'Avenue 5', A Sci-Fi Show From 'Veep' Creator Starring Hugh Laurie And Zach Woods, Gets Series Order At HBO

Armando Iannucci, the director of movies like The Death of Stalin and In the Loop and the creator of TV comedies The Thick of It and Veep, is returning to HBO with a new TV show.

Iannucci stepped away from being Veep's showrunner after season 4 and hasn't worked in television since, but that's about to change with Avenue 5, a HBO science fiction series that will star Hugh Laurie (House, Tomorrowland), Zach Woods (Silicon Valley, The Office), and Josh Gad (Frozen, Pixels).

Deadline reports that Avenue 5 has officially received a series order from HBO, and they relay the show's official logline:

"Avenue 5 is space tourism comedy set 40 years in the future when the solar system is everyone's oyster. With Hugh Laurie as the Captain, nothing can go wrong."

Laurie plays Ryan Clark, the captain of the titular space cruise ship. Gad plays Herman Judd, a billionaire who funded the Avenue 5 and has a whole brand based on "hotels, fitness clubs, and space tourism."

The fact that Zach Woods, one of the best improvisers I've ever seen, is on board here worried me at first, because I love his work on Silicon Valley and I wasn't sure if this project would conflict with that show. But TVLine reports that there weren't any schedule conflicts between the two productions, so it turns out my fears were unfounded. On Avenue 5, Woods will play Matt Spencer, Avenue 5's Head of Customer Relations who gave up trying to have a career in the performing arts years earlier. "Despite being a nihilist, Matt is a nice guy who can't wait to get to the end of his final cruise before promotion to a more senior role on Earth."

Nikki Amuka-Bird (Jupiter Ascending), Rebecca Front (The Thick of It), Lenora Crichlow (Doctor Who), Suzy Nakamura (Dr. Ken), and Ethan Phillips (Inside Llewyn Davis) co-star.

Iannucci created, wrote, directed, and executive produced the pilot. While his busy schedule and the long distances from his family meant that he didn't have time to stick around on Veep for longer than four seasons, it seems as if he'll be diverting the majority of his creative efforts to this project, and I suspect he'll stay with this one for a while. He's currently in post-production on his film adaptation of Charles Dickens' David Copperfield.