TrekMovie was invited to the Fox lot to visit the sets of The Orville, Seth MacFarlane’s new sci-fi dramedy due to premiere on September 10th. The event was done last week, a day after they wrapped the 13-episode first season. The sets were kept up an extra day for the assembled online media to tour and talk with some of the people who make the show happen. TrekMovie has been covering this show because it is a clear homage to Star Trek and because a number of Star Trek vets are working on the show, and like many Trek fans, we find it interesting. I came away from the event with a few takeaways that stood out.
Fox is sparing no expense
Of course the first thing as a Trekkie you sense when walking onto the sets of Fox’s The Orville is how familiar it feels. There is no doubt that you could be on board a Starfleet ship from the 24th century. But once you get past that, the main thing that strikes you is the scale of the main U.S.S. Orville sets which are built on two levels. The lower level has corridors, crew quarters, captain’s quarters, captain’s office, sickbay and the mess hall. The upper level has more corridors, more quarters, a meeting/briefing room, the second level of the captain’s quarters (yes he has a two-story cabin) and the bridge. And there were also other stages housing engineering, shuttle bay and a swing set for alien ships and settings we didn’t even get to.
Beyond the size, there is also an impressive amount of detail and technology being used. For example they use the same kind of on-set display technology utilized for Rogue One (basically a massive screen of LEDs) to allow shots on the bridge to have visual effects displayed practically, such as when the ship is at warp (sorry, “at quantum”). And speaking of visual effects, producer Jason Clark revealed they are doing a total of 3,800 effect shots over the season.
And beyond the sets and VFX as you talk to the various behind the scenes people you can start adding things up like how costume designer Joseph Porro talking about how they literally shipped in two tons of fabric from China. Or makeup designer Howard Berger (Oscar winning co-founder of the KNB EFX Group, probably best known for The Walking Dead) talking about how they did 5,000 different prosthetic applications during the first season. One of the reasons for this quantity of work is that the show is episodic so very little gets re-used as the crew visits a new world (with new creatures, sets, props, etc.) every episode. As producer Clark noted “It’s like we did 13 movies.”
It looks like TNG for a reason
Just looking at promos for The Orville, many Trek fans have noticed similarities with Trek and specifically Star Trek: The Next Generation. Of course there are a number of high profile TNG vets working behind the scenes including Brannon Braga and Andre Bormanis. And Jonathan Frakes even directed an episode, but it goes deeper than that. Seth MacFarlane even hired Marvin Rush (veteran of TNG, VOY, DS9 and ENT) as the director of photography. Rush said that MacFarlane explicitly wanted The Orville “to feel like Next Generation…he wanted that vibe.” Rush also noted he is using ARRI Alexa Mini camera which he feels is the best digital camera to get a cinema feel to replicate the look of shooting on film as he did while on Star Trek.
And the connections go beyond hiring Trek veterans. Production designer Stephen Lineweaver noted that when it came to designing the sets, Seth definitely had a “Next Gen sensibility” to the approach for the designs. This kind of thing even flowed into hiring production staff. Editor Tom Costantino – a genuine Trek fan and apparently regular reader of TrekMovie.com – told me that he feels he nailed his final interview with MacFarlane when he made a reference to a TNG episode, specifically “Chain of Command, Part 2.”
Seth is a perfectionist
The Orville is something that has been a dream for Seth MacFarlane since his childhood, and so he is paying attention to every detail of the show. Pretty much everyone you talk to will tell you how much passion MacFarlane puts into The Orville, and how he works closely on every aspect – very, very closely in fact. Costume designer Porro said that they went through 75 different prototypes for the uniforms until Seth signed off, noting “It was a challenge.” Makeup designer Howard Berger told a similar story of how it took three months to finalize the look of the character Bortus to the point where finally he took a clay mold into Seth’s office and they worked it out together as the shooting date approached.
As for the U.S.S. Orville itself, producer Jason Clark revealed they went through 140 different designs of the ship with 13 different designers including Ryan Church (who designed the U.S.S. Enterprise for J.J. Abrams) and Andrew Probert (designer for Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Star Trek: The Next Generation). However, apparently nothing was working for MacFarlane so in the end Seth made his own doodle sketch of the ship which was then finalized by concept artist Matt Tkocz.
Don’t expect goofy looking aliens
The general consensus from the writers and crew of The Orville is that the humor on the show comes from situations and character moments and not silly looking things. The remit for those designing the show is like any serious sci-fi movie or series. Listening to the various designers, you would never know they were talking about a show with a strong element of comedy. They all talk about creating a believable futuristic science fiction universe with practical props, costumes, makeup and sets. As noted by makeup designer Howard Berger, “everybody is very immersed in this universe.”
Berger told me that when it comes to his department, they aren’t using the aliens the crew meets each week to create the laughs by the way they look. “I never wanted anything to feel goofy or cartoony.” said Berger, “I wanted it to feel real. They are designed so that you believe they exist.” You get a similar story from the prop department. Not only are they not going for laughs, Bryan Rodgers noted that when designing the weapons for the recurring main bad guys (the Krill), the objective was to give them “a scary looking feel to create a tension and fear in anyone who sees them coming.”
There is a science to it
One of the Trek vets on the show is Andre Bormanis who began his career as a science advisor for Star Trek: The Next Generation before moving on to writing and producing in the franchise. He is also wearing those many hats for The Orville and he is again striving to make this futuristic sci-fi show grounded in real science. When it comes to Orville science, they are paying attention to the little things, such as how the wall paneling on the ship is supposed to be a form of plant life that acts as CO² scrubber.
Bormanis has written a whole show bible about the various science elements within the universe of The Orville. A good amount is dedicated to the ship. On The Orville you don’t have a warp drive, but you do have a “quantum drive.” And for this faster than light sci-fi ship they are using the theories of physicist Miguel Alcubierre who has postulated a form of drive that works within Einstein’s general relativity. And this theory’s call for torus rings are what is behind the rings of the U.S.S. Orville itself. They have even named the exotic matter that is required for such a drive “Dysonium” after physicist Freeman Dyson.
The Orville is trying to do something different
One thing is clear from talking to all the people behind the show and that is a deep commitment and a passion to create something different for television today. They want to tell serious sci-fi stories with a message of hope and optimism. They want to to make people think through allegory while making them laugh through relatable characters and situations. As noted by Jason Clark “no one is doing this now.”
Audiences who tune into The Orville will not find it packed with gags like MacFarlane’s Family Guy. And even though this is an hour-long show set on a space ship, it really isn’t like The Expanse or even Star Trek: The Next Generation. For The Orville, they want to find a sweet spot in between, and the closest analogy they come up with is M*A*S*H, a half-hour comedy about Army doctors in the Korean War which has been off the air since 1983.
A word you hear a lot from the writers and producers on the show is “balance.” That will be the key for The Orville. Can they strike that balance and find a sweet spot of making a fun (and explicitly funny), optimistic, entertaining, exciting and thoughtful sci-fi show? From what I have seen so far, this show has that potential. Hopefully Fox can give them time to find their way and find an audience for new kind of show that still feels familiar to fans of Star Trek.
The Orville Premieres September 10th
The pilot of The Orville (directed by Jon Favreau) premieres on Fox on Sunday September 10th at 8PM. Here is the latest promo from Fox.
Looks like it would fit right into Snooze Trek TNG. Boring hotel looking sets. Boring universe with free energy. Millions of masks, no unique alien cultures. Good for a laugh. Bet the music is dull and boring too. Can always run to the holodeck I suppose that they can get away from their boring universe with a trip to say the Wild West or Sherlock Homes. Fingers crossed that the jokes are hilarious, could be better than TNG that way.
Follow up – like Discovery why come up with fancy computer consoles and then put a door behind the Captain?!?!? All that $$$$ and the audience for most of the time is going to see a guy in a chair in front a door. Why?!?!?!?! Young and the Restless will have the same amount of scenes with two exes on a couch with a door behind them!!!
Yes the most popular Trek of all time and 15-20 million viewers a week was ‘boring’. Maybe Picard should’ve done more karate chops and got his shirt ripped off to make it more exciting for you lol.
Sure it was boring. And bland. And with many meetings. Interspersed with some brilliant episodes. I mean, the first two seasons were complete and utter shite. At that time it was just about the only sci-fi show of any magnitude onscreen. And that was a completely different time than today. No streaming, no cable, just a few tv channels. And still TNG is mostly just bland storytelling, ‘passing the time’ tv.
Yes so boring it was one of the biggest shows on TV for 5 seasons lol. Maybe just maybe it wasn’t for you? Nothing wrong with that but take my word for it, a lot of Trek fans rewatch the series over and over again and consider it their favorite because it was the opposite of bland story telling. If you don’t like it fine, but you seem to be in the minority for a reason.
I watched it because it had “Star Trek” on it in an age of twelve TV channels and you kept hoping, waiting that eventually one day it would morph into the promise of a Star Trek IV follow up. Apart from DS9 it did not. Time to write that off and get wagon train to the stars back on the air.
And my guess is you saw every episode lol. No one was hoping for a ‘Star Trek IV’ follow up lol. Dude, how many decades have you wasted hoping to get another TOS? Let me guess you also hated Enterprise and the KT films as well?
TNG just wasn’t your thing, which is fine, but my guess for old Trek fans like you nothing will ever satisfy you. I don’t even get why they keep bothering? Oh year, for the rest of us.
Dude, you need to get off this thing of dismissing somebody’s opinion by re-stating that they probably saw every ep, when you have no idea if that is the case.
If you’ve appointed yourself TNG’s staunchest defender, so be it, but at least mix up your repertoire a bit so you don’t seem like you’re cutting and pasting your own replies to different people, always citing popularity and making distinctions about viewers that sound like they’re more about your rampant ageism than the quality of the aired material.
YEs the same guy who said it wasn’t really that popular if you just ignore the ratings, critical acclaim and awards lol. You sound utterly ridiculous. I don’t have to be a staunch defender of it because its pretty clear its a very popular show and still have loyal fans 30 years later.
You didn’t like it, fine, stop trying to down the show over it. You people sound so stuck in your ways its sad.
And did you not see every episode? If you didn’t, well I guess you at least put your money where your mouth is.
If the fans are still so big on it, why were the blu-rays such a bomb that it took DS9 BRs out of the running?
I tried to see every ep, but stuff like the ship waking up as a train or something in s7 or Gates doing a gothrom is pretty rough going, no. And Data with the masks was like SPACE1999 (as were a few others, come to think of it.)
“If the fans are still so big on it, why were the blu-rays such a bomb that it took DS9 BRs out of the running?”
Simply put, it was cost prohibitive. $90 a season for a series of 7 seasons means that fans will have to pay $630. Don’t know about you but that is too much to pay for any show.
With a show like TNG running over 7 seasons with 26 episodes per season you will most likely find bad episodes, that’s the nature of network shows in the past, like TOS third season that was mostly garbage, and we still see that nowadays on Network TV.
There are some great TNG episodes if you looked for them.
Re: … it was cost prohibitive.
Lets give that some perspective by looking at this 1978 “catalog”:
that’s $138-$203.50 for a poor quality run-off film dup of a SINGLE episode back when $90 bought a whole lot more at the supermarket than it does now.
A whole season would cost, $3588-$5291!
So “cost prohibitive” is an amorphous appellation, at best, when it comes to what Trek fans are willing to shell out.
I suspect that $630 wasn’t so much “cost prohibitive” as it was “marketplace prohibitive”, i.e. SF fans in this millennium having vastly more products to choose from other SF content producers on the retail shelves, and thus, chose to spend their $630 on something else. And that includes other STAR TREK merchandise too.
The greater competition Trek has to face is a more important factor to my mind.
@kmart — SPACE 1999? What!? I’m binging that series right now on Hulu, and don’t get that reference at all …
biggest ‘syndicated’ show on tv, that’s a huge dif from the numbers network shows got back then. And the numbers it did get were probably because it was so middleoftheroad safe with its choices … I can count on my hands the number of times TNG was edgy or even approaching really daring over 7 seasons. And they pissed all over a lot of good SF concepts by just throwing them away against the character story, like the dyson sphere with Scotty. Not good SF AND not good Trek imo (which to date is only TOS and most of DS9 for me.)
Kmat it was one of the biggest shows, hence why it got multiple spin offs, a film series and other sci fi shows popped up in that era. You can ‘count on one hand’ and you watched for 7 seasons lol. Couldn’t have been that bad or you’re just really bored.
TNG is pinnacle of Trek to a lot of people. It doesn’t mean everyone, but a lot for a reason.
There are still TNG eps I’ve never gotten all the way through, actually giving up on the show for awhile after s2, and probably only watched two-thirds of s7 eps to completion, but I tried because it was pretty much the only game in town, till B5 and DS9, since SPACE RANGERS got canned so fast (and had its own embarrassing problems, though IT’s heart WAS in the right place.)
And I specifically said ‘hands’ — not ‘count on one hand’ — so be careful how you’re misquoting people, or even reading what others write. For all you know I’m an Edosian with three hands and actually like a Baker’s dozen of TNG eps (okay, not really, I think there are 8 that I find really really solid, which puts the big winner category at something like 5%, which is abyssmal given how good really good TV series are.)
TNG got multiple spinoffs because they were milking the cow and had lemming-like viewers who were good with the idea that you get three seasons just to get your spacelegs (!? talk about undiscerning!), and thank god deviating a bit so we got DS9, but you really think VOYAGER and Lil ENTERPRISE were worth doing? Weren’t even worth watching once from what I was able to sit through. Gaahh, I’ve rewatched B5 in its entirety a couple of times, and even with that show’s many problems, it is still leagues above all the non-Ds9 trek spinoffs, TNG included.
You can argue about the quality of TNG which at best is subjective, but to argue against its popularity when all evidences say otherwise is not reasonable.
TNG lasted 7 seasons, won 19 Emmy Awards and made not only Star Trek popular again but encouraged other networks to give science fiction shows, like Babylon 5, a chance. JMS said many times on Usenet and in interviews that the success of TNG allowed him to pitch his B5 show to various networks back then.
‘Space Rangers’! I’ve not heard someone mentioning that show for a very long time. I remember watching it in late 90s along with ‘Nowhere Man’ & ‘Space: Above and Beyond’. Those were short-lived but fun shows.
I’ve actually got SPACE RANGERS on DVD – the weaknesses are just as glaring as ever, but the moments of TOS-like life are still very worthwhile, you just gotta wade through a lot of awful to get them.
I think it is a matter of what levels of audience you are talking about — if TNG had to pull network ’90s numbers, it wouldn’t have lasted till when it got watchable. Nowadays numbers needed are even lower, allowing for such niche fair to get a hold and then grow (or not, if they don’t NEED to … thank god THE WIRE was where it was!)
TNG just seems to have had a larger appeal because it was aiming for a lower target … not a gratuitous market, but a safe one, which in a lot of ways is worse, given the stories they COULD have tried to tell, and the style of storytelling being updated for the times (shoot, GR talked about p2 with the idea it would have overlapping dialog and seem more MASH-realisitc with its scripting, and THAT didn’t even happen during the Berman era at all, except occasionally like parts of the last Eddington DS9 ep, when it is just for giving overlapping commands when running DEFIANT manually. Anyway, that’s my take on TNG, a missed opportunity that lots — not nielsen-sized crowds — of people seemed to like.
“Gaahh, I’ve rewatched B5 in its entirety a couple of times, and even with that show’s many problems, it is still leagues above all the non-Ds9 trek spinoffs, TNG included.”
Obviously, that was another time and another place. And obviously there weren’t many shows like this on the air. And even more obviously: the amount of viewers does not in any way reflect back on quality. If that were the case, reality shows and soap operas would be the best television produced. It was a product of it’s time. And it did not score big until they booted out Roddenberry after the first two atrocious seasons. Strangely I never hear you talk about those seasons. Perhaps your memory is playing tricks with you.
Yeah I agree when they gave Roddenberry the boot, then it got good. Same way when they booted from the films, those also got good.
And are you talking to me how I never ‘talk about those seasons’? Why would I? This isn’t a typical message board, we just discuss whatever articles they throw up. And I spend most of my time on Reddit where Trek is discussed more widely here. There I discuss everything under the sun concerning Trek.
He’s just another sci-fi nerd wanting to turn Star Trek into a carbon copy of every other sci-fi show. He may or may not be about to get his wish with Discovery. 20 million viewers from a diverse demographic who tuned in first and foremost for the heart warming tales and sense of family amongst the crew tell the real story though. A story that’ll always go over certain people’s heads. People who just crave ever more space battles and junk disposable fights of the week amongst the characters.
These guys sound 60 or they never left the 60s. I don’t know, but they are never getting TOS back again. This show is only going to upset them when they realize that.
No one who actually thinks “Snooze Trek” is a clever phrase is worth paying much mind to.
It was pretty boring…Best of Both Worlds, Yesterday’s Enterprise, The Inner Light, Tapestry, All Good Things, Relics, The Offspring…..Can’t believe I slept through all that.
I rewatched a few of those in the last few weeks. They all still hold up;. I miss TNG.
I don’t. It didn’t go anywhere, the last season wasn’t anything to write about. Sure there are some brilliant episodes, but besides that there are just many, many bland ‘thing of the week’ episodes. You are recounting the good to brilliant episodes. Why don’t I ever hear anyone talk about the utter shite first seasons?
Because — TNG Utter Shite > Most Shite on TV today
It didn’t go anywhere? I have rewatched the series 5 times now. Its the only Star Trek show I physically own lol. I would own DS9, which is actually my favorite, but the HD issue. The ‘first seasons’ are talked about all the time. They sucked. But the show however went on for 7 years, hence there were were way more good seasons than bad ;). TOS third season wasn’t amazing either, which means it only had 2 decent seasons. Again, fine, but its not like that show was full of amazing episodes every week and we are only talking 80 in total. You can easily recount good to brilliant episodes for that show as well.
I don’t need to defend TNG. All you have to do is just look at its popularity or go to a place like Reddit where there are actually Star Trek lovers and see that show is still hands down a huge favorite for people. The fact that new fans start with TNG is a testament to its legacy. Again, if you don’t like it, fine, but its still probably the most watched Trek for a reason.
I don’t know anybody who started off with TNG and stuck with it, to be honest. Everybody I’ve ever talked with about TNG either hated it till it grew on them a little bit, or gave up on it. Instead, they’d go back to TOS and get addicted.
Well clearly most did as the ratings got higher lol. You guys sound like you’re all senior citizens. I grew up with TOS too but not every show (thankfully) was like that show. Which is why TNG was so big at the time because it did something different and why we have the expanded universe we have today. But I’m sure you will be watching the same 80 TOS episodes until you’re 80.
For the same reason we remember Babe Ruth for home runs, not strikeouts.
Why would I ‘discuss the first seasons’? I don’t even know who you are until today lol. You do realize shows can start off bad and get better? It as for most Trek shows.
And if it didn’t ‘go anywhere’ why do you people keep watching? Oh, “I’m hoping eventually I’ll like it’. Did you need to watch 7 seasons lol. Trek fans are really some of the most oddest fans on the planet. I will never understand them and I consider myself one.
The majority of those are when the writers throw out the TNG rule book.. and then the momentum falls flat when the writers have to return to the bland Trek formula. Examples: Best of Both Worlds – Picard is the enemy, the crew fights the ultimate collectivist uni-mind.. writers bring back Picard, turns out Borg have a “queen”. Yesterdays Enterprise – back to the 23rd century. Fighting Klingons, exciting stuff. Oh wait, we have to go back to the boring 24th concept. Relics – SCOTTY on Star Trek TNG!!! Someone exciting on the ship. Woohoo!!! Too bad they did not do a TV series on him and his privately operated runabout; how cool would that have been?? I guess that leaves, the Offspring (?? Zzzzzz)
The only thing more Zzzzz is your repetitive posts on the matter. Not a fan, everyone got the memo. TNG is my second favorite Trek show after DS9. And in all honesty they are even but yeah. It lasted for 7 seasons and one of the top rated shows for most of its run. Its still really popular today and new, sorry, generations, watch it today.
Its just not for you man, you need more explosions and Captains who do karate chops in your Star Trek. Thats fine, but thats the beauty of Trek, you can do different things with it now and expand the universe.
I agree with you that ST:DS9 was better than TNG. Why is that?
It was also better than TOS too. Why is that? It was just a show that turned Trek on its ear. Thats why I liked it, for being different and taking chances.
Ratings do not reflect 1-on-1 on the quality of a show, that is a very nonsensical statement. It is also a statement that disregards that the show was a product of it’s time, a very different time than today. If you go back further, in the 70’s there were shows that would garner an even larger audience. Less product, less choice, less channels means more viewers per definition.
I watched TNG every damn night it was on. I stayed home for it, it was just about the only thing interesting on TV at that time. I even bought the damn pilot on tape before it was aired. It was atrocious. When it was on TV I stopped watching half way through season one because it was shite. I started watching again when the BBC aired it and I caught an episode of Season 3 by chance. It was not shite. It was also not brilliant, it was good enough to watch but not in any way a masterpiece. Like I said: nothing else on TV at that time even remotely mature Sci-Fi.
But to say that TNG was a masterpiece, come on please. Many of the episodes were rather stale and bland, good enough to watch once but nothing to write home about. Some episodes were brilliant though, nobody will say otherwise.
Yes and you watched everyone just the same. It also won multiple Emmys and nominated for best show. I don’t care you don’t like TNG, you guys sound so old and stuck in your ways I don’t think you guys like much about Star Trek sadly. But many do and why people still watch it today and popular world wide. Not everyone has to love it obviously but its funny how you try to discount the show as if no one watched it or liked it. Yes other than the millions who did and clearly still do.
Narrow minded in the extreme. TNG gave us many of Trek’s finest moments.
No it didn’t. Just like TOS only has a handful of truly memorable episodes, so does TNG. Every season had one, two maybe three really good episodes. The rest was just bland and generic filler. Maybe not terrible, although some come to mind including just about every episode in the first seasons, but really nothing to write home about. Watched it once, don’t want to watch them again.
Yeah that’s your OPINION man. Ever heard of that? We disagree with it. ;)
And ‘We’ is you and who exactly? Are you really going on record here stating that most episodes of TNG and TOS were masterpieces? That if you were to grade them outside of your fondness and love they would all be A’s? Your love for the product colors your objectivity my friend, it’s rather common unfortunately.
The people who disagreed with you lol. Did you really need that explained>
And I love ALL Star Trek. The only one I didn’t love was Enterprise but that has warmed me up in the last few years. But yes it was the only one I gave up on early. I grew up watching every show, starting with TOS. Yes some are better than others, but I love them all. Sadly I come here its the crotchety old men club who can’t seem to love anything about it outside of 1 or 2 things and yet probably watched it for decades just the same. Its unreal.
“The rest was just bland and generic filler. Maybe not terrible, although some come to mind including just about every episode in the first seasons, but really nothing to write home about. Watched it once, don’t want to watch them again.”
Truth. Watched every episode of TNG as they originally aired. Have rewatched Yesterday’s Enterprise and Inner Light…great examples of TNG’s sad, unrealized potential. I don’t own any of them and never will.
You mean TNG, the one who inspired a generation of scientists and engineers, who won the most awards, who became THE top show for a while, who is the overall fan favorite.. Please, screw off back to some Star Wars forum.
Lol Not like Lt Uhura, Scotty, Spock and TOS inspired anyone (I am prob a engineer due to TOS which is why free energy TNG fantasy makes me gag). I mean the nation wanted the first orbitor named Enterprise in 1980 (a year before I was born and way before TNG)- I doubt that would happen today as relatively speaking I think the impact of TNG is insignificant compared to Star Trek TOS, II and IV. Sienfield pop culture references alone will keep TOS more relevant regardless of how all the quantity of low excitement TNG/VOY and now Oreville.
TOS ended in 1969. Seriously. You will end up hating Discovery too sadly the way you go on.
Some of us love the franchise as whole, not just the one show from 50+ years ago. If you keep waiting you will get another TOS, keep waiting.
An excellent report from AP.
The sets look amazing & love their attention to details. Reading some of the preliminary reviews it sure looks like ‘The Orville’ has more drama than comedy. Will find out for sure in less than 2 weeks.
Agree with all of your comments. I just worry about the comparisons to Mash. It’s show that I love and cultural touchstone. They are clearly attempting to follow in some big footsteps. I agree with Anthony though when he says he hopes Fox gives them the opportunity to find their place. It seems really hard for mainstream tv channels to do that with science fiction shows nowadays.
Mash! I meant M*A*S*H!
Given their history I agree that Fox is not the right place for a science fiction show; however MacFarlane has a long and strong history with Fox management which may give ‘The Orville’ some breathing room.
If for whatever reason Fox axed the show in the future MacFarlane can shop the show to Netflix, Amazon or Hulu, similar to what happened to other shows like Arrested Development, Community and The Killing.
Let’s hope that he can indeed do that. But let’s also hope that it has legs like Red Dwarf does, so that it will last a good amount of seasons.
None of those shows are high-concept sci-fi shows
That wasn’t the point but hey, do you want a high-concept sci-fi show that was revived by Netflix?
Black mirror doesn’t require elaborate multi-million dollar spaceship sets and alien prosthetics
@Steph — sadly, The Orville has NONE of the acting chops M*A*S*H had.
Sadly, Discovery has NONE of the acting chops M*A*S*H had.
I’d respectfully disagree on that point. Michelle Yeoh, Jason Isaacs, and Sonequa Martin-Green?
@The River Temarc,
Michelle Yeoh & Jason Isaacs are good actors but they are no Donald Sutherland or Alan Alda.
As for Sonequa Martin-Green, she is not a good actor. She is not even close to Isaacs or Yeoh levels; let alone the ones from M*A*S*H.
Are you referring to ‘The Donald’ i.e. overacting Sutherland? Really now? And what did Alda do besides MASH and playing himself over and over again. I’d say that your hatred of Discovery seems to shine brightly in just about everything you read. I mean, you take just about any opportunity to piss vinegar on a show you haven’t even seen, in completely unrelated topics. What’s next? Post a vinegar comment on Discovery on the Sesame Street boards? That Kermit is a better actor than anyone on Discovery?
Yes, Donald Sutherland the 7 times Golden Globe nominee, he won it twice. And 2 times Emmy nominee, he took home one.
And the same Alan Alda with his 14 Golden Globe nominations, he won 6 of them. Alda the 22 times Emmy nominee, he won 6 times as well. And he was nominated for an Academy Award.
All for MASH and a recurring role in the West Wing, in which he essentially played ‘evil’ himself. Sutherland may have ‘won’ several times, but please let’s concentrate on the utter shite he also played in. It’s like picking pennies from a big pile of literally hundreds of turds. Do enough shitty acting jobs and sometimes perform well enough to be noticed. It seems you are rather obsessed with how many ‘awards’ a person has won, usually nominated and given to them by a ‘committee’ of self interested industry figures. You’re actually promoting the rather dull idea that if you win such-and-such an award that you are a better actor than someone who did not, which is an immature bullshit way of thinking. And simply shows you know very little if nothing about acting.
“And what did Alda do besides MASH and playing himself over and over again.”
Senator Arnold Vinick.
Which was actually Alda playing evil Alda.
MacFarlane’s acting is worse than Shatner’s.
I honestly don’t care much about the show but the more I see of it the more I’m impressed. I think I will be tuning in to the premiere now.
Would really be neat for extreme close ups to see what everything is made up. Are the Ops consoles gloss paint or laminate?
Looks more Trek than Discovery. McFarlane really has a free license to do what he wants, but I can not imagine it working on a mainstream network. This is the show that should be on Netflix!
I wont be overly critical of the quality of the sets. I dont think it looks more Star Trek than Discovery. If you showed me both and said one is Trek and one is a parody I dont think it’s very difficult to figure it out.
I think Orville looks more like TNG. But Discovery isnt trying to look like TNG and Orville clearly is.
@John — it looks more TNG (on TV) than Discovery. It doesn’t look more TOS (TV or film).
It looks like 1990’s Trek… an exact copy… nothing original here.
In all honesty John, it doesn’t. It doesn’t look like a Federation ship, it looks like some ship from Andromeda or better yet a ship of the week from Voyager. This could be some random alien Janeway runs into and that’s not really a positive thing in my opinion. No goofy aliens (aliens look goofy in all the tv ads I’ve seen), trying to do something different (yet feeling like a TNG knock off and being promoted everywhere as such). Look, I hope it does well for McFarlane but outside of the first Ted movie he hasn’t had such a great track record.
Of course it looks cheap and 90s, but it still somewhat resembles a Federation ship, whereas Discovery’s interiors do look like they are from some kind of garbage vessel.
Looks like a Chinese copy. Looks like someone doesn’t have a lot of creativity. Ripping of something wholesale isn’t difficult, it’s a sure sign of laziness.
In other words: Just like Discovery’s relationship with the Kelvin movies. ;)
Really now? But the Kelvin is part of the prime universe. So a progression of this style is simply ‘holy canon’. Ripping of another show until it is a carbon copy is another thing altogether, don’t you think.
Glad to hear the sets hold up. I have set the PVR for this series.
Im not a huge fan of the look. I suppose its in keeping with TNG which, to me now, looks like the past of sci fi. Whereas Discovery, which is supposed to be the past in sci fi looks more like OUR future.
But in a way, its good that both series’ are going with very different “eras”.
It will be perfectly allowable to love (or hate) both series. Im more optimistic for Discovery. But Im also a Star Trek fan. Orville isnt Star Trek so unless its really good, I dont really care what happens to it.
Discovery will always be that awesome ship from Kubrick’s Space Odyssey.
Maybe STD (that’s a terrible abbreviation) will have a zero-G gym where you run in circles up around and back down to the “floor”… Actually, I recall seeing footage from Skylab of one of the astronauts doing this exact thing… in tribute to the first scene on board 2001’s Discovery. Of course Discovery will REALLY always be Captain Cook’s ship, or the space shuttle that was named after it…
@ GraniteTrek: The abbreviation STD was coined by people who don’t like the show to mock it. You’ll notice that it clearly doesn’t follow the pattern established by the earlier shows where it was always an abbreviation of the name part following “Star Trek”. Star Trek has (almost) always used the construct of artificial gravity to avoid having to show zero-G. It wouldn’t make much sense story-wise to suddenly have people running around like a hamster in a wheel.
STD or why does it hurt when I vent my plasma conduit?
Still not crazy about the bridge set, which makes TNG’s look like a textured and lived-in workspace by comparison. Still, that’s by no means a deal-killer given the lighter nature of the show. MacFarlane is hit-or-miss with me, but he’s a clever guy and his love for Trek, SF (and even real science) is genuine and sincere. I’ll look forward to checking this out and giving it a fair chance, just as with Discovery.
I think they just need to turn half the lights out (preferably on one side of the set), to give the place some contrast and snap to the image. As usual, I want the YESTERDAY’S ENTERPRISE bridge!
I like what they’re saying about how seriously they take the show, but all the jokes shown in the previews really undercut it. It makes it look like a parody.
The trailers put out by Fox’s marketing team were a bit misleading. Seth MacFarlane said in several interviews that the show will be closer to ‘Star Trek’ than Futurama & from recent reporting including this article it sounds like he is right.
The Associated Press put out mini-reviews of six upcoming shows including ‘The Orville’. They point out that the show will surprise many people because ‘The Orville’ actually has more drama than comedy; that it is not a “snarky Star Trek spoof”.
The review I read seems to indicate its exactly what the previews made it seem: juvenile and forced.
Well, don’t seem to be able to locate that “What Were They Thinking” review.
Posted it above. To be fair “What Were They Thinking” was meant to describe a class of new shows, not just Orville.
You posted the text of the review without mentioning the name of the writer or the entertainment website where it was published.
Oh well. You think I made it up? hahahahaha
It’s really not that hard, where did you read that review? I love reading reviews & would like to take a look at it.
It’s a Trek parody. Otherwise why try to recreate the look and feel of TNG and mix in comedy? Why not come up with something a little more original.
Yeah, the clips we’ve seen make me less interested. If it was a serious space show that took Trek as inspiration, great! But its clearly a fart joke parody. Seth et al say it isnt but then they need to speak with marketing.
We’ll find out soon enough. I did read a review for the first few episodes, apparently screeners were supplied and it wasn’t reviewed overly well.
Here is the review (entitled “What Were They Thinking”:
“The commercials make this look like a goofy spoof, but MacFarlane and company don’t seem to know what tone they’re going for. In the first few episodes, it veers from sitcom jokes about MacFarlane’s character working with his ex-wife (played by Adrianne Palicki) to a serious story about an alien crew member wanting to change the gender of his baby.
There’s nothing wrong with changing up the tone, and blending comedy and drama. But “The Orville” falls flat, at least judging from early episodes, because the comedy is juvenile, and the drama feels forced.”
*****That describes what I *expected* but Ill still give it a shot. For what its worth, they did not review Discovery as CBS did not provide screeners (which either means it sucks or, as I suspect, they are trying to preserve from major spoilers)
” If it was a serious space show that took Trek as inspiration, great! But its clearly a fart joke parody.”
Well, it is not “a fart joke parody” as both The Associated Press & The Hollywood Reporter clearly saying that it is a serious show with a touch of comedy.
Are they saying based on seeing it? I posted a review from a person who has seen it who does not agree.
They could be basing that on what Seth is saying he wants it to be. What we have seen by the teasers and trailers does not fit your description anymore than saying what we’ve seen of Discovery indicates its a musical.
“Are they saying based on seeing it?”
No, The Associated Press & The Hollywood Reporter just made it up to please their good friend Seth !!
Of course they have seen it. Fox sent multiple episodes to critics for reviews, just all other TV networks.
I realise you will ignore anything that doesnt suit your agenda. But other reviews state just the opposite.
What other reviews?
I told you about The Associated Press & The Hollywood Reporter. I’m sure there will be some negative reviews as well. Point me to the one you’re talking about.
Oh really now. So all the teasers and trailers, they were completely wrong then? Instead of piss and poop jokes we will get mature satire and true dramatic storytelling all packed with really good jokes that are totally not bland and simplistic? Wow. Perhaps in that alternate dimension you live in, right?
‘Instead of piss and poop jokes we will get mature satire and true dramatic storytelling all packed with really good jokes that are totally not bland and simplistic?”
Yep. I didn’t write the reviews, critics did. And most of them are saying that. You’re free to believe what you want, read the reviews or watch the show.
Really now. Wow. We must have missed all of the glowing reviews insisting that this is the best things since the invention of sliced bread. Honestly, I don’t understand you idiots. You piss vinegar over actual Star Trek at every opportunity. But here you are actually defending, no promoting (!) a series that pisses all over your sacred Star Trek. What kind of skewed world you must live in.
Do you require medical attention to deal with your anger? If you do please call the nearest doctor.
Stay well and good luck.
Why should I not be angry with ‘anti-fans’ such as you? Who literally use every opportunity to piss vinegar over a Star Trek show they haven’t seen, who vent their anger and hatred continuously? And then start promoting a damn fart show that is a blatant ego project that rips of everything you hold so dearly and pisses over it. I mean, the fact that you can even do such a thing makes me wonder about your sanity.
@Jeff — I particularly liked the part where “they went through 75 different prototypes for the uniforms until Seth signed off” on what essentially looks like a bus boy’s uniform at an old-school upscale restaurant.
At least this time you didn’t whine about Brannon Braga’s role in the show, yet.
I was surprised at the effort put into the uniforms. They look like they’re supposed to be slightly comic versions of classic sci-fi uniforms. Not just Star Trek, but plenty of movies going back to the 1950’s.
Reading the description of the show (like M*A*S*H in feel) and then watching the ads worries me. How many times have we heard that a show never found its audience because the studio or network didn’t know how to market it? The ads (and the MacFarlane brand) make it look like broad comedy, but people tuning in for broad comedy are likely to be disappointed. Meanwhile, the ads are not likely to interest viewers looking for a show that takes itself seriously.
@ADeweyan — yup, I’d say you called it. Fox is not doing itself any favors by trying to attract fans of Seth MacFarlane’s most familar work with promos that push the FAMILY GUY angle.
Sorry, not impressed by these sets. They look like something a fan built in their basement.
I think that’s for budget reasons. Discovery sets do look like parody or theme parks copies, too, missing the implied “functionality” of previous iterations.
What, like DS9’s docking arms! Very practical for transport of ore!
Difference between functional practicality and quality of visuals. I dont think the sets look cheap per se but fit the over all “parody” feeling. I dont think Discovery sets look remotely cheap. I dont know what Orville costs per episode but Discovery LOOKS much more expensive.
This strikes me as the kind of series that really needs to settle in and find its audience, which Fox is notoriously bad at allowing (see Firefly, for one). M*A*S*H’s combination of drama and comedy is something to aspire to, for sure, but that show had the reputation of a very successful feature film to play off of, and still took several seasons to find its own voice. In some ways this is a riskier venture for Fox than Discovery is for CBS, whatever the respective merits of the two shows.
This makes me wonder if maybe they should have put this on FX or FXX instead.
Yeah for sure. if I was a big Seth fan I’d still not feel overly confident. The show will be expensive and Networks are not known for patience with expensive shows OR sci fi for that matter.
I do wonder if there is an option to move it to a different cable outlet if it gets decent but not stellar ratings.
“Dont expect goofy looking aliens..” This headline posted immediately above a picture of…you guessed it…goofy looking aliens. lol
Great article trekmovie! And I am looking forward to a sci fi comedy! But In this day and age I find the colour palate of Orville distasteful, sets and uniforms. I don’t like the uniform colour even though its somewhat similar of trek. I don’t like all the whites and light beiges. And that stair case looks like something out of a two story plane, not an interstellar vessel. If this was 20 years ago fine it would work, but aside from the modern looking control panels, the colour and style looks dated. Im much happier with the way Discovery looks, literally everything about Discovery and glad that todays Trek does not look like The Orville.
So smart guy, how would you’ve designed the sets and costumes for the Orville, then?
Not being smartass obvious about it, but how about not having somebody’s quarters spread between two decks when you’d want to be able to seal off decks and compartments individually if, say, the ship gets holed!
Ship’s integrity ought to be able to trump having a very pretty helix-esque staircase (but if Seth is really pushing the TNG ‘technology unchained’ notion, then that wouldn’t be a factor, just a bad creative call IMO.)
Wait, what should stairs look like on an interstellar ship? By the way, I think those may be in the two story captains quarters. In case that affects your answer.
@Jeff — two story captains quarters!? Really? That really sounds like they’re trying to be realistic.
Agree. The soft TNG aesthetic…pastels and bright even lighting never set well with me to begin with, not it screams 80’s. Less than enthused to see it recreated here.
I can’t see this being a success. They should play it straight if that’s what they want to do. People will just tune in expecting comedy and they will be disappointed with the lack of laughs.
@James — and M*A*S*H even had a laugh track!
Am I correct in saying that it takes 7 days for new episodes to reach the app?
May of the Fox shows are on Hulu next day.
I’m looking forward to this almost as much as DSC. Seth is a huuuuuge Star Trek fan and a smart guy–I think he knows what’s at stake here. I’m willing to give the show a chance; I just hope FOX and the viewers will, too.
I actually did not know he was on a few episodes of Enterprise until I saw him a few years ago. Yeah he clearly has a love of Star Trek which is why I’m willing to give Orville a chance.
Really Anthony? Are you being serious? ;)
The sets look cheap and tacky compared to TNG! There is no contest. They have a similar feel yes but overall it looks like a cheap knock off.
For me, the best way to watch this is without comparing it to anything else.
@Gary 8.5 — except everything in the article is telling us that’s exactly what they’re striving for …
I tend to agree. There is a TNG feel but in a knock off way. If these sets and visuals were for the actual Star Trek series, oh boy, the outrage would be off the charts!
Yeah true. TNG the sets were amazing, especially for its time. This looks OK, but it looks very small and simple. My guess for budget reason like others (Discovery is clearly a show where budget is not an issue :)) but it no way feels like the scope of a Star Trek set the way the other shows from TNG on felt.
It’s a comedy. They can talk real science all they want. It’s still an irreverent comedy. Go to it with that mindset.
Nope, critics who have actually seen couple episodes are saying it has more drama than comedy.
Now that’s a joke. Orville looks like it’s cut from the same cloth as Ghostbusters, Men in Black and Galaxy Quest–comedies with a healthy dose of drama to keep them grounded enough from spinning off into Python territory. The comparisons to serious, serious Star Trek are silly, seriously.
No one is saying it going to be too serious, only that it is not parody, that there are more drama than the jokes that they showed in the trailers. I’ll wait to see it on September 10 & then decide if it worth watching or not.
But I’m sure you know more than the ones who actually seen it!
Speaking of GQ:
I’m been pondering what kind of one-sided non-compete clause did CBS agree to? They couldn’t launch a series that’d compete with and dilute the Paramount movies’ market but Paramount can launch a series that directly competes and along with Orville contribute to diluting the available market for CBS’ show?
@Disinvited, I’m sure the non-compete was explicit to Trek. As GQ is not Trek, then it wouldn’t really count. Just as I’m sure CBS would be allowed to develop their own Trek-like TV series. However, you’ll notice that GQ would likely not have gone on the air until after the non-compete with CBS ended, anyway, so it might be moot point anyway. If anything GQ is a companion to Trek, and calls attention to it more than it directly competes with it. GQ’s biggest problem now is THE ORVILLE, not DISC, anymore than DISC should be worried about THE ORVILLE, or GQ. However, it appears as though Amazon was planning on a nostalgia trip, using the original cast — which would make it more of a sequel anyway (something not likely contemplated or barred by the non-compete clause). And to that end, it’s hard to imagine all the stars of GQ all agreeing to an open-ended series, especially Weaver and Rickman. More realistically, it would have been a mini-series like the recent GILMORE GIRLS Netflix movies, and less likely a threat to CBS, or itself with the BR movies. Were it to become a true series, more than likely the torch would have had to have been passed, even more so with Rickman gone, to the kids of the GQ stars, or a new cast of a rebooted GQ series, learning that it’s all real, all over again.
Re: …the non-compete was explicit to Trek.
No, it was much more involved than that. It included MISSION IMPOSSIBLE and MANNIX.
And Paramount didn’t acquire Dreamworks’ film catalog until the end of 2005 when the split was decided. So I’d be very surprised, if there wasn’t some negotiation in regards to Paramount acquiring GALAXY QUEST. especially given even its creators acknowledge:
Parisot: Everybody was afraid of being sued. When we made that movie everything we would start to design or come up with, it couldn’t help but be relevant in some way to “Star Trek.”
Shalhoub: We never said “beam.”
Parisot: We were constantly being told we had to change things. Now, I probably shouldn’t admit it, but the adults weren’t watching us too closely when we were making this. DreamWorks, still in their first push, were making a bunch of other movies, and “Gladiator” was a big deal, and we were sort of doing our thing.
Johnson: When you are making a movie with a studio, you always want there to be another movie that’s in trouble, so that’ll get their attention and they’ll basically leave you alone.
Parisot: They were worried about the Captain’s chair, they were worried about the uniforms. I ignored it, so I was actually terrified when it came out.
@Disnivited — I don’t believe I follow you … I was referring to the Bad Robot/Paramount non-compete clause that prevented CBS from making a new Star Trek series for a specified period of time following the re-booted film franchise. When I said explicit to Trek, I was referring only to the that particular alleged deal, which to my knowledge the details of which have never been specified. What I meant was that the non-compete didn’t include language to the effect of “Trek and Trek-like series”, just specific to Trek. But I can certainly imagine Bad Robot would make the same request of M:I. Not sure about MANNIX.
Either way, whether or not one franchise is deemed to compete with another, has absolutely nothing to do with copyright law and trademarks, the latter of which must be vigorously defended. Parody law was in its infancy in the GQ days, and is much more sophisticated today. But even then, it was clear, legally parody protects to the extent that only enough material is borrowed to convey the subject of the parody, but no more. This is a very difficult thing to establish, but I would maintain such discussions have nothing to do with one project competing against another. This is just as relevant to THE ORVILLE, which has nothing to do with CBS, to the extent the acquisition of GQ was the subject of negotiations in 2005. The same issues still apply. Yet, I would argue just as strongly that THE ORVILLE in no way competes with DISC, or Trek in general.
Well, whether or not an actual “Trek equivalency” exists as you contest THE ORVILE and GALAXY GUEST series definitely compete with DISCOVERY for the same ad eyeballs in a sea of other SF shows as well as other TV shows in general that will be out there trying to do the same. And right or wrong, viewers of the shows’ ads meant to entice them to tune-in ARE noticing what they perceive as similarities to previous Trek with THE ORVILLE.
I hope the competition actually makes all the shows better than they would be without it but marketing is not an exact science.
@disinvited — as you correctly observe, Orville and GQ compete generally with the over 500 scripted television shows people make time for each week, and more specifically those who are interested in sci-fi. However both are squarely in the comedy genre which will not necessarily draw the same eyeballs DISC will. And keep in mind despite the stellar cast and significant marketing GQ didn’t do well at the box office. While there’s a considerable following the film gained in home video since, presumably fueling this trip down memory lane, not to mention Guardians of the Galaxy, there’s a huge chasm between that and a successful series that provides and serious competition for the same audience. Look at HHGTTG — a long awaited sci-if comedy with a huge fan base which tanked at the box office.
Re: GQ didn’t do well at the box office.
Neither did the genre film comedy BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, which likewise developed a cult following which caused the launch of a TV series which did do extremely well and like Trek went on to compete against its own spinoff and both did well competing against STAR TREK.
And HHGTTG was both a successful BBC radio and limited run television series BEFORE it went on to become a film BO bomb so you lost me as to what point you were attempting making with that?
Re: Bad Robot/Paramount non-compete clause
I’m just taking the position from the way Orci talked about it, BAD ROBOT had nothing to do with it. It was all hashed out betweeb VIACOM/PARAMOUNT and CBS in the split. Otherwise why were JJ and Bob constantly waiting for Paramount to explain to them why they couldn’t do this in merchandising or that in a TV show if Bad Robot negotiated the deal with CBS? Wouldn’t they know what they signed?
@Disinvited — Paramount and Bad Robot are partners in Trek. What Abrams wants, Paramount wants and negotiated accordingly with CBS. I don’t believe a word Orci ever told us. He lost all credibility with me. I don’t know why you keep bringing up the split. Why would CBS & Viacom negotiate a non-compete clause during the split, and then CBS give Paramount an ultimatum in 2007 to produce another Trek movie or lose the license? The non-compete was a Bad Robot/Paramount negotiation with CBS. Likely Abrams wouldn’t agree to produce and direct without certain guarantees Paramount then had to go out an negotiate with CBS, not to mention paying for the requested provisions. Abrams asked for CBS to stop selling TOS merchandise, but CBS refused, and so on … Abrams knew all about what CBS was agreeing or not agreeing to do.
Re: Why would CBS & Viacom negotiate a non-compete clause during the split…?
Because the NYT reported Gail Berman negotiated with Moonves for Paramount’s right to make a Trek movie in 2006 BEFORE she approached Orci and Kurtzman. It was after talking with them she later approached Abrams to produce which brought in BAD ROBOT. The rectangular parentheticals  are my notes in the following quote from the NYT:
”That year , the corporate behemoth Viacom, which owned “Star Trek,” was splitting itself in two, divorcing its CBS studio (which made the “Trek” shows) from its Paramount studio (which made the films). “Trek” was likely to go to CBS, where another television show might eventually be developed. Gail Berman [Hired in April of 2006 after the split was finalized 4 months prior.], then the president of Paramount, convinced Leslie Moonves, the chief executive of CBS, to allow her one more chance at a “Trek” film; he gave her 18 months to get the cameras rolling or lose the property [This was BEFORE she found new Trek management which was why Les gave her an ultimatum as she had replaced DeLine as head of production who was spearheading STAR TREK:THE BEGINNING which she shelved.] (Under the arrangement CBS retained the “Star Trek” merchandising rights.)
Mr. Kurtzman and Mr. Orci were among the first to learn that “Star Trek” was seeking new management. Then, they were former “Alias” producers writing the screenplay for “Mission: Impossible III” (which Mr. Abrams directed). Paramount executives began quizzing them about “Trek.” ” — ‘New Team Retrofits the Old Starship’ | By DAVE ITZKOFF | NYT | Published: April 23, 2009
Re: Why would CBS & Viacom negotiate a non-compete clause during the split…?
My apologies, I bungled the Berman/DeLine transition in my notes:
“As Paramount Pictures hurries to finalize a deal to make former Fox Entertainment chief Gail Berman its new president, the man she’s replacing is seeking a hefty financial settlement that would bring his time as a studio executive to an abrupt close, said sources at the Viacom Inc.-owned company.
Donald DeLine, who has served just 14 months of his three-year contract at Paramount, is angry about the way his job as the studio’s top creative executive was yanked from under him, friends say. He learned about it not from his boss, new studio chief Brad Grey, but from associates.
Still, DeLine may not leave Paramount altogether. Sources said he had been discussing the possibility of producing some movies for the studio. Some believe DeLine, who sources say was earning a base annual salary of about $2 million plus bonuses, could pocket a multimillion-dollar settlement.” — ‘Exiting Paramount Exec Seeks Deal’|March 26, 2005|Claudia Eller | Times Staff Writer|LA TIMES
That’s my point too. It’s too comical to be compared to serious Trek. To do that is to demean the actual Trek that fans supposedly love so much.
@PEB — we’ll were talking about the fans that voted GQ one of the best Trek movies aren’t we? However much you love or hate GQ, it’s not Star Trek, and it doesn’t begin to do the same thing. However, shows like these do pander to the fans. Imagine if GQ had been Shatner and cast from TOS, or even Stewart and cast from TNG. That’s essentially what GQ is, and likewise with Seth’s teenage dream, here. However good or bad, it’s pandering to the TNG audience that feel abandoned since ENT was cancelled. Of course they’re going to love it.
Totally good points. I am on the side of the fence that will not ever lump Galaxy Quest in with any Trek movie but you’re right this is total pandering. It would just be a massive disappointment if they actually fell for it.
Which is weird cause the reviews Ive read say the opposite. We shall see soon enough.
If it’s straight up comedy, we’re in trouble because the humor in the promos seemed forced, contrived and fell flat. I’m hoping for a fun adventure…some LIGHT humor balanced with adventure and drama..just not too dramatic, Seth can’t cut it. With Discovery knee deep in pretentious serialized angst-ridden drama, this will be the my only chance to get a fun Trek fix. I hope it delivers.
Re: It’s still an irreverent comedy.
So we can just ignore all the salient points M*A*S*H makes about war and medical procedures because comedies can NEVER do anything significant or important?
@Disinvited — You make a very good point. However, comparing oneself to M*A*S*H sets an incredibly high bar. Most sitcoms are NOT M*A*S*H. Certainly MacFarlane tries to make social commentary in FAMILY GUY, but it ain’t even close to being M*A*S*H. Brannon Braga mostly made commentary about Troi’s obsession with chocolate. We’ll see if he has any relevant social commentary to make this time around. Nevertheless, yes ORVILLE may stumble into some salient commentary about the world, but most of his fans are likely going to focus on the sophomoric humor. And gods help us if MacFarlane gets up on a Picard-like soapbox and starts making dramatic speeches. He’s no Alan Alda, or bless his soul, Harry Morgan. And Braga’s no Larry Gelbart. There’s so much talent in this one show, it’s hard to narrow it down … they’ve really set a high bar for themselves. A REALLY high bar … and it doesn’t help that Hulu will be bringing M*A*S*H to their service this Fall.
I think this looks great but out of curiosity, how are they avoiding a lawsuit from cbs/paramount by directly admitting it’s a Star Trek rip off?
Does simply not using the name exempt them? It seems like the similarities are very very evocative of TNG almost to the point of copying.
They aren’t using any of the Star Trek names, characters, copyrights, etc. General look isn’t really that close to TNG. If people could sue over general looks of set designs, all sci-fi would be suing all over sci-fi.
I read an article about this that seemed to wonder the same thing. At one of the recent cons or events, they asked Fox directly and they simply said they had lots of lawyers and werent concerned.
They will also be protected by parody laws if they delve too close. I doubt CBS is too concerned with a comedy version of Star Trek as long as its not using their IP.
@Bryan — they’re basically saying its a parody of TNG. So they can say they’re trying to evoke that look and feel all they want, as long as they don’t outright copy it, in order to parody it. So far it seems like they’ve created their own universe of characters and ships in order to avoid that. But parody won’t cover everything, especially if they start lifting stories and characters out of Trek, music, trademark concepts, etc. I’m sure CBS will be watching, but they also aren’t going to shut down something fans of their brand may like, especially after the Axanar mess. If they get too close, CBS will probably just ask to be cut in on a peice of the action. Paramount is the company that should be concerned since they have the rights to Galaxy Quest, which this project effectively kills. Make no mistake, Fox is walking a fine line with so many hours of Trek out there the original writers of which could easily stumble into inadvertently, but admitting what they’re parodying is not really a problem.
THIS ISN’T STAR TREK!!!! GIVE IT A REST!!!!
LOL at the negativity, including word of mouth regarding the first few episodes. Remember how fantastic TNG’s first season was? Ha – it wasn’t.
Oh, I hadn’t noticed they had “Worf rails” behind the captain’s and first officer’s chairs.
Alright cool now where do I watch this if I’m a cord-cutter??
It’ll be on Hulu.
I’m hoping on Hulu in the US, like they did with Lethal Weapon, 24, and Sleepy Hollow last year. Especially since the nearest Fox broadcast channel just barely reaches me on a perfect day.
@albatrosity — huh? When you cut the cord, you get yourself a pair of rabbit ears to watch terrestrial-based network TV OTA, which this is. Otherwise you have to subscribe to yet another streaming service, you might not otherwise be interested in …
Orrr it can show up on, ya know, one of the streaming services I already pay for. Also my rabbit ears aren’t very effective.
One other point: unfortunately, there are very few actors that can do both comedy and drama equally well. Seth McFarlane does not strike me as the next Alan Alda or Carroll O’Connor.
Seth is apparently the main baddie in the new Soderbergh movie. Case in point – Albert Brooks’ very late-career resurgence as a villain in OUT OF SIGHT and DRIVE. Who would have guessed he had it in him? There was always bite in Brooks’ comedic work (especially BROADCAST NEWS), but if I didn’t love his writing/directing work so much, I might start thinking he missed his calling.
Ive seen him in a couple of things and he was fine but never as a lead. So we shall see.
@The River Temarc — MacFarlane doesn’t have a lot of depth as an actor. From what I’ve seen, he’s not giving us anything more than we’ve already seen in his Western Parody. And sadly the supporting cast seems to have been picked to keep from upstaging him. His deep bass “announcer” voice, further undercuts his believability as a serious actor, forcing him squarely into comedy, as do his instincts. Anything is possible, but it’s hard to see his performance in the trailers so far without lowering my expectations of any new potential talent he brings to the table this time.
I have no respect for Seth for the way he is bashing Discovery in order to split the Trek fan base in order to get viewers for his show. All I can think about when I see this is his Family Guy parodies of Trek. I am not a fan of his style of adolescent humor. This may attract a younger more immature audience but I have no interest in watching from what I’ve seen so far. Slipping back to a 90s look is a huge mistake. And will the per episode dollar figure… he is going to need high ratings or Fox will pull the plug quickly.
He is not bashing discovery, just drawing comparisons. Calm down.
He bashes it. Read the other articles about this show. He puts it down… says Trek lost it’s way, etc.
Not to me.
Star Trek was never a comedy or a parody so I dont see how *not* being a comedy is losing its way. Unless Seth has seen Discovery already, which he hasn’t.
I think Seth is doing the right thing though. He’s savvy enough to see that some people are not embracing Discovery yet (which probably has more to do with a mistrust over Enterprise and the JJ films) and is trying to lure that audience.
Because of the obvious disconnect between what is being shown about Orville and what Seth says, you have to think he’s simply trying to serve a fan base who might not otherwise care, but who’s interest has been piqued. Which is obviously a wise thing to do.
@Trek fan 67,
To borrow your own words, why are you even commenting anymore?
Ahmed, because you still do.
@Trek fan 67,
Unlike you I’m planning on watching The Orville. So unless you’re going to watch the pilot then just follow your own words and don’t comment.
To use your own words, ahmed, I can comment anywhere I want.
@Trek fan 67,
By your own rules, you shouldn’t!
Its been my great pleasure to have been working on this series since June. I’ll be here til December. Working closely with the producers here at FOX has been a wonderful experience. I can’t wait til you all see what this amazing team has been toiling on.
Thank you for stopping by Gabriel.
Is there anything that you can tell us without giving too much away?
‘Nuff said. Thank you, Mr. Koerner. Very much looking forward to the premiere.
I second that.
Do you have any idea when stories about the VFX on the show are going to start being allowed? I’ve been emailing and phoning Todd Adair at Fox off and on since the beginning of June, and twelve weeks later I’m still no closer to getting my article started.
Thank you,Gabe, for helping to make this show. And thank FOX for putting it on easy access antenna TV. I’ll be dvring it to watch when I have the time to.
Still excited for this show.
One thing I’m hoping is they apply that attention to detail is also toward creating timeless dialog. From just the trailers it seems like they stepped too far over the line with “boom bitch”.
I think the actual gag is timeless enough with an overly excited character celebrating the win while trying to rub it in the losers face, but it would have been better to have him yell “Woooooooo!” and maybe “That’s how it’s done” or something similar.
I think phrases like “boom bitch” or “that’s what I’m talking about” and others have too much contemporary feel. Even in the trailer it took me out of the moment and made me think this was a modern person trying to act funny, instead of a real character actually being amusing.
The other moment that stood out as too much “this decade” was when they were talking about eve’s dropping on the captain and the line was “This, this is a thing”.
And another, when the captain says he’s up 2 or 3 times a night going to the bathroom? In the future? With futuristic medicine and nutrition? What the heck is wrong with him? I think the gag would have still worked fine with him just saying he was up once a night, or saying he went 4-5 times a day. In contrast to the yearly urination event of the Locklans (spelling?) it still would have been funny.
Maybe those will fit better in the full story (rather than the short trailer), but at first glance I felt like those were moments where it appeared they were trying too hard and ended feeling like scripted jokes instead of real situational humor.
Yeah, this is the Star Trek I fell in love with. This is the Star Trek I miss. This is the stuff I want to see again. Doesn’t matter whether MacFarlane is a comedian, he’s a better actor than Bakula and others. This will be my main focal point for years. I hope it’ll rock the boat and CBS won’t sue them out of existence…
Better actor than Bakula? Are you from the Mirror Universe???
We’ve truly entered the twilight zone when the juvenile comedy paraody of Star Trek is heralded as “the Star Trek I fell in love with”. Since this never existed before in Star Trek, no its not the Trek you fell in love with.
But hey, if you love it, great!
Hate to break it to you, but The Orville is NOT a ” juvenile comedy paraody”
If it’s like McFarlanes other output, it will be just that.
Yes, obviously the track record McFarlane has suddenly doesn’t exist anymore. He suddenly and somehow changed his entire methodology, acting, scripting and ‘jokes’ to create a masterpiece of mature satire. Honestly, I don’t understand why you are promoting a series that has every intention to piss over your Holy Trek with ‘so-called’ humor. On the other side of this dimension, we are actually getting a real Star Trek series, but that you will piss on at every opportunity. I mean, come on, what kind of debased fandom are you a part of?
Its really weird. By FOX’s own teasers & trailers, its a comedy. Some of the reviews refer to it as juvenile. But Ahmed pretends that none of that exists because he wants to somehow use Orville to criticize Discovery. Weird!
Read the reviews, end of story.
According to some reviews it is. When did you see it, Ahmed?
I’m glad they put so much work into this, but man does that show look cheesy.
@Mawazi — looking back, TNG looks cheesy. Indeed there are some extremely cheesy episodes as well. And Orville is emulating that look, with the same writers, and doing it without the same caliber of actors.
I think that the cheesiness is intentional.
Hey, it costs me nothing, I’m willing to give the show a shot. Having seen interviews with Seth MacFarlane, I can say he’s definitely a whole lot smarter than you may realize watching Family Guy or Ted. Some of the smartest people I know love “dumbed down” humor, maybe it gives their brain a break from whatever else they use it for.
@GraniteTrek — but Seth uses his brain 24/7 to produce and participate in shows and movies like TED, FAMILY GUY, etc. unless you’re suggesting he’s secretly running some kind of council for UN Humanitarian aid to war torn Africa, I’m not really sure what he needs to take a brake from — unless you mean he needs to take a brake from the sophomoric humor he deals in daily, with even more sophomoric humor?
Orville cost me nothing, too.
I will watch it.
i will watch Discovery as well.
It’s still weird to me that the articles about Orville come off on this page seem to be pushed with a little more positivity than the articles about Discovery. Reading the article, it felt more like a pitch to watch this than Disco. Not trying to start anything just a strong feeling I had by the end of this write-up and was wondering why.
Yes, Trekmovie the only website that is covering ‘Discovery’ non-stop with almost daily articles about the show, even more than the official site startrek.com & other trek sites, is being negative about ‘Discovery’ and trying to push people away from it!!
Plenty of Discovery coverage lately on Trekmovie.com. I am curious about both that ans Orville and I hope both will surprise me!
@PEB — I’m not sure I necessarily agree with your perspective, but I will say this: MacFarlane is a friend of Trek. And there’s plenty of room for both DISC and ORVILLE, as they don’t really compete. So there’s every reason to help MacFarlane here.
I think what you are seeing is some actual inter-writer fighting (TNG guys upset the studios have left them behind, STID upset they got replaced, etc) interspersed with a culture war – why is TOS still alive and boring TNG forgotten??? The big surprise for me was how mad the Hidden Frontier director guy was that all the attention is on TOS / TOS era fan films when his TNG fan film was pretty good for TNG given it tried to incorporate TOS into it (Tholian war, on the edge of the frontier, corrupt bureaucraeven had some TOS ship appearances like a 23rd century ship/crew gone rouge, etc).
There is no question this could be a good show, but they’re just trying to ride on Star Trek’s coattails. They are taking advantage of the fact that ST is moving away from its traditional look and feel with the Kelvin Universe and they’re jumping on this occasion to fill the void and offer disappointed fans a show that will give them what they’ve been missing… They should come up with their own concept.
@Silvereyes — good perspective. I agree.
Yeah I guess. I DO think Seth is saying things specifically to lure in a Trek audience. It would not surprise me if Fox is paying certain Trek sites for coverage either. Which is totally fine.
I think their visual style is TNG-ish because of Seth’s feelings and not because Discovery is “TOS era” though.
I prefer the comedy of another Seth. SETH MEYERS!
I couldnt find a lot of reviews but to be fair, haven’t looked that hard. Fox made several episodes available for reviewers though so they will likely be coming more often. The ones I did fine werent exactly rave reviews.
But not scathing either. Im still interested. And have my PVR set and am looking forward to it!
” It happens that it’s easier to sell The Orville as a rollicking comedy filled with Seth MacFarlane one-liners, goofy aliens and sci-fi gags, rather than as a very earnest homage to the original Star Trek in which an hourlong runtime allows for some character-driven comedy, but also a lot of sincerity.
It’s not Galaxy Quest, and I have to admit that it took the better part of the pilot before I was even vaguely settled into the rhythms of the show, which is either my fault or the show’s fault or Fox marketing’s fault, something I’ll try to decide before I write a real review. The retro-futuristic effects are fine, the production design is top-notch, and the humor is mostly lazy, with a few exceptions. MacFarlane does many things spectacularly well, but I don’t find him a very interesting leading man — and he’s definitely meant to be that here.
His character also comes across as more of a dick, and as more of a dick more consistently, than MacFarlane or the show realizes. Scott Grimes and Adrianne Palicki have the most screentime of anybody in the supporting cast and both are fine, with Grimes having the more fully realized role. It’s funny/odd to see Halston Sage buried in makeup as an alien security officer. And the joke with the Norm Macdonald-voiced goo, a central piece of early trailers, is that character’s only appearance in the pilot. More on The Orville very soon, since it has an early premiere!
Desire to Watch Again: Desire? Limited. Not enough in the pilot works to fill me with active desire for more. Curiosity, though? High. The Orville is trying something interesting and maybe strange and after one episode I definitely can’t say that I like what it’s trying, but I can’t really say that I don’t like it either.”
“The commercials make this look like a goofy spoof, but MacFarlane and company don’t seem to know what tone they’re going for. In the first few episodes, it veers from sitcom jokes about MacFarlane’s character working with his ex-wife (played by Adrianne Palicki) to a serious story about an alien crew member wanting to change the gender of his baby.
There’s nothing wrong with changing up the tone, and blending comedy and drama. But “The Orville” falls flat, at least judging from early episodes, because the comedy is juvenile, and the drama feels forced. ”
“Spoofing sci-fi classics is a popular trend this season, but Seth MacFarlane’s splashy salute to Star Trek for Fox, The Orville, can’t decide if it’s a knockabout parody or an earnest homage and fumbles at both, not as hilarious nor as exciting as it needs to be. Just as derivative but more successful because it commits to its goofiness is Fox’s X-Files–like paranormal sitcom Ghosted, “
Time magazine short review:
This overstuffed and perhaps overambitious hour was created by and stars Family Guy mastermind Seth MacFarlane and yet plays it entirely straight.
Indeed, the series, an overt homage to the original Star Trek, has far fewer out-and-out jokes than one might expect, instead relying on a general tone of zany adventurousness to earn your attention.
Though far from perfect in its early going, the show’s fun, sunny energy could win over fans of classic sci-fi and those who vibe with MacFarlane’s geekier, less nihilistic impulses.
Reviews are helpful, but my viewing experience will be the final decider for me.
Yeah, I tend to read reviews to get a general sense about an upcoming show or a movie but reviews are never the main factor to watch something or not. Sometime I end up liking a movie/TV shows even when they were panned by critics.
That is so true Ahmed.
Sometimes, if the critics really pan a show that makes me MORE interested, not less!
The Associated Press
Fall’s freshest breath of air transports viewers into airless outer space on “The Orville.”
It’s the latest brainchild of Seth MacFarlane, who also stars. Thanks to his bad-boy image as the force behind such cheeky projects as “Family Guy” and “Ted,” this enterprise (pun intended) is almost certain to initially catch viewers by surprise. Why? It’s more drama than comedy. And while adopting the futuristic visual flair of circa-19[90s] “Star Trek,” it’s no snarky “Star Trek” spoof, but a sincere homage in the form of a space adventure series in its own right.
Premiering on Fox on Sept. 10, it’s a risky voyage for MacFarlane, as the Commanding Officer of the Orville spaceship — and the show he built around it. Will viewers want to sign on for a trip into the heavens with the hopefulness and goodwill that has kept “Star Trek” aloft? In any case, “The Orville” is the season’s one true fresh entry, a show daring to be different, boldly going where no other fall show dares to go.
Glad to drop in to TM if only to express my extreme distaste for Seth MacFarlane’s spank rag, Orville. Looks horrible. I hate that he overrode his designer and jotted down his napkin design for the ship, because the shit looks ridiculous. He’s a pox on art.
…what a DICK!
Also – Seth is a militant atheist – TNG pretty much *never* even mentioned anything religious – but I bet $100 that all the allegories they mention will just be Seth going ” haha people who believe in God – haha “.
…if u want religion, u’ve come to the wrong place [eyesroll]
Meh, to each their own. Some say they can’t wait to see this. All I see is Seth McFarlane’s personal desire to live out his trek fantasy.
Some say Disco is gonna fail. I say Orville is gonna be cancelled after 3 episodes.
Never make predictions like that.
You never know, after 3 episodes, they could be talking about RENEWAL!
“They want to tell serious sci-fi stories with a message of hope and optimism. They want to to make people think through allegory while making them laugh through relatable characters and situations.” <–This sums up the show nicely, telling me what kind of show it's going to be, without giving anything away. I still don't have any concrete notion as to what kind of show DSC is going to be, whether I might like it or not.
Modeling The Orville's quantum drive on Alcubierre's work is a good idea, as it gives a solid scientific basis for the technology———something that was never done with Trek's warp drive.
Question re: “…such as how the wall paneling on the ship is supposed to be a form of planet life that acts as CO² scrubber.”
You mean *plant* life, right?
A bright, light ship for a bright, light hopeful future. That works for me Seth! Having the man who destroyed Star Trek and couldn’t write convincing human drama if his life depended on it though – Brannon Braga – most certainly does not. Unless he’s going to create the comedy element for audiences through the sheer awfulness of his scripts.
Great write-up, Anthony!
THIS is how u do it! The Orville is my kind of show! Thank you, Seth! =D
Haters can go watch one-and-done disco nutrek flashy fakeness [eyesroll]
LOVE The Orville! It’s the only show on TV this season that I actually look forward to seeing. I hope it runs forever, any chance of getting a “back 9” episodes this season? 13 is just not enough!