Review: ‘The Orville’ Pilot An Uneven But Promising Homage To ‘Star Trek’

Goodman things The Orville and Discovery are not rivals

Episode 1 – “Old Wounds”

Written by Seth MacFarlane

Directed by Jon Favreau

Let me make this clear at the outset: The Orville is an unabashed, full-throated love letter to Star Trek. From the opening shot of the first episode, featuring a gleaming futuristic city bathed in sunlight, it is very obvious just what kind of a show this wants to be.

Series creator and star Seth MacFarlane has denied a strong correlation to Gene Roddenberry’s creation, but the similarities are IMPOSSIBLE to miss. The production design, staging, music, and general tone all evoke a feeling of familiarity and nostalgia. Fans of Star Trek, particularly The Next Generation, will find the trappings instantly comfortable.

The show takes place aboard the U.S.S. Orville, a Planetary Union exploratory ship charged with facing “the wonders and dangers of outer space, while also dealing with the problems of everyday life”.

MacFarlane stars as Captain Ed Mercer, with Friday Night Lights’ Adrianne Palicki playing Kelly Grayson, the Orville’s first officer and Mercer’s ex-wife. The cast is rounded out by Scott Grimes, Trek veteran Penny Johnson Jerald, Halston Sage, J Lee, Mark Jackson, and Chad L. Coleman. Grimes’ character, Gordon Malloy, steals almost every scene he’s in, while Alara, a junior security officer played by Halston Sage (seen below), is a character that the show may focus on more in the future.

The first episode does a good job setting up the premise and introducing the characters, all of whom are distinctly different from each other in personality, giving the show a variety of different voices. The Krill, who look like a cross between a Cardassian and Krall from Star Trek Beyond, are the show’s villains. The very Trek-ish plot involves our heroes and the Krill competing for a powerful quantum device that can be used for both good and bad.

While the show definitely nails down the Trek feeling, it’s also very much a Seth MacFarlane vehicle, with the kind of broad humor he is known for.  That sensibility, familiar to anyone who has watched Family GuyAmerican Dad, or Ted, can be off-putting to some, and ultimately I think the show’s success will come down to how appealing that kind of humor is to viewers.

The potential for consistent Trek-like storytelling is definitely there. The show boasts a high Trek pedigree behind the scenes, with Brannon Braga and David Goodman involved as executive producers, Andre Bormanis as a supervising producer/writer, Jonathan Frakes, Robert Duncan McNeill, and James Conway behind the camera, and John Debney providing music.

The Orville attempts to straddle a dramatic and comedic tone, and the results, at least early on, are uneven. It vacillates between the two, often at the drop of a dime, and the transition can feel jarring at times. To be fair, the kind of “situation dramedy” they’re attempting to do has historically been very tricky to pull off, with M*A*S*H probably being the most successful example of it, and even that program needed time to find the right balance. I believe, given enough time, this show will find it.

And I think it will be given that time. Fox is clearly making a strong commitment to this show and its star, pouring a great deal of resources into the visual effects, sets, and makeup. Given that kind of support, not to mention that MacFarlane is a major moneymaker for Fox, I think the show will be allowed enough time to find itself. MacFarlane does too.

Bottom line – The Orville is an amusing and potentially rewarding sci-fi show that Star Trek fans should have a look at.

The Orville premieres on Fox on Sunday, Sept. 10 at 8:00 pm eastern, following an NFL doubleheader. The second episode airs the following Sunday at the same time following another NFL doubleheader. It then moves to its regular Thursday time slot on September 21st at 9 pm.

For more on The Orville, check out TrekMovie’s Orville category for all of our coverage.

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I think that it is a mistake to have the first two episodes on Sunday.
What if people don’t follow to Thursday?

My DVR will follow it to Thursday.

But yes, in spite of what some claim the majority of tv viewers still watch tv in the more traditional fashion and some viewers following the show may not move to Thursday with it.

@Kirok — especially the VCR-programming era of old TNG fans who will be most interested in this “love letter” to them.

@Curious Cadet

I seriously doubt anyone who hasn’t progressed beyond the VCR would even be watching. This is a “love letter” perhaps in the same way “These are the Voyages” was a “love letter”. In that, it’s not.

@Kirok — well I would agree with your “love letter” comment. However, most of the people complaining about DISCOVERY are citing the departure from the TNG Klingons, and authentic 1960s set designs. This group also seems perplexed at what’s required to stream anything on their TV. The VCR became a DVR, which wasn’t that much more complicated in terms of what it did (judging from my 80 year old mother’s ease of adaptation). But beyond that, at least THE ORVILLE is on free network TV which can still be picked up with a set of rabbit ears, or part of a basic cable package, they’ve been blindly paying for without question since the 1980s.

@Curious Cadet

Most of the complaints on Discovery seem to be based on two things. The fact that it is streaming only on a service they have no desire to add on (for a multitude of reasons) and that it is a not a setting or tone they would like a new Trek show to be in. Beyond that I’d say it is a stretch to say that any more than a precious few are “blindly” paying for cable. Most are keenly aware of their budgets and know exactly what they are paying for. And if they are continuing to pay it, odds are they find the service minimumily acceptable or better. This group does not seem to be perplexed at the concept of streaming as many have admitted to streaming things and even having already subscribed to one or more streaming services.

Well I am 26 and I am more than happy to give this love letter a chance…

So how would I watch it on Roku?

I added my ROKU recently JUST FOR Discovery. You scan or search for CBS All Access. Sign up to pay for this through ROKU payments monthly. It actually was fairly simple. My 2015 UHD Vizio can pre added apps, and NO way to add CBS, so I was thankful ROKU had it. I paid $30.00 for mine on Amazon. It comes(there are Many different versions of Roku, and price points) with HDMI and other cables.

I don’t see the Orville on any channel as advertised

I recorded mine off WAVE cable dvr under FOX.

What BETTER lead in to find an audience, than a major game?

How was the premiere from the standpoint of “family-friendliness”? On par with Family guy? Better?

There’s a semi-dirty gag at the beginning, but you need to be an adult to really get it. The rest of the show was fine.

What exactly is “family friendly” anyways? Where is the logic in keeping things from children that are simply part of the world that they live in? How does this benefit them? Orchestrating a false narrative of the world does nothing to prepare them for how things really are. They learn this in school from other kids by grade 3 or 4 anyways. What are “bad words” when you come come down to it? What’s the big deal with sex? Kids were made by people having sex and everybody does it. I find this type of question indicative of boring, pampered and fragile minds, usually the type that turn to silly superstition and absurd religion with a made up sky god because they need an emotional baby blanket to deal with reality.

Well put, Luke.

ok then….

Point well made. Also, denying that ‘sex’ is a real thing and not giving your children the best possible introduction into it is a sure thing for teen pregnancies and rape culture. This puritan nonsense left the building roughly after the Victorians did.

I’ll disagree vehemently on your attitudes towards sex. One can educate their children on sex while still not wanting them to watch TV with lots of sex. Because TV sex is where you will warp kids minds.

I’d rather my 8-12 year olds learn about sex from adults– their parents, their teachers, and other mature people. What I wouldn’t want is for my kids to watch sex the way its portrayed on shows that treat it like a fun adventure, and not the serious part of human life that it is, particularly at a young stage in their life.

So yes, there is something to be said for “family friendly” shows. Shows parents can feel comfortable not having to monitor when their 8 year old sits down to watch it.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could reduce all the violence in movies and TV. I don’t mind sex as long as it’s not ‘we just met, let’s hop into bed,’ or the smirky objectifying of women.

I really worry about what kids are exposed to these days. I think the best preventive for warped minds is [a] parent/parents who show unconditional love in the family and teach values of peace, respect, curiosity, and a healthy sense of humor about life. Y’know, Trek values ;^)

Made up sky god? Wow, that’s offensive. And just because everybody has sex, doesn’t mean I need my 1st and 6th grader watching it depicted on TV or hearing coarse language. I for one find people that swear every other word quite annoying. But, just my opinion.

As for boring, fragile minds if a parent cares what their kids watch? Wow.

OK, Sky God that may or may not be made up. How’s that?

Word, Trex.

Sounds like some of these guys don’t have kids, fortunately.

Offensive indeed. I prefer the term wormhole aliens.

Considering how sociopathic, mischievous and cruel the god is (Talking an elderly guy into murdering his own son just to make a point? Making most of the mankind drown just to make a point?), ask yourself: would you prefer him to be real? And be honest.

Really, it’s a disturbingly abusive relationship, the one between the god and us. I, for one, am glad he doesn’t exist. :P

Thar be monsters in the Old Testament. And one of them wants to be worshipped. Or else!

Reminds me of a Trek episode. Or movie.

Sky God? Pfft, I prefer the term that George Carlin coined: “The Invisible old man who lives in the sky.”

With regards to “bad language” I utterly agree. Not being American, I never got this obsession with language issues, giving “The King’s Speech” an R-Rating for uttering the f-bomb during a stutter therapy!

When it comes to sex… sorry, not everybody does it… unfortunately :-( But apart from that, you’re right about this morality being solely based on religious ideas that – once transplanted on your mind during childhood and puberty – are not easily overcome. I’m 37 and I’m still struggling with that upbringing, causing moral ramblings of epic proportions when it comes to nudity and sex in proper shows and movies.

And violence… don’t let me get started on this one. You have no idea how much I would like to have a gorehound’s mindset on graphic violence but I simply don’t. I can watch hard-on horror movies but only if I keep them on a separate “mental shelf”, mentally filed under “video nasty”… But in mainstream entertainment, I’m still having a hard time coming to terms with the excessive expansion of gore and grit and the facts it is watched by many young kids these days.
I guess it’s mainly because these elements used to be (and to some extend still) outlawed as “crimes against human dignity” in Germany, rather inconsistently lately, but censorship is still more present than in any other western country I know of. I wish to overcome these mental boundaries set up by parent upbringing and the laws of my country for decades…

All of this makes it very difficult to be looking forward to such an important show like Discovery. It’s one thing to accept these features in horror movies or isolated genre shows, but in mainstream franchise… it’s so hard to open up and relax about it… Sorry, just being me again…

Got to grow up man. You’re 37. The real world will always be more ‘graphic’ than anything you find on a 1 hour TV show….OK not counting GOT. ;)

“The real world will always be more ‘graphic’ than anything you find on a 1 hour TV show.”

My gosh, that’s the whole point of it! Yes, there are horrible crimes on this planet. People killed in civil wars or shot by drug syndicates. No question about that. Dealing with those THEMES is entirely welcome. But the GRAPHIC depiction is a whole different story.

If your uncle or niece was killed by criminals, would you want the “remains” be photographed, publicly depicted and gazed upon by strangers online? But that’s exactly what happens to fictional characters in certain movies or TV shows.

You can deal with everything in movies, but do you have to do it in full graphic detail? That question is at the heart of that rift. I would even go so far to say that it’s okay to show all the details in marginal niche movies such as slashers or R-Rated action flicks because you still got the choice not to watch.

But when it comes to mainstream franchises followed by millions upon millions, it because a VERY delicate issue. Because, despite of what you keep telling me, it is NOT that easy to give it a pass. It becomes embeddded in people’s minds, it become obligatory watchings for generations to come…

I dunno. There’s a part of me who wants to enjoy that, but another part keeps telling me this is simply wrong!

I get your point exactly. I have a sort of mental shelf for some of the things I watch, too, and cannot stomach full-on horror movies.

I have watched things on Netflix [“Narcos”] and Amazon [“Fortitude”]that are pretty gory, and Narcos is pretty sexist, because of the drug lord culture.

But I just can’t deal with Game of Thrones. Way too violent and way too much T&A. I wouldn’t claim rampant sexism because there are some very strong female characters, but I just can’t handle that particular fictional world. Gory AND violent.

Some mental images just won’t go away.

Not a matter of a ‘sky god.’ It’s about childhood development. Read up on that sometime, Luke. You know, by people who study this sort of thing. Scientists. Star Trek is big on scientists.

Well put, Coffee.

It may be going too far, though. For example, what’s the American obsession with female nipples, or rather, with hiding them? Surely it is not done in the sake of healthy childhood development. After all, children already are familiar with nipples, and they know how yummy nipples are. That’s a knowledge every mammal is born with.

@Paul – nudity is a weird thing. God forbid kids know what naked humans look like!

Especially naked men.

You can tell Hollywood is run by men. Heaven forbid they show anything frontal.

What a strange society we live in!

While I agree to an extent there are always mitigating circumstances. Words aren’t just words. With context and power they can be used to demean and hurt others.

Even with parents providing that context children of a certain age may not fully understand that or be ,matured enough mentally to handle it properly.

You’re right and wrong at the same time. Words can really be a sharp weapon. But the repetitive, out-of-sexual-context use of the f-bomb certainly isn’t. If anything, it is plain stupid to squeeze as many f-bombs into one sentence, as it’s often done in R-Rated movies and TV-MA shows. It’s not harmful to kids but a nuisance to everyone at best. Your American obession with certain sexually related words is ludicrous from my European POV. R-Rated movies based on language alone are rated 12+ in my place, while even your PG-13 scary movies are rated 16+.

I’m a teacher and even in my country, students tend to use f-bombs regularly. Imagine: English f-bombs in German sentences. It’s just funny, not provocative or offensive at all. If anything, you guys need to relax on that issue ASAP. Cut back on graphic violence for a change!

You might appreciate the hilarity of a scene in “Margin Call” when several stockbrokers are having a showdown in a conference room.

“F you.”
“F you!”
“F me, F YOU!”
“F me, F YOU! F YOU!”

Ape-like posturing, but instead of chest-beating, bad language :^D

Luke, do you have kids?

If so, you’re actually ok with cussing in front of them and letting them watch R-rated material?


Well, you let them watch shows where people are routinely killed, murdered and/or injured. So you’re fine with that apparently, you may even explain it away as ‘not real’. Even in Star Trek people are killed often. It’s just these double standards that make you so damn hypocritical. Sex and swearing are bad but killing people is ok. A perfectly natural and completely human act and the human body is bad, but murdering is ok. Because it’s all just made up.

“Sex and swearing are bad but killing people is ok.”

Gosh… you fail to see the point. Killing people is never okay but movies deal with these issues in a fictional way. Crime shows have done so for six decades. The problem starts with GRAPHIC depictions of those acts. Because, honestly, that’s neither good for curious kids nor adults when exposed to it in MAINSTREAM media. When you voluntarily watch a slasher movie or hard-in action flick as an adult, it is YOUR CHOICE! But when you “have to” watch it because it’s the trendy thing everybody watches, that’s worrisome.

As with sex (and sexual swearing)… yes, while I’m totally unexperienced in that realm, I agree that sex is natural thing, as long as it happens in your own secluded bedroom.
But public intercourse is not acceptable. What else is the depiction of sexualized nudity on TV? Let alone the uncensored and discontextualized acts committed by the millions online? No one on this planet can tell me that non-simulated intercourse filmed for an online audience of millions is a “natural thing” one should relax about…

Yes, there won’t be any hardcore scenes on Trek any time soon, but nudity is the gateway to all of that… If you want to draw a line, a graphic three-some is not the best place to start…

My father used to say: “Children are not the problem, grownups are. It is not children that have problems with nudity and sex, it is grownups”. Your double standard hypocrisy is a fine example of this and how you are not even able to see that you are contextualizing violence and murder thus framing it and defusing it. Making it normal. Most likely because that is what you have been exposed to your entire life.

Children do not have any problems with seeing and understanding both nudity and sexual intercourse. But if parents are too afraid to tell them, too uncomfortable because of the taboo surrounding it and the questions their children might ask, then children will find out about it themselves. Very quickly and without any parenting skills from you. And then you have absolutely no control about what exactly it is they pick up, where they pick it up nor from whom they learn this. And that is precisely what feeds rape culture, child pregnancies and sexual inequality / domination.

It is not the children that make subjects such as these taboo, it is the grownups. The only thing you are showing here is how much you are a product of notions rammed into you by whatever cultural environment you live in. Remarks such as ‘public intercourse is not acceptable’ are a rather pisspoor example of that because it hides the notion that if sex were not taboo then we would all fuck each other on the streets.

Damn, Bert, you’re arrogant and smug.

Do you have kids? Are you a child psychologist?

If not, then STFU. Seriously. You don’t know WTF you’re talking about.

Well said, Bert!

When you voluntarily watch a slasher movie or hard-in action flick as an adult, it is YOUR CHOICE! But when you “have to” watch it because it’s the trendy thing everybody watches, that’s worrisome.

I find it worrisome that some people feel they have to watch something because it’s popular

I do, Bert? How do you know what I let my kids watch?

Do you have kids? If so, I assume you let them watch whatever you want.

There’s a difference between educating your children about sex (and determining an age that they are ready to understand it), and exposing them to crass jokes or crude representations of it. If you don’t think your six-year-old is ready for ‘the talk,’ I don’t think that makes you a puritan. Heck, if you find the content of the average sitcom an inappropriate or unhealthy depiction of sex and not exactly the kind of role model for understanding it you want your kids to have, I think that’s pretty darn reasonable, too.

There’s a difference between a false narrative and exposing your children to things only once they are old or mature enough to healthily understand it- and there’s a difference between screening out unhealthy attitudes toward *any* issue and denying that issue exists or hiding it from your kids. That doesn’t mean exposing them to something with an unhealthy view of it, or one that contradicts what you’re trying to teach them, is the only alternative to such an extreme, either.

I’m sure it’s less coarse than Family Guy, and, if parental ratings are to be believed, it’s surely less “mature” than Discovery is with it’s TV-MA rating.

@Ian — I wouldn’t be certain that DISC will be rated TV-MA as a series overall. Individual episodes of a series can have different ratings, the same also being true for ORVILLE. Indeed, all we know for sure is that the DISC trailers are rated TV-MA, which may be intentional for placement to specific audiences. Not only that but I believe there are requirements for the ratings which may be subject to the number of “mature” instances over a period of time. So a 3 minute trailer with numerous scenes of graphic violence, etc. one after the other, would be rated differently than the same depictions spread out over an hour.

I don’t think that’s how the ratings work. They don’t note the rating in a trailer as TV-MA if the show it’s advertising isn’t TV-MA. Nothing we’ve seen in the trailers was more violent or sexual than anything we ever saw on “Enterprise,” the only series to warrant occasional TV-14 ratings.
Yes, not all episodes of Discovery will necessarily be TV-MA, but some definitely are.

So the “violence level” goes down if it’s a smaller average of the action.

Heh. Fascinating.

They had an ejaculation joke right at the start. But kids wont get it.

They discussed “balls” but thats pretty tame these days.

The overall plot revolved around the Captain catching his wife in bed with someone.

“Bitch” was used several times.

Mostly, kids wont really get the show. They might like it as a space show though. Its not out of the realm of appropriate…more so its not really a kids show.

Definitely some references to sexual topics- nothing explicit. A couple of moments that are not quite gory, but… I wouldn’t let my three year old watch. Nowhere NEAR Family Guy, but definitely things that TV Trek wouldn’t name-drop.

Personally (from a fairly conservative viewpoint), I don’t know that I’d show it to a kid, but I also know I’m a lot more cautious in regards to sex-references (in this case, mostly to an affair) than most folks nowadays.

I’d put it on the innocuous side of PG-13, or possibly the strong side of PG.

When does it hit the app for people who don’t get Fox?

Fox usually put its shows up the next day. They haven’t specifically said anything about timing for The Orville so I’d imagine it’s the usual pattern.

“In general, all current season FOX show episodes are available to watch next day on or the FOX NOW app. For most returning FOX shows (i.e., shows that have been on the air more than 1 season), logging in with a participating TV provider is required to access episodes the next day. Without a participating pay TV provider, new episodes unlock 8 days after they air on TV. ”

Looks like I get it the day after for the first season, and seasons 2 and beyond are 8 days later.

I take it you don’t subscribe to Hulu? The episode should be available a day later on Hulu.
Without paying in some form (cable/satellite/Hulu), or putting up an antenna to watch your local Fox affiliate, you won’t see this quickly, no.

@Matt Wright,

Hulu team tweeted this:

“The Orville will be available in our on-demand library the day after it airs on TV”

@naHQun — just curious where you live that you don’t get FOX? I thought they had 100% coverage throughout the US now. Even with an OTA antenna you should be able to receive a local FOX station in most locations.

@Curious Cadet, I’m near French Lick, IN. My OTA antenna doesn’t pick up anything, so I just don’t watch TV.

I was able to watch it on FOX NOW on my ROKU right after it aired.

I don’t have a Roku, still waiting for it to hip the app.
Roku needs an HD TV, yeah?

@naHQun — not necessarily. Depends on the Roku model. Either way, you can buy a cheap HDMI adapter to get your output into an old analogue TV if that’s what you need.

I was really looking forward to this as a nice companion to Discovery, but this review and Cinemablend’s (which is always untrustworthy-ly positive) review are the best reviews I have seen of the show. I will still check it out, but now am holding out very little hope this will be good.

Discovery is still looking great though.

@Ometiklan — the reviews have been absolutely scathing — especially from the major industry sources like The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Deadline Hollywood, not to mention mainstream sources like USA TODAY, TV Line, and Newsday, and various local reviews. Metacritic has 11 reviews so far, and a score of 34.

That said, I’m looking forward to seeing the show for myself, in part because I loved GALAXY QUEST, generally like Seth MacFarlane’s sitcoms (even though I despise him as an actor), and of course am a Star Trek fan. But as I mentioned elsewhere — it’s a good thing FOX isn’t trying to launch a streaming network with this series. Given the reviews so far, I would definitely not pay to watch this thing.

Rotten Tomatoes is presently at 30% Rotten with 10 reviews.

I find it fascinating that people are still supporting THE ORVILLE despite the horrible reviews, when many of those same people would be the first to point to such excoriating reviews as proof Bad Robot’s Trek was a failure — and some will likely do exactly that if DISCOVERY gets even one single negative review.

@Curious Cadet,

“I find it fascinating that people are still supporting THE ORVILLE despite the horrible reviews”

You act like a review is the only factor when it comes to viewing entertainment, guess what? In most cases, it is not.

And it’s rather funny that you expect people to drop their support for The Orville before even watching a single episode.

“And it’s rather funny that you expect people to drop their support for The Orville before even watching a single episode.”

Absolutely, I agree. But if Discovery were overwhelmingly pulling these kinds of reviews, would you be so quick to dismiss them?

@Michael Hall,

I’m not dismissing the reviews altogether. As you can see from my comment up-thread I read most of them and while I don’t agree with the majority of the opinions expressed in those reviews since I don’t consider some of the issues problematic, like the show is trying to imitate Star Trek, I’m a bit concerned about the tone of the show.

But reviews would never stop me from watching the pilot, whether it’s The Orville or Discovery.

When Discovery’s reviews come out I’ll read them. Whether it is negative or not; I’m not going to tell people to not watch the show like Curious Cadet is doing, nor I’m going to grab every negative review under the sun and gloat about the “failure” of a show before even watching it.

At the end of the day I don’t need reviews to tell me if I’m going to enjoy a show or not, that would be up to me.

Fair enough.

If Discovery got these kinds of advanced reviews, Ahmed would be screaming them from every mountain top.

nah, its that you tried to claim it was getting good reviews and when people showed you it wasnt, you argued that the reviews dont matter.

Of course reviews dont matter to ones personal enjoyment. However, reviews do matter to a degree. They impact whether an audience at large will take the time to watch. Thats the whole point.

By the way, Orville sucked. So all those bad reviews were correct.

Wow. More major negative dumps on Orville by THE NEW YORK TIMES, THE WASHINGTON POST, CNN, INDIEWIRE, SLASHFILM, SLATE, DAILY NEWS, CNET, and on an on … doesn’t seem like it’s going to get any serious positive reviews.

Its a shame, if it really 8s as bad as the early reviews make out….

@Curious Cadet,

Considering that the Washington Post reviewer is complaining that MacFarlane “was replaced with a clone who doesn’t know how to make funny TV anymore?” and The New York Times’s main argument that The Orville is emulating Star Trek and the rest of the reviews are following the same pattern, it’s fair to say that these reviews are missing the point of the show & won’t affect my views in any way until I watch the show.

But carry on, I think you missed the Playboy negative review somewhere!

The support for Orville despite its potential tonal problems, bad writing and acting etc. has to be seen in context with the current situation on TV. Everything popular is dark, gloomy, violent and far too serious and it looks like DISCO will be heavily in that vein as well. We all agree that NuBSG, GOT or The Expanse are great shows, but do we want EVERYTHING to be like that, including our own Star Trek?

The Orville may be a bad show after all, but what it represents is symbol for old unspoilt, innocent, campy and goofy genre entertainment of the past, our childhoods. And while we cannot get that era back, it’s nice to see that there is some throwback nostalgia out there that doesn’t completely neglect our roots. Even if it turns out to be a galactic pile of poop, it’s still worth a try.

I’m not saying it’s going to be “better” than DISCO. But it’s going to be a lot closer to the Trek some of us have been missing for 23 years now.

You are arguing from an American POV. The rest of the world couldn’t give a shit about the majority of shows you get. We have plenty shows here that are not ‘dark or gloomy or violent’. And we have plenty comedy shows that are actually funny instead of the flat ‘sit com’ USA shit. Perhaps it says something about American society more than anything, right?

“You are arguing from an American POV. The rest of the world couldn’t give a shit about the majority of shows you get.”

I’m not American. I’m German. But yes, American TV shows dominate my world and yes, they’ve grown dark trumendously since I signed up to be a sci-fi / fantasy fan back in the early 90s.

I’m not interested in any “comedy shows” whether it comes to US sitcoms or European programs. I’m only interested in worldwide phenomena that tend to originate in the US. I want mainstream to be fun again, not gritty and gory throughout. Even PG-13 and TV-14 products are going darker every season.

There are some lighter shows on American TV, I tried “Limitless” and it was pretty good, though a bit too “shiny” and facile for me.

But Galaxy Quest was not a creative ripoff but a well-written movie with great actors, that played with some Trek elements (mostly Shatner) but told a story of ordinary people, actors. Orville is not Galaxy Quest, it is simply trying to be Star Trek in a really schizophrenic way. Juxtaposed with Galaxy Quest it doesn’t give you a great script, it doesn’t give you great actors nor does it give you good television. It’s an hour wasted you could be doing much more worthwhile things. Such as washing your car.

That is, of course, if one considers Tim Allen to be a great actor.

@Kirok — ha! Tim Allen may not be a great actor, but he is far better than MacFarlane, with far more on-camera experience at that point in his career than MacFarlane, and more importantly far more likable.

@Curious Cadet

I agree that Allen is a better actor than MacFarliane. Likeable? Not prepared to say anything more than I have laughed a lot more at MacFarlane’s comedy than I have at Allen’s. Especially recently.

Ok I will concur, great perhaps not. But in that role he was and it was a lynchpin of the movie. That would be the gold standard if you wish to compare Orville with Galaxy Quest.

@Kirok — I actually prefer MacFarlane’s humor to Tim Allen’s as well. But that’s not what I’m referring to. Tim Allen’s celebrity is actor-based, and his humor (albeit similarly sophomoric at times), is much more family friendly. AS AN ACTOR, Tim Allen is much more likeable to a much larger group of people than MacFarlane. He’s warm and fuzzy, and MacFarlane is cold and distant. He played a likable character in a MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST, yet somehow, I didn’t like him. Even as a host of the Emmy’s I found him almost unwatchable. Tim Allen certainly never had that problem as an actor, which is why despite his short comings as an actor, audiences were willing to forgive him when paired with actors of a much higher caliber in GALAXY QUEST. In THE ORVILLE, he’s surrounded himself with actors of no great talent, and evidently still can’t pull it off, according to the critics at least.

Really? Since I don’t own a car, I’ll watching it weekly! :)

A lot of the reviews have been based on some expectations…. Many I’ve seen say “well as a parody it’s pretty weak.” The problem is, it’s not meant as a straight parody. For those who expected straight Star Trek under a different label, it’s also not that, nor is it Family Guy. While I had a few things I didn’t care for, or that took me out of the moment, all in all I enjoyed it! SM himself said it’s not really a parody, and pointed out while it’s definitely inspired by and very similar to Trek, it’s still something else, just like we have more than one cop show or hospital show, it’s just a different space show. I look forward to watching something that isn’t a weekly dose of “the world is a brutal place!”

@WhiskeyGolf — perhaps you and I weren’t watching the same pilot. Macfarlane’s world seems like it is a pretty brutal place. He caught his ex-wife cheating on him, and now forced to serve with her on his first assignment. And just when we think he’s grown and learned to trust her, we find out she really pulled some strings to get him the command, not based on his own merits. He works with a racist robot, has put his faith in a helmsman who drinks on the job and is at best unpredictable and undisciplined. His first assignment to defend a “banana ray” from some pretty serious villains ends up badly damaging his ship, putting him out of commission before his first assignment even really starts.

Either way, it doesn’t matter what MacFarlane says it is or isn’t. What matters is whether the audiences can understand it. Doesn’t matter if it didn’t meet expectations as a comedy, or a drama, or whatever, these reviews also state vert clearly that no matter how a person tries to view it, it doesn’t work on ANY level. It’s great you like it. No judgements from me. But it’s not great. The majority of the reviews are right. Doesn’t mean the show won’t succeed or improve, or find its way. But the show I saw was pretty bad.

Really funny stuff too. Racism. Drunk flying. Cheating ex wife. Misogynistic attitudes.

Should definitely have flipped the two lead roles. At least it would have given Seth’s character somewhere to grow into

Can’t. Freaking. Wait. So much better than Discovery will be.

Not likely at all. This looks terrible.

I am very much looking forward to both shows.


As am I. But I gotta say watching Orville will be a ton easier.

@Kirok — how will it be a “ton easier”?

@Curious Cadet

I can just turn on my TV Sunday night and The Orville will be on my DVR. It doesn’t get much easier than that. Compare that to having to goi out and buy some extra device and going on line, creating an account and arranging another monthly payment. It’s not even close

@Kirok — well for starters, you had to set all of that up at one point, and jump through far more hoops to do it than setting up a streaming account and device. And you do have to program your DVR to record it. Many of us already have streaming devices attached to our TVs, if our TVs don’t, so no need to go out and buy something new. Programming is a non-issue, because with streaming the show you want to watch is always there waiting for you, whenever you want to watch it. No need to save or delete it afterward to clear space on the DVR. That leaves setting up the account as really the only thing extra for someone who already has streaming capability. Is it a little more difficult that programming a DVR … a little.

Why do you say that? Overall, reaction to Orville has been negative and Discovery has yet to be seen?

It’s very simple… Orville looks and feels like classic 60s / 80s Trek. Even if every episode is as bad as “Spock’s Brain”, it will be a lot easier and fun to watch than having to stomach TV-MA violence and grit, even if the writing and acting are stellar. Not everybody wants Trek to change into a contemporary gorefest. I’m personally split and I’m trying to enjoy both, but emotionally, Orville looks a lot closer to being “my thing”, even if it turns out to be less than stellar nostalgia p*rn.

The Orville does not look or feel anything like ’60s Trek, at least from what I can see. It does look and feel a great deal like ’80s Trek, though. How that plays for you I suspect will depend on how you feel about TNG and that shows that came after.

“The Orville does not look or feel anything like ’60s Trek, at least from what I can see. It does look and feel a great deal like ’80s Trek, though. How that plays for you I suspect will depend on how you feel about TNG and that shows that came after.”

I have never seen a big difference between TOS and TNG. But I DO see a very big difference between TNG and the shows that came after.

TOS + TNG: colorful uniforms, bright lighting, exciting “paper” planets, innovative aliens, great scores (until mid-TNG)

DS9+VOY+ENT: dark uniforms, dark lighting, no real alien worlds, boring forehead aliens mostly, sonic wallpaper scores (including late TNG)

I like the latter three shows to some extend, but TOS and early TNG feel entirely different. Orville is the first show to embrace that feeling!

Sorry, I was a bit harsh on ENT and VOY. VOY had some really exciting worlds in its 5th season and there was ENT Season 4, which was also a blast in a traditional way. But generally, both shows did not live up to the stuff I liked about TOS and early TNG. DS9 certainly didn’t one bit!

It doesn’t “feel” like TNG in the slightest, unless I somehow missed the TNG episodes where Picard’s ex-wife is the first officer and they engage in fights the entire bridge crew can hear. At least we know the Orville has bathrooms, though.

LOL. Have you ever seen TNG? That bridge looked like a living room from the 70’s. I believe they even had a lava lamp hidden away somewhere.

That living room atmosphere was plain perfect for a utopian take on the 24th century. I loved it! But I hated it when they withdrew on that concept by making later shows a lot less cozy and optimistic. There is a reason ENT felt a lot like VOY when it comes to sets and lighting! Because VOY had embraced the same sense of visual “darkness” that became the trademark for the prequel ENT. On ENT it actually made sense as these were darker, more primitiuve times.
On VOY it just felt like an enormous break with TNG visuals. Not to mention the Enterprise-E or the Defiant.
The Enterprise D was the best ship ever designed, inwards and outwards.

I suspect the two are VERY different shows.

@Baxter — wait, are you really Seth MacFarlane?

I’ve got a bad feeling about this.

Me too, when looking at the average score of 34 out of 100 based on 16 reviews on Metacritic.

As much as I want the Orville to work, it just feels too cheesy.
The slapstick humor in the trailers and based on reviews this far doesn’t seem to match the generally intelligent, highly critical and questioning Trek fan base.

I’ll be tuning in. And I won’t have to break out my credit card to sign up for a service I don’t otherwise want to get it. Yes, that was sarcasm.


Exactly why the odds are I may only see one of the two. I don’t have to buy special extra doo dads to get Orville episodes like I’d have to for Discovery.

looks like a Saturday Night Live parody of TNG. I hate the whole 80’s aesthetics and the boring lighting. But it has to be better than TNG. I’ll give it a watch for the comedy, but I have a feeling I wont be sticking around for more. We’ll see. Happy Birthday Star Trek!

I’ve never agreed with those who say that Galaxy Quest is the best Trek movie ever made, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t more excited about The Orville than I am about DSC.

Very sorry to hear that, but to each, his own.

Galaxy Quest is the third-best Star Trek movie of the 90s, only behind TUC and FC. And it is the ONLY “Star Trek” movie until ST09 that celebrated the goofy nature of TOS and TNG without trying to cinematize and darken it too much.
Both the TOS movies and NextGen movies tried so desperately taking out all the primary colors and the wonderful lighting of the first two shows. I fell in love with Trek watching TOS and TNG, not DS9 or the other spin-offs. I loved the colorful uniforms, the goofy sets and rubber masks and all… I don’t need it to “stand the test of time”. For me, this sort of classic TV sci-fi will always be sacred. Trek had lost a lot of that long before DISCO was conceived. Black and dark-blue uniforms, greyish sets throughout, darker lighting… DISCO looks great, but it’s a lot closer to ENT and VOY than to TOS or TNG… ORVILLE on the other hand is spot-on TOS and TNG… Seeing “new episodes” of those two original Trek shows really makes me incredibly excited. Maybe I just don’t want to grow up. Peter Pan Syndrome :-)

But Galaxy Quest isn’t even a parody of Star Trek. I don’t understand why you are all constantly framing your musings with it. It was a movie about actors who played in a tv show where aliens thought it was real. It plays with SOME trek things, mostly cultural, but it is not Star Trek at all. It doesn’t even aspire to be. Thus calling it the xxxx’st best Star Trek movie is nonsensical to say the least.

@Bert — you’re absolutely correct. However, once it became about the actors taking on their roles as real starship officers — life imitating art, if you will — then it became a parody. Tim Allen dropping and rolling as he had done as an actor, but now in real life, a clear parody of TOS character antics — but that’s was the actor doing what he knew as if it was real. GQ was much more interesting and nuanced from that standpoint than ORVILLE is. But it was still a parody, not only of the behind-the-scenes actors, but the application of their on-screen depiction of those characters as applied to what became real life situations.

I concur that there is a switch in the movie after which it is dialed up, but it still played straight. It is not funny because it tries really hard to be funny or a parody, it is funny because of the character arcs and the way the characters act within the script framework. Thus it is earnest and tries not to be ‘spaceballs’ and justifies playing with the conventions within the scheme and beats of the movie. And that is why it is successful.

“But Galaxy Quest isn’t even a parody of Star Trek…It was a movie about actors who played in a tv show where aliens thought it was real.”

It was a movie about actors who played in Star Trek-like show, eventually brought into that world by aliens who recreated their fictional ship for real. Apart from the fact they couldn’t use the original TOS actors or the official trademark, it felt a lot like Shatner, Nimoy and company being finally given their Enterprise in real-life. I don’t care for their different names – it was a movie about Star Trekian actors breaking the forth wall. It was never a full-on parody as in spoof. That’s what I loved about it. I never understood what’s so great about spoofs like Spaceballs or Scary Movie. I was glad GQ wasn’t like that. It was an actual Star Trek movie without Star Trek in its name.

Bert, when I saw “Galaxy Quest” I saw it as a send-up of Trek and its fans, who wish Trek could be true. I found it a loving, hilarious tribute to Shatner and Nimoy, a recognition of how women in SciFi [at the time] were given dumb sex-object roles and to how smart our fanbase is.

Brian Drew,

Looks like the WTC (I refuse to call it the “Freedom Tower”) over the shoulder of the Planetary Union Central official. Is the setting NYC?

That’s a really good question. It’s definitely not San Francisco. Wouldn’t surprise me if it’s NYC.

Chrysler Building and the Empire State.
Yup, NYC!

Ha! My first clue was the Statue of Liberty!

The Brooklyn Bridge is in the very first scene, so it’s NYC.

The name of the show kinda sucks, doesn’t it?

Thats part of the problem for me. The title of the show just sounds corny. I don’t know why they gave it that name but it would scare away any serious sci fi fan when they hear the name and knows its being made by the guy from Family Guy. They could’ve came up with a more inspiring name, even if its a comedy.

I assume they chose that name because its sort of a nerdy, uncool name. Like, they could have called it The Wilbur. Or The Francis. I guess. Not that I think those are bad names, but they are stereotypical boring names. Thats why. The name is a joke. And people thought this was going to be serious sci fi lol

I will make a prediction: it is better than the utter shite of the first TNG seasons.

@Bert Beukema — I don’t know Bert, if nothing else I enjoyed watching Patrick Stewart’s work. He raised all boats on screen. He’s probably the only reason I was willing to keep watching that first season, and as I recall, I did start missing a few episodes toward the middle.

I tried. I really, really tried. Goddamn I even had the pilot episode sent to me in fucking German by a friend because we couldn’t get it. And it was horrible and i’m not even speaking about German Picard. I signed off after ten consecutive shit episodes and only started watching again when I caught the Borg episode on the BBC. And I did watch those first seasons and I still think they stink.

You talk about it like it was a year ago lol. Its been 30 years. Its just not for you obviously. A lot of shows start bad but improve. Thats just the nature of the beast.

No they don’t. Most series start good and become excellent. Or start bad and don’t become anything else. If TNG were aired tomorrow it would be janked off the air the day after. Because it was really shit television, that is why. Wanting it to be really good doesn’t actually make it so.

No, they don’t, because they don’t have time. If they start bad or if they just don’t catch on right away, they’re GONE. The streaming model is going to change that to a degree, possibly, but in those cases, the shows being bought have got a certain quality of ‘good’ right up front in most if not all cases.

Which is why the create pilots. Which can be retooled before anyone commits to an actual series. TNG would not even pass the pilot stage, it really was that bad. It stunk. It was not effective, interesting nor intelligent television. But nobody dared to intervene and it was a different time. So the retooling came after two seasons after they booted Roddenberry out. There is absolutely no reason to broadcast run of the mill to bad television if you take the time to actually create something worthwhile. And that is the primary problem with US mainstream television: it doesn’t care about that, not anymore if it ever did.

If you’re talking feature films, I’d agree, but TV – no, TV is better now than just about ever, and that’s even taking into account the mediocre crap on most networks. TV is getting real talent finally, because you CAN’T do any sort of consistent good work in features with the lowest common denominator approach.
To support your point about pilots, GoT is obviously one that had to get fixed, despite having a fine director. But then again, I don’t really get GoT, have only seen about 30 episodes.

Not on mainstream broadcasting networks. The renaissance you are talking about is squarely on outsider services. At least in the USA it is because of the abysmal state of affairs. And you can do fine in features unless you are referring to $400 tentpole movies and even in those you can find excellent work. Your point is correct, they did massive reshoots and even recasting. It takes real professionalism to do such a thing, to set over your ego and to do what is necessary in order to produce the best quality attainable. Sadly, most do not.

@kmart — I agree and then I don’t. There’s over 500 scripted TV series in production these days, and even with better talent available, there’s not that much talent in the world. And much of it is the same talent, moving from one 10 episode order to the next. Case in point, the Paramount Network is in real trouble. They’re planning to re-launch TV Land as the Paramount Network, with one of the worst shows ever conceived and produced, called AMERICAN WOMAN. It’s a disaster, but no one at Paramount seems to realize it, so it’s barreling down the track to hit the air in the Spring. Other networks are ordering projects straight to series, bypassing the pilot altogether, because of the rush for talent and resources to get something on the air and compete with all the other crap out there. As much as some projects get lucky (and WESTWORLD was one such project that was shaping up as a disaster in the early days). Bad Robot is getting greenlit series based on little more than a pitch sketched on a napkin, with no talent attached, or any real budget concepts. I could violate so many non-disclosure agreements going into the antics ensuing behind closed doors, but obviously I can’t really. Suffice it to say, the state of the TV business is not nearly as rosey as you make it out to be.

While I agree that TNG’s first season was weak, you’re overstating things. Why do you overlook episodes like “1110001011,” “The Big Goodbye,” “Heart of Glory,” “Conspiracy”? These are excellent episodes in light of the fact that serialized television wasn’t a thing in the late 1980s.

Yeah, I think so too, but Seth isn’t going to get three seasons to get his spacelegs like all the Berman shows did … he’s going to be lucky to get anything beyond the first order, I see this going down just like FIREFLY (though I only hope it is half as good.)

@Bert – wrong.

So far the negative reviews that I’ve seen are criticizing The Orville over basically 3 issues:

1) Inconsistent tone, lack of comedy and for being a bit too serious.

2) Trying to mimic Star Trek; reusing common science fiction tropes.

3) Issues with MacFarlane’s character.

Of the three issues the inconsistent tone is a bit concerning but not enough to discourage me from watching the show & judging it for myself.

As for the other two issues, I don’t see them as problems at all. The fact that The Orville is more drama than just a comedy is a good thing and one reason why I’m looking forward to the show. And I don’t see why it is bad when a show is trying to be like Star Trek.

The “inconsistent tone” criticism is the one I most expected. I think the producers are actually doing something admirable with going for M*A*S*H’s blend of humor and serious themes, but that’s a delicate balance to achieve, and M*A*S*H itself didn’t get there for a season or two. (The early reviews for that show, which initially unsuccessfully emulated the frat-house-goes-to-war template of the feature film, considered it a major disappointment, and only its name recognition and the terrific cast kept it in the running until it found its own voice.) Whatever you think of Seth MacFarlane his love for the genre is sincere, and I hope he gets a decent chance to make this work.

I heard of this other guy, George Lucas. It’s said that he really loves Star Wars and is super sincere. I hope he also gets a decent chance to make those prequel movies people have been talking about.

Yeah, and if snottiness were an artform you’d be Renoir. So what? Family Guy at least makes me smile from time to time while I’m flipping channels; TED had some genuinely funny (and even heartfelt) moments, and MacFarlane’s follow-up to COSMOS, while not unflawed, was an educational oasis in the prime time cultural wasteland of American television. What have you ever done of value, that anyone should cut you some slack to get something right?

I know, it’s difficult being criticized or understanding satire. Essentially what you’re saying now is that this guy made stuff that is really not very good, but you’re willing to defend that because of your emotional attachment to a property. And that is why the analogy I made is more than satire of your post alone. And why your immature rebuke of cutting someone ‘slack’ is ludicrous to say the least.

Perhaps you should watch something else than your isolationist American television then; I’d recommend watching any of the superbe quality documentaries by the BBC. There are many. Or some of the genuine fantastic British, German, Swedish or Danish dramas and thrillers. Maybe it’s really odd for you but the 95% of the world’s population outside of the USA don’t really watch your shows outside of a scant few ‘hits’.

If this were any other series you would not be carrying the flaming sword into battle defending this property. The only reason you are doing it is because you crave something so desperately it reminds me of junkie behavior.

Most of us here who aspire to having Hall’s smarts DO watch a variety of TV programming when we can, so it sounds like you’re drawing conclusions about him based solely on his response about this as-yet-unaired series. I defend UK’s THE HOUR passionately (even though they get details wrong like thinking Moneypenny was a significant part of the early Bond books) whenever it comes up in conversation, but it isn’t out of any emotional attachment — except that the show was just that good. RIPPER STREET I find equally compelling, and moving, but do I downgrade THE WIRE because I like those UK shows and adore THE PRISONER? It ain’t about where it was made (except in how that culture impacts the storytelling), it’s about the content.

Pretty sure most of us do understand satire, at least when it works. When it doesn’t (Richard Brooks’ WRONG IS RIGHT comes to mind — but I still rewatch it every year because it seems so much a mirror to our modern times, 35 years on), it sometimes seems a time-waster, but the ideas are often worthwhile, even if the execution suffers. They’re not all going to be NETWORK or STRANGELOVE, but they aspire to such levels.

I was replying to his oasis of US television, which seems to be his frame of reference. There is literally a world of television outside of the US. Fantastic television, way better than what I see broadcast in the USA. Which is generally bland commercial crap. We all love GoT but that is an exception, and not even mainstream broadcasting, rather than the standard.

And you wouldn’t be trying so hard to convince us you are some sort of giant intellect who tastes are what everyone rlse should have. My lord, we should be watching BBC documentaries and various foreign dramas. If you like those, fine. But they have nothing whatsover to do with liking or not liking The Orville. So please take your overinflated sense of self-importance to the only place it will be appreciated, in front of your mirror. We can decide for ourselves what we like without your egotistical ranting.

1) Inconsistent tone, lack of comedy and for being a bit too serious.

2) Trying to mimic Star Trek; reusing common science fiction tropes.

3) Issues with MacFarlane’s character.


1) Good! Best news! It’s not an all-out comedy show as in “spoof”, it’s been described as “dramedy”… It should take itself VERY serious because it’s the only old-school “Trek” show since 1994… Neither DS9, nor VOY, nor ENT really lived up to the colorful, fun nature of the first two ORIGINAL Trek SHOWS created by Gene Roddenberry. This may be the first time since the 90s we are actually getting a show close to the original Trek vision.

2) Good again, for the same reasons as 1. It even doesn’t have to be that innovative and ground-breaking! The ground-breaking aspect is that they dare to build upon our nostalgia, something that hasn’t even been done by the three last spin-offs.

3) So be it. At the moment, I couldn’t care less about character details as long as the spirit and feeling is there. And it already is! In the main theme, in the costumes, in the sets.

It may be campy, goofy and it may take itself too seriously. That’s basically what any uninitated millennial whould say about TOS and early NextGen. And that’s exactly what’s been missing from Star Trek not just since 2005, but 1994!

Trek has tried to go gritty and dark before. DS9 was themtically and visually. VOY and ENT were darker visually as well. It’s what set them apart from TOS and TNG, but it’s not something that made them better from my point of view. The one thing I loved about the KT reboots was that they returned primary colors and light to Trek! Orville does that as well… That’s why I love it. Storytelling details, character development… at this point, entirely secondary!

LOL. TNG was dark as hell. Don’t you remember that the bridge looked like some 70’s living room? Complete with faux leather and cool chairs? But i’m cool that you’d rather watch an hour of bland shit because of *reasons*. Maybe waiting for that one cool thing to happen. I’d rather spend that time doing something worthwhile. I don’t know, work on a cure for cancer or something.

Yes, by all means work on it, and spare the rest of us. That would be nice.

LOL thank you Michael. Christ, ‘fans’.

Fantastic comeback there buddy. I’m sure that you’re all exited and giddy to watch something that is a creative black hole. For no other reason than that it reminds you of something else that was actually pretty damn good. You people are essentially clamoring going to eat shit, knowing it tastes like shit, because you believe there are m&m’s to be found within it. It is skewed beyond skewed.

And the fact that it is really shitty drama interspersed with even more shitty humor doesn’t bother you at all. The fact that it is a creative black hole also doesn’t seem to bother you. You’re like the zombie squad, tuning in because you are really really really hoping it to be good and if it isn’t then you’ll say that it is anyway. It’s like those people who buy really expensive tv’s and then start to tell everyone how bloody good it is while deep inside they now they shouldn’t have spent so much dough on it. It’s called cognitive dissonance.

@Bert Beukema,

So when did you get to watch the show?

Ahmed, please. The Internet would be aflame with a sea of positivity surrounding this property if it were any good. The only reason you are so emotionally invested in wanting to like this so desperately is because it reminds you of something else. By way of an enormous creative ripoff that is an inch away from a gigantic lawsuit.

You’re ascribing lemminglike behavior to one of the few posters here who doesn’t seem to do the lemming thing, so I’d reassess if I were you. He isn’t one of those ‘if you’re a fan you’ll watch’ trek guys, at least not going by his posts, and this is coming from somebody who is not and never was a TNG guy, so I’d notice if he was just wallowing in TNG worship and call him on it.

I have some doubts about the execution on ORVILLE (the anachronistic stuff is painful, to be sure), and definitely don’t love the visual aesthetic at all (they need to kill half the lights and put some contrast into the image), but the concept needs doing, just like we very desperately needed an anti-Trek when FIREFLY came along (I had one a decade prior to that, but nobody was buying, and mine actually had good science and extrapolation in it, which are the areas FIREFLY, much as I love and adore it, missed on completely.)

Last night. And to be honest I kind of liked it. It’s a pilot and they are notorious for being crummy with the need to set up the characters and the situation and plot. I will give it a few more episodes before I decide whether I want to continue watching.

I can alleviate your concerns. It is NOT inconsistent at all. Its BAD. Very bad. And consistently so.

Its not at all what the very few people here tried to convince us – it is NOT Star Trek. Its a lame, juvenile comedy. Its a 6th generation Family Guy rip off spread out over 60 minutes set in an environment that is vaguely familiar enough to rely on Trek fans to think its “fun” when it’s “lame”.

While I won’t argue that it’s good or bad, the comedy in the Orville is clearly not in to style of Family Guy.

@Drew Melbourne — I’ve seen a lot of family guy, there’s very clearly elements here, particularly the observational humor and the dissecting of jokes made on screen, and the overt slapstick. There’s no cutaway gags referencing pop culture, but give it time …

As Cadet said below, very much Family Guy in many of the jokes. And that sort of dry wit. But the problem with that is, Seth has been telling the same jokes for a long time. So they are old. And not very funny anymore.

The so-called humor looks terrible to me — juvenile, heavy-handed, and ridiculous. I’m hoping Discovery is good, because I don’t think I’ll be able to stomach Orville.

@Corylea — They definitely have a problem on their hands. If the ratings suffer as a result of the audience responding in the way the substantial negative reviews have been, FOX is going to want to stem that by pushing for more MacFarlane-brand comedy. And MacFarlane is probably going to push back for more TNG-like drama, which could start to cross the creative line. And all the while there will be calls to replace actors with whom there’s no chemistry, or diminish their rolls in the episodes. If they can’t right this schizophrenic journey quickly, they run the risk of fragmenting the audience, low ratings and loss of audience due to disinterest, and life-is-to-short-for-this-crap. I’m sure the old TNG fans will stick to it, since after all they stuck with everything Branon Braga ever did … oh wait — they didn’t.

Braga did some pretty decent stuff in the TNG years. People forget that.

Seth cant do TNG-like drama though. He’s one of the weakest things about the show. He’s not a leading a man. And he cant hide behind animation and funny voices.

Overall reviews aren’t doing the show any favors. It sounds like if you want to watch TNG, pop in those blurays or stream it because this is not TNG and it somewhat passes as decent show. But it’s just episode one, for those who want the alternative or simply worked hard on this show, I hope it gets better for their sake.

@PEB — nope, the reviews are for the first 3 episodes, and ALL of the reviews are in agreement … it starts out bad, and only gets worse by episode 3. So the third time’s definitely not true in this case. However, one never knows … it might get better starting in episode 4.

Yup maybe the 6 people still watching Episode 4 will be happy. lol Then again, those 6 people, if they’re watching by episode 4, likely wont want it to change.

Seth was right when he said his “power” might allow the show to last longer than it otherwise would. Because this screams to be one of those shows cancelled and buried after its premiere.

The problem with those reviews are that the reviewers expected something entirely different. Either they were hoping for a full-on spoof of Trek as the trailers suggested or they expected something “groundbreaking”. I’m glad it’s neither!
An all-out spoof would have ruined its entire purpose of being some sort of counter-programming to nowadays dark and distopian genre outings. And something “groundbreaking” it doesn’t have to be as I want it to be just like old Star Trek back in the 60s and 80s. We’ve seen 25 years of “fresh” takes on the genre and while most of the stuff is interesting, nothing can ever replace the innocent, goofy old days of TOS, TNG, Space: 1999 and the Original BSG. And yes, I want that back, IN ADDITION to current genre programming.
I’ll give DISCO a chance, but ORVILLE is the Star Trek I’ve been waiting for 23 years and 3 months since “All Good Things” ended the original Star Trek created by Gene Roddenberry on TV…

What nonsense. Reviewers give criticism on what they watch or read, not on their expectations. Thus if a reviewer says it is shit, then that is his or her opinion based on the actual program. And if this is the Star Trek you’re pining for then you must have goddamn real low standards. Like a junkie that finds some old heroine in the gutter but shoots it anyway, because they really really really need their shot.

“Reviewers give criticism on what they watch or read, not on their expectations.”

Your talent for reading minds is as impressive as your other abilities.

It seems that your talent for making comments based on projection instead of reading is still unsurpassed. Must make you feel real powerful in your bedroom.

@Smike, who are you kidding. You posted this on the 8th. When did you see Orville? Dont tell people its the Star Trek you’ve waited for. Its not Star Trek. Its a lame comedy that isnt very funny with cheap sets and poor CGI.

If Orville is the Trek you’ve been waiting for, then you arent a Trek fan. Because it isnt Trek. Its like saying Law & Order is the Trek I’ve been waiting for. Its not even the same genre. lol

Mr. Drew strikes me as pretty no-nonsense and upfront (he’s my favorite of the shuttlepod crew for that reason), so his review for this show, which has been pretty soundly thrashed elsewhere, is encouraging. I’m happy to give it a decent shot (along with that other show airing on some interweb streaming thing).

Meanwhile, I’m surprised that no one has taken notice of the shot that leads this article, which is obviously a dead-on homage to the “rec-deck” sequence in STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE.

Thanks for the compliment, Michael. I appreciate it.

Yes, that shot is definitely a callback to TMP. The show’s production design is TNG with a sprinkling of TMP.

Wow, I’ve just listened to the main theme on YouTube! I had missed it so far. I am truly impressed. The theme feels a lot like NextGen, especially the unused alternate theme. There also is that Galaxy Quest vibe and a tad of SeaQuest and Star Wars. Love it! Big time!

Speaking of SeaQuest, really how amazing was that theme?! I go back to youtube just to listen to it sometimes. Even watched something on youtube about how similar the show was to TNG. Someone reboot that one please! We still have so much of the ocean that’s unexplored.

seaQuest really only hit on all cylinders with the early ep about finding the loading dock area of the Library at Alexandria … I had that ep on VHS for 20 years, and probably watched it 15 times. It even had true TOS moment at end when Bridger destroys ONE priceless item — as an indicator of all that will be lost if peace is not achieved right then and there at the negotiating table. Also did telepathy better than TNG did with years and years of stories. And it had a C story that involved a wet dream on a submarine. Take away the awful CGI and that really did work well. So disappointed that it was so all over the place after that, and then jumped the shark completely before end of 1st season.

So you’re saying that they also ripped of the superbe music by way better shows and movies? Now, that is really unexpected. Way to go creative black hole.

No. That’s not what they said.

Actually, that is what they said. And that is exactly what befits this creative ripoff. There is literally nothing in this show that is not ripped of from another, better, show or movie. And the really sad thing is that it takes pride in doing so.

@Bert — in just the first few minutes, Russo and his team have come uncomfortably close to Goldsmith’s and Horner’s TMP score here. And the score definitely suffers as they try to tip-toe around the real thing without getting too close. It’s a total rip off.

Battle scenes sound like Star Wars … Some of that gets a little close too. Disney might have someone to say about that …

yes, they ripped off the TNG music. Which is fine. Its a decent tune.

Asides from this review, the show seems to be taking a beating among other critics. That’s not necessarily an indicator of the shows future success, however, if the show can’t decide if it’s action or comedy, Fox may have a problem here….

I’ll give it a go, but I must admit I find the title off-putting. ‘The Definite Article’ + ‘Anything’ always puts me in the mind of dull, dreary, ITV police procedurals (The Bill, et al.).

Oh yeah, like how many SF shows have even approached the quality of storytelling on THE HOUR and THE WIRE, to name just two of the outstanding THE shows.

Looking at average score of 34 out of 100 (16 reviews) on Metacritic, I think it’s going to be a verg good show!

As bad as the reviews are for Orville, it’s still better than the JJ-verse

Eeehh… it’s not.

Far from “better”

One might say worse.


No, you can’t say that without seeing a single episode.

Ive seen it. Its horrible.

@James — isn’t it funny how some people are the first to point out how DISC is going to be bad without seeing a single episode? And point to every news story as proof of this belief? Yet they are such hypocrites when it comes to something of which they approve?

Its definitely worse. JJ films are bad Star Trek. Orville isnt Star Trek at all. There is no comparison. Its not even the same genre.

The show isn’t available anywhere outside the US yet, is it?

The entire ORVILLE vs DISCOVERY feud boils down to this.

The ORVILLE supporters want future Star Trek to be an optimistic counterprogramming to the ongoing wave of dark, gritty and violent genre entertainment. They miss the goofy innocence and campy nature of TOS and TNG, not only in DSC, but also in DS9 and to some extend VOY and ENT. Color schemes, lighting, designs etc… the overall tone of the two original Star Trek shows created by Gene Roddenberry. They don’t want Star Trek to jump the bandwagon of TV’s current zeitgeist. And yes, they openly admit they want to live in the past. That’s why they turn to a nostalgia-driven rip-off instead of “official” Star Trek

The DISCOVERY supporters want Star Trek to adapt and evolve. They want it to embrace all the aspects that made NuBSG, GOT or TWD such great and successful shows while hoping the show will stay true to Star Trek at its core. They want the show to be accessible to modern-day audiences, older teens and young adults who have never seen old Trek but grew up on recent TV-MA television. They believe that Star Trek can only survive by being relevant for a new generation, even if that means to sacrifice some of the inherent innocence of the past.

Now, despite of the impression that my months-long ramblings may have given you about my POV, my actual opinion is far less fixed, my mind is far less made up on this than I made you believe. My over-the-top opposition to TV-MA Trek has had a lot to do with this inner struggle that I’m trying to solve until DSC launches. I’ve got two mind-sets in my head that are both trying to justify each position but that only shows how incredibly important Trek still is to me. I never would have made such a fuzz about the X-verse or the Whoniverse when they “turned dark” with recent spin-offs. But with Star Trek, this may be the most pivotal turning point for myself and genre entertainment as a whole. I’m sorry if I’m too repetitive or redundant on these issues, but I’m sure that lots of people are – to some extend – having the same tribulations regarding these issues…

100%, spot on!

I, for one, recognize that all good things must come to an end and we must adapt to survive. I’m looking forward to DISC and hope that it can find a new audience to propel Trek for decades in to the future.

Every Star Trek series was made for that specific time frame. It has evolved many times. The movies have evolved many times. That is the legacy of Trek. If it stops evolving, if it stops being relevant to a large enough audience in this time frame then the legacy ends. It is a simple as that.

There is no “feud”. Orville isnt Star Trek.

The anti-Discovery crowd would embrace anything to push their silly bias. Its a very small fraction of Trek fandom. And Orville is terrible. Anyone who thought Orville was a serious optimistic view of the future, must feel silly right now.

And considering how few of those people have come here after the debut, I suspect I am correct! lol


Well, outside of your world, the response are very positive to the show.

Just head over to TV or Star Trek subs on Reddit, Trekbbs, Twitter or other genre sites and you will see plenty of people who have enjoyed The Orville.

Why? It was terrible. And the only relevance to us here on these Star Trek boards is the loose relation to Trek in genre, crew and Seth’s own words.

But the truth is now clear. Its not Star Trek. Its a lame Seth-style comedy. Which isnt really my bag anymore (I used to watch Family Guy and American Dad religiously). So I have no desire to seek out Seth MacFarlane fans to find people that liked it.


I mean you’re totally free to stay in your echo chamber; convincing yourself that EVERYONE hates The Orville. Or you can check comments made by others, not Seth MacFarlane fans, and see for yourself.

@Ahmed – what chamber are you in that Orville isnt majority disliked? Come on

And one only need watch it to understand how poor it is. I expressed the things I liked. I expressed the items I thought they could expand on to be better.

Pretending its any better than it is is silly. You are very disappointed. You wanted it to be actually good because somehow that serves the idea that Disco wont be, even though there is no relation between the two.

Unlike you, I wanted to like both. One down, one to go.


“You are very disappointed.”

You sounds like someone really in need of a medical attention if you’re that delusional.

Are you so battered by the failure of Orville to entertain that you resort to silly insults? Good for you, Ahmed. lol The anger in your posts is very transparent.

Maybe next week’s episode will be better! Anyway, how’s your review of Discovery coming? I assume you’ve written it already. I cant wait to read it! ;-)


RE Why?

Well according to FORBES, ‘The Critics Must Be Crazy’:

“… its first three episodes are charming.” — “The Critics Must Be Crazy: Seth MacFarlane’s ‘The Orville’ Is A Great ‘Star Trek’ Homage” | Erik Kain | FORBES | Sep 10, 2017 @ 07:11 PM

A delightful homage to TOS? Did they WATCH Orville? lol


Note, he didn’t just watch a pilot. He based the observation on having screened the first THREE episodes without the final tuned up FX.

Thats fair. Most reviews state it gets worse over the next two episodes. We shall see. If it improves significantly, it would mean they recognized how poor the premiere was before it aired. Which is weird. I dont know.

When I read online reviews for things like hotels, cars etc, I generally look at the balance of reviews. So Ahmed finding ONE glowing review doesnt negate the plethora of lousy reviews. Its actually hilarious that he posted it. Like yeah, this one guy liked it. lol

Sorry, YOU posted the review, not Ahmed. My apologies to Ahmed.

I’m super excited for Discovery, and definitely interested in Orville. I actually enjoy Seth MacFarlane’s humor, but not so much his acting (e.g., Million Ways to Die, and the recent Logan Lucky were not great performances). I don’t mind if there is humor mixed with drama and sci-fi tropes – just that they make sense and the tone is right.

“Series creator and star Seth MacFarlane has denied a strong correlation to Gene Roddenberry’s creation” – WHAT?! No he hasn’t! He’s talked up wanting to be like TNG all along!

See… I knew it… it will have MacFarlane’s brand of juvenile humor like in family guy and American dad. I’m not a fan of it.

Worse yet, Orville is like every joke not good enough for Family Guy and American Dad. There is maybe 2 hints of the humor that made Family Guy great in its day. But the rest is time filler.

Orville should be 30 minutes if it wants to survive. Its a comedy pretending to be a sci fi drama.

It doesnt lampoon Star Trek as much as it assumes everyone knows the environment of Star Trek to make the mundane things funny. Its sort of disrespectful in that way. The impression is, it thinks Star Trek is too serous and fans take themselves too seriously. Its making fun of Star Trek to a degree, not super insulting, but to a degree.

I think you’re reading in your biases. Is it funny? At minimum, probably not funny enough. But is it somehow an insult to Star Trek? That’s nonsense.

Re-read what I wrote. In fact, I make the point of saying not insulting.

Also, what bias? I wanted to like Orville. if you mean my bias towards shows that suck, well, dont we all have that bias? Unless some people actually prefer shows that are terrible.

I’ll tune into the initial episode of ORVILLE out of sheer morbid curiousity, but I already know from the trailers that it seems to involve Seth indulging in Next Gen cosplay and unfunny antics. Ironically, the effects look rather impressive for this poor man’s Galaxy Quest…although I’ve no doubt it’s probably utter drivel, and not fit to be uttered in the same sentence as that excellent Star Trek homage.

Morbid curiosity is probably the best turn of the phrase I’ve seen so far. It has football as a lead on Fox, and the ratings to watch will be next weeks. If there’s nothing there, week two will tell.

If it wasnt Seth, I’d say its cancelled after episode 3. I guess it depends on the cost. As a one hour show with heavy CGI and costuming, I cant see FOX supporting it.

Maybe re-tool it as a 30 minute comedy.

Again, look at all the Trek fans rushing to write off a show after reviews for three episodes … y’all seem to forget exactly how bad TNG was when it started.

I was never super excited about the show but I’m still excited to see it now that its here. My expectations are minimum but will watch it myself to judge. But I will be honest, if I didn’t hear about this show so much on this site and other Trek boards I don’t even think I would’ve watched it. But reading all the articles on it has made me coming around to seeing it. I never really compared it to other Trek or look at it as competition with Discovery, for good or bad. Hopefully it will win me over.

Sorry to say the orville isn’t on any channel on the 10th of Sept. I’ve checked

Odds are it wont be long before the Orville isnt on ANY channel ANYwhere lol

The LA TIMES had a review that summed it up perfectly —

‘Why should we care about the character’s dramatic dilemmas when they don’t seem to themselves’?

Of course the geekiest review headline came from NPR and had to have been written by a true Trek fan —

“Make It So-So”!

If he didn’t star in it, I’d be more inclined to give it a chance. I know he’s a nice, smart and funny guy who loves the same Star Trek I do for many of the same reasons, but I hate his onscreen persona and the outsized ego that he oozes, as well as the broad and lazy humor he usually falls back on.

I will try it tonight, but there is a lot of seething contempt I have to try to tamp down.

I’m four minutes in and this is dreadful.

If it wasn’t for the odd coverage this site provides and my desire to take part in the discussion, I’d delete it from my pvr right now.

But….I expect people to give Discovery a chance. So I shall press on. I hope it gets better.

12 minutes in now. It got worse. I hope the people angry about “cool” in Discovery are preparing the pitchforks

But I’ve finally laughed. “I’m up two or three times a night” joke make me chuckle.

“In your doctor. If your balls are under par I’ll know it “. That was funny too.

Is it just me or is the “Orville undocking” music practically sampling the TNG theme? I’m not criticizing. It’s good music. But ….

The captain/first officer “meeting” makes me want to poke my ears and eyes out. Come on. Who wrote this?

The dog licking itself was funny. Until they had the characters comment on it after. “Did you see that?” Yeah we’re watching

But funny. lol

Asking the Krill for his take on their relationship was really funny. Short but funny.

Classic Seth. Tells a joke and then has everyone talk about the joke.

Well. It won’t last half a season.

Cheap looking sets that look unfinished. Less than stellar cgi. Below average acting. Seth is not a leading man.

Terrible jokes.

On the other hand I did laugh three times. And I like the ship. I also like the security officer. She’d make a great ensign on a real Star Trek show.

Yes, that was easily the funniest thing in the whole hour. Humor arising out of character. Too bad most of the rest of the show’s humor didn’t follow suit.

Saw that in the preview and laughed, too. Strangely enough, a very similar exchange sold me on GoT early in its first season. Have-to-pee-several-times-a-night jokes are funny, especially if you’re over 50.

Boy the reviews aren’t kind. This sites review might have been the nicest one lol

OK, THIS is what ive been waiting for! THIS IS TREK! did you watch this, discovery peeps? the orville is everything star trek that YOU ARENT

It’s bland and a rehash only with bad jokes. It’s FAR from Trek

@PEB — it’s really forced too. I never believed people were really talking to each other, everything sounded like a set up for the next joke, just moving the lines along to get to the next punchline, particularly from MacFarlane, who I’m pretty sure at this point couldn’t deliver a pizza, much less these lines.

Pretty cruel, and pretty accurate. Much of it just felt really awkward. “Encounter at Farpoint” comes in for a lot of well-deserved criticism, but it’s Sergei Eisenstein compared to this.

You’re so right Curious. The jokes feel so overtly scripted as one-liners or the “let’s put a gag in there but then we’ll have the cast discuss the joke because hey it works on Family guy right?” Besides, I can’t listen to Seth talk and not see Brian Griffin. It just takes me completely out of everything he does.

Don’t troll. It’s awful. In every way. Awful

You want semen jokes on Star Trek? “Dude” jokes? “Bitch”. That’s star Trek? Riiiiiight lol

It really was awful. I like the ship, but that’s it. I won’t be back.

I also like the ship. Il maybe watch next week. But it’s not like a character show finding itself. It’s what it is. Lame jokes. A bad parody of Star Trek. Seth lied when he said it was more. Good for him for speaking to Trek fans but this is what most of us knew it would be.

Also the sets look cheap and the cgi is nothing to write home about. Comparable to cheapest episodes of enterprise.

If discovery is half as bad, everyone would be screaming. We shall see

Discovery doesn’t have to worry about Orville as competition that’s for sure

33 minutes till I see it here. It’ll be interesting if my now-lowered expectations allow me to enjoy it more than you did.

Im waiting for the usual suspects to come and tell me I was going to hate it no matter what. But its not true. I even almost made my gf watch it (she used to be a big Seth fan but got bored) but she was too busy so I watched it without her.

I wanted to like it. I even want to be able to say “its the farthest thing from Trek, but its good on its own” but I cant.

As Star Trek, its not even worth discussing. Its horrendous. Its a car wreck. Its really really really terrible. Now, take it for what its MEANT to be, a one hour space comedy that lampoons Star Trek in a very minor way, and its still not very good.

Its nowhere near as funny as anything else Seth did. But Seth seems to be a diminishing returns type of guy. Like, his stuff got less funny and more diluted the longer he went. And this continues that trend.

I remember Star Trek TNG being called a “parody” of the Original Series. Many people hated it and even Patrick Stewart himself thought The Next Generation was a lost cause and only was planning for a few episodes before it cancels. However we all know that not to be the case and it many respects it was an improvement to the franchise. Just take a look at Star Trek The Next Generation Season 1 and ask yourself why did they bother with this show. Then you look at Season 3 and 4 then go…wow this is Star Trek. Seth McFarlane is a comedian so some of his comedy maybe forced while say most of the Next Generation crew were not really comedians but they knew how to crack a joke and be hilarious when it came time to espically when it came to Data completely failing to understand humor. My suggestion to Seth is don’t force it, cut away humor is for a cartoon not a comedy-drama. Both Star Trek and M*A*S*H were naturally funny and sometimes serious. Besides when you think about it the Final Frontier is not so undiscovered anymore considering all the stories and source material.

It’s not even remotely close to the same thing. Yes people whined and complained about TNG just like they are about discovery. That’s a reasonable comparison

The Orville is a lame parody. It’s exactly what we assumed it would be. And the few people blowing it’s horn as a way to be critical of discovery were flat wrong.

If people like Orville, great. But you like it because you like simpleton lame comedy and cheap “sci if” not because it’s “Star Trek”. It isn’t

@LogicVeteran — what kept me going was watching the fine work of Patrick Stewart and some of the other actors. This Orville cast makes even Denise Crosby look like Meryl Streep. And it was interesting to see how they reimagined the Trek universe 100 years later. But Orville isn’t Trek, and MacFarlane isn’t Patrick Stewart. And the writing seems bad even for Brannon Braga. Even if DISC ends up not being very good, it has at least one thing going for it, sight unseen — it’s Star Trek, and a new take on things I know to be familiar. That in of itself is enough to keep me interested for a lot longer than the Orville, unless it gets remarkably better soon, and judging by the reviews of the first three episodes, that’s not really likely.

The difference is that TNG wasn’t INTENDED to be a parody.

Star Trek was “sometimes” serious? Were we watching the same show? I could never lump M*A*S*H in with Trek because that show MUCH more of a mix of comedy. Star Trek had some light moments, a little camp at times but was 90% serious.

@PEB — MASH was subtle comedy. Have you ever watched it without the laugh track? It’s sublime. The jokes and humor is all there without a bad actor beating you over the head to make sure you didn’t miss it. And maybe it was the time and S&P prevented certain words from bein said, but I find their sophomoric humor much more sophisticated than MacFarlane’s crass presentation with the profanity that can be used by today’s standards, just because he can. Add to that MacFarlanes humor here relies on hanging a lantern on a bad joke, which he thinks makes it funny. This show might actually work better with a laugh track at half an hour.

I just completed my second viewing of the pilot episode for The Orville. This show demonstrates how Star Trek,in the wrong hands, can become a parody of itself. Maybe Star Trek in its classic form is really a very limited way of doing science fiction. This show was stale in every way possible,from the acting to the music. It was as if someone took TNG and stripped it of all its interesting features and crewed it with second rate actors. But the thing that bothered me the most is the way they treated the infidelity issue. I have been in the exact situation that Ed Mercer was in (walking in on my wife having sex with another man) and his reactions is not the reaction of any human being ever. The way he milked the whole infidelity situation is not just a joke in poor taste but realization that Seth cannot do either drama or humor.

@TrekFan … If this fails, it will be because of MacFarlane putting himself in the lead role. Everything else can improve, but I don’t see him able to step up to the plate. He’s simply not likeable onscreen.

@Cadet – he’s a lousy actor. I saw him as a bit player on another show years ago. I think it was a sci fi show, I dont recall, and I thought he was perfectly fine.

But he’s no leading man. He looks unfit. The way he moves, walks, sits, holds a gun etc. I’d say its part of the gag but they dont play it that way. He has no facial expressions either. Every line is delivered through a flat affect

Without animation and funny voices to hide behind, he just doesnt have anything.

Was this really directed by Jon Favreau??? Cause it was bad. Victor Garber is way better of an actor than he showed in this episode too.

So true. The script did him no favor. Portraying a weak actor as a weak leading character that does not fully deserve to be a captain was a bad choice. Some scenes were dragged out unnecessarily. The Exco/Helmsman first encounter where he mentions the need to go to the Johns was really a pain to watch.
They could have filled up some of the scenes with banter on the ship damage status, casualty report, etc. to gove us a bit more of an idea on how big the ship is, crew complement, tactical capabilities – but there was nothing.
From the set, small tokens/ornaments/plaques were missing. A Union rug, a plaque on the bridge with its registry, the captain’s desk with a photo, paintings, a budgie?
Small touches to make the show appear more grander were missing.

The thing is, Orville isnt Star Trek in the wrong hands. If CBS hired Seth to make Star Trek, we’d say gee, it was in the wrong hands.

Orville was never meant to be Star Trek. The only reason anyone here discussed it like it was, was because Seth ran around trying to attract dissatisfied Trek fans AND the anti-Discovery people, arguably a small number, who wanted something to hold up as a comparison. Well, if this is the comparison, Discovery could air a test pattern for 60 minutes and be better than Orville.

Orville is exactly what most of us expected. And while it’s bad, it WILL be entertaining to some. I dont think enough to warrant its budget though.

TUP you’re right, this isn’t Star Trek but that’s my worry – that fans will do what they have done with Galaxy Quest. That now, at conventions and other happenings, this will become an accepted series to lump in with the other Trek series and that you’ll start to see Orville getting shoehorned in to cons as small panels or something like that. That’s the only thing that worries me about this.

I dont know. Maybe they will. But Galaxy Quest (which I have not seen) is often held up as an entertaining comedy. Orville isn’t funny. Its a failure on whatever its trying to be, comedy, sci fi, drama etc.

@PEB — very good point. And there will be a group of fans who will do exactly that. GQ was one movie and look what happened. This will be at least 13 episodes. And this might be one of the few gigs MacFarlane ever has where he’s the leading man in anything with a huge fan base.

My question is this though, why are Trek vets behind this? Do they not see it for it is? Or is it more like the Trek vets who did “Of Gods And Men” and “Renegades?” Because those were awful but they all jumped onboard.

Like, the crew?? They are professionals, hired to do a job.

@PEB — you mean like Frakes? Didn’t he direct one of the first 3? The thing about directing something is that until you see how it all comes together, it’s hard to really know what you’re getting into. Yes the script might be weak, but then I’m sure many of the shooting scripts for TNG read that way as well. But everything mostly got fixed an elevated in post. Sadly they don’t seem to be able to fix the Orville’s flaws so easily. Then there’s the good ole boy Hollywood network. I’m sure Frakes and Braga have kept a good relationship, and it must be a bit like old home week for them all. A lot of nostalgia pulling these guys into MacFarlane’s little trap. And nobody wants to alienate MacFarlane, or any of the other powerful people connected to this. A real job in Hollywood after all is still a job. The sad state of affairs is that many of the Trek alumni make a handsome living out of Trek, and anything tied to it. If they turn Braga down now, and he lands in another position to hire them later, but they’ve burned their bridge, then it’s a problem … Actually the scene in Galaxy Quest at the car dealership grand opening sums it up perfectly.

Boy, that was bad.


What age range is the show targeted at? 15 to 18 year old’s with that low form of humor?

I enjoyed the first episode. Definitely has a lot of potential though I suspect people will take their praise or disdain for “The Orville” to either extreme, much like they will when “Discovery” premieres.

@Denny C — it is what it is. I’ve enjoyed bad movies before. And yes I agree it has potential. Unfortunately, with reviewers telling us to expect more of the same over the next two episodes, it may not have a chance for Seth MacFarlane to learn how to act, the cast to find its chemistry together, the writing to improve, or to find it’s place in the universe. Of course, considering MacFarlane is a valuable producer for FOX, I’m sure ORVILLE will get more chances than any other to find its way. But FOX still has to make money on it. They gave the CLEVELAND SHOW 4 seasons after all, but then again it was a half-hour animated series that didn’t cost nearly what ORVILLE does, nor does it take a valuable one hour block of prime time advertising. I’ll probably watch it if I happen to be around when it’s on, and see what happens with it. But it’s far from a must watch. It’s actually embarrassing that anyone thinks this is truly extending the legacy of TNG though.

I think all the reviews that painted Orville was muddled and not sure what it wants to be are mostly accurate. I DO think its exactly what most of us thought it would be. But there is still an identity crises.

It has to be goofier and even more of a parody. Because its just too boring as a 60 minute show. It has all the hallmarks of a Seth MacFarlane 30 minute comedy. But spread out over an hour.

There is nothing to make us think FOX or Seth will go the other direction and take it more serious and invest more money in making the sets, cgi and costuming better (most of which were terrible, not all though).

If they did want to be serious, drop the helmsman who fills Seth’s need for the obnoxious friend that no one likes but we grew up with so we keep him around. Show us more of the young security officer who is actually interesting. And replace the lead, yup, Seth, who is not and never will be a leading man and while I think he could be a serviceable bit part actor, cannot really act whatsoever.

I thought of that too, maybe they can replace Seth after the captain has an Unfortunate Accident. Maybe an actual Trek veteran could replace him, hee-hee! and be a “real” captain. That would be some great comedy.

@Marja — I’d watch that. Even if it was somebody like Frakes, or even Michael Dorn without makeup, doing his own version of Sisko. Maybe MacFarlane doesn’t have to die, but becomes a mutilated Pike-like character in a wheelchair who can only blink yes and no. HA!

I’d flip the two leads. Make the ex wife the Captain and Seth the First officer. But the idea of busting him down and bringing in a Trek vet as Captain would be great too.

In fact, Im surprised he didnt do that for the Admiral role. Heck, get William Shatner as the Admiral (or a re-cast Captain). ohhhh boy…that would be something.

Watching it now.
Halfway done.
Glad it is not an actual Trek series

Well that was worse than the opening scene of THE TRAIN JOB. Man, that was like watching FARPOINT it was so bad. No subtext, all scenes same length. Like a high schooler’s idea of a teleplay. Worse than I could have braced for. XO looks good shooting a gun, that’s about all I can say was okay outside of some VFX.

And compared to Farpoint, it was terrible. Like it made Farpoint look like Space Odyssey. Because with Farpoint, you could at least see potential. And it didnt insult the audience by essentially making fun of their desire for serious drama.

@kmart — re: shooting a gun, it’s perhaps the worst most unrealistic gun fight I’ve ever seen. They literally ran across the room directly in front of a better armed group, yet there was no attempt to even avoid taking direct fire. No crouching, no evasive moves. Every shot of our heroes returning fire was like a photo shoot for a PR photo. Instead of weapons pointed in the direction of the enemy already, each shot had them stopping and taking careful, posed, aim. Perhaps this was supposed to be part of the comedy?

I dont know if its just that Seth isnt a “trained” actor but he seems so awkward. Even how he walks, runs, aims a gun, sits in the Captain’s chair. He looks like a very unfit 40 year old.

I saw him on Seth Myer’s Late Night program. The interview was incredibly awkward. McFarland has so many comedy “walls” up you can’t see a real human. Bizarre.

@Marja — it’s interesting how his physical appearance doesn’t really help with that — it’s hard to read anything behind his dark eyes.

His face is not expressive at all. Very flat. Its no wonder he excelled with voice work and animation.

Staging of action and dialog scenes were all really bad, as in, makes Stuart Baird look almost competent-level bad. Made me think Ed Wood (the filmmaker, not the great ED WOOD film.) Absolutely flabbergasted by how bad so many aspects were, and that feeling builds the more I think about it (now over 12hrs later.)

@Kmart — I’ll be very interested to see how Frakes episode looks.

It was directed by Jon Favreau! I cant imagine that. Unless the goal was wooden, flat performances all around.

I watched the pilot tonight seems more galaxy quest meets star trek. I was expecting the goofyness and comedy but man it was a little too much. Also where is the transporter. Lame to use the shuttle to go everywhere.

Actually, not having a transporter was one of the very few things I really DID like about this; I hate the transporter as a plot device, when it works AND when it doesn’t.

Probably because they couldnt figure out a way to rip it off without being too on the nose. lol

@kmart — I agree. it’s one of the sad parts of ENT, that they quickly began to rely on the transporter to get themselves out of tight corners they wrote themselves into. It must have been awful for all concerned coming from VOY that they weren’t allowed to use it. But they must have one, right? I am mostly thrilled that the thing wasn’t loaded down with incoherent technobabble. On the other hand, that might be better than the jokes …

Im sure we will get a transporter eventually so they can have someone turned inside out or something. Or maybe a man goes in but comes out as a woman. cue masturbation jokes etc.

This sums up The Orville best in my opinion –
” By playing it safe and showing a truly breathtaking lack of creativity, The Orville can’t even claim to be better than the myriad of Star Trek fan films that can currently be found on YouTube. If nothing else, at least those have a genuine sense of passion and adoration behind them, whereas MacFarlane’s xerox offers only empty veneer.” – The Orville review from Collider.

Braga Trek, which according to some “fans” is the real “Star Trek”, takes off from right where it left off in “these are the voyages.” It certainly is the new “valentine” to the “fans”. This is just his same old recycled crap he fed us in the past. Still, he must be laughing at how much some “fans” still buy his hokey schtick after all these years. Without Ron Moore to clean up after him (as was the case in the 20th century) this guy just can’t write or produce.

It’s a pity that Macfarlane is going to be the fall guy for this because I actually enjoyed his work in the past

Yup agreed. I know it will be a big fight around here between the people who see Orville for what it is and those that want to toot its horn to be anti-Discovery. And if you liked it, great. But no one can be serious and try to say Orville was a great example of Star Trek.

It literally failed at every single thing that we, as Trek fans, would demand from a Trek series or film.

It felt more like a fan series made my fans who couldn’t do a Trek production under the new CBS guidelines so they made this instead.

Wasn’t bad. They just need to tone down the humor, don’t make it so in-your-face obvious (that’s one of the new “Ghostbusters” mistakes). The comedy should be subtle, like in the original Ghostbusters, Back to the Future or even The A-Team.

But its a comedy. Its not meant to be serious Star Trek-style space drama. it never was. The only people here who tried to sell it like that were the ones so irrationally anti-Discovery they clung to anything to make a point.

And yes, Seth ran around trying to convince Trek fans that Orville was going to be Star Trek. But he lied. It is nothing of the short.

Its not even funny. If it was 30 minutes long, it was still not funny enough.

That’s Seth’s unmistakable comedic style. There’s the joke and then the characters have to talk about the joke and it then becomes unfunny and in-your-face. The banana bit was cringe-worthy to me at least.

I didnt mind the banana bit. The dog licking was funny…until they all started talking about it. To me, that is the sign of a comedian with an ego problem. He was actually concerned some people miss the dog licking itself?

@Zuk — I agree. But the problem with the humor, is that it was mostly inappropriate in context. I get what he’s trying to do — make the characters relatable to a contemporary audience by depicting them as we behave ourselves. The only problem is, this is a real structured organization which thrives on rank and discipline, authority and respect. It’s one thing if the helm and navigator share a look the audience is in on, it’s quite another when they’re insubordinate in front of the entire bridge crew. And on and on like this. And then there’s the situational humor — The window-cleaning gag!? Really!? So they’re just going to dust off all the old gems and apply them to a future scifi show. I have a feeling we’re about to get Sinefeld in space, but not even with the same subtly — MacFarlane will be too busy commenting on how clever the joke he just made was — the whole Arbor Day joke fell completely flat. Can anyone imagine Kirk, Picard, Janeway, or even Sisko making that joke?

I liked the Arbor Day joke a lot more before they did the whole “whats Arbor Day?” and then ofcourse, Seth has a few jokes for the same scene so they try out the others too.

I enjoyed it quite a bit – my wife laughed like crazy, I thought the production values were gorgeous. Just enough humor for me, and a bit of gravity. I’m in. Keep em’ coming, Fox, and nice work by MacFarlane. Looking forward to the rest of the season.

I want to think more about the show before taking the deep dive opining what went wrong, but in the meantime I’ll just say that Discovery‘a producers had better come through or September will go down as the month of broken dreams for nerds.

A wise man once said, “Discovery could air a test pattern for 60 minutes and be better than Orville.”


I lived through that in ’79 with TMP and THE BLACK HOLE – fortunately that was bracketed by APOCALYPSE NOW in October and ALL THAT JAZZ at the first of the year afterward. (I don’t include 1941 as part of the debacle of Dec79 because I actually found that watchable compared to TMP — at the time, mind you! — and TBH.)

“fortunately that was bracketed by APOCALYPSE NOW in October and ALL THAT JAZZ at the first of the year afterward.”

Wasn’t that a pair a films for the books? Hugely brilliant and influential, if flawed. (I’m not much of a fan of REDUX, though.)

See, we do share a few matching opinions (I still haven’t gotten through REDUX in a single sitting, but I rewatch the theatrical version every year.)

So who watched Orville last night? Impressed?? I wasn’t. I understand what it is. The humor was ok. I’ll give it another chance but I don’t think it will last the TV season.

It was not The Orville. It was The Awful.

I was very disappointed. The story was horrible. The look of the show was bad. Seth M acting was weak at best.

The Hollywood Reporter has a hysterical interview with Branon Braga explaining why the ORVILLE is not as bad as people think it is. Make sure you read it! It contains gems like this:

Braga: “While it is very funny and oftentimes hilarious in my opinion, it’s also kind of a drama at its core. … as we were working on it, I just thought to myself, “This is a new genre.” I’ve never seen this. The balance of drama and comedy is unlike anything I’ve seen in a science fiction show.”

Riiiiight … GALAXY QUEST was nothing like that. He should run for president with delusions like that.

“New Genre” is certainly one way to describe it. One day Braga will admit it was awful.

@Curious Cadet,

The only thing hysterical thing here is your continuing petty and childish posts against Branon Braga.

@Ahmed – why are you so personally offended that people dont like Orville? lol

I actually found the show great. The humor may fall flat at times, but people in real life think they’re funny, and the characters show in this first episode are having real life discussions, depicting human interaction today. My DVR will find it when ever it airs. I found the “look & feel” pretty dang good. The production is awesome except some painful CGI, and backdrops, but hey it’s a tv budget. I found Seth’s acting actually quite good. I like all the characters, and their personalities. The music was SO STTMP’ish, and the bridge screamed TNG!

Will you feel the same way if Discovery’s effects and CGI is lacking? Or do we have higher expectations for actual Star Trek?

Agreed, Michael. I’m in.

@Michael — THE OFFICE is an example of humor in real life, that falls flat yet manages to entertain. Here’s the thing about entertainment — it has to be well planned and well thought out so that it moves along and engages the audience. If the audience is sitting around making excuses for the characters or story lacking in entertainer value because that’s how real life works, it’s failed. can’t fault you for your opinion, but you’re dead on that the music was a direct rip-off of TMP score. Frankly if I were Par out I’d sue them over it — it’s way too close. And as much as Inhated the TNG bridge, it was much more interesting than this bland set. It looked even more like a Hilton hotel lobby from the 90s than TNG. So many blank walls and blocks of colors. And sooooo much wasted space on such a small ship. Those hallways are ridiculously huge. And for all those who embrace this series, complaining about Discovery’s bridge door being right behind the captain — well let’s just say I’ll be interested to see how they justify it here. ;-)

If Paramount sued, FOX would claim parody, right? How much does it have to be a parody to actually be a parody? Cause it just wasnt really that good or a send up of Star Trek.

The bridge looked so cheap. Like they couldnt afford to finish it.

Agreed. The bridge scenes looked like an SNL TNG parody. I like the ship design, that’s about it.

As long as it’s lampooning Trek, and transforming it, making social/creative/political statements on Trek, it is safe. I’m not sure Paramount would ever sue– it would be far too risky. Parody is well-protected, legally.

@Etymologicool, yes, visual parody, but music is a totally different thing. There have been some landmark cases in the last few years that clearly establish how much music can take from the original while claiming parody, and yet not violating copyright law. There are several places in the score Paramount could sue, and they would win. It’s one thing to suggest Goldsmith’s score, it’s quite another to rip it off entirely, which I’d argue ORVILLE did here. And if that happened, unless FOX lawyers quietly settle the lawsuit, you’d see a complete change in tone — right now they claim the show is it’s own thing, not so much a Star Trek parody as a serious drama in its own right, but if they ever get sued, it’ll become strict parody. THE ORVILLE wouldn’t exist without TNG. And that will weigh heavily in any legal decisions.


I felt the same way as well.

‘The Orville’ was an hour full of fun sci-fi action; the tone was a lot closer to Farscape which I like. Some of the jokes were a bit on the nose and I didn’t like the uniforms. But overall the show was a fun ride.

The ship is so beautiful, the score and the visual effects were good. The show has a diverse group of characters; I already like the chemistry between the pilot and the helmsman. Seth’s acting is nowhere as bad as the critics made it out to be.



Seth’s acting really wasn’t that bad. The dramatic dialogue and stories need to be less paint-by-numbers, but if they do that, I think that Seth will be able to pull it off.


And it’s not as if his character is expected to be the fair-haired wonder that Kirk was. This show’s written their captain as surprising the brass only because so little is expected of him as opposed to Kirk’s breaking of records.

@Disnivited — yeah, but you still have to like him. And so far I don’t. And that’s mostly the actor, not the character he’s playing. For what it’s worth, I’ve never seen MacFarlane play anything but this “character”.