Review: Jonathan Frakes Delivers Fun And Familiar Sci-Fi In Fifth Episode Of ‘The Orville’

Review: “Pria”

The Orville Season 1, Episode 5 – Aired Thursday, Oct. 5
Written by Seth MacFarlane
Directed by Jonathan Frakes

In “Pria”, the crew of The Orville receive a distress call from a mining vessel that is stuck on a comet caught in the orbit of a star. After Ed Mercer and his crew save the captain of the mining vessel, a woman named Pria (guest star Charlize Theron), they welcome her on board with open arms. The welcome is a little too open for first officer Kelly Grayson, who soon begins to question Pria’s intentions.

The fifth episode of The Orville, “Pria,” is the most exciting – and funniest – yet, ably directed by Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Jonathan Frakes. It features the first actual love interest for MacFarlane’s Ed Mercer, naturally bringing him into conflict with his ex and first officer Kelly Grayson. It also showcases Helmsman Gordon Malloy teaching Issac the nature the practical jokes in a hilarious subplot.

Theron’s Pria is equal parts love interest and enemy to Mercer. Grayson quickly starts to suspect Pria’s motives. She enlists Security Chief Alara to inspect Pria’s room on the Orville, even though Grayson has no probable cause of any wrongdoing on Pria’s part. Alara agrees, and they find a strange rectangular box hidden underneath Pria’s bed. When Kelly and Alara brings this to Ed’s attention, he dismisses it. He accuses Kelly of judging Pria too harshly. As events unfold, Pria’s true nature reveals itself to Mercer and the crew, putting all of them in jeopardy.

While the show’s narrative calls back to The Next Generation, the humor in the episode is what really shines. The subplot involving Malloy and Isaac concerning the underlying nature of practical jokes is the most successful aspect of the episode. The humor doesn’t always land on this show, but “Pria” is the funniest episode yet in the series. If Isaac is the Data of the show, then MacFarlane wonderfully plays with tropes by taking a familiar part of Data’s journey – the quest to become human and understand human behavior – and it takes it to an entirely new, hilarious level.

With exciting visuals and a truly hysterical subplot, “Pria” also sees a positive evolution of Mercer and Grayson’s occasionally dysfunctional relationship. Even though the “jealous ex” angle may feel perfunctory to some, it is nice to see a forward progression with these characters. Even side characters like Malloy and Issac get some development here, after being somewhat sidelined in previous episodes. Frakes’ direction was apparent with the episode’s truly cinematic action sequences. There were two moments, the episode’s teaser and a moment involving dark matter, that had the excitement and thrill of a feature-length film.

The character that doesn’t get the same treatment is the episode’s titular guest star, unfortunately. While Charlize Theron may be a big star, she honestly seems bored in the role. She’s no more spirited after she turns, either. She neither successfully pulls off seductress or villain, ultimately turning in a forgettable performance. It’s almost like she doesn’t want to be there.

As for the story’s inevitable twist, “Pria” doesn’t quite have the moralistic heft of some of Trek’s best sci-fi tales. Mercer is presented with a moral quandary at the end of the episode – whether to destroy the wormhole that leads to the 30th Century or keep it open – but the ending is too neat for the story’s demands. Other episodes, such as “Yesterday’s Enterprise” or “Future’s End”, ultimately dealt with the dangers and significance of altering the timeline in more eloquent, refined ways.

Fives episodes in, The Orville is slowly but surely at impulse speed and finding its footing. While there have been better Star Trek episodes dealing with time travel before – whether that’s “Yesterday’s Enterprise” or even the aforementioned “Captain’s Holiday” – MacFarlane still manages to tell an entertaining sci-fi romp. He may not have a firm handle on the tone of the show just yet, but “Pria” shows that he’s headed in the right direction.

Random thoughts:

  • John Debney’s score was a true highlight this episode, echoing the work of John Williams and James Horner. There were even what sounded like homages to Horner’s Wrath of Khan score.
  • Yaphit manages to hit on every female crew member he can, even non-crew members. He’s one horny gelatinous blob.
  • We get the most extensive look at engineering in this episode, and the ship’s engineer – Steve Newton, played by Larry Joe Campbell – has his biggest role yet.
  • Props on Malloy’s creepy Voldemort regenerated leg for being, well, creepy.
  • The show’s visual effects were tremendous. The dark matter sequence, the wormhole, the advanced alien ship, and the weird squid-like creature featured some of the show’s best VFX yet.


8 clips from “Pria”

Behind the scenes on “Pria”

Watch a behind-the-scenes clip featuring Charlize Theron, who plays the episode’s title character.


Keep up with all The Orville news, reviews and interviews at TrekMovie.Com.

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“The Orville” is really starting to come into its own. I hope that the ratings have stabilized; this show absolutely deserves to continue moving forward and finding its voice. Tonight’s installment was a genuinely entertaining romp, and definitely the best episode yet.

@Scott — sadly no:

From TV Line: The Orville (3.4 mil/0.9) ticked down to new lows.

Looks like it’s continuing to slide in its Thursday timeslot.

@Curious Cadet,

You mean like every other network show out there including Will & Grace that dropped -31% in the demo in its second week?

Per Deadline:

“Network viewers are a fickle bunch. They showed up for premiere week and then largely stayed away in Week 2, making for across-the-board week-to-week declines on the biggest shows this fall. It could be that many fans don’t bother to watch live (or Live+same day) anymore, with only special occasions, like a season/series premiere, compelling them to tune-in, and they let DVR and on-demand viewing take over after.”

Regardless, it’s a slide for orville. And that’s what is being discussed… not Will and Grace.

@Captain Ransom — either way, ORVILLE didn’t fall much at all in its second week, so it’s not like the WILL & GRACE example is even comparable. Indeed, ORVILLE seems to follow a pattern of excited viewers who saw a very different 2nd episode from the much more MacFarlane-esque pilot episode, a trend which continues as the show slowly becomes more and more a pale copy of TNG, and less a Seth MacFarlane comedy. And now, week after week, not only are the LIVE +SD numbers falling, but so are the LIVE +3 and LIVE +7. It would seem, slowly but surely the ratings are beginning to reflect a dwindling, but dedicated, older fanbase apparently tuning in for the TNG nostalgia of it all. At least that’s one analysis.

@Curious Cadet… I definitely see the TNG fanbase tuning in for nostalgia sake. Not Trek fans, but TNG fans, are the ones enjoying this show. I guess it doesn’t appeal to me because I’m more of a TOS and DS9 fan.

@Captain Ransom – I disagree; this show takes me back to the fun of watching TOS when I was a kid.

Anytime I see the show, it reminds me of TNG. Sets are the same, uniforms are similar. I just find the writing lacks and the attempts of humor fall flat and are wasted time that could have been devoted to the story.

Agree with you. I don’t like TNG, loved TOS, and enjoy the Orville a lot because it’s light and fun and doesn’t carry around all the Trek “baggage” of post-TOS preachiness and canon.

It’s refreshing. Like TOS was.

@JKP — well some of the third season episodes, maybe, like “Spock’s Brain”. And without the dick jokes. And with better actors. But yeah, Fred Frieberger could totally be producing it …

@Captain Ransom

I’m more of a TOS DS9 guy. And overall I’ve like Orville. This episode was certainly the weakest but most shows have dog episodes. Unless the comedy permanently leaves the show I will continue to record the show.

They actually have to start writing the humor better first.

I still haven’t gotten used to the Thursday time slot. I keep planning to watch it on Sunday, only to be reminded by the reviews here that the episode already aired on Thurs. Old habits die hard.

For comparison:

Ep. 1, Live +SD — 2.7, 8.6 million
Ep. 2, Live +SD — 2.2, 6.6 million
Ep. 3, Live +SD — 1.1, 4 million
Ep. 4, Live +SD — 1.1, 3.7 million
Ep. 5, Live +SD — 0.9, 3.4 million

3.7 is still a fantastic rating, but the 18-49 demo slipping is not good news. That said, MacFarlane’s relationship with FOX will most likely ensure a full season pickup, if not guarantee a second season pickup.

But the overnights only tell half the story. Episode 4, for example, ended the week with 7.4 million total viewers in Live +7 across all platforms. It’s the Live +7 that will either make or break a show.

@Denny C — advertisers don’t care about Live +7. If FOX can’t pay for an incredibly expensive show, then they won’t care about how many viewers are watching it. Live +3 numbers carry some weight, but do your research, advertisers don’t really care about those numbers either, because viewers can skip the commercials. I missed the opening of the show last night, and just logged into FOX online, and was presented the option to watch one 1:00 commercial and skip commercials throughout. What kind of advertiser is going to be interested in paying for that model? As long as network TV is paying for the show, ONLY the Live +SD numbers are going to matter. Let’s see what happens in the finals, whether they go up or down.

The BIG news here is a slide in the 18-49 demo. This mirrors the DISCOVERY ratings. That suggests to me that the Seth MacFarlane fans looking for FAMILY GUY in space are tuning out, as old TREK fans are tuning in. Either way it’s good news for Trek fans. But for advertisers, this is bad news. The demo is skewing older, and the viewers who are most likely to see the commercials are not making ORVILLE a priority for live broadcast. Moreover, the later in the week they get to the DVR the less likely they’re going to prioritize the show, or ever see those commercials.

I’ve already pointed out these are good enough numbers to keep the ORVILLE flying, considering MacFarlane’s relationship with FOX. But ORVILLE has been slipping in the arguably significant Live +3, as well as the Live +7. For instance Episode 4 with Live +3 ended up with a 1.8, 6.1 million (65% gain). Compared to Ep. 2’s Live +3 with a 2.8, 8.4 million (27% gain). That’s a significant drop even while achieving a significant gain. Not only that, but when comparing it to your reported Live +7 ratings for the same episoode, it’s a staggering drop!

Here’s the only thing those Live +7 ratings are good for — predicting the long term viability in syndication for recouping the costs to keep producing this expensive series. If there’s a large enough following, then there may be a future subsidized by FOX based on the strength of their relationship with MacFarlane. Right now, the audience is falling steadily week after week, regardless of the metric you use to measure it’s success.

Yeah, for a show funded in the end by advertising revenue, DVR data is not much solace. If we were talking about say, Doctor Who on the BBC, or on something behind any paywall, then Live +7-type information is more relevant to whether or not a metric for renewing a series.

I work with people who crunch the numbers and break it all down for us so the research behind them is something I’m exposed to almost daily. Based on that, my best guess is that The Orville will likely settle in to something that’s close to an average of the past three weeks.

I’d love to see the demo sampling of The Orville vs Discovery but we’ll never see those numbers.

@Curious Cadet

I would guess that the networks provide their steaming numbers to the advertisers. You can’t skip the ads viewing the show on the web page. Do you know if the numbers you related include that? Or like the dedicated streaming services do they keep those secret from the public?

Yeah I would hope at this point streaming viewers carry weight seeing how quite a few of us, at least in the younger generation are cord cutters.

Seems pretty silly to continue relying so heavily on Nielsen ratings at this point.

What may be turning away parents introducing their children to this new show is the sexual innuendoes and crossing the line on language.

@Ralpha1961 — Read the Focus On the Family review for a real eye-opener from the conservative Christian right. They basically condemn MacFarlane in general, but give ORVILLE a pass, though stop short of recommending it. It’s an interesting perspective you haven’t seen in the mainstream reviews. I only point that one out because Charles Dobson has the eyeballs of so many of the conservative religious right in this country.

Well, fooey. Curious Cadet, here’s hoping you’re right and FOX values their relationship with Seth enough to keep the lights on. What worries me now is that they slash the budget for season 2 (IF there is a season 2), which will only hurt the show’s quality. Those dazzling visual effects we saw in last night’s episode ain’t cheap!

Honestly, advertiser-sponsored television just doesn’t seem like a viable business proposition anymore… certainly not for big-budget extravaganzas like “The Orville” that are going to have a niche audience. Everyone was saying that CBS was crazy to put “Star Trek Discovery” behind a paywall. I’m starting to think they were crazy like a fox…?

@Scott Gammans — actually, cutting the budget would likely be a good thing. It would mean less of those cheap licensed Seinfeld jokes that opened this episode, and more focus on character development. I can only imagine that they will cut the budget, but that’s true for every expensive series that struggles for ratings for the ad dollars to pay the network license fees. Shows like GOTHAM, and THE FLASH, cut into other areas, even as they maintain, or increase the FX budget. What’s good about ORVILLE is that most of the CGI has already been created, so less expensive to re-use, as are many of the model shots. Where they will likely trim some of the budget is more bottle episodes, fewer guest stars, and smaller orchestras. None of that really should affect the experience ORVILLE has presented so far.

Yep. Charlize Theron can be an awesome actress in the right role, but I’ll bet she didn’t come cheap, and her presence really did nothing special for this episode aside from some name recognition. Any really attractive TV actress could have done just as well in what was a pretty one-note role, and probably wouldn’t have taken the audience out of the story for being so famous.

Nah. Her and Seth are friends. I’d imagine she was happy to do him a solid. Neeson last week too.

Orville new time slot was a challenge as it was on a night of football games. Orville is really doing well and building a hard core base as they continue to make these shows. I expect them to be in for many more seasons to come. Or some other network would gobble them up and put them on a different night.

@Curious Treky — well it’s certainly narrowing its base, if not building it — all the numbers based on three Thursday airings suggest a steady decline in overall viewers making the show a viewing priority up to a full week after the initial broadcast. And the demographics are skewing older. Unfortunately those are conditions no other network will be interested in. FOX as the studio and network, not to mention MacFarlane’s relationship with them is the best bet for this expensive show to continue. That said, FOX hasn’t really moved into the streaming space, something it will eventually have to do in order to compete for future audiences. It’s possible with a strong enough base they might move ORVILLE into a CBSAA/NETFLIX DISC model, reduce the episodic order to 10 episodes a year, and offer it via a subscription based model. FOX would probably partner with Hulu if they had to do it next season, though I’m not sure Hulu has the same worldwide reach.

FOX owns about 30% of Hulu.

It is so charming, to imagine Frakes taking the reigns around this show. This to me is the most Trek appealing thing I’ve seen since Enterprise!

Who knows how far it can go. I do really hope that there are more alumni involved both behind and in front of the camera!!

I so agree. Its great when you see someone like Frakes back in the saddle being part of Trek again. This isn’t Trek but comes close enough. And I think more will show up if there is a season 2.

Reins, not reigns.

In agreement here, as well. This is as close to a regular Trek series we are going to get on network television, and Frakes, for this episode, is icing on the cake.

I’m enjoying The Orville. It’s a worthy successor to what Star Trek was than any of the modern incarnations. I will say, however, that time travel as a plot device is weak. Especially here. Spoiler ahead, Pria is a time traveler from the future. She implies that she’s the reason Amelia Earhart went missing. But with the means of time travel eliminated, that throws history out of wack. She still went missing, but now the reason she’s gone is itself gone. So what happened? You might say, “well it’s because she died, and the future rescued her.” It’s still weak. Looking back at The Orville, the whole reason they flew threw that storm in the first place could be said that it’s because their rescue mission put them off track and into that storm in the first place. Time travel plots just leave too many holes for it to be enjoyable. I still like the series and I’ll continue watching. I just don’t want to see tired tropes.

Time travel is Braga’s bread and butter. Can’t produce anything else, oh apart from a forehead of the week

@Judas — plus it’s basically the plot of that Kris Kristofferson/Cheryl Ladd movie: MILLENNIUM.


I also got the MILENNIUM connection, though the basic idea also appears in the Bradbury short story “A Sound of Thunder,” and doubtless other places as well.

(Btw, if you haven’t read the original John Varley novel I’d definitely recommend it. Infinitely more entertaining and thought-provoking than that abortion of a movie.)

Agreed, MILENNIUM the book was soooo much better than MILENNIUM the movie.

Doug Trumbull and then Richard Rush (THE STUNTMAN, helluva fine movie) were supposed to direct MILLENNIUM. BRAINSTORM happened and that put the screws to Trumbull’s chance. Don’t know what happened with Rush’s version, but the fact they went with the lame who directed LOGAN’S RUN and THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES speaks volumes as to the wrongheaded approach for the Ladd movie.

I remember MILLENNIUM as being based on a Varley SHORT STORY called AIR RAID (was a big fan of his way back when), but I don’t recall a novel-length expansion. Was it published concurrent with the film release?

Fair play to MacFarlane.

He is a Star Trek fan who happens to be one of the luckiest fans on the planet. He actually is producing and making an A-grade TV series that is inspired from one of his favourite tv shows. Who would begrudge him that sort of good fortune.

I can only think that some of the fans who make critical comments about Orville, are just a little bit jealous.

He ain’t lucky — he’s been working in the industry and climbing the ranks for decade! He earned this

“I can only think that some of the fans who make critical comments about Orville, are just a little bit jealous.”

Or we just don’t like poorly written, juvenile, dick-joke humor.

Feel free to love The Orville, but don’t snipe at those of us who don’t. Tastes differ. You apparently enjoy “dog licking its balls” TV shows. Some of us don’t.

Exactly. Couldn’t help but chuckle at “A-grade TV series”

Hi, I work full time at FOX in post production for the series. The talents in this building from cast to crew to editors to costumes to props to VFX and everyone else is top shelf talent. It is an A grade series. Few productions are afforded this level of genre talent, able to create wholly original things that can’t be found off-the-shelf like other shows week in and week out.

Hey Mr. Koerner,

You and I corresponded some years back, when you were at Rhythem & Hues (I think; it’s been a long time) and we debated the virtues of Lightwave vs. 3ds Max. I’ve been pretty critical about some aspects of The Orville but have been impressed by digital matte work like the breathtaking landscapes of the Moclan homeworld; I trust you had a hand in that. :-) I’m glad you’ve found a home there, and wish you a long, satisfying voyage with the show. Peace.

Wow, a genuine Trekkie celebrity in the house!

Gabe, I am delighted to hear that you’re involved with “The Orville”. I’ve been an admirer of your visual effects artistry for years now–did you work on any of the “Pria” scenes? I noticed a marked uptick in the quality of the VFX in last night’s episode, particularly the dark matter sequence and that lovely slow zoom in on the cocktail party.

Thanks for the kind words guys! Yall are welcome to hit me on Facebook or Twitter should you wanna chat further! I don’t check these boards too often

“It is an A grade series.”

Well, I guess that explains that cat puke with a dick.

Okay, I don’t often write this. Lol!

dick-joke humor and “dog licking balls” LOL! But then I do love Family Guy as well and have watched Trek since on tv in 66 sooo… cool, cool, cooool, cooool. Please, don’t hurt the monkey ;)

I do not claim to love Orville or its jokes. I do think the show can find a nicer balance between serious drama and comedy given more time.

It is most certainly an A-grade show. It is produced by FOX. A major studio with money; it is not some poorly funded B-movie budget we are talking here!

PaulB – Just a suggestion – look up the “practical joke” parts of this episode.. Imo they were genuinely funny (especially the response) and didn’t rely on poorly written dick joke humor. Hopefully this continues..

I can’t believe people watch this. I can’t even get through a couple of one-minute clips. Yuck.

The episodes are much better than the small clips :) I agree that the one-minute clips make it look awful but the full episodes are much better imo

I’ve attempted to watch the first 4 episodes. I got 35 minutes into the pilot, and only about 20 minutes into the other 3. I gave it a shot. It’s just awful.

After the last two eps, this one was a slight letdown, but still miles ahead of the first pair. And while I disagree about the VFX (the size and quantity of bubbles just didn’t scale right visually, making the ship seem tiny), I completely agree about the amputation humor – I actually laughed out loud twice, like I might if I saw a new and inspired Monty Python black-comedy moment.

I don’t understand why it is taking the show this many eps to find its spacelegs (or to grow a pair of them), but I’ll keep watching.

[insert any Star Trek show], took several seasons to “get good”. TNG which this show takes the most inspiration from, didn’t get good until Season 3, and I dare say the same goes for DS9 and VOY.

The Orville’s pilot episode wasn’t “great”, but unlike another sci-fi series, it was an actual pilot episode. Not some quasi-prologue for 1 character spanning 2 episodes. Only in it’s 5th episode, and already dealt with some serious subject matter (the transgender episode). Not bad for a series that is mostly regarded as a “comedy” by the un-initiated.


That argument about taking time to become good doesn’t hold water at all when you look at TOS. There’s SOME figuring out of Spock over the first several eps, but pretty much everything else is there, except Kirk/Spock/McCoy, which really took Coon coming on to develop.

Also, in this day and age, when very complex shows have casts and scripts that are solid right out of the gate more often than not (yeah, I know GoT didn’t get it right on the pilot and had to reshoot, and that WESTWORLD had lots of problems too, but I said MOST, and in the last week used FIREFLY as a great example, but would add MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE, DEADWOOD, CARNIVALE and THE WIRE to name just a few others), the problems should be solved BEFORE you get to the stage, when it is inexpensive to do so. HIGH CASTLE particularly impresses on the rewatch. We blew through season 2 again this week, and I found it much better the third time through, which is something I don’t say about much TV outside of THE WIRE and SEINFELD.

ORVILLE’s lack of complexity is still very troubling to me, and the way the action is paced also doesn’t work well. The teaser on this last one threw everything but the kitchen sink at them, but it was just piled atop itself instead of allowing for some suspense, then surprise. It REALLY felt like superfast box-ticking-off with respect to escape from comet. Maybe I’d call the show’s pacing spastic, because it moves in fits and spurts, and seems to spend most of the middle part of the show sitting & spinning.

I’m not criticizing out of hatred, but out of thinking how good the show really could become. If that’s perceived as envy, so be it, I’d have agreed to sell off ten years of life to get this opportunity back when I was still rambunctiously creative, and wouldn’t have squandered the opportunity by playing so safe in an old-fashioned way (which is now no longer safe, given audience attention spans and more signficantly, the tendency toward embracing more complex storytelling, at least with the better programs.)

I really liked CARNIVALE, and was sad to see it cancelled by HBO, though I did think there was a fairly significant drop-off in quality in the second year following Ron Moore’s departure for BSG.

You might daresay, but you’d be wrong in the case of DS9. That show did take the better part of its first season to find its footing, but by the end of the year it gave us “Duet,” an episode with a conclusion I would rank among the most moving in television history, and with Harris Yulin’s guest-starring performance one of Trek’s best ever, period.

Voyager, by contrast, never really found its own voice, though it was certainly capable of producing solid, mid-level Trek from time to time.

For me DS9 really starting hitting with the group saying goodbye to Kira early in s2 (2nd ep?) … it was ensemble comedy that was heartfelt. That whole trilogy really upped their game for me, though I agree DUET was dynamite (I’ve only started finding older Yulin stuff recently, like DOC with Stacy Keach. He was I would guess a counterculture guy (maybe still is), made interesting unsafe choices.

Agreed about the VFX but not the leg amputation humor, alas. I’m sure the Pythons could have pulled it off–what couldn’t they pull off?–but for me the whole thing just fell mostly flat. Where it wasn’t gross. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood.

I missed the first fifteen minutes or so of “Pria,” so it’s possible that I lack the proper context to fairly evaluate the rest of it. What I did see reminded me of TNG’s “Captain’s Holiday” and that other episode where MAX HEADROOM’s Matt Frewer played a time-traveling conman. Neither show is a personal favorite, which perhaps explains my complete lack of engagement with “Pria” up until literally the last minute, when the plot and tone suddenly take a startlingly dramatic turn. I’ve never seen anything quite like it on television (or at least TV SF) before, so kudos to MacFarlane and crew for that, at least.

As for Ms. Theron, in her last foray into SF she got to work with George Miller and a guitar player whose instrument shot flames fifty feet into the air. Her career and her call, of course, but she might have considered quitting while she was ahead.

If these clips are supposed to be honey traps for me to watch this then they sure as hell ain’t doing a good job. It’s not even remotely ‘funny’ but I suppose you have to be American to appreciate this. I’d rather rewatch The IT-crowd for the tenth time if I want something actually really funny. And please stop using the term ‘homage’ when you mean the words ‘copy’ and plagiarism’. I my book contains large parts of text ripped of verbatim from another book, it’s not a homage. It’s called plagiarism.

Well, Orville doesn’t contain “large parts of texts” or “scenes” copied directly from another series, so your plagiarism-accusation doesn’t really hold water. Like Gordon, you don’t have a leg to stand on.

FYI, I’m not American and I find the show both entertaining, humorous and thought-provoking. Which is more than I can say about that other sci-fi series that premiered recently.

“Entertaining” and “humorous” I can grok, if not exactly see. But “thought-provoking,” seriously? How so?

(Based on your last 2 sentences)
… AND we’re back to James Horner again.

I think McF figures the TNG style is in itself a genre, and therefore you can take lil bits whenever it fits what you’re doing. You could say last night’s was a kludge, pastiche or whatever of lots of TNG stuff, ranging from Famke Jansen ep to the Rasmussen ep, but the mixNmatch actually proves that while it is derivative, it isn’t wholesale theft.

That’s the whole business when reference books lift selected bits from other books and it is research, not theft. So long as it IS just excerpts, it is cool, but when you are basically taking whole sections and even taking the context and STYLE of the original writing and reproducing it, that’s not cool. (if you’ve ever read James Van Hise’s reference works on TREK, he seems to not know the difference, he’ll copy whole sections of others’ writing — mine included, one of which was undeniably a full-on rip, as it reproduced one of the rarest of writings, a joke that actually made it into CINEFEX magazine — rather than just take the gist of the content and develop it.)

Folks were saying the same thing about GALACTICA and STAR WARS you imply about TNG and ORVILLE, but back then, while the visual style may have been similar, the feel of the things were very different (one a ride, the other a grind.) And given ORVILLE’s bent on situational humor, that in itself may be enough to save the show from literal plagiarism charges, because the context of the borrowed plot point is necessarily different here.

They probably don’t have a leg to stand on with respect to the music borrowings, but since nobody ever does anything about anyway, there’s precedent, even if it is unfortunate (and unfortunate that I like most of the music they are riffing on — I think there was a tiny bit of TIN MAN early in last nights’ show — even if I find the theme to be another pathetic case of graduation ceremony music.)

@kmart — whatever you call it, the originals did a better job with those ‘lil bits. Some of the music lifts were identical to the source. I was both stunned and perplexed at the choice to crib Goldsmith’s opening Klingon attack on V’Ger score from TMP, almost note for note during the search of Pria’s quarters.

Hmmm, I wouldn’t mind giving that show a go… if it was available outside the US.

Um, are you sure it’s not available outside of the U.S.? Ahem.

In the last clip you can definitely hear Steve Smith’s voice in Gordon (and yes I know they’re played by the same person)

This show has gotten better from the pilot, but this still feels like Seth’s self-insert fanfiction. I mean I was cringing hard at the two women supposedly jockeying over his character.

Musicwise, I could swear that Ron Jones’ Romulan lietmotif was subtly in evidence.

I love this show more and more with every passing week.

I put a status on Facebook last night: A Star Trek parody is more Star Trek than Star Trek is Star Trek. What an odd time to be alive.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving Discovery. But I’ve also expressed on here that while it’s great TV so far, it doesn’t feel like Star Trek to me. The Orville has managed to nail that Trek feel. Frakes’ direction really helped with that.

I think if FOX gives Orville enough time, it’ll find it’s legs and be something truly standout.

Now, on to the excited anticipation of Discovery’s 4th episode!

@UAB — while I disagree that this is more Trek than Trek, I will agree that Frakes managed to make the set look interesting for the first time. His camera angles, staging, and lighting really helped that dull set and those stiff actors look and feel dynamic. His experience working on real Trek sets most likely gave him an edge over other directors with knowing how to frame a shot and transition between scenes. The stories are still far too simplistic, and frankly I’m getting tired of every story being more about how Macfarlane’s wife cheated on him, and how women keep hurting him, than focusing on the far more interesting story at hand. I felt like he was trying to give us a City on the Edge of Forever moment at the end — does he save ‘Edith Keeler’ and risk the Galaxy, despite the way this one apparently used him, or does he end the threat and close the possibility she might ever truly care for him? It was really a very atypical Trek problem given how shallow the decision was. Add to that, the Orville was supposed to be destroyed — clearly this UNION doesn’t have any rules about altering the timeline — a serious discussion about which almost no time was spent contemplating. So now, literally anything that happens as a result of the Orville surviving an event from which it was supposed to be destroyed, will be the Orville’s fault. No this isn’t Star Trek at all.

I’ll agree that the implications of the Orville surviving are certainly very un-Trek, I don’t mean the series pound for pound apes it. But they do embody the enthusiasm and “better days” excitement, that happy band of explorers that I think Discovery is lacking.

Having said that, I know the ep was far from deep. But, I find a number of interesting thought experiments here now. One, how do we know she wasn’t lying when she told them they were destined to die in that field? Two, how the Orville’s survival affects the timeline from now on, is interesting to me – if she was telling the truth. Perhaps history will take a better turn. Perhaps humanity was to be conquered by the Krill. Maybe not all meddling is bad meddling.

@UAB — we couldn’t deal with the more existential questions about whether she was lying about their destruction and what their survival means, because the episode was focused on Macfarlane’s various relationships with women. The incessant bickering, and focus on his wife cheating on him, and now apparent jealousy seemed to be far more important than the Trek-like story points. Heck, I even wanted to see more about the robot learning what a good joke is, but in the end, they just flushed that down the drain with — yeah it was a good joke after all. They keep comparing themselves to MASH, but MASH had several episodes that dealt with practical joking as a subplot with much more profound resolutions than this shallow effort. I find nothing “happy”, enthusiastic or exciting about this band of explorers that reminds me of anything I watched during the 90s. But to each his own. At least it looked less like an episode of THE OFFICE in space with Frakes pointing the camera …

A fair assessment. You do you, Cadet.

I have to say–and this isn’t hate-speak, just my own honest aesthetic preference–that overall I just don’t care much for the look of this show, aside from the exterior of the Orville itself. The sets, which are terribly overlit to start with, look like fan film-level TNG knockoffs lacking the little details necessary to sell them as spaces where real people live and work. The engine room–after this week’s introduction of the spectacular Discoveryengineering set, which recalls the TOS original in all the right ways–was particularly embarrassing.

(None of that is necessarily a deal-killer, btw. The BABYLON 5 sets always looked as flimsy as backdrops constructed for a stage play, but they sure hosted some great drama.)

Funny, the outside of the Orville is what I don’t like! (Front end of the ship is cool. Back end? Meeeeehhhhhh.

Discovery is much more slick and pretty. But then again, they’re playing with GoT level money.

Oh, and Babylon 5 always looked like cut scenes of one of those old FMV PC games in the 90’s, but you’re right – it was amazing.

I assume you’re a bit younger (ha!) than I am and don’t realize how groundbreaking B5’s use of CGI was at the time. None of the current packages like Lightwave, Maya, or 3ds Max existed in anything like their current forms, so Ron Thornton had to construct scenes using very primitive Video Toaster technology on a scale that had never been done before on film or television. Given all that, it’s a credit to him and his crew that the effects work still holds up at all.

Well, the front end is essentially Voyager on steroids. I appreciate that they needed to come up with an iconic look that differentiated them from Trek’s nacelles, and thought their solution for the propulsion system works okay.

And yeah, I get that they aren’t playing with a Discovery-level budget, so direct comparisons aren’t really fair. Still, it is what it is. It wouldn’t matter so much if The Orville were a straight-up comedy, but it’s hurt in this regard as in so many others by the fact that it just can’t make up its mind as to what kind of show it wants to be.

Orville is much better than Star Trek: Discovery, it has likeable characters.

Kinda inclined to agree. Having said that, I still really like Discovery.

@HeJim — yet I find I like none of the ORVILLE’s shallow characters. You know what they say about opinions …

Do you really think that the likability of a show’s characters is indicative of its artistic success? What else do you watch?

Yeah but do they have a universal translator?

Sorry. Off topic but cool “Trek Tech”.

a) I think they’ve redressed the shuttle interior from the ‘Wonders of Beige’ look it started with.
b) Isaac should have kept the Mr. Potato Head bits. HE NEEDS A FACE!
c) ‘Seinfeld’ was the dullest part of the episode. IMHO. I wish they’d shy away from the Seth’s Life media references and Seth’s worldview race humor.
d) Frakes is a good director. There. I said it first.

And I’ll say it second. He is. The man knows where to put a camera, that much has been apparent since “The Offsping.”

Isaac needs a different voice too. I hate the “imitation Data.” This’d be a really good chance for celebrity “cameos” — and it’d be funny to hear Brent Spiner [the ORIGINAL Data], LeVar Burton, Marc Alaimo [“Gul Dukat”] or any number of other Trek actors and famous guest stars being Isaac for a week.

And when Isaac goes back to his original [not-so-original] voice, they’d know there’s something wrong ;^)

@Marja — that’s not a half bad idea. Kind of a data-like quest to become human, but a generic robot quest to fit in, with both an appearance (though that’s a little like Data’s child Lal), and the voice. They’d need a number of easily identifiable voice actors though. Heck, I’d probably laugh out loud if Isaac showed up with the voice of Peter Griffen, or Stewy …

I’m not say Orville is bad. I do say Orville is NOT Star Trek.

Wondering, why so much focus for this show in

This suppose to be a Star Trek fan site, right?

Compensation comes to mind…

And some Trek fans like reading about/ discussing this Trek spoof/ homage/ whatev right here.

Thanks TrekMovie!

Glad you mentioned the score. I think the music and sound design in the Orville has been fantastic, and the show overall, while certainly still finding it’s footing, has already grown on me quite a bit. A stark contrast to Discovery, which will technically better in many respects (not musical score though), seems emotionless and flat by comparison.I am sure I will watch them both but so far The Orville is just more enjoyable.

@jamie — While I agree the sound design is good, I often find the score overbearing. In many respects it’s far too cinematic for the show itself, especially with the cheap-looking sets. I’m often drawn out of the scene thinking — wow that score is heavy here … and I’m watching on a 65″ TV at about 8 feet, so it’s not like I’m not giving it a chance. Add to that it often quotes directly from very well known TREK scores. Last night’s episode used the Goldsmith Klingon theme from TMP, virtually note for note, while they were searching Pria’s quarters — took me right out of the scene.

I know what you’re saying, but at least for me, it works most of the time. I think it doesn’t bother me when they heavily borrow from Trek, I mean, the entire show is based on that premise in the first place. But I think it has a very positive effect on the overall A/V experience, which is somewhat hindered by some average CGI.

Bit of a tangent here, but, I think some of the Orville sequences, e.g. the shuttlecraft flight – and especially docking — are particularly awful looking. It’s very strange because other effects like the city-spaceship from last week are awesome. Surprised they didn’t spend a little more effort on some of the primary ship things that are going to be used over and over.

The design of the shuttle just seems grotesquely featureless to me, and the ‘backing in’ aspect to dock is the worst aspect to carry over from TMP’s travel pod. I think they need to do a recall on that style shuttle and come up with a whole new design. Would much prefer they rip off the runabout in as many ways as possible, if they need ‘inspiration.’

Agreed on the city-ship, that was an awesome pullback, with very good details on the thing. Very SPACE 1999 (in a good way.)

@kmart — SPACE 1999 is an extremely underrated show. I’d forgotten that generational ship episode “Mission of the Darians”, which also stars TREK alum Joan Collins. I recently re-watched it in HD. Beautiful looking series (well the first season anyway).

Alas, yet another idea ripped off by ORVILLE. ’99 even had the religion aspect, if not the cannibalism.

Kmart, I agree, Orville’s shuttles remind me of kids’ sneakers/trainers. Just fugly! I’d like to see a runabout or Delta flyer, something that looks more graceful.

What surprised me was how cool the prison shuttle from Discovery looked sitting on the hangar deck. Much more sleek and stylish than what you would expect for a craft with such a utilitarian purpose.

I like the look of it, I don’t care for the colors. But, to be fair, that red and cream sort of look was the look of TOS shuttles. I was more surprised with the reckless way the shuttles take off and immediately punch to full speed. Seems sort of unsafe. But then the civilian shuttle had to launch and then be cleared to warp away. Just weird.

And just like that, I realize I am not on a Discovery thread, but still on an Orville one. Erm… Be gentle with me, I’m still working on my first cup of coffee.

The Next Next Generation works as a comedy. That’s basically about it; glad someone figured it out. I prefer my sci-fi wagon train to the stars with a dose of situational comedy McCoy style.

Dude, shut up. You really are annoying.


No kidding.

At least this time around he forgot to mention his trademark “Free energy”!

I like The Orville with each passing week. It was good out of the starting block. It’s getting better and better. However, Fox has this thing about canceling shows right and left. Boo. Orville has earned a chance – and second season. Well done, Mr. MacFarlane!

@Profhickman — while I don’t agree with you at all on content, or quality, nor that it’s “earned” anything at this point, but THE ORVILLE definitely has a decent audience despite the slipping ratings. It has a long way to go before FOX would cancel this show, and given MacFarlane’s relationship with FOX and the money he’s earned them, and continues to earn them with his other programs, they are not only likely to pick up the remainder of this season, but also give it a second season. So never fear, if you enjoy ORVILLE, you’ll likely get to keep enjoying it for at least another year.

@James — it’s 3.4 million (a typo by THR), but you’re right of course, since TV By The Number’s “Cancel Bear” suggested that ORVILLE’s live ratings (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. Now it’s dropped to a .9 rating in the all important 18-49 demo. And that’s all advertisers really care about. Without strong LIVE numbers, FOX will have to carry the sizable budget all by themselves.

Thanks much! Having a blast working on the show!

The Orville feels much more like Star Trek compared to the new Star Trek series.
The humor is really hit and miss, I wish they would do less humor and more drama in some respects.

I think episodes 3 and 5 definitely show the series is heading in that direction… or at least making the comedy more subtle and integrated with the overall plot of each episode. That’s why I am really hoping the series gets a chance to find the right balance and get a second season.

Agreed Scott. Some of the humor is SO out of place, while other jokes work because they arise out of a character’s reaction to something.

I like Discovery, but yes I think its very dark and cynical tone is much more divisive than all the previous shows where as Orville actually gets back to the ideals of exploration and dealing with cross cultural issues.

I’m sure further in Discovery will get around to those things as well though but for now Orville is nicely fitting that bill for a lot of us.

The practical jokes subplot was definitely the funniest thing the show has done so far.

Honestly, for me this was the first episode I wasn’t hoping Scott Grimes would get pushed out the nearest airlock. It’s funny… he played one of my favorite characters on “ER”… I think the writers just don’t quite know what to do with his character yet.

That was a nice episode. I really like the Orville story telling. Even if the humour or acting is unequal, the stories always remind me of classic sci-fi in some ways. On top of that, they put homage musics pieces. This one was fun because of Theron on TV with a nice story. The FX were fine, not exceptional but well done. I really enjoy that serie and I hope Fox won’t get trigger happy on it. I think that comparing it to Discovery is a fallacy…it’s a very different atmosphere, style and such…I feel it’s unfair to make that comparison. However, when compared to Galaxy Quest, Orville has more merits in my view.

Mr Potato Head was pretty funny.

I kinda wish he’d keep that look. I loved it!

Since for some reason it keeps coming up, the short reason we do an Orville article a week is because I and other members of the team like the show and have adopted it. It also has obvious Trek connections on staff and is an overt trek homage. And since we started, the articles have been popular. So we will continue to cover Orville. We will probably add a special tab at the top too.

I and others on the TM team also don’t see there to be a fight over Orville and Discovery. They are different shows trying to do different things and we like them both.

BTW, we have ‘adopted’ shows in the past, waaaaay back we did regular covererage of Battlestar Galactica. And dont be surprised in 2018 if we adopt another sci-fi space show we like. Maybe The Expanse, which has a Trek vet as showrunner btw.

And that is that, enjoy the continuing Orville coverage and if you dont like it, we do a dozen plus articles on Star Trek every week too. Although I would like it to be the case, we don’t expect everyone to read everything every day.

I would also like to thank Dan Marcus for doing a well-crafted review, which was his first review for the site.

Mr. Pascale,

Yes, by all means adopt “The Expanse,” which had in my view an excellent sophomore season that sadly didn’t get a whole lot of attention from genre fans or critics. It could definitely the help and support.

Indeed, “The Expanse” is must-see-TV in the Gammans household… would love to see Trekmovie “adopt” it as well.

Woud you say the pacing in s2 was different? Because I very eagerly anticipated that series, but had to struggle to get through the 1st season. Didn’t like all of the casting, but there definitely seems to be a respect for science that I greatly admire.

I would say that the storyline is generally more focused, and some new character additions such as Martian Marine and general badass Bobbi Draper very welcome. The dedication to depicting real-world science and physics continues, with the occasional hiccup. And not to spoil anything, but there’s a scene involving some refugees fleeing a war on Ganymede that I will never forget.

Michael Hall
there’s a scene involving some refugees fleeing a war on Ganymede that I will never forget.

That whole part of the story arc is great.


It’s hard to say. I’d have to watch them back-to-back, but my gut feeling is yes, Season 2 flows more quickly once it gets going (which is about episode 3). Like Michael Hall said, the Season 2 story arc is more focused, and its focus is getting to the heart of (and revealing) the big mystery presented in Season 1. So, episode after episode is layers of the onion being peeled away, until you finally get to the core. So to speak.

The Expanse has totally hooked me.

I enjoyed Season 2 even more than Season 1.

My biggest complaint is that we have to wait so long for Season 3.

Just watched the Season 3 teaser. I’m glad the Martian Marine woman character is coming back. That actor plays the tough/vulnerable combo as compellingly and believably as I’ve seen it played.

Dan did a terrific job on this review. I hope we get to see more of his work on this series and “Discovery”.

And for what it’s worth here’s a big thumbs-up on adding a link for “The Orville” to the site navigation menu. (Especially since I was one of the loyal readers who asked for it!)

Keep up the good work, Anthony. Your team makes this site a must-read multiple times each day.


Good work on the Orville coverage.

Please keep the Orville coverage coming Anthony. Yeah its everything you said which is why so many of us are interested in the show. There is clearly a very connection between this and Star Trek even if its a parody. But as we learn its not really a parody the way Galaxy Quest was and actually telling really interesting stories, just with a more comical bent to them.

And as for people who don’t like the coverage, you know you can simply not click on them. How hard is that? Apparently for some…very. But this is the internet not the NYT, they can write whatever they want. And it simply generates more interest to the site and my guess a bit more revenue so its a win-win for everyone. I can understand if the moaning was about taking away from actual Star Trek coverage. But this site seems to be on top of that than any other Trek site I go to and why I’m here practically daily now because for the first time in over a decade we have weekly Trek news again and its fun to read. In this case, we kind of have two shows to discuss!


“I can understand if the moaning was about taking away from actual Star Trek coverage. But this site seems to be on top of that than any other Trek site I go to ”

During SDCC in July there used to be no less than 2 to 3 articles a day about ‘Discovery’, and in just 10 days before and after SDCC about there were over 30 or more articles about ‘Discovery’. Then Trekmovie published ONE article, during that 10 days period, about The Orville’s panel at SDCC, guess what happened?

The tr0lls were triggered so hard they kept whining about the “excessive” coverage that the Orville is getting!

Nowadays the site is publishing a single review about The Orville once a week and yet, we still have those tr0lls whining & spamming the reviews with their nonsense.

Kind of like the way you troll the Discovery articles.

In fact, very few people here are trolling The Orville or its coverage. It’s being discussed from a variety of viewpoints, pro and con, which is a very different thing. And I definitely hope TM keeps up the coverage. Whether you like the show or not, it’s a big-budget love letter to TNG, with several Trek veterans working behind the scenes, and thus relevant to this site.

I personally adopted Orville as well, so I’m fine with y’all doing the same.

I’ll bet you take in all the strays. 😊

Preliminary ratings for The Orville show that it got 0.9.

@Gary 8.5 — The final numbers are in, and the ratings didn’t move. Still a 0.9 and 3.4 million. The Live +3 DVR numbers will be interesting on this one — they increased by almost 65% for Episode 4 — to see whether it’s a priority for viewers, and whether there’s enough of a compromise there to appease the advertisers who don’t really benefit from DVR ratings.

Come on people, lighten up! We have a heartfelt (if still a bit skittish and slightly uneven) homage to “Star Trek: The Next Generation” that could almost be considered an eighth season of the series, and a daring, adults-only, grown-up installment from the original franchise itself. I’m 53 years old, and I remember how truly awful TNG was for weeks on end in the first couple of seasons, but I also remember me and my friends gathering together at 6 PM every Saturday when the local station premiered a new episode. No matter how awful the previous week’s episode was, we greedily gobbled up every morsel and couldn’t wait for the next installment–even when having to suffer through dreck like “Haven” and “Up the Long Ladder”.

Now we have not one, not two, but a whole fleet of genre television series for our entertainment, spearheaded by two productions with eye-popping budgets and the talent to match. Have we all gotten so jaded and impatient–dare I say, SPOILED–that even the slightest deviation from our individual concepts of perfection is justification for some of the most vituperative anger I’ve seen on this site since its inception over a decade ago?

Like I said–lighten up! There are a lot of talented people behind “Orville” and “Discovery” who love Star Trek and are giving 110% to bring us their absolute best. Criticism where criticism is due, absolutely! But can we please have a moratorium on the childish, snide backbiting? I think I can safely say we all get more than enough of that on a daily basis in the real world. Please, I implore you–leave the shrill insults outside the front door. I come here to get the latest news on Trek and Trek-adjacent productions, and to share in the excitement of what an embarrassment of riches we have in entertainment choices these days. Thanks.

@Scott Gammans,

Exactly. ‘The Orville’ is a lighthearted science fiction show, that’s something is missing from TV right now. In fact ‘The Orville’ is the only show on network TV that I watch live every Thursday.

The cast is great and likeable especially Bortus. The stories are interesting but the dialogue needs some work. Some of the jokes are great, others not so much.


I agree. We’re all terribly spoiled, and that’s the truth. I frankly wouldn’t want to be producing any of these shows (okay, I would, but still), what with a virtual army of nerds out there waiting to savage you and your sons unto the seventh generation because you decided Lorca should have a pet tribble or Seth MacFarland cracked a dick joke. Either are not the end of the world.

All this, and next year we get The Expanse back as well. Truly, it’s an embarrassment of riches, whichever series you ultimately prefer.

Hey Scott – Thank You! Is this where Shatner tells Trekkies To Get a Life? Wow I think Trekkies need to be renamed Bitcheez. Some of these people needs Meds.

Ah yes, the long last Klingon tribe… the B’Chez


I need more coffee.

The Orville may not survive network TV but this is the type of show that screams Netflix.

@Rei — it’s funny, I just discovered STARSHIP ICARUS on Amazon, and was basically struck by how similar it feels to ORVILLE, FX notwithstanding.

Missed it this week…can’t say the review entices me to try and find it. Missed it and don’t really care that I did. I’ll try again next week.

I think I’d like the show more honestly if it didn’t just reheat, recycle, and mishmash old Star Trek episodes that have long been done.

Ever since the pilot, it’s just been the plots of two or more previous Star Trek episodes:

Episode 2: The Cage, The Most Toys and Resolutions

Episode 3: The Outcast, The Measure of a Man, and Sins of the Father

Episode 4: For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky and Who Watches the Watchers

This week: A Matter of Time, Rajiin, The Outrageous Okona and Future’s End

All of this would be fine if the show was some attempt of satirization of old TNG era tropes. I’m not asking for Galaxy Quest here, but some meta humor would be at least a new angle.

Instead I’m seeing plots that had been done 20 to 30 years ago played almost entirely with the same tone by shallow characters who throw in completely non sequitur humor that 95% of the time doesn’t work for me.

I’ll keep watching, but this is not appointment television for me like Discovery is. I don’t mind waiting to watch the epsiodes a few days after airing. For all of Discovery’s alleged “faults,” at least it’s doing something different for me.

@mhansen0207 — I agree. When it tries to take itself seriously like real Trek, yet just recycles the same ideas that have been presented over the last 50 years, then it just gets dull and pointless. It’s not pushing new boundaries, or new ideas (at least in any deep way), nor any new ideas. And it’s not even that visually stimulating. It really then boils down to whether you like the characters, and specifically how good a job the actors playing those characters are doing, as to whether you’ll watch.

I don’t care for MacFarlane, I’ve watched 5 episodes now, and it all just looks like scenes he’s performing in an acting class. The bickering ex-husband and wife duo is tiresome — has there been an episode yet where they didn’t bring up the fact she cheated on him? The robot who is a poor man’s data and looks a step above Paris’ Chaotica holodeck program robot. The cute girl with superpowers (if MacFarlane asks her to open “this jar of pickles” on more time I’m gonna scream), but also is acting out of her depth. The frat boy pilots. And the rest are just poor imitations of the TREK originals.

It’s kind of mind numbing background fare, but far from must see TV. The good news is, thanks to streaming, I can just pop on an episode and catch up whenever I want and tune out to something vaguely familiar with a fresher veneer … or I could just put on old episodes of TNG and see it all done far better.

Star Trek Fans sure are Bitchy.

“Instead I’m seeing plots that had been done 20 to 30 years ago played almost entirely with the same tone by shallow characters who throw in completely non sequitur humor that 95% of the time doesn’t work for me. I’ll keep watching, but this is not appointment television for me like Discovery is.”


Also, you can only do so much character development in a 50-minute episodic format to begin with; when about a third of that is (lame) humor, even less. And the cast doesn’t have the gravitas that most of the TNG cast had.

So it doesn’t work as a TNG competitor. Does it work on its own? Not really. The humor in Charlize Theron’s episode was a bit stronger, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the average SNL skit or CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM.

Mr. Potato head? Come on! I was rolling my eyes through the attempts at humor. This show doesn’t know what it wants to be. They need to stick to either comedy or drama. It really takes you out of the story with the juvenile humor. So dull. I tuned in because Frakes was directing but even he couldn’t save that uneven script. Looks like MacFarlane is casting all his Millions of Ways to Die in the West cast. I think Theron was the strongest part of this episode. Seth, if you read these posts, PLEASE do something about the flat lighting… there is no depth.
I was hoping this show would get better with time, but it really hasn’t improved. Maybe keeping MacFarlane behind the camera would be better… his acting is still cringe worthy. And maybe figure out what they want the show to be. The comedy seems very forced at times. The Orville is just coming off as a TNG spoof.

@Still not impressed — actually, I wish it would come off as a TNG spoof. But you nailed it, not really funny enough, and otherwise takes itself too seriously. If this were FAMILY GUY in space, I would enjoy it much better, evern with MacFarlane in the lead. Can you imagine if Seinfeld try to be MASH, and actually took itself seriously? That’s kind of what’s happening here.

If he could get Shatner or Stewart, or any of the other bigger-than-life actors into the show to parody themselves I would be all in for that. But the way things are going, I wouldn’t be surprised if he writes them in as serious roles where they lose their children or some equally as dramatic and depressing storyline.

I like your idea about the Patrick Stewart or William Shatner spoof – Excellent Idea!

Simple solution – don’t watch it.

The same advice is mentioned to people that don’t like Discovery… don’t watch. Yet they take offence to it.

How about we just let everyone enjoy what they enjoy? Good plan? Good plan.

(I enjoy both.)

Still not impressed

I can’t argue with you about the humor——if you don’t laugh, no one can tell you you’re wrong. I did laugh a few times during this episode. For me, it wasn’t the funniest of the 5 episodes, but the story-telling overall was the best so far for this series. And I actually found myself impressed by MacFarlane’s performance at times, specifically after Pria kisses him goodnight and leaves the room. The camera pauses on Mercer’s face, and we see him emote in a way that is familiar and totally believable. Likewise in the very final scene, when Mercer is sitting at his desk after Pria has disappeared. While I think that the scene violates the internal logic of the story (Mercer should have no memory of Pria after she disappears, and The Orville probably should have been destroyed), MacFarlane is compelling in the scene, as he contemplates recent events and what he’s lost. Is The Orville a TNG spoof? Yeah, kind of. But, so what? Galaxy Quest is a TNG/TOS spoof, and people love it.

Really liking this show more and more every week! I don’t pretend to be an expert on viewership numbers but I do hope this show finds its audience and stabilizes at a good level. Hopefully the show will LLAP!

Ok, I want to give my 2 cents on this episode and The Orville in general. Now I think before I start I should say I am a fan of both Orville and Star Trek Discovery, but we have to separate them for what they are. Comparing the two is like comparing apples to oranges. Orville is the pure Sci-fi show with a comedic edge, while Star Trek Discovery is more of a character study in the Star Trek Universe.But if we have to compare them anyway, in terms of what I like and dislike in Orville:

1) I love the opening theme and the music. ( I think Star Trek Discovery really dropped the ball in terms of music and epic openings, which were a trademark of the franchise.)
2) I love the more sci-fi aspects of Orville
3) I like the characters
4) I am still not quite sold on the humour yet, but the humour in the last episode was much better.
5) Come on, how can you be so hard on a beauty like Charlize Theron, if she just stood there doing nothing all show, I’d still watch her. Besides I don’t think she was that bad in the role. She felt a bit like a female Harry Mudd.

Well said – agreed.

Having been an avid fan of Star Trek for 50+ years & having enjoyed All Trek to some degree or another I have an unusual observation. I am Not a huge fan of Seth McFartlame but Orville is just plain fun entertainment – No need to insert Politics & Political Correctness just mild everyday different situations and you either enjoy it or you don’t – No rocket science involved. Discovery on the other hand suffers from several problems: Prequels don’t work well. The blatant BS in connecting Anything in this show to Star Trek with a possible different Timeline – Really? Klingons version 99? It’s called Star Trek but seems like something else which if it weren’t called Star Trek would actually be Cool. The incessant need to Hail it because it’s so damn Groundbreaking when there is Nothing groundbreaking about it just CBS being greedy & paying every critic in America to have orgasms when giving their pre-paid pre-printed scripts to Tell Trek fans what They Must Like. I’m glad Trek fans can watch either or & Like or Dislike either or. Live Long & Profit (That’s the New & Improved Star Trek – CBS Version 1.0 Billion)🚀

The most interesting thing about your post was the insinuation that CBS had paid-off all those critics to write good reviews of Discovery. I suppose the executives at Fox must be kicking themselves for not doing the same thing–but, seriously, that’s quite a charge. Any proof?

“The incessant need to Hail it because it’s so damn Groundbreaking when there is Nothing groundbreaking about it just CBS being greedy & paying every critic in America to have orgasms when giving their pre-paid pre-printed scripts to Tell Trek fans what They Must Like.”

Dude, try decaf. (Or don’t, because Starbucks might be greedy.)

I’d believe the “I’m not a mean person” thing if there weren’t so many posts in this discussion that indicate otherwise. If you don’t like the show you don’t need to continue to haunt these threads. The fact that you do comment SO MUCH is just sad and pathetic.

“While Charlize Theron may be a big star, she honestly seems bored in the role. She’s no more spirited after she turns, either. She neither successfully pulls off seductress or villain, ultimately turning in a forgettable performance. It’s almost like she doesn’t want to be there”

she probably wanted to be in REAL Trek (i.e. the next movie with Pine or Discovery with Isaacs) not fake parody McFarlene Trek

@nasty man — I was surprised she agreed to wear that short-sleeved, potato sack of an outfit most of the show. It was incredibly unflattering, as most of the ORVILLE uniforms are. Odd considering the blatant sexualization of the role. I’m also surprised she wasn’t a bigger ratings draw — despite her star billing and promotion for a week, the live ratings slipped, and in the key demographic. Could I really be so old that Charlize Theron no longer holds appeal to the Millennials?

@Nasty, ultimately turning in a forgettable performance. It’s almost like she doesn’t want to be there

Now, I only saw the clips, because I see TV itself only rarely. But from the clips, I didn’t pick up that vibe from Theron at all. I’ll have to see the whole thing to judge better.

My attitude with “Orville” is that I enjoy most of it, particularly the characters; I wince at the endless “my wife screwed somebody else” and “my husband was too busy with his career” and the more puerile jokes, but basically it’s relaxing and fun to watch, like TNG but riddled with occasionally really bad jokes.

The actor who plays Bortus does a fantastic job, and everybody else is pretty darn good, including, much to my surprise, MacFarlane. Although as Scott G the poster said above, it’s tempting to toss Scott G the actor out of the nearest airlock ;^)

I didn’t pick up that vibe from Theron at all. I’ll have to see the whole thing to judge better.

Let me know if you agree with me on this.

So good. Jonathan very impressed.

open to a plot twist of pria being pregnant and mercer’s kid finding a way to come back to find dad

@barry — right out of the old Brannon Braga time travel bag of tricks eh?

As I understood it, when he destroyed the wormhole, they effectively changed time such that she never went back in time in the first place, which is why she disappeared, just like the colony of Defiant survivors in DS9. So unlike YE, she could have never been impregnated by Macfarlane in the first place. That doesn’t mean she couldn’t come back again though. I imagine there are plenty of opportunities where MacFarlane potentially gets the Orville destroyed.

I love The Orville! – Look forward to it, every week. It blows away DSC IMHO.

Yeah, I just don’t get it. TNG with recycled Trek plot mashups, wan characters, wildly uneven humor and dialogue that’s mercifully unstylized, but also not much better than Enterprise was managing on any given day. And at the center of it, Seth MacFarlane writing fan fiction and putting himself front and center on camera in a role he’d have no business being in if he weren’t one of the most powerful writers in television. He has no presence as a dramatic actor and he’s not a believable object of desire for these gorgeous women, I don’t care how unflattering a haircut and dress they shove Charlize Theron into. I love that he loves Star Trek and employs everyone from Ron Jones to Jonathan Frakes when he can, and he is a charming funny guy, but he is out of his depth and has too much ego to ever acknowledge it.


Re: …believable object of desire…

You don’t get it for women because we males tend to be visually fixated and expect the same for women in general. But generally women are aurally fixated over the visual which is why they are more attracted to men that have musical talent and can tell stories that make them laugh, both of which Seth can do well with his voice more times than his songs and jokes fall flat.

I’m a Trek fan & I’m loving this show. Though I’m growing tired of everyone’s comparisons of the 2 shows.

@alex — seems like MacFarlane set that ball in motion himself. No one else to blame but him for stirring the pot.

I love this show. I hate Discovery.

Just caught up all the episodes of The Orville. They are all a hell of a lot better than the new stupid, politically correct Star Trek…. I can barely watch it from from cringing re the characters and after-show BS. Gene is turning over in his ashes…..

@MDC — so you’re in psychic communication with Gene, then?

I am.

Just so everyone understands, I am a founder Trek fan in 1965 as it was about to begin. Gene had the sent and executed it with Kirk, et al. The current Discovery has lost the sent, but MacFarlane is trying to find the path, aside from the dick humor. Please to see Jonathan Frakes. They should gather all of the available Trek series (and movies) people and work them into the fabric of Orville, and then you’ll have at least 7 years, maybe more. Also, keep adding known faces, like Charlene(?), Liam Neson(?) another others as cameos. That gives the action a comfortable feeling, with good or bad character.

“Politically correct Star Trek” – Old age gets to us all eh sonny?

“founder Trek fan” – LMAO, yes founder you honour us with your presence

Less than a minute before a dick joke. The next reference to genitalia came within the next five minutes. Watched half the episode and didn’t even crack a smile. Watched every episode so far and mildly enjoyed it but I think I’ve reached the end of the line.

I agree with most of the points in this review.

Story-wise, this is the best Orville episode yet. The narrative is compelling and cohesive, with none of the clunkiness of past episodes. And, it’s a funny episode, too. But, the best thing about the humor in this episode is that it doesn’t come at the expense of the narrative. The jokes don’t take you out of the story, as they have in past episodes. . .

And the reason that the jokes don’t take you out of the story, is that they’re not out-of-character jokes. At the beginning of the story, when LaMarr changes his mind on a dime about wanting to rescue the attractive woman in distress (after realizing how dangerous an endeavor it is), it’s not entirely out of character——one can imagine a real-life aerospace helmsman having that same reaction (though he probably wouldn’t say it out loud). Neither does the humor involving Mercer seem out of character——the jokes aren’t (as they have in past episodes) based on him being too feeble-minded to conceivably (even in sci-fi) captain a spaceship for a Planetary Union type of organization.

Dan Marcus makes a good point about Isaac being used thematically in similar fashion as TNG’s Data (the AI trying to learn what it is to be human). And, I would add that the dynamic between Malloy and Isaac is analogous to the TNG dynamic between Jeordie and Data. And, again, the humor that arises out of the Malloy/Isaac subplot doesn’t take you out of the story, as it doesn’t involve either of the characters necessarily being out of character. In the future, when replacing a person’s leg is as easy as 3-D printing, the practical joke that Isaac plays on Malloy actually makes sense (in a ridiculous, comedic sort of way). Yes, Mercer takes it all in stride, but that’s his style——he’s an extremely laid-back starship captain.

I actually didn’t have any problem with Charlize Theron’s performance. I can see why Dan Marcus would make that criticism, though. And to be perfectly honest (while I’m loath to make these sort of comments about actors), I did find myself wondering throughout the episode whether Charlize Theron has been taking Botox, because there is a noticeable lack of emotion on her face throughout. Her cheeks, mouth and eyes don’t seem to move much, even when she does emote. And I’ve seen her be very emotional in other performances. So, I’m not sure whether I’m imagining it or not, but I can understand why Dan Marcus would say that Theron seemed “bored” in the role. Though, she didn’t come across as bored to me. I took it as the character being very confident and “professional,” having performed similar feats of thievery and deception many times in the past (no pun intended).


I also agree that resolution of this episode is a bit of a let-down. And, an additional problem is that it doesn’t make sense, given the time-travel logic used in the story. If closing the wormhole prevents Pria from ever having come into the past to interact with The Orville, then, not only should Pria disappear after the wormhole is destroyed, but The Orville should be destroyed in the dark matter storm (as they would have been without Pria’s intercession). Or, at the very least, Mercer’s facial expression should change instantly, because none of his interactions with Pria have (now that the wormhole is gone) have ever happened. I don’t understand why Pria should disappear while Mercer remains sitting there sadly contemplating the consequences of his time spent with her. Did I misunderstand the in-story explanation, or does the ending just make no sense? But, apart from the ending, the story is well told. Hats off to Jonathan Frakes, but then, it’s no surprise that he mucked the time-travel logic of this episode (given the myriad logic problems in First Contact).

Compared to TIME SQUARED, this is crystal clear in its storytelling. (okay, I know that is placing the bar belowground!) The ending threw me a bit, but I just figured that it meant that by shutting down the whirlpool or whatever, it meant fixing time from that moment forward, which … oh yeah, NOW I see what you mean. If you go THAT route, then she’d be stuck on the ship like Rasmussen in TNG, not yanked out of time from it.


Well, Pria uses the wormhole in the 29th Century to travel back to the 24th C. When the Orville destroys the wormhole in the 24th C, then Pria is never able to use the wormhole in the 29th C to travel back in time and prevent the Orville (or any other ships) from being destroyed. So, Pria never travels back in time, and the Orville is destroyed in the dark matter storm. Not only should Pria disappear when the wormhole is destroyed, but the Orville and its crew should likewise disappear for the same reason that Pria disappears.


I do agree with you that Time Squared is even more messed-up logic-wise.

I’m going to be late here most of the time it seems as I just don’t get around to watching this show until the weekend. But here goes…

Author Dan Marcus thinks this is the funniest episode yet? This was the LEAST funny episode the show has had. Not a big deal, I figured the show would have some unfunny ones. Even good comedies don’t hit the mark every time. And thus far, I found this episode to be the weakest of what we have seen. A slow moving episode like this is one that REALLY needed some jokes. And this one seemed to have the fewest jokes so far. The amputated leg (while feels it was lifted a bit from Monty Python’s Meaning of Life) was the best gag of the show but it desperately needed more laughs in the first 2/3. It was actually a little boring. I’m really hoping they move more to the jokes side and less from the drama side. I think this show could play well so long as it stays on the light hearted level.

You know what could save this series if someone yells KHAAAAAAAN!!