vision Of The Future Is Scary In The Funniest Way [Exclusive]

The HBO comedy series "Avenue 5" is returning for a second season, continuing to deliver a very disturbing yet hilarious vision of the future. The series is set 40 years from now on a commercial space cruise. It was supposed to be up there for eight weeks, but after a technical mishap, the trip is now going to take 3.5 years. But the trip is about to get even longer in the second season. 

Commercial space travel isn't the only thing that has changed in this future though. I recently spoke to star Hugh Laurie ("House") and creator Armando Iannucci ("Veep") about the show's vision of what's to come, including Toto POTUS, an additional President of the United States that looks like some sort of Alexa device, which is both terrifying and apparently absolutely possible, according to Iannucci and Laurie. 

Running out of camels and fruit

I asked Laurie and Iannucci about this vision for the future, including whether it was always planned or if it's something that came up organically in the writer's room. Iannucci said: 

"I like to fill in some of the details as we go along. I have an overall conception of what it must be like on earth. You see a map at some point, and you can see the Eastern and Western seaboard of America have come in by some considerable distance. We've run out of, was it camels and fruit ... "

The fruit makes sense, since we're killing all the bees, but what happened to the poor camels? There are so many nods to things like the weird death of Richard Branson, a Beatles skull on display, and a certain "Harry Potter" star having an unfortunate incident (which I'm sure he'd laugh at). It's brilliant. NASA still exists, but America is a bit different. Laurie recalled, "America is now basically the Louisiana Purchase and nothing else."

The scariest thing is Toto POTUS, the additional President of the United States that takes the form of an Alexa device. Yes, there is more than one. Iannucci explains:

"I think it's in episode 5, we see that Toto POTUS is actually all the children grown up of the big tech companies running the country. But somebody told me that's precisely what they want to do. That's precisely what some of them think should be done. Because they have all our data, why shouldn't they run the country? So that's the frightening thing. We reinvent something and then realized, "Oh God, it's true."

If that doesn't make you run screaming into the rising sea, nothing will.

World domination school

By the way, the White House is now in Buffalo, New York. Laurie had another thought about the expanding roster of tech bros: 

"I was just thinking about, I mean, Murdoch, I suppose Rupert Murdoch is of the generation. He's sufficiently old to have children who are actually major players in the game now. He has already established one or possibly two generations of a dynasty. And I suppose that is going to — Oh my God, now that you say it, it seems, I mean, the others, Branson must be in his 70s I suppose, is he?

But the others are Musk and Bezos [in their] 50s. Maybe their children haven't yet gone to world domination school. But when they graduate, we had all better look out, hadn't we? Oh, Lord."

World domination school sounds like a solid concept for a show of its own! It is genuinely terrifying to ponder the possibilities of the future, though. Scary the future may be, but "Avenue 5" is also one of the funniest shows on television right now, and you owe it to yourself to watch. Just don't drink any liquids beforehand because they will come out of your nose when you laugh. 

The series also stars Josh Gad, Zach Woods, Rebecca Front, Suzy Nakamura, Lenora Crichlow, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Ethan Phillips, and Himesh Patel.

"Avenue 5" returns to HBO and HBO Max for a second season on October 10, 2022.