A few years ago I went on a cruise. And even though I am not an old age pensioner I loved it. I spent five days at sea voyaging from Sydney back home to Auckland. It took five days. There was nothing to do, nothing to see and nothing I ever felt I was missing out on. It was glorious.
Of course, this was well before these boats became floating coronavirus breeding prisons. Nowadays you couldn't get me on one for love nor money but back then all I had to worry about was finding the way back to my room on the extravagant, luxurious maze that was the Queen Elizabeth, the ultra-swish flagship ocean liner of the Cunard fleet.
What I loved most about this cruise was the view. There was nothing as far as the eye could see. I found that incredibly calming. A perfect emptiness.
However that quiet serenity would've come to a loud screaming halt had, say, I gazed out expecting to see diddly and instead seen a trio of decapitated corpses bobbing past, or - perhaps worse - looked out expecting the deep blue sea to instead see we were in the brown, floating through a flotilla of faeces.
Both of those scenarios would ruin my day. Then they'd ruin it again if they both occurred a few hours later. And then again a few hours after that for the next three and a bit years.
This is the grim reality for the passengers aboard Avenue 5, a luxury interplanetary cruise ship that is, quite literally, in the s***. After setting off on its easy eight-week space cruise a massive systems malfunction causes havoc, knocking the ship off course and onto a three year journey of survival.
At a time of crises you want to know your in safe hands and strong minds. Enter Captain Ryan Clark, played by the wonderful Hugh Laurie. Clark is the epitome of who you want in charge; confident, assured, knowledgeable, approachable, good natured and able to soothe seething crowds with a few impassioned words of calm and reason.
So it's a real shame when word begins to slip out that he's a space fraud. Nothing more than an actor who's been hired to captain because he's a perfect fit for the part. The real captain, a salty space dog meets a grizzly end while outside the ship repairing the damage.
Attempting to reassure the phony, panicking "captain", Matt Spencer, the ship's head of customer relations and a self-confessed nihilist, tells Clark, "If it's any consolation, he had very few loved ones,".
If you laughed at that line then the whip-smart, black comedy Avenue 5 , which streams weekly on Neon, is for you. It mines comedy gold from the awful and the absurd, often mixing the two like some crazed alchemist cackling away in a medieval tower.
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Take, for example, the malfunction that knocks the ship off course. An unexpected gravity flip violently throws, "the largest ever yoga class in space," - we're aboard a cruise ship remember - smashing up against one window which causes just enough of a weight imbalance to slightly alter the ship's course. That's absurd. The sight of hundreds and hundreds of brightly coloured, spandex-clad yoga goers hurling through the air across an atrium and slamming straight into a wall-sized window is awful.
Awfully funny that is...
And that's the space Avenue 5 occupies. Absurdity from awfulness. It's the latest show from Armando Iannucci, the brains behind the brilliant comedies Veep and The Thick of It.
The comedy in those two brutally cutting political satires came at you faster than a redlining Ferrari, so perhaps conscious that many of their best one-liners had blitzed past without viewers even realising Iannucci has decelerated things right down. It's still jammed with snarky asides and dark insults but you won't get whiplash trying to keep up.
The show also flies at its own pace. It can feel slow. Like the titular ship it is not a zippy creation. Instead episodes steadily cruise towards scenes of climactic absurdity as bad situations get worse.
After the calamitous incident a worried passenger confronts Spencer demanding to know, "should we be scared?".
"This is a safe space, emotionally," Spencer answers with a warm smile, before adding, "Physically, we're obviously in terrible danger.".
There's no denying it takes a few episodes for the show to lose its land legs, some of the humour doesn't always blast off and some elements work better than others.
But for the most part I'm enjoying this disastrous star trek, even as it ruins cruising - in sea or space - for good.