I tend to give most shows I’m unsure about 2-3 episodes before I make my mind up about them, and for Seth MacFarlane’s (Family Guy, Ted) The Orville its now that time, so here are my thoughts.
At first glance the show might seem like a poorly made Star Trek spoof, but oddly enough at its core, its closer to classic trek than the recent J.J. Abrams era action inclined movies Star Trek, Into Darkness, and Beyond.
In case you haven’t seen an episode here’s a synopsis:
Down on his luck after a bitter divorce, Planetary Union officer Ed Mercer finally gets his chance to command his own ship. Determined to prove his worth and start a new chapter, Ed discovers the first wrinkle in his plan when the First Officer assigned to his ship is his ex-wife, Kelly Grayson. As the new commander, Ed assembles a qualified — but eccentric — crew, including his best friend, Gordon, who has problems with authority but is the best helmsman in the fleet; Dr. Claire Finn; Bortus, an alien from a single-sex species; Isaac, an artificial life-form from a machine society; navigator John Lamarr; Alara Kitan, a young, inexperienced security officer; and Yaphit, a gelatinous creature.
Certainly the shows greatest strengths are the design and concept of its fictional setting. Which spans an entire universe that is inhabited by numerous unique alien species, each with their own traits and cultures that seem to have been well thought out. Unfortunately the great mix of practical and special effects that are utilized by the creators to bring the universe to life are not enough to save the show from a list of problems.
Some of which are, its non-existent long term narrative, done before episodic stories pulled right from the show its spoofing (Star Trek), what would have been progressive themes years ago, or its hit and mostly miss jokes/humor. After viewing 3 episodes of a 13 episode series you would expect to have started to setup the through line for the season which hasn’t happened, and with the unoriginal episodic storytelling The Orville has displayed I don’t expected it to retain a regular audience.
Unfortunately this comedy-drama lacks consistency and the cliche of an alcoholic helmsman and divorced captain/first officer relationship wont keep me coming back 5.5/10.
The Orville currently has a measly 20% critic rating but surprising 88% audience score on rottentomatoes, it airs Thursdays at 9 pm on Fox in the US.
If you find yourself looking for something more in vein of the recent J.J. Abrams movies check out Star Trek: Discovery, it premieres on CBS and CBS All Access today in the US and will be available on Netflix elsewhere.