The Orville (TV Series 2017– ) Poster

(2017– )

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The Critics Must Be Crazy: 'The Orville' Is A Great Show
David-Bernhardt11 September 2017
As many critics have pointed out, this isn't a spoof of Star Trek. It's not exactly an homage either. The best way I can describe it is that MacFarlane wanted to make a Star Trek show that recalls that franchise's earlier days, back before it became an action blockbuster film series and before the TV shows started becoming dark and grim and edgy. MacFarlane is making his own version of the original Star Trek, and he is a new Captain Kirk. All the optimism and sincerity and lightheartedness of that show is here, and in many ways it's kind of wonderful. I'm honestly surprised something like this exists.

There's some off-color humor, but it's never (so far at least) particularly offensive, or at least its offensiveness pales in comparison to many of McFarlane's other works. Still, it's distinctly him, so it's not going to be appealing to everyone.

In any case, I've really enjoyed The Orville. It's not a perfect show. Some of the jokes do fall flat. But I love its spirit. I love that someone is actually trying to make a Star Trek show that isn't just filled with explosions, space battles and gritty action. You should check it out and make up your own mind. Maybe you'll hate it, but maybe not. It's fun and kind of sweet and I'm happy it's a thing, however weird and unexpected it might be.

Update: November 2017 The show keeps getting better from week to week and it seem has now found its groove. The Orville uses its adventure-of-the-week format to explore modern-day social issues and tackle current moral dilemmas in a sci-fi venue. The show is refreshingly progressive in its politics, and optimistic to its core. It is a Star Trek show for folks who want something a bit old-school. By not having a budget (or requirements) for wall-to-wall spectacle, the hour-long Fox show is forced to focus on character, chemistry, sci-fi plotting and moral debates that have partially defined Gene Roddenberry's property for generations. (though the special effects look superb and almost movie like)

Yes, to a certain extent it's fan fiction, but then so is so much of our current pop culture entertainment. But by being a network television show, it is forced to be the kind of Star Trek that fans claim the recent movies have neglected in favor of four-quadrant blockbuster thrills. The Orville is not a spoof, but rather a straight-faced Trek show with characters who are funny and which you can learn to love.
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Don't listen to the "professional" critics.
nathanael-ries13 September 2017
Once again the "professional" critics still think that even in the trying times we're living in, we want everything to be dark and gritty. They are stuck in the 2000-2010 decade where everyone was floored by Christopher Nolan's Batman performance and the Debut of "Walking Dead which ushered in the pop culture's shift to a darker take on fiction.

The critics don't understand those of us who want to go back to a universe where nobody has to work hard for food, shelter, water, and health. Everything you need is generated out of an abundance of energy, you can go wherever you want in the known galaxy, and there's a sense of wonder, awe and adventure. We want a future where people aren't mindless, humorless drones going about their day, a future where most of your energy and focus goes on the people you care about and an enrichment of your hobbies, skills, and knowledge, not the drudgery, fear, monotony, and negativity of everyday life. Star Trek fans have been hungering for a series like this since TNG ended in 1994. 23 years was far too long a time to wait, but the wait is finally over!

Aside from a pilot drinking a beer while flying, no interaction between the crew, no matter how crass or juvenile they get with each other, seemed to be all that much more unlikely than a normal interaction between co-workers. It makes the crew relatable and is not that hard to believe would be how humans in their situation would use humor to form bonds and diffuse stressful situations.

As this was the very first episode, there were some moments where improvements could have been made in dialogue or pacing, but overall it was a great show. Besides, it took Star Trek TNG more than a whole season before "growing a beard" and finding its stride.
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When is StarTrek better than StarTrek
Ann Yard29 September 2017
JarJarAbrams officially destroyed StarTrek when he made his disgusting reboot of StarTrek in 2009. That is literally true. He purposely chose a story that literally erased all events that happened in all the years the StarTrek series and movies took place... except perhaps StarTrek Enterprise. Of course he not only erased the timeline, he erased everything good and distinctive about the StarTrek universe and everything that made StarTrek special.

The new STD (StarTrek Discovery) continues that tradition of destruction by changing pretty much everything. Garbage, just total garbage.

Seemingly to put the final nail in the coffin of StarTrek, this Orville series was released on Fox TV just a couple weeks before STD. Since the show was created by a gross comedian Seth McFarland, everyone assumed Orville would be a horrible, gross, cheap, crappy-looking parody of StarTrek designed to mock StarTrek.

##### WRONG ##### After four episodes, Orville is more like StarTrek than StarTrek! The production quality is mind boggling! No low budget here! Crammed full of the most gorgeous sets, fabulous aliens, makeup, and wardrobe, spectacular special effects, orchestra music... the works! Far, far better than anything StarTrek ever created.

Freaking awesome. How is this possible? Well, I did not know before that it turns out this Seth McFarland guy has been a long-time huge fan of StarTrek. And Orville is not a parody or mock of StarTrek but a super flattering love letter by way of imitation.

Of course they had to change the names of characters and races to avoid violating StarTrek copyrights, but they absolutely captured the essence of what made StarTrek special... the sensibility, great characters, great stories, and a positive, hopeful future.

To be sure, Orville has its weaknesses. First and foremost, now and then Orville contains a bit of crude humor. After 4 episodes they appear to be learning "this doesn't work", and the crude humor is gradually being scaled back.

In contrast, the light humor is mostly excellent. For an example, see the bit about "the dancing hombre in the holodeck" in episode 3 (and the wry annoyed reaction from the captain).

What's amazing is... they stories are excellent science fiction AND contain excellent thoughtful social situations that are not force fed down your throat (like everyone else does these days, including STD).

After 4 episodes the quality is shocking when you realize it took the other series two or three years to gain their footing. And they are approaching superb by their 4 episodes? !!! Wow.

This is a can't miss. Watch it every Thursday night, but first find a way to watch the previous episodes to get up to speed on characters and the look and feel of the show.

Gads, I so hated Seth McFarland.

Gads, I so loved this StarTrek homage.
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I hope the audience is big enough
follis1210 September 2017
The Orville is a show with potential. I liked how it didn't try too hard to be funny. In fact, it reminded me more of a Star Trek episode than Family Guy. I suspect there will be many comparisons to Galaxy Quest.

My concern is the audience. To appreciate this show, I think you need to be both a science fiction and crude humor fan. I'm one of these people, but I'm not sure if there are enough of us to support the production. Hopefully, we'll be seeing a lot more of The Orville.

Star Trek discovery was also released, and I have to say, this show comes closer to what I expect in a Star Trek series.
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First Episode is a worthy ST TOS successor in spirit
kingramze10 September 2017
Somewhere between ST: TOS and TNG, fleet personnel became high-minded, super-moral, flawless beings... a picture of who we should be when we're at our best, but not a true reflection of who we ARE. And then you remember how human TOS people were -- bickering, flawed, sometimes racist or rude.

The Orville's first episode is funny, but it's not a parody. It puts people with personalities of friends and co-workers you already know and love (or hate) into roles they might actually have aspired to in the future. They're a bit irreverent, unprofessional, perhaps a bit childish with a sense of office humor, drama, and politics. But, it's not over the top.

It's a little bit ST: Atlantis, a little bit Guardians of the Galaxy, a bit of Galaxy Quest, and a LOT of Star Trek. It's not Shakespeare, but it's fun, yet grounded. I've only seen the first episode, so no way to know where it will go. I recall the first episode of ST TNG was pretty rocky, and I think this is off to a better start. Give it a shot!
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A nice place to be
menezestraducoes-7727413 November 2017
The only thing I can truly say about this show is that, like all previous Real Star Trek series, I want to be in the Orville. I want to travel with it, I want to live their adventures. It is a nice atmosphere with interesting people to whom I can relate. The show also does me the courtesy of raising topics for me to think with the decency and good- manners of not shoving anything down my throat. Food for thought. Thanks, Seth. I didn't even know I missed Real Star Trek feeling so much.
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Does Star trek better then Star Trek Discovery
davor160719 October 2017
As many reviews mention, this is one of the best examples of a disconnect between professional reviewers and real world audience.

This show is not about the humor, or about the serious star treky themes it features. It is about combining the two into a relaxed and non pretentious mix which is just fun to watch.
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Excellent homage to SF and Star Trek TOS, TNG and DS9
insectboy10 September 2017
No spoilers. I liked it. Like the original Star Trek it is character and story driven which I am sure will anger the people who think they are Science Fiction fans but don't know what science fiction is. People who have never read a book by Sturgeon or Simak and think Science Fiction is SciFi shoot'em ups with lasers.

I know there will be those who want to see "Family Guy In Space;" grow up. MacFarlane did. This is an independent, free standing piece of storytelling and MacFarlane is using storytelling elements instead of special effects or body function jokes. It is a show for grown-ups.

Ray Bradbury said Science Fiction is putting ordinary people into extraordinary situations and seeing how they respond. Sisko was the perfect embodiment of that concept and "The Orville" appears to follow that lead.

The first episode did a good job of establishing character roles and plot. They also did an excellent job of hinting as several subplots. All in all, it is like Star Trek in story but with a Next Generation maturity. Thank goodness MacFarlane does not have a Roger alien!
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An enjoyable Star Trek send up
DarkVulcan2911 September 2017
Although it is a send up of Star Trek, but it never goes overboard with silliness, and surprised by it coming from Seth Macfarlane, the creator of Family Guy and American Dad. When the comedy is there it's funny, there are some dramatic moments but they are few and far between.

The characters all play off each other perfectly, just have a great chemistry. The sets look like they borrowed from Star Trek : The Next Generation. The sci- fi elements is pretty effective. And I got all this from the first episode. I hope it go on awhile, cause it's good to see a send up of Star Trek, although there was Galaxy Quest(1999), there where not that many Star Trek parodies. I'm glad The Orville has come around, and hope it will last a few more seasons.
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I Am As Surprised As Anyone...
tps-1800714 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
First off, I am just a private individual with absolutely no connection to Hollywood, this show, or to Fox (God forbid). (Unfortunately) I received no compensation of any kind for this review. (Like complimentary tickets to "SNL" would kill you?)


I generally enjoy space-based SF shows. From things I's read on the Internet, and on my preconceived notions of what any new Seth MacFarlane production would be like, I TOTALLY expected to hate this show. So much so that I skipped even watching any of the first five episodes as they aired. Then one day, bored with other 2017 commercial TV offerings (right?..., Right?), I gave Episode 6 a try, and enjoyed it; A LOT. I quickly started watching the first five episodes.

Few shows can actually make me laugh out loud. This one did.

Yes, it can be at times a (satiric) note-for-note rip-off of "Star Trek" (plus other spaceship-crew ensemble) shows; but it is a brilliant note-for-note rip off.

I don't know if it can continue its level of quality, but so far it has:

● Excellent special effects.

● Beautiful design.

● Quality production values.

● Impressive makeup and costumes.

● Good pacing.

● Just the right balance of comedy and more serious, timely, and sensitive story elements.

● Genuinely entertaining stories (the perfect blend of mockery and respect for the spaceship exploration genre). (Even when the stories are "borrowed" from "Star Trek" or other shows, I didn't mind. It feels more like an homage than a rip-off.)

● Top-notch cameos and guest stars.

● Solid cast.* Contrary to criticisms elsewhere (e.g., in these IMDb reviews), I think MacFarlane is just right in the title role--a perfect (and tricky) balance of mature authority and confused haplessness. Not easy to pull off.

Most important, and unlike in "Family Guy" or his embarrassing movies, MacFarlane (or someone) so far limits his characteristic excessive potty humor to just the right level.

For example. I was led to believe--by a certain popular TV review blogger whose opinion I normally respect--that the opening sequence of Captain Ed Mercer (MacFarlane) catching his then wife (Commander Kelly Grayson, played by Adrianne Palicki) in bed with another species would be tasteless, excessive, and embarrassing. Hey, surprise--no problem! It was appropriately funny, mercifully brief, and completely necessary to set up the rest of the story line.

By the way, Palicki, who I had only knowingly seen before in "Agents of SHIELD" (don't get me going on that mess), is MUCH better here.

In general, I like all the characters, and the jobs the actors are doing to bring them to life. Some particularly funny moments involve secondary or one-time characters (e.e., the deadpan Krill straight men; Norm MacDonald's "Yaphit," the only gelatinous crew member). Meanwhile, the primary actors appear to have quickly dialed in the essentials of their characters' personalities right from the get-go. My sense is that they have a lot of fun on set, but are also true professionals, or else the direction is excellent. Either way, the results are good.

This leads directly to another important factor--as with other successful ensemble shows, Team MacFarlane has managed to quickly create a FAMILY. The characters naturally have their idiosyncrasies and of course don't always get along. But you sense that they care for each other and are loyal to the crew and the ship.

Doing that believably and so quickly is, I imagine, difficult to pull off. Again, the sign of a happy crew and fun set. Good for them.

So I give this little gem a (surprising to me) hearty "thumbs up" recommendation. If you like SF/space adventures and enjoy something that does not take itself too seriously (yet is blessedly more adult than, say, a "Warehouse 13," "Eureka," or "The Librarians") by all means give this a try.

Caution; get it while you can. Who knows how long it will last on Fox, where good shows go to die early. (And bad shows stay and stay and stay; like visiting relatives who just won't leave.)


* For example:

  • Scott Grimes ("Lt. Gordon Malloy").

He was great on "ER" and is perfect playing Gordon, Mercer's buddy and side-kick.

  • Peter Macon ("Lt. Cmdr. Bortus")

Love his super gruff and serious take on the (thereby unwittingly comical) Bortus.

  • Penny Johnson Jerald ("Dr. Claire Finn")

She has been in a bunch of stuff and is always good.

Addendum -- Much to my surprise, many of the episodes have surprisingly serious plots and take-home messages, so far focusing on gender equality and proper treatment of children. And despite the jokes, stories don't always end on a high note. What I erroneously feared would be a kind of "Airplane!" (with Leslie Nielsen) in space or maybe "Spaceballs" (nonstop low-brow humor) is instead like a more humorous version of "Star Trek: The Next Generation." I like it. It is like someone who really loved and cherished that (often wonderful and beautifully written) 1987 show grew up and took a reverential stab at their own version, using their own particular talents, a gang of Hollywood pals, and a boat-load of money they had lying around. Who could that be?

11/05/17 Update: Wow, they keep slipping in more and more drama. It's almost like someone said, "Let's camouflage a serious Sci-Fi space exploration show with MacFarlane's trademark humor up front (thereby attracting Fox's "Family Guy" audience), then tone that down as time goes on." Hmmm, really? Nah, I must just be getting too cynical in my old age.
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