Review: Orville’s Fourth Episode Is The Most ‘Star Trek’ So Far, Maybe Too Much So

REVIEW: “If the Stars Should Appear”

The Orville Season 1, Episode 4 – Aired Thursday Sept. 28
Written by Seth MacFarlane
Directed by James L. Conway

The Orville encounters a gigantic artificial object in space which turns out to be a vessel that is slowly but surely headed towards its doom as it gets pulled in by a nearby star. The crew decide to go on board to offer assistance only to find a rural community that worship a being named Dural, that isn’t aware they are on a world ship, and are not exactly welcoming to the new arrivals. 

So…sounds kinda familiar, doesn’t it? The plot is pretty much a direct lift from the 3rd season TOS episode, “For The World Is Hollow And I Have Touched The Sky.” Perhaps because of that, the show feels like more Star Trek in both concept and execution than any other episode thus far. That may the only truly memorable thing about this story, which feels a bit pedestrian overall.

Beyond the central plot, we get to see more of the day-to-day life aboard the Orville, with the bridge crew complaining about the tedious nature of their mapping assignment, and Bortus and Klyden arguing over Bortus’ work/life balance. None of it adds to the plot, but it gives a sense of what life is like when the crew is between missions and things are slow.

The show has been making a point of fleshing out the supporting characters, and this week we learned more about Orville’s only robotic crew member, Isaac. We got to know more about his mission, his capabilities (including the very cool way he interfaces with a foreign computer), and even how his race reproduces. 

After last week’s heavy subject matter, this episode is lighter in tone, with humor ranging from the sophomoric (no less than three dick jokes) to more character-based humor, such as Isaac not understanding insults, Ed not grasping military time, or Yaphet’s constant attempts to hook up with Dr. Finn. A couple of bits, one where Commander Grayson riffs on Friends while being interrogated and another one about Persians, felt out of place and fell completely flat.

That’s not to say that there aren’t any dark and surprising moments. The scene where Kelly is interrogated and tortured at the hands of high priest Hamelac (Robert Knepper) is surprisingly violent, showing that Orville is not going to shy away from strong subject matter. While it’s not at the level of torture Picard suffered during “Chain of Command,” it’s certainly graphic enough to rattle some viewers. 

Guest star Robert Knepper effectively exudes evil as Hamelac, however he isn’t really given many dimensions to play and there isn’t a satisfying resolution. We never find out whether he knew they were on a ship all along and was simply protecting his own self interests, nor do we see if he gets any real comeuppance for his brutal interrogation of Grayson. 

While the plot may be derivative of TOS, it is staged very much like a Berman-era Star Trek episode. Trek veteran James Conway gives the show a very clear TNG/VOY feel throughout. Overall, “If the Stars Should Appear” has some good character moments, but feels like your average Voyager or Enterprise episode. It’s not bad, but nothing that exciting either. And for a brand new show on a network notorious for not giving show’s time to grow, The Orville is going to have to up its game.

Random thoughts:

  • Joel McNeely’s score for this episode is very TNG-flavored, with echoes of other sci-fi scores sprinkled in. Eagle-eared viewers should be on the lookout for some less-than-subtle nods to Star Trek: The Motion Picture and The Empire Strikes Back.
  • This episode demonstrated the promise to tell truly stand-alone stories as it was actually the second to be produced, although they did add a bit to maintain continuity that Bortus and Klyden have a child
  • Episode provided a good amount of prop tech and ship porn for fans of that kind of thing
  • Biggest surprise of the episode was cameo of Liam Neeson as the long-dead captain of the colony ship.

6 clips from “If the Stars Should Appear”

Preview of next episode featuring Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron guest stars in the next episode of The Orville titled “Pria.”

Orville update: ratings steady after Thursday move + BTS on Science

Ratings for The Orville settled down closer to a 1.1 rating or around 4 million live viewers after the move to the regular Thursday timeslot. The show also demonstrating strong gains from DVR viewings of its previous week’s episode, especially in the 18-49 demographic Last night’s initial ratings held steady as noted by Deadline:

Seth MacFarlane’s The Orville (1.1) is showing some spunk. Against increased competition, including football, the space dramedy held on to its demo rating from last week and built onto its lead-in, Gotham (0.8), which slipped 20% from its season premiere last Thursday to a new L+SD series low

And TVByTheNumbers went as far as predicting Fox will renew The Orville for a second season, but it is still early to be making decisions like that.

Fox has also released a behind the scenes video featuring writer and science advisor Andre Bormanis (also former Star Trek writer and science advisor) talking about the science of The Orville.


Keep up with all the The Orville news, reviews and interviews at


Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


I thought the ending wrapped up a little to quickly for my taste. For a bunch of people to not even know they were on a ship to potentially learning how to navigate one through space was a bit much. I get the fact the Union was going to come and teach them how to work everything but I can’t imagine that the resolution would really be that neat and tidy. I would expect more conflict from the inhabitants as to who they are and what there true purpose really is. I did like the inclusion of Dr. Claire. Penny Johnson Jerald has been underused IMO so it was great to see her. Liam Neeson as Dural(?) the god! Lol!

@Steph — I wouldn’t say that it wrapped up any quicker than any other average Star Trek episode. Where I could have used more exposition was during the interaction with the people of the planet. I’m reminded of “PATTERNS OF FORCE” in which the majority of the episode was skillfully crafted to tell a satisfying story about how the Federation Liberated a society being ruled by an authoritarian ruler who was also concealing the truth from the population to achieve it’s own ends. That wrapped up pretty quickly too. The problem here is that so much was set up, but not nearly enough time to explore it properly thanks to the need to squeeze in pointless jokes.

Was it more jarring than the previous episode? Where the bloody captain doesn’t even know his third senior officer is laying a fucking egg as large as mount Everest? Let alone that he doesn’t even know ANYTHING about his third in command’s species? Or that this captain is essentially making jokes about murdering your offspring by baking eggs? That there are apparently no rules and regulations in this ‘federation’ about how to engage cultures that are NOT human (or better: American)?

That’s one of my problems with the show in general but I was originally just going for this show. Some of the episodes wrap up too quickly like the last one. They are obviously trying to explore some serious topics but are maybe taking on too much at once. For example: Religion vs science, authoritarianism and torture were all themes for this episode at one point or another. None really stuck because they don’t give it time. I would have maybe gone with one and left the rest for later. I do like the drama more than the comedy but I think that’s because the comedy is overplayed. I have seen Family Guy so I am familiar with Seth McFarlane’s sense of humor. These though keeps hammering the same things over and over again. 3 dick jokes really? One was enough.

@Steph, I thought the dick jokes worked BECAUSE they recurred. It was funny for Issac to mislearn the use of the word and think it a compliment. I’d guess those who didn’t like it might not have like the joke to begin with. Be it a dick joke or not.

IMHO the show works because of the comedy side. Without it, it’s just a tired Trek ripoff and would play out a TON worse than some think it does already. As I said in a previous thread, this is TNG with 21st century people and jokes. Because of that, it should NOT be taken nearly as seriously as a full fledged Trek show should. So it wraps up fast. So the solutions aren’t plausible. It’s got a light edge to it so it still works.

At least that’s my two credits.

Yes, its not like Picard and crew, ever interacted with Federation members that they had no clue how their society worked. Also is not like Kirk didn’t know that Spock had a second set of eyelids or that every seven years Vulcans had to go through the Pon Farr, right? Of course not, that would be absurd. [rolleyes]

So far, I’ve been enjoying The Orville more than Discovery. That may change as Discovery progresses, but interesting side note – The Orville videos are NOT region locked.

I KNOW,right?! That is just so frickin’ annoying by now. Yes,we would LOVE to keep up with all the STD news on Trekmovie,like every article ends with saying,but half the stuff is bloody regionlocked!! How the heck can we keep up?! I know it’s a US show and a US rights thing,but this is lame and boring and got old REALLY fast. Good thing you can find it elsewhere,if you can be bothered to search for it,which at this point I am not. I’ll just watch it whenever I feel like it,which at this point is not very often. Am I fed up with the whole RL thing? Well whatever gave you THAT idea?! LOL!!


if it helps the shoe is o. The other foot for us here in the US to even WATCH STD. We have to jump therough a bunch of hoops and deal with misinformation from CBS while you either just start up your Netflix or better still if in Canada, just turn on your TV.

Because it’s easy and fluff and doesn’t make you think. It caters to people who sit like a zombie wasting their time in front of the telly. I didn’t see this drivel. I watched the last episode and that was so enormously stupid I cannot imagine any true Star Trek fan (you know, those people who favor INTELLIGENT storytelling) would even go near it.

You must love it. Every comment I’ve read of yours reeks of stupidity.

Well stop with the RL on STD and I’ll happily keep up with the news and even the show,lol! Not that it’s any more intelligent than a LOT of other stuff on tv of course. And Orville is mindless fun,but as always some socalled Trek fans just don’t have a sense of humour,lol!

Gosh … I like “King of the Hill,” does that make me a bad Star Trek fan?

I don’t think so, since I enjoy KOTT myself. But Hank Hill might disagree.

@Marja — it doesnt make you a bad Star Trek fan, but I would argue there’s a lot more worthwhile going on in that half-hour sitcom than an hour of ORVILLE. But as to your point, that’s not necessarily good nor bad. Entertainment is whatever you enjoy, mindless, or no. I see the appeal of ORVILLE — it sort of looks like Trek, with Trek-like stories, but you don’t have to think as hard, and there’s “dick jokes”. So nothing new to learn — it’s almost like picking up where you left off with TNG, but instead of rewatching well worn old favorites, they’re new. And of course “dick jokes”.

I’d say, when your own response is to personally insult someone, it says enough. I did not care that much for Discovery and I am most certainly not someone who is psychologically needy to love a supremely flawed show. Go back to the previous episode and use that critical thinking skill you Trekkies love to parade so much. Use that brain to dissect and understand why that episode was utter nonsense hidden under a flimsy sheet of ‘wannabe Trek’. Try it and then tell me if it was ‘mindless fun’ or actually idiotic illogical crap.

Whats funny about people like you Bert is you keep reminding us how brain dead a show like Orville is yet you keep watching every week like the hypocrite you are lol. I mean, why are YOU still watching man? Apparently its so dumb that its not even worth watching for anyone with an IQ above 40 but you can’t seem to stop yourself for some odd reason.

What’s worse, people who watch the show because they actually enjoy it? Or people like you who keep telling us what ‘crap’ it is and yet seem to make it appointment television every week just the same? I guess we know how bored your real life is.

There was also a strong CITY OF EMBER vibe going on with some of the inhabitants actively forming a resistance movement, and more importantly a leader who suspected the truth but didn’t want to lose power. It also seems like the continuation of the Dyson Sphere episode of TNG, which begged for a larger story line, but somehow never got it.

This episode held my attention better than any other so far, perhaps because it did feel more like a Star Trek episode, but it kept constantly throwing me out of the story due to the groan-worthy jokes. The one about Persians in particular I found completely offensive and totally unworthy of any series purporting to pick up and carry the torch of Trek. The humor didn’t just pull me out of an episode that otherwise drew me into the mystery, but there was entirely too much time spent on it, both in the beginning and elsewhere, at the sacrifice of a more complete adventure within the society that developed on this ship. As if that weren’t enough, McNeely’s score was so derivative that I stopped paying attention to the story in places, to listen to the obvious parroting of the temp score — Most notably the Enterprise traversing the V’Ger cloud from TMP.

If you want to watch an actually great story about a generation ship watch the final two episodes of Dr. Who. Then you will understand why non-Americans think this is a pile of horse manure, generally speaking. You see, those two episodes had real humor in them, actual humor and not your uncle telling a dick joke. And it had gut wrenching drama, time travel, high SF concepts all packaged in superb cinematography.

And a really stupid deus ex machina ending where all the consequences were thrown away so that the companion could escape the death that the episodes had been thematically leading too and instead end up in a complete carbon copy of the last companion’s equally-absurd undead deification/eternal spacetravel.

In short, no sci-fi show is without its flaws. And yeah, that two-parter was brilliant. But those who live in Moffat-companion-departure houses should not throw stones. ;-)

No. A Deus Ex Machina is when a Godlike event happens. Yet this series had set that up previously and is most certainly not afraid to let bad things happen for story reasons. And it was not a carbon copy of the previous season, that alone tells me that you are just interested in pissing vinegar. And I do not think that Dr. Who is without flaws, for crying out loud, it rather obviously has quite a lot of issues. But they are not related to the core of the show, which still stands magnificent sci-fi.

I don’t know what your Moffat insult is about (I think it’s an insult). I have been watching this show since the 70’s. So whoever is taking the reigns now, I wish him the best.

Bert Beukema,

Re: pile of horse manure

While American critics, to this day, still reserve that special asterisked appellation for the Canadian generation ship series, THE STARLOST, which we still hold the UK responsible for, even though those recent WHO episodes did redeem that UK sf niche genre somewhat in most disdainers minds.

Harlan Ellison created THE STARLOST, which its producers then succeeded in most gloriously frakking-up. They asked Gene Roddenberry to step in and clean up their mess, which he not-so-politely declined. That actually endeared him to Ellison, though it didn’t last.

Lol yeah a show about a manic depressive, possibly bipolar TARDIS-thieving Time Lord who travels through time, killing more humans (his companions) than the enemies he faces. Then, he gets lonely and depressed and goes off to Earth to hunt down another hapless human to get killed. Oh look! Humanity is threatened again! Who’s fault is that? Not the guy/now girl in the funny costume who keeps attracting his enemies to inflict mass casualties on the human race…

Well, you must be part of the asinine vinegar pissing crowd then. Do you actually drink your own piss? I mean, if you had actually watched this show and understood the premise and characters you would have understood your comment only display a childish tantrum. I’m sure it makes you feel all powerful in your little bedroom.


There is a difference between a show that is light in tone that has some dramatics and a show that is dramatic in tone that has some humor. Can you guess which of Orville and Dr Who fall in?

I will agree that there were cues that were so very derivative that they probably should have given Goldsmith a credit. A small complaint from my point of view, however.

Yes, it felt very much like a Voyager leftover – like something pulled straight out of Brannon Braga’s drawer after spending twenty years carefully hidden all the way below his socks and undershirts. It was not bad, it was not good, it was kind of flat and pointless, and it took itself way too seriously – complete with a contrivedly convenient reason why the ship can’t stick around to help the boarding party. I think the Orville works the best when it cleverly subverts the Star Trek clichés, not when it becomes a straight-faced Star Trek cliché itself, as was the case this week.

Didn’t understand the Persian joke, too. Was that an American popcultural thing, or just a random general jab at Persian dudes?

@Paul — that really was a contrived reason, wasn’t it? It’s the same reason the Enterprise had to leave in “Friday’s Child”, but that was organic to the plot — it wasn’t just a coincidence, it was planned, yet the Enterprise had no choice but to investigate. It also seemed to take away from valuable story telling time from the primary plot, and to introduce some shoot-em-up space battles, something it didn’t really do in “Friday’s Child”.

@Paul — Also, the Persian joke … yeah. That was straight out of FAMILY GUY. Maybe it is an American Pop-cultural thing, I thought it was more universally understood, as SOUTH PARK did a whole parody of the movie 300 using it, but it’s a totally derogatory, racist stereotype, and has NO PLACE in a show espousing Star Trek’s values.

And here I thought it was a joke about rugs.

The Persian joke was truly cringe-worthy (would they have done this about, say, Nigerians?), and the dick jokes only slightly less so. Which was a shame, because there was a kernel of an interesting plot here. That plot could have been fleshed out considerably without the lame humor taking up, what, 20% of the episode? I happened to see a rerun of CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM before this episode; sorry, but the ORVILLE is just not funny.

There’s also the big ‘ol glaring point that a good leader DOES NOT rope subordinates into the details of his/her divorce. I really wish they’d drop the Sam-and-Diane vibe, which may work in a dive bar, but not in the military. These two shouldn’t have been paired in the first place — it was, again, an excuse for more lame humor — but we are where we are, and at this point I’d either make it clear that they’re An Item again, or go the Troi-Riker model of “just good friends.”

Finally, I think this episode shows why there’s a lot to be said for serialized storytelling a la DISCOVERY, or even ENT. It would have been intriguing to learn more about what made Hamelac tick, whether he really believed in the dogma, what motivated the Reformers, and what happened to the society after they opened the sunroof.

I too am tired of the divorce jokes. Especially the fact that she is always getting the blame. We get it! She committed adultry. Move on.

Most of these so-called jokes are American Jokes. Which means that if you’re not American they will a) fly over your head, b) be very offensive or c) fall completely flat. What this show calls ‘humor’ is more like your uncle telling a dirty joke.

Reminded me of The Star Lost. Alaras tumble down the hill was a nice little salute to The Princess Bride (which celebrated its 30th anniversary this week). The show’s fun. The only issue I have is the stories seem to wrap up to quickly. I think this is simply the result of how we’ve gotten used to long form story telling.

Loved the fourth episode of ‘The Orville’, it was like watching a classic TOS episode this time. The drifting generation ship is a classic sci-fi concept & hasn’t seen it done on TV for some time.

Before ‘Star Trek’, the idea of people living within a generation ship without knowing the truth about their world was the subject of a few short stories from the 40s & 50s. Robert H. Heinlein’s story ‘Universe’ is the first that comes to mind.

Didn’t expect to see Liam Neeson, that was a nice cameo. Next episode is the one directed by Jonathan Frakes, and they have Charlize Theron as the guest star.

Was worried that the ratings will go down; not just because of football but also the new Will & Grace. Thankfully the ratings were steady but hope it will get better since Gotham is not helping with its own low ratings.

How small your world must be. Dr. Who ended this season with a fantastic two-parter about a generation ship. That was great science fiction, with fantastic acting, gut wrenching drama AND great humor. But I guess you would rather eat a plate of rehashed manure and call it apple pie.

“Bert Beukema
How small your world must be. Dr. Who ended this season with a fantastic two-parter about a generation ship. That was great science fiction, with fantastic acting, gut wrenching drama AND great humor. But I guess you would rather eat a plate of rehashed manure and call it apple pie.”

So Ahmed wrote a rather positive comment on Orville. Why the animosity? Because He She loved the fourth episode? I watch Doctor Who, always have and still do- what does that have to do with The Orville or was it the sentence ‘The drifting generation ship is a classic sci-fi concept & hasn’t seen it done on TV for some time.’ Otherwise I don’t understand what you’re upset about? Did you mean to post to someone else? D’Ohhh!

@Xeta — 2014 multi-part miniseries called ASCENSION about a multi-generational ship with a big secret. That’s pretty recent. It was heavily promoted, got good critical review, and decent ratings. But very expensive and wasn’t picked up to series.


Bert Beukema is an old tr0ll. S/He has nothing to say but attack anyone who likes ‘The Orville’, just like the other two tr0lls around here.

@Ahmed – You seem to be trolling quite well yourself. At the very least you are displaying great amounts of cognitive dissonance. It’s like drinking your first beer and discovering it takes really yuck. You keep on drinking it waiting for it to become better. And it does. But the reality is that the beer is still yuck. It is your palate that has adapted itself to ‘like’ it.

XETA – Yes. The comment was about such and such of a story not having been seen in a science fiction show in a long time. Which is untrue and show a very little world of reference. And someone who ‘loved’ what is essentially a dull retread with dick jokes has some serious problems with cognitive dissonance.

Lmao Doctor was originally written for children! No wonder you fancy it!

“I gotta put folks down when they’re positive. It really gets my dick hard.” — You (2017)

@Bert Beukema,

Old man, go home and wash your car or something. You may want to see a doctor as well to deal with your anger & immaturity.

Ahmed – Listen, I know you really really really want to like this. It’s called cognitive dissonance. It makes you disregard what is faulty and overplay what is not. It makes you laud a dull and mediocre rehash as something ‘you loved’. Your whole system is geared to pushing the elements that were cringeworthy or plain stupid out of your central focus. You want to love it, so you love it and you keep telling yourself this. But deep inside there will always be that voice informing you that things are not flying unicorns and rainbows.

Bert, shut up already. My god get a life man.

The musical melody you hear as they walk from the shuttle to the first airlock is VERY similar to the music played when Enterprise sails through V’Ger.

Yes! I thought that too!

Yes LOVED that musical melody. It really hit home some of Trek’s best scores.

I’m finding it kind of distracting when the score reminds me so much of other movies/shows much of the time. Basically, it goes from supporting the scene to taking me out of the scene because I try to remember where the music is from.

DIGIN, Yeah, in Ep 2 there was some music that seemed “inappropriate” for the scene — they were not in a conflict in the scene — later I realized why I thought it was inappropriate. It was a near-perfect recreation of the music when Reliant rakes Enterprise with her phasers in TWOK. You know, that scene that made theatergoers go, “Ohhhh no ….”

Ok fair enough. Reminder of others scores never bother me but I can see how it would others.

Yes! Exactly what I had messaged a friend during the episode. I hope they release the music at the end of the season.

@bassmaster22 — so far they’ve come a little to close on some music cues. They will likely be left off any soundtrack album. It’s one thing to slip something in under the radar as part of the show, and call it parody as a whole, it’s another to profit directly from it. If I were Paramount, I’d bring a claim against any of those cues that come too close to their copyrights.

I like all three of the composers in this series, all very talented and well trained — something I can’t really say about Jeff Russo on DISCOVERY. Chances are, the composers will be in charge of the tracks offered on any soundtrack album and they won’t pick the cues that are too derivative of temp score they were asked to crib. They’re going to want to showcase their original contributions. That said, ORVILLE will have to continue to prove itself with a strong fan base since these are big orchestras scored under the AFM, and conversion costs for a soundtrack album will be very expensive — essentially paying the entire orchestra again for each cue on the soundtrack album; and that’s a lot of money to recoup at only $15 a pop.

You mean to say, they ripped off music from better shows and movies. And changed just a few notes, tempo et al to make sure they don’t get a lawsuit on their asses. What a sorry lot you are. Oh no, i’m sorry. It’s a ‘homage’.

Bert Beukema,

Re: You mean to say, they ripped off music from better shows and movies. And changed just a few notes, tempo et al to make sure they don’t get a lawsuit on their asses.

You’ve just described James Horner’s goto work ethic. Made all the more frustrating because he had talent and his “borrowing” was just a crutch he fell back on when time was at a premium at the start of his career. But it became a highly addictive drug from which he never ever seemed to completely extricate himself.

@Disinvited — to what are you referring? Horner borrowed heavily from himself, and the classics like Holst’s Planets, as all the major film composers have. Was there some other contemporaries’ film score he lifted as is the case here?

Curious Cadet,

You are not wrong but neither am I. Just listen to his BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS score and you will hear it all there. You can’t help but notice where he rips off Goldsmith’s TMP, the major crime that you’ve cited several times in these comment chains in regards to SF music compostion.

@Disinvited — well theft is a crime, especially when it’s being used in what has apparently intentionally become a direct competitor to Trek, by stealing it’s look, feel, production staff, audience, and now IP. I recall BBTS had a lot of TWOK elements lifted directly from it, but it’s been a lot of years since I listened to it. I don’t recall direct TMP quotes being lifted, but certainly not beyond possibility. I’ll give it a listen again. However, BBTS wasn’t necessarily a competitor to Trek drawing directly on its brand. And of course, it ended up getting Horner the job on TWOK only a year later.

Curious Cadet,

In the Home Video featurette, “James Horner: Composing Genesis”, Horner tells of learning the actual mechanics of the art of film scoring from attending many of Jerry’s recording sessions for STAR TREK — THE MOTION PICTURE AT Goldsmith’s invitation. He was his protege.

My unresearched understanding was the two had a falling out when many interviewers of that decade would note the similarities of Horner’s scores to Goldsmith and Horner pretended not to know who Jerry was.

@Disinvited — interesting, I hadn’t heard that. Jerry was a great guy. Horner not so much.

Curious Cadet,

“Some critics have noted with irony that it’s fitting to have Horner score Star Trek II, since the first movie had such a popular score by Jerry Goldsmith, the same composer whose style seemed to figure so prominently in much of Horner’s earlier work. Horner, although confessing a strong degree of influence from Goldsmith, claims that, rather than any intentional imitation of his own, the fault most often lay with producers who wanted a scored to sound just like someone else’s popular film.” — excerpted from ‘Interview: James Horner and Star Trek II’, CinemaScore, issue # 10, Fall 1982; reviewed and interviewed by Randall D. Larson.

@Disinvited — I’m no fan of Horner’s personally, but he’s not necessarily wrong — producers do ask composers to copy temp music all the time. As a young composer, he may have been more eager to please a producer who wanted to hire Goldsmith but couldn’t get him. Goldsmith wouldn’t have been a stranger to that reality either. Though I just don’t recall ever noticing any similarities in Horner’s score, but I’m sure they’re probably there.

The only time I can recall Goldsmith aping another current composer’s work was TOTAL RECALL, the theme for which clearly echoes Basil P’s CONAN THE BARBARIAN. Early Goldsmith was mostly very innovative and not derivative that I can recall at all — his BLUE MAX and PATTON seemed to set new standards for flying and martial scores for others to emulate. I do really hear THE LION IN WINTER in his OMEN score, but I think that is more of the arrangement than the notes. Then again, I don’t really like his OMEN score, so he is disimproving on what John Barry did with WINTER. Goldsmith is my alltime fave composer ever, by a wide margin,but OMEN, along with some of his overly-electronic scores in the 70s, are his off-days for me. Compared with BREAKHEAT PASS, WIND AND THE LION, TMP, the aforementioned scores, and APES, they just don’t bring it.

Horner rips off Goldsmith’s GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY a few times in BATTLE, and he rips off Williams 70s disaster work a couple times too. Horner rips off classics and he rips off himself over & over (he wrote one piece that is nice that he used for all the ‘contemporary action’ flicks — RED HEAT, 48hrs, GORKY PARK, COMMANDO, others … all the same music and (except for GORKY) pretty much the same arrangement. The only reason he got away with it was because Williams & Especially Goldsmith always said they were flattered.


He rips off the centrifuge classical piece from 2001 in ALIENS and PATRIOT GAMES in a way that sounds like the same arrangement as Kubrick’s film.

I think Horner should have been in jail for his thievery — but having said that, I still love his TWOK score. Makes me feel bad, like how I totally enjoy MISSISSIPPI BURNING even though it utterly rewrites history, making it seem like FBI did more than just bribe people into testifying.


Interesting. There’s actually a specific musical theme lasting two measures (in 4/4 time) in action movies——it typically plays when the hero is being heroic toward the end of the story——and I’ve heard this exact theme, note for note, in at least 5 movies. It first came to my attention in WATERWORLD…I think it plays while Kevin Costner is being heroic aboard the Smoker vessel. At one point, Costner swings through the air like Errol Flynn and the theme plays right at that moment. Another movie I heard it in was either one of the LOTR movies or one of THE HOBBIT movies (I can’t remember which, but I’m certain it was in one of those). And I always wonder whether this two-measure theme is public domain. It’s hard to imagine it being ripped off so frequently and so exactly with out anybody minding, if it’s privately owned.

Well now I’m gonna have to find out if WATERWORLD is streaming, because I’m genuinely interested in hearing this cue you mention.

There’s a piece of music that was in nearly all early 90s trailers that really blew me away, to the point that I actually tried to watch SHINING THROUGH, because I thought it was from that film (it was NOT, you have no reason to ever try watching that PoS.) Have read that it might be from a Brendan Fraser movie, but that’s a road I’m unlikely to go down, as except for THE UGLY AMERICAN, I don’t think I’m likely to see him in anything again.

“He [Jerry Goldsmith]refused to come and conduct his own Fanfare for Oscar and the ceremony because he absolutely did not want to play the music of Titanic. I’m no longer the young man who was once his friend. Times changed a long time ago. I am a rival now.” — James Horner in 1998 interview with Didier Leprêtrefor the French magazine DREAMS TO DREAM…’S, No. 11

from the English translation provided by the James Horner Film Music website.

And, bear with me, from another Google translated German editon excerpt of the same French article:

Didier L.: Have there been important personalities in your life so far, which have influenced you decisively in the music; who – at least partially – have been responsible for your current career?

James Horner: No, at least not as far as the film is concerned. I have grown up within a classical musician’s movement; I mean to say, I love the music of Berlioz or Prokofiev. When I began composing, however, nobody really influenced me as to the film.

Didier L.: Even not Jerry Goldsmith, who was one of your friends?

James Horner: No! Not even Jerry Goldsmith. I have been forced to write for him, to make music, and even to revert to his plays [scores? – Disinvited], as I did in my very first films, where the directors were very fond of STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE or ALIEN.

I think the point here is not whether or not composers plagiarize each other. The point is that this is a show that literally copies everything it has to offer from other shows and movies. Literally everything is copied and it’s as if their motto is ‘look we copied this!”. They revel in their dull copycat approach and, just like ‘Fake News’ have wrapped this in the monicker ‘HOMAGE’. Now that is some sad reality.

Did you enjoy STRANGER THINGS? Cuz a lot of folks see the Spielberg homages there as ripoffs, while others do not. Would be interesting to see your trek/orville notions exercised in another context, just for better understanding your POV.

There may be only a few space opera stories to tell. Not sure, but maybe. I don’t hate this episode, but yes, it is “For the Orville’s Hollow and Seth has Touched Family Guy.” I like The Orville, but I still hope they address certain character issues: Isaac. C’mon! Give him a face. It’s sci-fi; there are fifty ways to do this. No matter what he says, I can’t engage Isaac without a face of some sort. The 2017 humor must go. There are plenty of opportunities for gags to arise organically from this group of characters. Dick jokes and poorly written lines for J. Lee’s character tend to be stoppers in otherwise decent scripts. I don’t know how much of Norm MacDonald’s blob we’ll get, but that’s where the dick jokes belong… and only there. Bortus and Klyden can be very effective as a couple, but the writers haven’t really found them yet. Rather than a symbol of same sex marriage, they look like DS9’s O’Briens, bickering because no one knows how else to write them. Bottom line: I’m still watching, but I’m hoping for improvement in key areas. One more ps: bring the lighting down a few settings; you look like TNG season one and lighting was not good in season one.

“Rather than a symbol of same sex marriage, they look like DS9’s O’Briens, bickering because no one knows how else to write them.”

Exactly. The only positive thing I can say is that it was a male character complaining about how the spouse is married to the job, not a female. But that whole theme is trite and childish. You don’t marry a high-ranking naval officer without knowing there will be work-life balance issues, and I’m tired of seeing this kind of plot. Aaron Sorkin handled it much better with Leo McGarry in the first couple of episodes of the WEST WING.

But that was Aaron freakin’ Sorkin.

Hmm. I wonder if Seth could get Sorkin to help out with ….

Nah. ‘d be nice though.

“Ship porn”…lol. Gotta use that ;-)

please dont firefly this show PLEASE

You mean a sudden cancellation?

Yeah the ratings feel a bit iffy but if the DVR viewings are as strong as they say it will probably finish first season at the very least.

Patrick, did you just invent a new verb? Like the phrase “jump the shark”? I’ll have to check TV tropes!

Good one, if you came up with that!

I bet FOX is still kicking themselves for cancelling Firefly. What a damn shame that was.

I really loved this episode. The premise was great and yes very TOS in nature. I just thought they found a good way to discuss religion (and the sheer stubbornness you will find from certain people about it). No it wasn’t perfect but overall I loved it. I was one of these people who didn’t get why TM was making so many articles about the show and had no interest in it besides just minor curiosity. Well now I am a full blown watcher of it. Its hitting all the right buttons for me. It feels very much like a Star Trek production while keeping to its comical/satire roots. But it is a show with a lot of heart, which I did not expect to get and dare I say it the characters more endearing than the Discovery one so far (although technically we seen two of those I guess until episode 3).

Anyway I went from a skeptic to a fan. Maybe it was just low expectations but Orville is clicking all the right buttons. I’m happy I have this and Discovery to look forward to. :)

Did they directly use V’ger themes? Some of the music was very similar, if not taken directly.

My reaction to Liam Neeson’s cameo at the end “Oh S+++” :))

Still loving the Orville, we need some positive/uplifting tv shows these days!

As for ST:D, I plan to wait until the whole season is finished, then I’ll sub for a month and watch it all. I don’t like it’s dark tone, and I don’t like how miserable and nasty all the characters seem to be. Alex Kurtzman has made the franchise unrecognizable.

I’ve only seen “A Vulcan Hello,” as I plan to binge-watch as well. But how were the characters “miserable and nasty”? I loved Captain Georgiou. She had a touch of whimsy (“she’s having fun”) but was well-grounded in Starfleet’s ideals and why they were out there exploring. Saru’s cowering was something we really haven’t seen before, except perhaps in Quark, and it was handled much more deftly here.

Commander Burnham? Well, she obviously has issues with overreacting to things. But so did Ensign Ro, so we’ll see how she develops. For that matter, so did Riker as a young ensign, as we learned in “The Pegasus.” I’m not inclined to dismiss the entire Discovery universe because the protagonist has a serious character flaw; that makes her interesting.

I thought this review was too negative. I liked the episode. And I like The Orville.
I think The Orville is a weird show. By that I mean it is a unique mix of earnest seriousness, earnest social commentary, positive visions of future good guys – much like what is loveable about Star Trek. But The Orville is punctuated by interrludes of McFarlane jokes referencing our current popular culture, and silliness among characters. I have never seen anything quite like it. In a way the humor takes me out of the story- it’s like two different shows pushed into one.
But then I realized that this is what The Orville is. Some episodes will be more jokey and done more earnest, but they will always tack back and forth between these two parts.. And once I realized to expect this weird combination, and I understood that this unusual hybrid is what the show is going to be, I started expecting it, relaxed, and enjoyed the show on its own terms. It’s a sweet, uplifting show overall, and I’m glad we have a show that dares to defy the trendy dystopian and dark science fiction shows that are so pervasive today.
I say thanks, Seth.

I’m enjoying “The Orville”. Period.

Not trying to drag politics into this but did you say that in the voice of “This was the biggest crowd ever. Period”?
Seriously through, I’m happy for you if you’ve found a TV show that you can just enjoy.

” Its a family show ” – Seth MacFarlane

” no less than 3 dick jokes “.

Thank you Trek Movie. I knew this would happen. I’ll stick with Discovery.

I think I’ve seen enough of this show. I was bored after twenty minutes of Episode 4. Robert Knepper, who was great in Twin Peaks, was totally wasted and given some of the worst dialogue going. I wonder if Isaac has any idea how boring he is? There’s no chemistry between the characters at all, all the comedy is forced. And don’t get me started on the pop culture references. Friends? Really?

“Don’t give me the Star Trek crap Kryten, it’s too early in the morning!”
-Lister, Red Dwarf.

“You know. 1966? 79 episodes, about 30 good ones.”
-Phillip J. Fry, Futurama.

“Sir, we can’t call it The Enterprise.”
-Carter, Stargate SG:1

Those are funny pop culture references. Wonder if the Orville will manage one half as good.

Robert Knepper was actually in the first-season TNG episode ‘Haven’. I sort of viewed his presence on the Orville as a wink to that.

Honestly, the whole “spouting one-liners while being tortured by over-the-top scifi villains” made me miss when they did it better in Stargate SG-1.

Jaffa: “No matter what you think you have endured, you will soon find out what Anubis is capable of!”
O’Neill: “You ended that sentence…with a preposition! Bastard.”

Thanks for the heads up about Haven, will rewatch the episode as I can’t remember much about it.

And as for SG-1…

“I was just finishing up a lovely brunch…”
“No, tuna.”

@RNGD — as I recall there were some pop-culture retorts as well. But that one in particular does not require an explanation. Well at least they used to teach Grammer in public schools … Now I fear they only teach emoji …

While I agree with alot of you saying that the jokes could be less vulgar and less 2017 pop culture, I cant help hut remember all the times I’ve watched TOS and thought ‘gosh, they’re so stuck in the 60s, with all the themes, jokes, space hippies,etc’ It’s the nature of the beast sometimes. How can writers know what will be jokes about 300 years from now? And if they did, would we laugh?

@windelkin — you’re missing the point. There is no pop-culture joking in TOS, regardless of how it looks visually, and I disagree about any themes not being applicable to every generation, whether we can see them in their historical context. I saw an interview with Bob Newhart who said they deliberately avoided any jokes about President Ford on his eponymous show, something most sitcoms at the time were doing. The humor is rooted in the situation — it’s organic to the moment, universally understood and doesn’t rely on the audience understanding the subject or context of the joke. And you know what, that show is still freaking hillarious, despite the dated look, or themes. That’s because modern audiences don’t have to know how Ford was viewed in pop culture of the time. Many of MacFarlene’s jokes are rooted in his own dated pop-culture world. I actually had to think about the Friends joke for a minute, because I was never a FRIEND’s fan and so it wasn’t a reference I was expecting, nor was it one I was familiar with. Unlike TOS, in 50 years there’s going to be very few people who will remember it. And that’s the fate of all of MacFarlane’s shows. At some point people are just going to shrug their shoulders and say “I don’t get it”.

Curious Cadet,

Re: There is no pop-culture joking in TOS…

Not even in THE WAY TO EDEN???!!!!! And VOYAGER’s CHAOTICA, the pickup truck in space, Sarah Silverman in the time traveling back to contemporary times of the production, etc. DS9’s baseball, James Bond callbacks, James Darren, etc.???

@Disinvited — I don’t recall any pop-culture jokes in ‘Eden that relied on knowing anything about 1960s pop-culture. And if there is, and I missed it then it didn’t affect my ability to appreciate the episode otherwise. Or do you mean that the whole episode is a pop-culture joke, because conservative audiences at the time would have gotten a big laugh out of that episode? Hard to see that as the intent though.

As for VOY, Tom was fixated on mid-20th century Earth for some reason. But his character tells us that. So 50 years from now, the “joke”, if you like, will be explained to people during the episode. Again, is the pickup truck in space a joke one has to have previous knowledge with which to understand? It’s as big a mystery to VOY as it is to the audience, and when they figure it out, they tell us. Likewise with Sarah Silverman, etc. etc. I don’t see these as jokes at all, but references, and more importantly references the audience doesn’t need to know anything about, since they are explained by the characters to other characters who also understandably don’t know anything about them. I’m not a big baseball guy, but never had any problem understanding the references to it, as they were generally explained. And again, I’m not talking about references to things presented in the episode so much as jokes, that require off-screen knowledge on the part of the audience.

If there are such jokes that require the audience to know something about pop culture in order to understand them and appreciate the humor, then I’m happy to be reminded of them. I just don’t recall any. Well that’s not entirely true — in TVH Kirk talks about profanity contained in the literary works by named authors of the period, and Spock says, “ah, the greats”. Well I had no idea who those writers were or why it was supposed to be funny. I had to look it up. But that was a rare exception in that movie if I recall correctly, and strikes me as an anomaly within the franchise in general. Nor was much made of that moment as far as moving he story forward. That said, while I got the reference to friends, I suppose if I didn’t 50 years from now, it would put me in the same position as the interrogator, who responds to the nonsensical information with another punch to the face … But so much for the humor. Actually it would probably play better that way.

Curious Cadet,

In the following excerpt, outside of SoCal resident Dodger fans, few, the world over in 1996, would have gotten this Silverman character’s breakfast joke. The Tuvok character clearly doesn’t.


TUVOK: Good morning.
(Tuvok returns bearing drinks and bags of fast food.)

RAIN: Agent Tuvok, what’s up?

TUVOK: Breakfast is up. Have you made any progress?

PARIS: I think so.

RAIN: Chili burritos, foot long hot dogs and Goliath Gulps. This is not a breakfast, this is an afternoon at Dodger Stadium.

TUVOK: And that is a non-sequitur. Would you please hand me a burrito.

@Disinvited — interesting example, but one I think points out the significant differences between what MacFarlane is doing and Trek did.

The joke is she’s eating stuff inappropriate for breakfast. Audiences 50 years from now may not know what a big gulp is, but Ingurantee they’ll recognize Chili burritos and for long hot dogs. I also guarantee there will be a Dodger stadium, and get the reference to the joke. Indeed who’s to say 400 years from now there is no more Dogers baseball? (I don’t know Trek minutia that well so forgive me if they covered the demise of baseball as SPACE 1999 made canon the banning of team sports in the 2100s). Either way, I’ll bet people 400 years from now will have afternoons at sports arenas, where they eat specific foods, they likely wouldn’t eat at breakfast. So the whole reference, despite being specific to the certain brands is still general enough to be understood by most anyone, assuming such concepts still exist, and chili burritos haven’t become the latest breakfast fad.

But this latest effort of yours to educate me, makes me think you’re missing the point — what MacFarlane is doing is showing an intimate knowledge by characters of 1990s sitcoms, and quoting those things as if it’s the first thing on their mind. Now, maybe some historian discovered the complete FRIENDS DVD in a time capsule, and it’s all the rage on 23rd century entertainment at the time that episode took place. But there’s a half-dozen such references per episode, so is that really the excuse for each one? In contrast, you’ve been digging for a couple of days, and so far, you’re only producing the rare reference to general universal constructs, which may have some specific pop taint, but otherwise fairly commonplace. Heck, I bet 2000 years ago, Romans attending the coliseum would get that VOY reference.

Curious Cadet,

First you are forgetting that the Dodgers and I were both born on the East Coast. And I can disprove your “2000 years ago, Romans attending the coliseum would get that VOY reference.” contention by telling you that East Coast fans of The Brooklyn Dodgers, in the scant decades after they fled, didn’t know what any of that was.

I was transplanted to SoCal in the early 70s and no one in our rather large family knew anything about what a burrito or Dodger Dog was or that both could be purchased at Dodger Stadium during an afternoon game. And the Big Gulp didn’t come along until later in that decade. In fact, it seemed to me that the 7-Eleven chain was more responsible for spreading knowledge of footlong hot dogs and burritos than Dodger Stadium concession purchasers ever were or could possibly be to generations to come.

And I did not go digging but went right to that episode for what I recalled as the perfect example of how series STAR TREK has peppered
many of its episodes with too inside the ballpark references for its contemporary worldwide audiences, and worldwide audiences to come.

@Disinvited — I fear you are focused too much on the trees, rather than the forest. The Dogers don’t even enter the equation. Nor do Burritos, nor Big Gulps, or Footlongs. Here are the key words in the joke that any culture throughout the ages will understand — the food is not BREAKFAST, but better fitting an AFTERNOON, at a STADIUM — not generally known for it’s healthy choices. You don’t need to understand what those foods are, to get the joke — Tuvok was sent to get food, and he didn’t. Tuvok would not have gotten the references either. But he did understand the criticism. The food he got was not acceptable breakfast food on Earth, and better intended for an afternoon at a stadium. All concepts he would have been familiar with. Even the ancient Romans had food concessions during their events, and I’d be surprised if Vulcan didn’t either. Either way, the joke is, Tuvok bought inappropriate food.

And that’s a far cry from randomly quoting Destiny’s Child lyrics, and making a gag that has no bearing on anything anyone would remotely understand in that context. Heck, I didn’t get it. A) because I’m not intimately familiar with the works of Destiny’s child, and B) the R&B joke fell flat because I didn’t know what he was talking about because I didn’t know the Destiny’s Child reference, and C) while I’m familiar with the fact that the number of writers on modern rap and R&B tracks can be quite large, the average person, and even Destiny’s Child fan, wouldn’t know or likely care.

Now, if this had been Star Trek, that joke would have been set up. Tom Paris would have been singing the Destiny’s Child song at the beginning of the episode, when Torres comes in and asks what he’s singing. Tom would have explained it. Now everybody is in on the joke to come, when Bortus quotes his greatest philosopher, and all Torres can remember are the lyrics to the song Tom was singing that morning, to which Tom makes a gag about the number of songwriters it took to write. Here MacFarlane relies on his audiences familiarity with current pop culture, despite the fact, it’s improbably that so many people 400 years from now would be intimately familiar with late 20th century pop culture, and audiences even 10 years from now may not know, especially those born in the last 10 years. While the VOY joke will always work without explanation, the ORVILLE joke doesn’t even work for everyone now.

Curious Cadet,

Re: …The Dogers don’t even enter the equation. Nor do Burritos, nor Big Gulps, or Footlongs.

And yet, you guaranteed, “Audiences 50 years from now may not know what a big gulp is, but Ingurantee they’ll recognize Chili burritos and for long hot dogs.” which is what I was addressing.

Foot long hot dogs are known as sausages for most of the rest of the world which is why they wouldn’t understand why Rain thinks they are inappropriate for breakfast. And if knowledge of the burrito becomes as pervasive as you guarantee, most aren’t going to comprehend why chili flavoring is inappropriate on a breakfast burrito.

The reason the Dodger Dog is significant is the joke can’t be fully appreciated without prior knowledge of it being originally introduced as a “foot long hot dog” that immediately underwent a name change to Dodger Dog when stadium patrons kept asking why it was two inches shy.

This is why I said it was too inside the ballpark for a show expecting to transcend generations worldwide. To fully appreciate it, one had to know Dodger Dog history and NOT just be aware that foot long hot dogs are what their culture calls sausages, i.e. appropriate breakfast fare.

@Disinvited — again we’re getting into the weeds. The reference works without the specifics of the foot long hot dog, chili burrito, or “Goliath Gulp”. To paraphrase — “Tuvok, you fool, you’ve not gotten breakfast, you’ve gotten food more appropriate for an afternoon at a stadium.” The fact that this works on a colloquial level as well as a general level earns it points that the DESTINY’S CHILD and FRIENDS references don’t — those jokes work on one level, and one level only.

I concede that I overstated the familiarity with which the rest of the world is familiar with foot long hot dogs and chili burritos. My apologies for the hyperbole, which has gotten us into the weeds I reference.

Paris as the 20th century expert always annoyed me. It was a cheap excuse.

And Orville doing pop culture wouldn’t bother me except in their show it’s the norm. And it’s usially some of the weakest elements.

Sisko liking baseball never seemed like a distraction. And if I recall his favourite player someone from our future so it actually added to the futuristic aspect
Of the setting.

I always liked the baseball on Sisko’s desk.

Two gen two Dodge Rams in Voyager

I appreciate your input and I agree that mentioning politicians and current events in a television show is a mistake for later generations. But I do think Star Trek is a little guilty, so I’m willing to let Orville slide since it isn’t as serious a show.

I felt that way watching the late Robin Williams (God, still hurts to write that) doing his pop-cultural riffs as the Genie in Disney’s ALADDIN. Funny stuff, but I thought, who’s going to get these jokes fifty years from now?

I find myself enjoying “The Orville” a great deal more than I thought I would. Lots to quibble about, and they’re about as subtle as a ten-ton rhino in a telephone booth when it comes to their “messages”. (Hmmm – I guess the phone booth is a dated cultural reference too. [grin]) But overall it’s a pleasant hour.

Oh, BTW, this episode could have had an element of Asimov’s “Nightfall” as well, considering the denizens of the ship have apparently never seen the actual sky.

@Captain Dunsel — actually “Nightfall” would have been far more interesting than this lame offering. I like how MacFarlane just orders the dome opened without any thought to the impact on the population, or whether it would even still function properly after 2000 years. Spock would have been all over that.

The idea of generational ships is joint new. Indeed anybody who pays attention to modern astronomy, NASA, or Elon Musk’s efforts for space exploration knows all about the concepts of generational ships, which I presume is most of the audience tuning into this series. The 2014 mini-series ASCENSION dealt exclusively with this concept.

ORVILLE is breaking no new ground here, just retreading the same path blazed before them in a much less fulfilling way.

Curious Cadet,

Re: …the same path blazed before them in a much less fulfilling way.

You mean like THE STARLOST Canadians did with Harlan Ellison in the early 1970s?

@Disnvited — no, I meant science fiction in general, namely Star Trek, and I mentioned ASCENSION which was a well received big-event miniseries just 3 years ago.

I sent a note to DENOFGEEK about their review of the ep, which cited the Emerson quote as sign of smarts. I pointed out that their reviewer missed the more important SF connection, that this quote inspired and I believe is the preface to Asimov’s NIGHTFALL.

McFarlane clearly knows his SF – but how he chooses to incorporate it is the question. I suppose you can say that GL knew early SF enough well enough to riff well with SW — but that obviously doesn’t have the pop culture contemporary obsession like McF does (outside of kids tinkering with their fast vehicles, that is.)

I really enjoyed this ep in spite of all that — execution remains clunky, but there’s an element that appeals to me despite the TNGedness of it all.

Also, there’s a failure of imagination at work in the visual end on set – the fact their hypodermic looked like ‘now’ w/o any upgrading or sidegrading to suggest future or different culture seemed weak to me, just like how the use of upturned shipping pallets for the courtroom in last week’s show screamed too-cheap-for-a-show-this-pricey in a THE TRAIN JOB kind of way. However, the depiction of the exterior of the city-ship made up for that — it looked like a cross between the best of Martin Bower’s SPACE 1999 models and the Greg Jein-aided Dyson Sphere from TNG.

This one struck me immediately as “For the World…,” but they added their own touches. Like the characters and teamwork. Have to believe that ending would have caused widespread panic, though. Orville is what it is.

Another great episode.

So Charlize Theron & Liam Neeson show up. It’s basically “1 million ways to die in space”.

This reminded me a lot of the Star Lost, but much better. This was my favorite episode of The Orville so far.

Legate Damar,

Well THE STARLOST like THE CITY ON THE EDG OF FOREVER, got Ellison an award for his original script as written which was just as far removed from what got filmed. But you are correct ORVILLE’s ep moved forward from what THE STARLOST aired.

The difference is that on a good day even Ellison will admit that the “City” rewrite has some merit, even though he much prefers his original. The rewritten “Phoenix Without Ashes,” aired as “Voyage of Discovery,” is just awful.

Good concept. Still painfully boring. It’s actually at its best when it has less distracting terrible gags and focuses on the science etc.

Even at they it’s “light” drama but way better than the awful shoe horned humour

This is making me more nostalgic for Stargate (SG-1 and Atlantis), if anything. The world-building might be off-brand Trek, but they’re trying to capture the pulpy/fun rehashing of TOS/TNG adventures that Stargate had. The rehash aspect becomes more distracting when you do a similar plot in a “not-quite-Trek” setting though. All the irreverent pop-culture-reference-based humor actually made sense in the context of the SG world as well.

@RNGD — the big difference here is that SG-1 was a contemporary show. And indeed, many of the pop culture jokes had to be explained for T’ealc (as well as the audience). Many of the jokes assumed a sci-if insider audience as well, such as O’Neill identifying himself as James T. kirk when they went back to the 1960s. Those jokes unfortunately won’t age well, and will date some of that series in syndication. But, it doesn’t rely exclusively on those jokes, and they generally don’t turn into entire scenes, like the “dick joke” from this episode of ORVILLE.

Agreed. I guess I was trying to get at how I think Trek vs. Orville is a comparison based on superficial characteristics, but what MacFarland appears to be striving for is what the Stargate folks were doing. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s a comparison that comes down in MacFarland’s favor either…

@RNGD — I really don’t know what MacFarlane is going for, I think that’s why OR ILLE has a 20% critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes right now. Certainly there was a lot of SG-1 in those interrogation scenes, intentional or not. But just dropping random pop-culture references without explanation, as they have been, is really MacFarlane’s signature style, a la the series that made him a star — FAMILY GUY. I mean, I recognize the writing styles of some of the writers, and the take away for me is there are a lot of voices competing to tell the stories. What I end up with is a pastiche of ideas kind of competing for dominance, including the pop reference, and humor. In the end it’s all kind of smoothed over with a dramatic score and clever editing.

@Curious Cadet,

So I guess you’re going to get a heart attack because ‘Discovery’ has a pop culture reference, right?

Nah, didn’t think so. #Hypocrite

Oh ahmed. You can’t whine about anyone here. You’re the worst.

The characters do seem a litle dry and ‘light’. I think show can do Ok if they make some changes for Season 2.

Assuming that they get a season 2.

Have they finished filming the entire first season?

Hoping they can make some course corrections if they are still filming.

I did like the bitchin’ about “mapping stars is as boring as having brunch with my parents” schtick.

Life-long Star Trek fan here – since I was a kid in the early 70’s. I grew up on TOS and love it still, but TNG is my Trek.
Not much of a fan of Seth Macfarlane’s humor but I’m really enjoying The Orville.

Haven’t liked the direction Star Trek has gone over the past few years and The Orville is a refreshing antidote to that. It’s got a lot of heart and Macfarlane clearly cares.

I can’t judge a humorous, homage to Star Trek by the same standard as I do official Trek. And going by the surprisingly positive response I’m seeing elsewhere online I’m not the only one.

Looking forward to Patrick Stewart’s appearance later this season (if IMDB is to be believed). Should be a lot of fun.

I agree with everything you just said. And yes I said the same, Orville has a lot of heart which is what I didn’t expect. I just thought everyone would be super goofy kind of unlikable people. But now I have a completely different sentiment and I was never a big fan of MacFarlane either (but never hated him).

And I didn’t know Patrick Stewart would be making an appearance (not surprised given he and Macfarlane’s close relationship). I would LOVE for him to make an appearance on Discovery but obviously that won’t be happening anytime soon so this is the second best. ;)

I don’t quite get the “maybe too much so”… I kind of want something super Star Trek of old and… frankly, CBS doesn’t want to give it to me, I’ll take it where I can get it. It’s not as good… but I’m curious to see how Orville progresses.

I liked Discovery first two episodes but yes I have to admit Orville is giving us a show about actual exploration again and a sense of wonder. I’m HOPING Disovery will too and not just about war with the Klingons and covert missions. Fuller kept hinting that will happen so hopefully we will see actual exploration and not just all war and gun fights. But Orville oddly is fitting that bill nicely so far.

To quote: “Guest star Robert Knepper effectively exudes evil as Hamelac, however he isn’t really given many dimensions to play and there isn’t a satisfying resolution. We never find out whether he knew they were on a ship all along and was simply protecting his own self interests, nor do we see if he gets any real comeuppance for his brutal interrogation of Grayson.” Isn’t that the way life works sometimes? It’s a plausible ending that not everything is wrapped up in nice, little bows. Although The Orville isn’t nearly as good a series, The Wire did that a lot.

I still think this has improved and is finding its footing. I think some of the jokes could be trimmed, too, but I think there’s more good than bad.

Anyone know where the name “Dural” came from in The Orville?

Sounds almost like that cigarette brand from the 1970s … “taste me taste me … c’mon and taste me! That’s all Doral asks. Taste me!”

Ha! and we think Seth’s humor is beyond the pale.

Also, I have a lot of junk in my brain.

With Liam Neeson doing a cameo and Charlize Theron next week, I wonder what other big movie names we might see doing cameos later on. It seems almost like asking friends if they want to join in the fun. Is this Seth MacFarlane pulling these in or someone else from the crew?

MacFarlane has worked with both Theron and Neeson on A Million Ways to Die so I’m guessing its him. And he’s friends with a lot of Trek actors and writers and why so many are working on the show as well. But yes the guy has had so many A list actors in his movies and do voice work on his shows (when he’s not making fun of them ;)) it will probably be a lot of cameos.

Orville doesn’t need to world-build or develop much backstory, as it has simply tacked itself onto Star Trek’s universe, giving everything similar-sounding names; there has been essentially no effort on the part of its producers to think of anything original.

Gene Wolfe’s Books of the Long Sun tell a story very similar to this. I wonder if Seth MacFarlane is a fan…?

You’re all to young to remember but this is more like “The Starlost” than the TOS esp. Look it up on YouTube.

…just more derivative re-hashing and tweaking of older Trek episodes. Seth definitely has no shame in going back to the well.

The divorce riff is already getting pretty old

So after how many years of scifi books and films and tv, how could past plots not be similar. Having said that I immensely enjoy Orville 1000% more than Discovery so far. 4 ep’s so far over Discovery’s 2……I can say definitively…..if Discovery doesn’t get a lot better, I’m out after their last aired episode in November, and cancelling my CBS All Access on Roku. This is not Trek except the tech. Not liking any of the characters. Too dark, WAY too many Klingon sub-titles, and characters doing actions NO Starfleet officer would DO, let alone GET AWAY WITH!

I pretty much agree with Brian’s entire review.

This episode does feel like Season 3 TOS, but I actually found that feeling cozy and familiar. The plot is pretty bare-bones in how neatly it’s set-up and resolved, and the episode certainly could have been better with more time spent reflecting on its meaning at the end (such as by the inhabitants of the bio-ship). I was pleased, however, with the amount of humor in this episode. Some of the dick jokes were lame and needlessly crass, but they did set up the funny observations by Isaac, which worked very well comedically. The meal scene gave me a good chuckle, too. As did Malloy and LaMarr’s back-and-forth, which is becoming a standard of the show. If only the writers could give the crew members better reasons for behaving in ways that are totally unrealistic for their setting (i.e. highly trained aerospace personnel operating an enormously expensive spacecraft). . .

By way of comparison, in GALAXY QUEST, the crew’s humorous behavior arises as a consequence of their fish-out-of-water setting. Commander Taggart et al aren’t actually trained pilots and so forth, but they know how to act like they are. So, when Commander Taggart et al behave in ways that actual, working aerospace personnel would never behave, we have a reason to suspend our disbelief: these people aren’t really trained aerospace professionals, and that’s why they lack the discipline, knowledge and other attributes of trained aerospace professionals. In The Orville, Captain Mercer, Malloy and LaMarr behave in ways that are totally unbelievable, given their jobs. No matter how low in his officer training class Mercer graduated, he’d still know what time 1300 hrs is. And, while it’s funny when LaMarr and Malloy deride the experience of space exploration, why did they accept such dangerous jobs if they don’t like what the jobs entail? Mercer, Malloy and LaMarr need better reasons for their clownish, zany behavior. All that said, I did still enjoy watching this episode, and it gave me some good laughs.

Exactly! These guys are not believable as the crew of a major spaceship. Most of them act like idiots at inappropriate times. That works if your main character is supposed to be an idiot, like Peter Griffin on Family Guy, or Homer Simpson. The doctor, the super-strong junior officer, and the robot (!) are the only ones who seem like they should be there.

The kind of stupid goofing off the crew does (“Blam bitches!”) would be acceptable if this was the crew of a garbage scow. But these people are supposed to be professionals, and the best at their jobs.

The captain sometimes reminds me of the main character in the British version of “The Office”…he can’t handle himself correctly, and at times displays no awareness of how to handle his role.

So I find the show bi-polar…it gets into a good groove for a few minutes, and then messes it up with dumb jokes.


Yeah, good points. The “blam bitches!” line actually made me laugh, but immediately afterward I found myself pulled out of the story by LaMarr having acted so out-of-character for the type of character that he’s supposed to be. “Bi-polar” is a fitting description for the show, as I find myself appreciating the humor, but wishing that it were set up in a way that made the show internally consistent and cohesive. I hope that the producers of the show recognize this problem, and try to resolve it, because it’s the weakest link of the show, and it’s part of the show’s basic premise.

They could actually turn this problem into a rich source of dramatic and comedic content for the show, by using it as an impetus to write backstories for Capt. Mercer, LaMarr and Malloy (and, actually, for Kelly, too, as she tends to act likewise out of character) that give context——perhaps even meaningful context——to their present, seemingly inappropriate behavior.

Just as an example: the four of them were previously top-notch officers who served together aboard a different starship. During a mission, they were taken captive and experimented upon by an alien species, such as the artificial lifeforms of Kaylon-1 (the planet the crew-member Isaac hails from), whom we know to regard humans as an inferior species. So, the Kaylons performed experiments on Mercer, Kelly, Malloy and LaMarr, which basically left them all with some sort of permanent mental impairment. They all remember certain, essential skills relating to their aerospace jobs, but are left with cognitive gaps that lead to their inappropriate behavior. And nobody but the four of them truly knows what happened to them at the hands of the Kaylon. And even the four of them are fuzzy on it.

A sci-fi note worth mentioning is that in this episode of The Orville Isaac references Alan Guth’s theory of Cosmic Inflation (the line about “quantum fluctuations giving rise to matter and energy where none existed”) as the earliest known history of the universe. If I’m not mistaken, this is a first in TV history (and I think that goes for movies, too). Hither to now, the Big Bang was the standard reference for issues relating to the origin of the universe.

I am having a blast watching this show thus far, personally. An hour well spent. I was actually away for a long weekend and came back yesterday and watched Orville before Discovery. I enjoyed both, but in entirely different ways.

Can’t wait for a Patrick Stewart cameo..

@Danpaine — did I miss the article that said Patrick Stewart was going to do a cameo? Or are you just presuming there will be one because of his relationship with MacFarlane?

Cadet – someone else on this thread said they saw it on IMDB for an upcoming episode, but I just checked and couldn’t find anything. Unless he’s appearing uncredited. But given how close he and MacFarlane are, I wouldn’t be at all surprised.

That was me.
I discovered the info while watching this:

And for (much needed) corroboration, I went to the source, and it is indeed there on the IMDB Trivia page:

It also states that in addition to Patrick Stewart, also confirmed for a Season 1 appearance is Scott Bakula. Granted, I did put a little disclaimer in my original post saying “If IMDB is to be believed”.

Also, given that Patrick Stewart has worked with Seth on just about everything he’s ever done (Family Guy, American Dad, Ted 1&2, A Million Ways, Cosmos, Blunt Talk), I’m willing to bet that he shows up on The Orville.

But since this would be a rather ‘nerd-shattering event’ for many of us, I suppose until we hear official word, ‘prudence’ should be the operative here.

Thanks, Cetacean! Agreed, Macfarlane has worked with so many noted actors/actresses and seems to be held in rather high esteem in those circles, and there’s so many other Trek alums involved with The Orville, we can probably anticipate a number of geek-inducing cameos. Liam Neeson the other night was fantastic.

@CetaceanIV — thanks, while I would believe that with MacFarlane’s ties to the Trek alum, that tidbit definitely needs to be corroborated.It wouldn’t be the first time someone has planted information to report on, in order to ratchet up clicks and views on the internet. One reason to question this is for the original Trek cast to appear in roles similar to their TREK roles, walking a thin line on which the Orville is precariously perched. I’m not sure CBS could say anything about it, but it also stretches a relationship those actors have to maintain …

That said, I would love for the Trek alum to make cameos. If they don’t and the show doesn’t improve 200%, I can’t see myself tuning in regularly. What they need are the original Trek cast parodying themselves, and poking fun at the roles they played in TREK. That would make the show fun for me, because as it stands, it’s a poor substitute for serious Trek, and the comedy is absolutely devoid of humor. But I would tune in to see Shatner playing a cantankerous admiral, or Picard as an ambassador with weird proclivities. Riker would be a hoot as the Captain they send to replace MacFarlane so he could take on a dangerous mission the brass knows he’s not qualified for, but can otherwise afford to lose him. It would be hysterical to see Riker hit on his ex-wife, and she returns the interest in front of MacFarlane. All of these things would make me smile, and tune in.

Good news for ORVILLE: Deadline Hollywood reports that the Live +3 ratings for last Thursday raised ratings from 1.1/3.7M to a 1.8/6.1M

While MUCH Less emphasis is put on Live +3 ratings by advertisers, it’s good news for FOX and MacFarlane, since it demonstrates a strong audience not reflected in the Live viewing numbers, which increases its likelihood for a back 9 pickup, and good potential for life in syndication, and thus subsequent seasons.

TV By The Number’s “Cancel Bear” suggested that ORVILLE’s live ratings (a 1.1 18-49 demo for two weeks in a row) were similar to THE PITCH, which was cancelled after the first order — despite having a weekly viewing audience in the same 3-4 million range for live broadcast. However, MacFarlane has a much stronger and more lucrative relationship with FOX. Now given the stronger syndication potential, a full season pickup is guaranteed, as well as a second season, unless these numbers continue their downward trend.