Review: “The Orville” Satirizes Social Media But Doesn’t Get An Upvote In “Majority Rule”

Review: “Majority Rule”

The Orville Season 1, Episode 7 – Aired Thursday, Oct. 26
Written by Seth MacFarlane
Directed by Tucker Gates

In “Majority Rule,” the crew of The Orville have been ordered to investigate the disappearance of some scientists researching an alien planet that is very similar to 21st century Earth. Commander Kelly Grayson leads a landing team which quickly discovers Sargus Four has a society based on eerily familiar “up votes” and “down votes,” which can have grave consequences. When Lt. LaMarr disrespects a statue of an historical figure, he becomes the latest pariah of “The Feed” and if he doesn’t make amends he will be in serious trouble.

While the previous episode (“Krill”) deftly balanced humor, action and morality, “Majority Rule” tips the scale more toward an exploration of social media with the most serious episode of the series yet. Seth MacFarlane is back writing this episode with similar results to his “About a Girl,” which was also heavy-handed in its allegorical storytelling.

With social media controlling every aspect of Sargus Four, LaMarr is arrested after receiving millions of down votes. Instead going through a legal system, he is subjected to an “apology tour,” where he must appear on televised talk shows to convince the population he’s truly sorry. Instead of a lawyer he is assigned a publicity agent (Steven Culp) who works with Kelly to try to (ironically) navigate LaMarr through the tour, but the interviews get progressively worse. As this is happening, Dr. Finn and Lt. Alara discover the missing researchers had been subjected to an apology tour of their own, which ended up with one dead and the other “corrected” with a lobotomy.

With so much of the focus on Lt. LaMarr, actor J. Lee rises to the occasion and makes the best with what he was given. He carries the episode, adding some spark to the various confrontation talk show appearances and he had a fun dynamic with Culp’s hapless publicity agent. However, “Majority Rule” was a bit of a missed opportunity to allow LaMarr some character growth. The last heavily allegorical episode (“About a Girl”) saw Bortus through a transformation as he grew to accept his daughter. With LaMarr, he starts and ends “Majority Rule” as the same abrasive, crass guy, even after given the opportunity to mature and grow.

While LaMarr awaits the final vote to determine his fate, Mercer and Grayson decide to intervene. They pluck a citizen off the planet, Lysella, to try and find a way to circumvent the planet’s justice system. While their solution does provide the episode’s funniest moments – Mercer and the crew fabricating heartwarming stories about LaMarr for “The Feed” – this solution doesn’t exactly match the type of Star Trek optimism the show aspires to embody. The ending of the episode feels like it wants to have a profound message, but ends up a bit like a cop-out. Lysella is returned and has another opportunity to vote, but she chooses not to, undoubtedly implying that change can start small.

“Majority Rule” does have some genuinely fun and inspiring moments. The idea of the crew forced to create sad memories to garner sympathy for LeMarr was very clever and also scarily apropos. It feels like a shrewd jab at how social media can be utilized today, sometimes for informative effect and sometimes for manipulative gain. Halston Sage and Penny Johnson also showed good chemistry with their own little buddy cop adventure, investigating the fate of the Union research team.

The Orville deserves credit for attempting to create a cautionary tale on a socially relevant subject matter. The whole “up vote, down vote” system feels especially applicable to our current dependency on validation through social media. There are several moments – such as Lysella complaining that no one will believe that she’s been to space if she can’t take a picture – that were both funny and resonated. The idea of “Majority Rule” is solid, but you may want to look elsewhere for more effective versions of this story, whether that’s “Nosedive” from Black Mirror or “Bread and Circuses” from The Original Series. In the end, “Majority Rule” regrettably  gets more down votes than up, for another uneven attempt at social allegory.

Random thoughts:

  • Early bridge discussion on “Parallel Species Development” seems to be The Orville’s version of Star Trek’s “Hodgkin’s Law of Parallel Planetary Development
  • While they did attempt to not interfere with the alien culture, the Planetary Union doesn’t seem to have a “Prime Directive” and Ed even argued for making first contact.
  • Steven Culp appeared as MACO Major Hayes during the third season of Star Trek: Enterprise and as Commander Martin Madden in a deleted scene from Star Trek: Nemesis
  • The Orville has some impressive technology. The ship’s computer was able to replicate a video in which Lt. LeMarr is greeted by his fake old dog after returning from a fake war. I almost shed some fake tears.
  • The Orville’s shuttles have cloaking technology.
  • Bortus can sing, or so he claims.
  • Alara confirmed that the Orville is one of the smaller ships in the fleet, while much bigger ‘heavy cruisers’ exist elsewhere in the galaxy.
  • Dr. Claire Finn is also given some additional backstory – we find out she had a long running friendship with one of the missing researchers, Lewis. Little details like that expand the mythology and history of these characters.
  • Yaphit the gelatinous blob was missing from this episode, presumably sulking with Dr. Finn on an away mission.
  • Although there were similarities to the Black Mirror episode “Nosedive,” Seth MacFarlane says he wrote “Majority Rule” well before and was actually inspired by the Jon Ronson book So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed.

Clips from “Majority Rule”

Behind the scenes with ‘The Orville’ aliens

Fox has also released another behind the scenes video, this time featuring writer and science advisor Andre Bormanis talking about alien species on the show.

Preview for next week’s episode, “Into the Fold”

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

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Stelios Arianoutsos

Where is my comment? You guys delete my comment?

Athlan

It got voted down, man. Shut up and live with it. ;) (no offence, hepe you get the joke)

Athlan

*hope

Stelios Arianoutsos

Like I have options! :)

You could try going on an apology tour.

Reb

Much better than disco

KhanKrugeKrall

Not even close.

quantum47

Not as near as crappy, true.

Orville rocks.
DST just… sucks.

I see someone’s joined us from the upside down.

quantum47

true dat

Jim J

The Orville is everything that Discovery should have been. If only…if only…

Curious Cadet

@Jim J — you mean if only DISC had hired all of the Berman/Braga era staff, designed the ship to look like scifi shows produced in the 1990s, hired bad actors, wrote lame scripts recycling major Trek storylines we’ve already seen a dozen times before, and updated it all with dick jokes, and a running misogynistic subplot? ;-)

Jim J

I can see why you are a cadet. Go play some beer pong and shout the F word at me for sharing my opinion. I guess that’s not allowed anymore in the “star trek” universe.

Meeee

You just stated everything discovery has minus dick jokes. Replace dick jokes with incredible plot holes and we have discovery.

Curious Cadet

@Meee — even if that were true, I’d take the plot holes over the dick jokes.

zimriel

Try using the dick jokes to plug the plot holes. Everyone #wins!

I believe that’s what The Orville did this week.

Then why have all the complaints about Discovery have been the opposite of what you claim?

WhiskeyGolf

Eh, I actually thought it was fairly interesting. Fascinating one might say… heh. I hate to contradict our reviewer, but part of what I found interesting was how much of a contrast it was to something like Bread and Circuses. There you have an authoritarian government manipulating public opinion to keep everyone happy. Here, the mob IS essentially the gov. It may have been a bit heavy handed, or even clumsy (but really, no more so than some Trek episodes if we’re being honest) but it brings questions to mind about our own behavior.

They did miss some character development opportunities, but made some other interesting observations. It’s people who decide everything up to and include what medicines are good based on how it’s presented. Truth is what the mass says it is. It’s the sliding scale of ‘everybody gets a say’ to ‘We reject your facts because our presenter is prettier!’

Tl:dr, Creepy, yet fascinating. 3 of 4 stars, will continue to watch and enjoy. Upvote Button.

Curious Cadet

@WhiskeyGolf — I would categorize Trek allegories in general as being a little more subtle. That said, you may be correct that there were some as bad, and overt, as this. Certainly in many respects, “The Way To Eden” reflected aspects of late 60s pop-culture too literally, where a lighter touch would have served better. The same for the “‘Last Battlefield” Cheron makeup. Then again, those were Fred Frieberger episodes from an infamous 3rd season. If nothing else, you’re absolutely correct that this follows in the worst traditions of Trek, which is no surprise since MacFarlane himself has indicated his desire to continue telling stories the way TNG depicted them, in both actions and words. And now he’s evidently proven he intends to emulate even the worst attributes of Trek as well. Somehow, I think I would have enjoyed this more if Brian and Stewy travelled into an alternate dimension where the current US President crowned himself emperor and instituted rule by social media, ultimately getting himself hoist by his own petard thanks to a scheme by Brian & Stewy, achieving a satisfying victory there, only to return to the sad reality of their real dimension. That’s the kind of twists Trek would have generally given us too …

thebiggfrogg

Honestly, I disagree with “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”. Subtlety would have been less effective. I think the “ridiculous” makeup–perhaps inadvertently–highlighted the “ridiculousness” of racialized thinking. It also made the message hard to miss in a way a more subtle treatment may have been (especially considering 1960s TV). So, in my opinion it was spot on.

thebiggfrogg

That said I think The Orville COULD have been more subtle. Lamarr was being a jerk and showed no sensitivity. Such behavior should not ruin your life (as the stupid prank literally did, which led to Otto Warmbier’s death in North Korea), but it is also hard to show a lot of sympathy for Lamarr either (that said I am only responding having seen the “dry hump” clip). When visiting a foreign culture, especially as a representative of a larger organization you think you’d be on your guard a bit. Reminds me of some of my jerky American colleagues–acting like 12 year olds–during a Burns Night Festival in Scotland when I was doing an internship with the Scottish Parliament. As a guest you should be on your best behavior. Like it or not your represent your country, organization, et cetera.

That said, it is an allegory worth exploring given the ubiquity and stupidity of herd-based social media. And I guess The Orville is getting a discussion going.

So far it does look like the Orville is veering away from its Star Trek model and more in the direction of Ugly Americans in Space.

kmart

Alan Alaric Roi,
If it can straddle those two perspectives, it would have the potential to be the best of all worlds, sf-wise. Makes me think they should get Melinda Snodgrass on the phone and do her original notion for TNG’s THE WOUNDED, where our guys realize they are helping the wrong side in a planet’s battle for independence (siding with the planet’s version of the British against the Americans — who were being aided by Romulans — was the original notion that Piller killed.)

kmart

The original, network-rejected premise that evolved into BATTLEFIELD involved two aliens, one of whom had a forked tale and the other who had wings, meant to suggest devil/angel. Would that have been more ridiculous, or just more offensive, to those easily offended?

thebiggfrogg

Interesting. The angel/devil dichotomy leaves a lot to unpack. Seems like it would have offended everyone: religious people, people of whichever race got tagged to the devil. Would have been interesting to see. Although with the 60s Trek budget for makeup effects I think it would have been extra on the cheese.

WhiskeyGolf

Well now, I don’t believe those were necessarily the worst parts of Star Trek. I suppose I didn’t really consider my thoughts to be a criticism or indictment of them, as trying to fit such a concept into under an hour run time is naturally going to be clumsy, especially when they’re still finding their footing. Really, the beauty part of TOS/TNG style storytelling is that you can do something like Majority Rule, and if it’s a low note, you don’t have to deal with it again.

And yes, while seeing Stewie and Brian have such an adventure would be hilarious, I think it would be too specific. From how I interpreted it (perhaps I’m incorrect, it’s been known to happen) it’s more a study in the group rather than one making use of the group. Does the mass like it because it’s Right, or is it accepted as Right because the mass likes it? Personally I found it fascinating.

Curious Cadet

@WhiskeyGolf — all good points, but I would also suggest, it’s an observation that’s a little behind the curve. It’s kind of a “safe” criticism. I don’t think there’s anyone in the world who would disagree with social media being a problem, as it is covered in the news media every day — at least here in the USA. In other words, it’s a discussion that’s a little too common place in pop culture today, to be an effective commentary for a Trek episode, which is why I suggested the FAMILY GUY scenario. What else can be said generally without it having a more specific impact? Also, it was a little too soon for another episode about a member of the crew going on trial.

The River Temarc

“I don’t think there’s anyone in the world who would disagree with social media being a problem”

Huh? I’d strongly dispute that social media is “a problem.”

Marja

Pretty reflective of today’s mob mentality in the US.

kmart

Too bad Fritz Weaver died last year, it would have been fun to see him as the victim’s PR agent, given his uselessness as Sisko’s legal rep on DS9. I do think McFarlane in this restrained mode is a lot more effective, though he, like the ship itself, needs some edgier lighting to shape his features. It’s weird to me that he looks better on talk shows than he does on the series; maybe exhaustion is having an effect too. Episode itself: heavy-handed, yeah, and I wasn’t too impressed with the casting, but I still enjoyed it a lot. I guess at this point that Isaac is going to be the ‘quick last act solution’ pretty much as a default, but personally would be a lot more interested in finding some greater depth to that character, some contrasting textures and even machine ambition. I keep thinking we’re going to get some kind of reveal down the line, and if it doesn’t happen, I’ll be very surprised. My wife accidentally didn’t manage to get up in time to miss the teaser, and as a result she actually stayed and watched the whole episode, and even laughed a few times. It must be ‘seeping in’ on her. She liked the relevancy of many aspects, even though she didn’t immediately see the parallels to HAVEN (I had to call it TNG’s ‘Planet of the Diapers’ episode for her to know I was talking about Wesley going on trial for falling in some bushes.) I do wonder if FOX has asked for changes. I noticed that the first shot of the ship, a close flyby, in this episode looked ‘wrong,’ and am guessing it was CG, which they normally only use for big weird moves and long shots. There seemed to be a few… Read more »

tvfangeek95

Seth mentioned at New York Comic Con that if they get a season 2, he wants to explore the Isaac character further, including finding more out about his planet Kaylon-1. And Mark Jackson, the actor who plays Isaac has mentioned that while the beginning of this season is kinda light on his character, there’s more of him in the last half of the season.

Curious Cadet

@tvfangeek95 — oh, no. I down vote that. Sorry, but Isaac is a blatant rip-off of Data, without the desire to become human, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see that coming in this reported exploration of him and his culture. So far, he’s displayed a surprising penchant for wanting to assimilate human culture into his own learning experience, and scenes directly reminiscent of Data’s struggles in TNG. That’s groan inducing, eye rolling stuff to me.

tvfangeek95

I feel like there’s very little about this show you don’t down vote short of it being cancelled, LOL

Curious Cadet

@tvfangeek95 — meh. I don’t really care either way. If there’s a fan base that enjoy it, why take it away from them? I don’t hate the show, but it’s definitely not high on my list of priorities. There’s a few things I’d like to see though if it continues — it should really stand on its own two feet if it’s going to become a serious sci-if show. That means, no derivative characters, no overt Trek references, no overt Trek music lifts, no Trek inspired episodes. OR — they should embrace the parody, and make it clear all these derivative things are intended to poke fun at the source of their inspiration. The problem for me is, the more they take themselves seriously, the worse the initial setup becomes. The problem for them is, I suspect FOX wants FAMILY GUY in space, and MacFarlane wants a successor to TNG — and that’s a problem for CBS, which might eventually invite a lawsuit — which is bad for everybody.

Well, this particular fanbase tends to screetch that The Orville is the *true Star Trek* and that Discovery is an abomination which should be trash compacted (making it clear that they don’t even watch the show), so yeah, the Orville does have an audience, but they tend to be a lot like Lamarr and Malloy, ignorant and proud of it.

Kirok

@Curious Cadet

It’s obvious Issac is a data rip off. But data itself was a rip off of Spock. I never warmed up to the data character like most have. He just seemed like an excuse to get a cold logical Vulcan on TNG without having a cold logical Vulcan. I have less a problem with Issac being a rip off due to the light nature of the show to begin with. Because of that many flaws in plot and character are overlooked by me. In addition I find Issac coming from a race of sentient machines (perhaps an idea lifted from TMP?) to be more interesting and reasonable than data being created by a human who did something no one could ever duplicate even through reverse engineering. And don’t get me started on the inability to contractions!

Disinvited

Kirok,

Re: rip off of Spock

Data was a barely disguised at all Questor which, itself, was a rip-off of Pinocchio.

Marja

Rats, because I think Isaac is just about the weakest character on the show. Besides Yaphit. That imitation Data voice gets on my last nerve.

CmdrR

Totally agree. I’ve been saying that the least they could do is to give him an actual face(plate).

Curious Cadet

@CmdrR — oh you can bet that episode is coming. Shades of TNGs Lal, picking her gender and body, I’d bet.

Kirok

I’d actually like to see more of Yaphit. But I get he’s an expensive character to appear too often. Norm MacDonald can be hilarious.

Then you’ll really get a kick;-) out of this weeks ep, which is basically a rejected 1-2 season TNG data episode.

Cygnus-X1

Regarding the ships…

It seems odd that a shuttle would have a cloaking device, while the main ship does not. Typically the shuttle has lesser technology than the main ship. And, yet, if the Orville had a cloaking device, they would have used it to get out of trouble in past episodes. Seems like a pretty glaring oversight.

Jeff

Yep, this jumped out as weird to me also.

Phil

Not to be defending Orville, if the device is in testing, it would probably be on a shuttle as a proof of concept prototype. In the event of a failure, better to lose a shuttle then a ship of the line.

Disinvited

Couldn’t it just be a simpler adaptation of the “new” holographic tech they used in a previous episode to “cloak” The Orville in the outer garment of a Krill battlecruiser, not to mention the portable units they used to disguise themselves?

Curious Cadet

@Disinvited — speaking of the cloaking technology used to disguise themselves, why did they make Alara wear a hat and a bandage to hide her alien features, rather than risk wardrobe that might accidentally be removed? Is nobody concerned with continuity? Obviously the whole point of the hat was to get Alara into a potentially volatile situation. To be fair Trek is guilty of this too.

As far as the holographic technology for the shuttle, that actually makes much more sense. Just turn themselves into a native aircraft, or a cloud, then turn it into a bus or a bush, once on the ground.

Kirok

@Cygnus

If this were Star Trek I’d be right there with you. But this is just a light hearted space show and I don’t get worked up over glitches like that.

Eric Cheung

Last night, I decided to catch up on the show, after the less-than-impressive “Pria.” “Krill” and “Majority Rule” were an improvement, as they lacked the more overtly sexist jokes that have plagued both the Berman-era and MacFarlane’s past shows, but they kind of highlighted why this show feels so minor, when compared to DS9 or DSC. Since this show has a deep desire to mimic TNG, more than any of the other Berman-era shows, it has a tendency to have the crew be pretty much correct on the issues, relegating the dramatic tension to the one-off characters and planets.

Regarding the inspiration of this episode, I haven’t read Jon Ronson, but I’ve heard him speak, as a recurring guest on WTF with Marc Maron, and WGBH’s Innovation Hub. It’s a fascinating problem without easy solutions.

Eric Cheung

Aside from lost anthropologists-on-a-parallel-Earth TOS episodes like “Bread and Circuses”, there were also shades of Sliders and Max Headroom, or Doctor Who’s Vengeance on Varos.

Curious Cadet

@Eric Cheung — it also sounds a little like Idiocracy …

Well, it has that conceit from Sliders where everything is the same as our Earth except *one* thing is different. But in this case the idea is rather undermined that Lamarr is so intent on being arrogantly ignorant that hes acting like an a-hole in the episode that you can actually sympathize why the people would have wanted to down vote him.

I think the main trouble is that Seth insists on not only staring in the show but also being essentially its sole writer. Fact is, he doesn’t really have the writing talent to write good Star Trek episodes, and desperately needs some co-writers to come in and improve on the execution of his ideas, which so far have been fairly poorly executed.

I enjoyed it and loved the biting social media commentary. I just wish there were a couple lines to explaining why they were human, how they got there and why the pioneer woman was so important.

Phillip Thorne

The script hangs a lantern on the hallowed “save money with the studio backlot and wardrobe closet” technique during the first act. As the ship is approaching the planet, Capt. Mercer comments that “given the size of the galaxy, it’s inevitable that some would undergo parallel evolution … this one looks very much like twenty-first century Earth.” TOS called it “Hodgkin’s Law of Parallel Planetary Development” to explain Roman-world and Kooms/Yangs-world (but not Nazi-world or Mobster-world, which resulted from Terran interference), and SG-1 had human cultures transplanted by the Goa’uld (which explains, err, some of the aspects of some of the planets).

There’s no detailed explanation of why the “pioneer woman” with the statue was revered, but there doesn’t need to be. That LaMarr deeply offended the sensibilities of the locals was declared, repeatedly; that’s enough to drive the plot. There’s presumably a lot more to Sargus Four than we saw; the existence of an army implies other countries, which might not operate using universal democracy.

Curious Cadet

@Jonathan Thomas — I’d like to think they discovered that this was a lost colony of humans that left the United States in 2024, after a failed attempt by the first and last social media president to crown himself emperor, in a space craft that he had NASA construct to colonize the moon to mine gold during his administration, exiled with his followers into deep space never to be heard from again. Until now. But of course FOX would never have agreed to that story line.

That aside, this is exactly the kind of plot point that I think excites Star Trek fans — the sense of discovery of why things are what they are, a revelation we weren’t expecting. I agree with you, it’s a missed opportunity to strengthen a bond with Trek fans.

0dkinWood

Shut up.

Well, Trek fans fall into 2 groups. The aging ones who can’t handle anything even the least bit innovative or those who want to see a Trek Go Boldly into new territory. Looks like we’ve got 2 shows that are splitting this 50/50. So instead of a full season mixed between nostalgia and experimentation, we get a nostalgia show and a show which is actually doing something new.

James Franke

Took them seven whole episodes to jump the shark, plagiarize an episode of “Black Mirror”, and make one of their more interesting characters (John) completely unsympathetic.

Captain Ransom

The show is so much better without the dick jokes and attempts at trying to hard to be funny. And the less Seth is in an episode, the better. His acting still hasn’t got any better. That being said, the rest of the cast did a good job. While some scenes seemed a little draggy, I did enjoy it. The first thing that came to mind was that Black Mirror episode.

Curious Cadet

@Captain Ransom — I agree on some of the comedy. For the first time in this series I laughed out loud at the circumcision joke in the shuttle. And the reason for that was that it was natural and organic to the scene, building on the humorous comments LeMarr made when first trying on the jeans. It wasn’t just a generic joke tacked on, or a pop reference that required some specialized knowledge with the subject matter.it was Dr. McCoy putting on his Nazi uniform boots in the closet. However, that was short lived, as the rest was truly nonsensical and pointedly out of place with much of the rest of the episode.

Captain Ransom

Finally! Someone gets what I’m saying! I wouldn’t mind orville if they would do away with the forced humor. I’m surprised they didn’t add a laugh trach in there. For me, there are 3 things that they really need to change… 1- have MacFarlane stay behind the camera. He can’t act. 2- sty away from the dick jokes and forced humor. 3- Stop marketing themselves as an alternative to Discovery’s “darker” Trek.
This episode was the first that I found palatable and showed promise. Find a way to kill off MacFarlane’s character and have Palicki become the Captain. The security officer is good too.

Well, what people really seem to like most about the Orville is that it’s TNG leftovers. They don’t care that the turkey doesn’t quite taste as good as it did on Thanksgiving, they just find the idea of trying anything more exotic, say Goose or Duck or Mango chicken, to be to much of a risk for their bland-oriented tastebuds.

Kirok

I disagree Captain. The jokes, no matter what kind if they are funny (and most have hit rather than miss this fat) make the show stand out and sets it apart from its inspiration. Without them it becomes amazingly dull.

Sven Bengazi

#00 years from now that will be how democracy is done on earth. Beats the way it is done now.

CmdrR

I’m watching it now. I am pleased that John finally gets more to do than to be 2017-Black-Guy-As-MacFarlane-Sees-Black-Guys. I know MacFarlane wrote this one, so maybe we’re seeing Seth the Writer rather than lazy Seth. Point is… any series lives/dies on its characters. This is the first time John’s been more than a trope. I appreciate the jab at social media, too.

Curious Cadet

@CmdrR — only MacFarlane can tell us for sure, but keep in mind, there are upwards of a dozen writers on a show like this. While MacFarlane may have come up with the story, it doesn’t mean he’s the only writer who worked on the script. Given his overall role on the show as well as acting in it, it’s even less likely he penned it entirely by himself. Therefore, casting assignments for the characters could have been made elsewhere on the team, though I’m sure Macfaralane has the final say on every script, if even on the set while performing them. That said, while I haven’t seen this episode yet, I would caution that while LaMarr is given a chance to stretch his acting legs here, the role is fairly stereotypical of how MacFarlane has seen such characters in the past. Your comment immediately made me jump to the typical Jerry Springer guest. So maybe not so much more than a trope. Food for thought.

Unlike other shows, Seth’s name is the sole writing credit on every episode of this show other than Krill. So I can think we can comfortably lay this turkey at Seth’s feet.

martin

It really seems as if many people reviewing these two shows think that it is Orville vs Discovery – and I really see the two shows as complementary rather than competitive – and I appreciate both shows for what they are.
Perhaps a better way to look at it is Orville and Discovery vs every cop/fbi/cia drama on TV.

Both shows are stronger than many Trek series have been in the first season. And like every Trek since TNG, you can enjoy watching the first season, but you probably won’t want to rewatch them multiple times.

I did like this episode, and I think the show gets stronger. However, one big weakness continues to be how dumb a couple characters can be when on a mission.

Finally someone (Kelly & the Admiral) points out how idiotic and inappropriate that LaMarr and Gordon are on a mission.
On the ship & bridge is one thing, but both of these officers when chosen for away missions should act the part. Where the show wants to be serious, it mostly does an OK job, but these two people (in Krill and this episode) – act entirely wrong – all 7 primary characters (Ed, Kelly, Bortus, Alara, Dr. Finn, Gordon, LaMarr) – should at least try and act right when they are not on the bridge. Perhaps (hopefully)- this episode can be a turning point in that. I mostly like much of the humor, and I know they are trying to find a balance.

TonyD

I remember the dark days of the 1970s and early 1980s when the quality and viability of TV science fiction was judged by the likes of Buck Rogers and Battlestar Galactica. And no, they are not nearly as good as you might remember them.

So whenever someone tries to prop one show or franchise up by dissing another, I just roll my eyes because they don’t know how good they have it right now.

There was a treat called Star Cops, which was made in the year Doctor Who was on hiatus. Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues did the soundtrack and it plays like inspector Morse in space (along with anticipating a shitload of technology we now think of as commonplace.)

captmatt

Funny and Trekky.

Cmd.Bremmon

Is it just me or is this episode both mocking groupthink and a TNG episode?!? I might have to watch!!! Not going to lie, the episode with some big bad aliens that were actually bad in the end, also seemed entertaining.

VOODOO

At least I didn’t have to pay $7 to watch The Orville

Blackmocco

Six weeks ago called. They want their comment back.

Serel

Rude.

You win the internet

Curious Cadet

@Voodoo — that’s not really a bonus unless you enjoyed it. Assuming you did, and considering the steady ratings slide, THE ORVILLE might well consider moving it to a paid streaming service in order to serve a reasonably-sized niche fanbase for such an expensive show. DISC fans are at least assured that they will have a second season of DISC to watch. ORVILLE is still on the bubble, and likely won’t get a pick-up at all until May upfronts next year.

CapnBob67

A couple of weeks ago that might have been true but this episode grew its demo (1.2) and viewers from last week (which grew from the week before), built significantly on its lead-in (Gotham 0.9 demo) and is now considered a very likely renewal, sooner rather than later. If they hadn’t stopped production, and Seth wasn’t so busy many would expect a “full season pickup” (9 more eps) this season. It is looking more stable with more growth potential than the much hyped The Gifted which is still sinking. In a generally bad year for Fox, it seems very unlikely that this won’t get a renewal unless it tanks the second half of the season.

Curious Cadet

@CapnBob67 — that’s putting the cart a little before the horse. Thursday nights episode was the first original episode following a rerun the week before. Typically, such episode see a surge, and they might have actually picked up a a few more word-of-mouth viewers. But one tenth of a tick up from the highest rating it’s received since it moved to Thursdays does not a guarantee make. It’s comparison to GOTHAM doesn’t prove much other than GOTHAM is in trouble in its 4th season, whereas ORVILLE is swimming in adjacent waters halfway through its first season. A better comparison would be PITCH which had similar numbers to ORVILLE when it started, but was nevertheless cancelled as numbers hovered under 1.0 ratings toward the end, despite the occasional uptick.

Before I knew that ORVILLE only had a 13 ep order, I was pretty confident it would get a back 9 pickup thanks to MacFarlane’s relationship. I still do think that more than these mediocre ratings its currently getting, his relationship with FOX will determine whether the series gets a second season. I also think they will not get a firm answer from FOX about that pick up until they know what their pilot orders for next season look like, if for no other reason than it’s a very expensive show to get marginal ratings for a broadcast network. I do think that FOX is likely to pick up scripts early again now that I know all the current season were written by December of last year. But I maintain, an expensive show like this is likely better served by a subscription service where the fans can directly pay for it, rather than subject to ad-based revenue.

Curious Cadet

Ep. 1, L+SD — 2.7, 8.6MM
Ep. 2, L+SD — 2.2, 6.6MM
Ep. 3, L+SD — 1.1, 4MM
Ep. 4, L+SD — 1.1, 3.7MM
Ep. 5, L+SD — 0.9, 3.4MM
Ep. 6, L+SD — 1.0, 3.3MM
Ep. 1, L+SD — 0.6, 2.2MM REPEAT
Ep. 7, L+SD — 1.2, 4.2MM

PEB

Such a ridiculous comment…

Bryant Burnette

You get cable for free? If not, guess what: you paid to see The Orville.

Ian

Technically, Fox IS available for free in most US locale, a household would just need to have an HD antenna.

Jeff

Over the air broadcasts are free. Or you could also say it’s nearly free with an existing Hulu subscription since Hulu has half a dozen or more shows right now to justify it’s expense. The Orville us just coming along for the ride.

Curious Cadet

@Jeff — I just cancelled my Hulu subscription because there was nothing currently on it I wanted to pay to watch to justify the expense. I do have an OTA, so I get programming without additional expense as long as I’m there to watch it live, am willing to sit through commercials, and after my initial investment in a $50 antenna to pick up the signal. I can also get it without additional cost on FOXNow during the following week on demand, as long as I’m willing to sit through commercials, which of course requires I’m already paying for an Internet connection. So nothing is really free.

However, Bryant Burnette’s point remains valid — most people in the US (and many parts of the world) are likely getting their FOX feed via a cable, fiber, or satellite subscription. Cord cutters are still a very small minority.

Kirok

@VOODOO

And I’m not getting video freezes and glitches every episode, either.

I LOVED, I LOVED the scene in the “observation lounge” where Lysella is a guest and Ed says something like, “Bortus, can you make sure we have pretzels and water or somethign for when we have people visiting?” and Bortus agrees and adds, “I will not fail you again.” They have this tense situation and right in the middle he says that — would pay real money if Picard had said that to Worf just once. GREAT line!

Marja

“Lysella” sounds like the name of an invasive bacteria.
Unfortunate name choice.

Remember “Manua” from TNG? Patrick Stewart said he had to make an effort not to sound like he was saying “manure” in his British accent.

0dkinWood

I thought that was a great scene.

Cygnus-X1

I laughed at that, too.

Tom

I thought the plot very similar to Return of the Archons

Curious Cadet

VARIETY: ‘The Orville’ Hits Highest Ratings Since Week 2
“The Orville” averaged a 1.2 rating on adults 18-49 and 4.2 million viewers, up by over 20 percent in both measures compared to its last original episode two weeks ago.

Good news for ORVILLE which has been hovering around a 1.0 rating and below in the key demo.

Phil

Haven’t taken in an episode yet, football was over so I stopped by about 20 minutes into the episode. Forty minutes of ‘please stand by’ would have been more entertaining. The attempt at allegory was about as subtle as a drunk puking up his six pack in the middle of a restaurant, the humor wasn’t funny, about the only drama was the TNG type soundtrack trying to rescue incredibly stiff acting. Won’t be wasting anymore time with this, it was unwatchable.

Cmd.Bremmon

TNG soundtrack saving acting?? TNG music is like bland wall paper (apart from bland version of TMP theme and the first 5 seconds of TMP theme on movies)

PEB

It’s the elevator music of the Trek franchise.

Phil

I did say ‘trying to’. Agreed, though, this bland riff on the TNG soundtrack just really sounded out of place, particularly around bad attempts at humor….

JMS

The premise wasn’t bad, but the execution was meh. The upvotes/downvotes in particular didn’t make much sense to me, as (as I understand it) all it would took for Lamarr to get “corrected” would be 4 random people pressing “downvote” on his badge to get him to 10M downvotes. If upvotes cancelled out downvotes that would have made much more sense to me (like the “rating” in Nosedive). I must have also missed what was exactly keeping them from taking Lamarr on the shuttle instead of Lysella. The landing party being surprised at the badges and upvote/downvote system was a major plothole too – weren’t they getting intel from the guys they sent over there? They never told the crew about the upvote/downvote system? Beh.

vertigo

That was the point. He was only four votes away from being corrected. It was meant to be a close call. I agree it would make more sense to have the upvotes cancel the downvotes, and maybe they did but they still showed just so people could see how many there are, but however it’s calculated, it was meant to be climactic, even though viewers knew what would happen. That, to me, is the biggest problem with the show: it’s very predictable. But it’s still enjoyable. As for what kept them from taking him on the shuttle, it was mentioned at least three times in the episode: the Admiral would not allow an extraction. And yes, them not knowing about the badges is a plot hole, but if they knew that would take away the basis for the entire episode. It’s a TV show, and a fairly non-serious one at that, so some suspension of disbelief is required. The show is full of plot holes, but it’s not alone in that; Star Trek and Stargate, for instance, had many of their own. It seems to me many of the people criticizing this show expect too much from it and/or don’t pay enough attention. It doesn’t come off to me to be intended as a Star Trek alternative, but rather a Star Trek (and other shows) parody. It’s not a funny sci-fi drama, it’s a dramatic sci-fi comedy. There’s a difference. People criticize it for things like Isaac’s similarity to Data and LaMarr’s idiotic behavior, but those things are intentional to parody other shows (especially Star Trek) and to be funny. Yes, when I watched it I thought he was a moron, not only for doing it in the first place but for ignoring CDR Grayson’s repeated orders to stop. But… Read more »

Curious Cadet

@vertigo — I disagree somewhat. A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST was never expected to be taken seriously. Nobody went into that one expecting TRUE GRIT. They were however expecting a Seth Macfarlane comedy, and what they got was something that never really even lived up to that. It took itself too seriously, while not being very funny when it was supposed to be absurd. If anything, people might have been going in expecting BLAZING SADDLES, and instead got a fairly lame dramady that didn’t work on any level. ORVILLE has seemingly accomplished the same thing. MacFarlane fans expecting more absurdist comedy, while Trek fans are expecting a more serious effort. You may find it funny, but others don’t. Much of the writing simply does not work on either level for some. It’s fine if you like it. It’s fine if you don’t. Where I think this has caused a problem is that you’ve got some Trek fans who are using the ORVILLE as a wedge in their dislike of DISC, by calling the ORVILLE true Trek — or the real successor to TNG — when as you’ve pointed out is nothing of the kind. Yet, the show seems to be headed into more serious territory, as if MacFarlane wants to be taken seriously, and esteemed as the captain of the ORVILLE in the same breath as Kirk, Picard, Sisko, Janeway, Archer, and yes, even Sulu, and Nesmith. Maybe I’m reading into that, but it seems to be moving away from the hardcore MacFarlane comedy we got in the Pilot, and the dick jokes of later episodes, and wants to be taken seriously. If so, that comes with a responsibility, and so far he’s not delivering. Yet at the same time, there are those Trek fans who still… Read more »

vertigo

@Curious Cadet – I think you misunderstood what I was saying about A Million Ways. My point was exactly what you said: that it was *not* expected to be taken seriously, and therefore it would be ridiculous to criticize it for not measuring up to movies like Tombstone or True Grit. And it’s similarly ridiculous to criticize The Orville for not being more serious and in line with Star Trek. My point is that it’s not *meant* to be serious like that, it’s meant to be a comedy first and foremost. That, of course, doesn’t mean they can’t or shouldn’t take on serious topics, it’s just that it’s going to be done in a different way than what a lot of people mistakenly expect. And obviously some people just aren’t going to like his humor; nobody’s humor is universally liked. And not finding the show funny is one thing, and a perfectly legitimate reason for not liking it since, again, it’s primarily a comedy. But to say it’s not a good show simply because it’s not the *type* of show somebody wants it to be is just nonsensical. To criticize it because a character repeatedly does stupid things that a bridge officer wouldn’t do, when in previous episodes one bridge officer cut off another’s leg as a practical joke and one called another to the bridge telling them to get their a$$ up there, and in this episode the Captain tells an Admiral he’ll personally order LaMarr not to hump things (just to name a few of many examples), is beyond ridiculous. It’s all a part of the humor, and what makes the show so great for those that like it. I, personally, get a kick out of the idea of a futuristic space-faring society that’s so unprofessional and even… Read more »

Curious Cadet

@vertigo — no I understood your point for the second time. I think you misunderstood mine. For many of us, THE ORVILLE is exactly what we thought it would be — a farce, and to a slightly lesser degree, FAMILY GUY IN SPACE. I’m reasonably certain that’s what was sold to FOX and that’s what they expect, as well as the other 10 million, or so, people who tuned in for the first two episodes and have since disappeared, as the show slowly becomes something else. What someone thinks of ‘that show’ is of no concern to me, enjoy it or don’t, based on it’s own merits — which unfortunately draw much of its inspiration from TNG.

Where there’s a disconnect in these forums, is the audience who view this as the ‘legitimate’ successor to TNG, presumably as a way to discredit DISC, and not out of sheer delusion. Most of the complaints on this forum about the nonsensical plot developments revolve around that ridiculous dispute.

Unfortunately, Macfarlane himself seems to suggest he’s carrying the torch as the ‘true Trek’, and turning what he sold to FOX into, well Trek with dick jokes. The more seriously the show takes itself, while keeping the farce to appease the network and studio, the more the show itself invites this criticism, and not limited to just the polarized fan discussion here on this forum.

vertigo

I think we’re both saying the same thing. As you said, the disconnect is from people expecting this to be “the ‘legitimate’ successor to TNG,” which is what I was saying as well. The problem is someone can’t (shouldn’t) criticize a show for not being that successor when it’s clearly not meant to be (based on MacFarlane’s history and the general level of ridiculousness of it), yet many people do, and that’s what bothers me. Though I would say I didn’t expect Family Guy in space, since that level of crude humor and stupidity would probably be a bit much and in many cases wouldn’t even be feasible with real actors. I was expecting more A Million Ways in space, where unlike FG that’s 95% humor/silliness and 5% serious, it’s more like 60/40. And the balance so far seems to be pretty comparable. Personally, I think if done right it can be both serious and absurd, and I think Seth does a decent job at this for the most part, though like I said I also feel a fair amount of his jokes fall flat. Obviously he knows better than me what his intentions are with the show, and maybe he does mean to take it to another level in the direction of TNG, but then again maybe he just intends to use the show as a commentary on some issues, similar to TOS and TNG, but with more (crude) humor. All I’m saying is most people complaining about the show seem to be doing so based on erroneous expectations, not the quality of the show itself, and it seems like they’re unfamiliar with Seth’s work or, as you pointed out, just upset about Discovery and further upset that The Orville isn’t the TNG successor they wanted and didn’t get… Read more »

Curious Cadet

@Vertigo — no we’re not really saying the same thing. There are people on this forum who are saying ORVILLE is the successor to TNG, and accepting ORVILLE, without the same level of criticism they would give it if it were labeled START TREK: ORVILLE.

The people nit-picking the details are mostly the choir you’re preaching to. We all know this is a parody/farce (despite the claims of the producers themselves), and a poorly written and executed one at that IMO. But the arguments are for the benefit of those who are claiming ORVILLE IS TREK, and more so than DISC. Our argument is, ‘no it isn’t, and here’s one of the reasons why’.

Beyond that, there’s plenty to be critical of this show. You keep bringing up A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST, which many of us also thought it would be. And I agree it is more that, than FAMILY GUY. However, ‘MILLION WAYS TO DIE’ tanked at the box office. I saw it because I’m a fan of most of MacFarlane’s work, and didn’t really care for it, for the same reasons I don’t think ORVILLE works. However, because he was more of a Don Knotts character in it, it works better than ORVILLE for which he’s sorely under-equipped as an actor to play the lead. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if he were playing a Zapp Brannigan parody, but that’s not what he’s doing. He’s attempting to be a serious dramatic lead, who shoots off one-liner zingers. And that’s what doesn’t work when even considered as a farce, because he’s miscast and on top of that playing it wrong.

Jeff

@vertigo – I disagree somewhat about the level of idiocy from the bridge crew that can be believed.

You don’t build a massive organization of billion dollar spaceships by putting idiots at the helm who don’t know when to be serious and when they can goof off. To pass that test both John LaMarr and possibly Gordon Malloy should have enough wits about them to know the difference. They both should have been able to infiltrate another culture on a “covert” away mission without being overtly human, yet both of them seemed to go out of their way to do just that.

There are plenty of ways to do the fish out of water humor from a different culture and to have a character go on trial without going full on stupid with the character. At the very least LaMarr should have been more serious and switched into problem solving mode as soon as he got arrested.

The one thing this episode had going for it though was all the other crew seemed to have exactly the right expressions and reactions to John’s dumbness and the craziness of what was happening to him.

vertigo

@Jeff – That’s where suspension of disbelief comes in. It’s pretty unrealistic that somebody as dumb as Seth’s character in A Million Ways would survive as long as he did in the old west. Most of the behavior of Stan and his CIA colleagues in American Dad is completely unrealistic and absurd. It’s comedy. And if you want some non-MacFarlane examples, how about Archer, Rick and Morty, Futurama, Harvey Birdman, and The Simpsons. Granted, those are all cartoons, but the fact is, comedies can do stuff like that, because they’re not meant to be taken seriously, and just because it’s real actors instead of cartoons doesn’t really change that. Would a complete idiot like Michael Scott really be in charge of an office (well, to be fair, there probably is somewhere)? And look at the behavior of J.D. and (especially) Turk, despite being doctors (Scrubs). Pete on Warehouse 13 could be quite the idiot, yet look at all the responsibility he had. And there’s many other examples as well. It’s even made quite clear that Malloy shouldn’t be in that position, showing they do have standards, and that he’s a bit of a hotshot, which is a pilot stereotype (think Top Gun, Voyager with Tom Paris). And just like Tom, he was allowed to take the post due to his exceptional skill and by special request. When the show first started, it was clear Malloy and him had a lot in common, though it was assumed Malloy was more in control of himself due to the fact he hadn’t be reprimanded, but now we’re finding out he’s just as bad, if not worse. And it’s not even all that unrealistic for a junior officer to lack the discipline of a senior officer. Yes, it could be argued he lacks too… Read more »

Curious Cadet

@Vertigo — the problem with your examples: “Archer, Rick and Morty, Futurama, Harvey Birdman, and The Simpsons”, is that they aren’t the same kinds of shows at all. None of them are asking us to believe they are realistic, not the producers, not the fans, not the actors, not even the medium in which they’re produced. However, all four of those factors in the case of ORVILLE, are trying to tell us that. The producers likening themselves to MASH, MacFarlane likening the show to TNG, some fans acknowledging it as the “legitmate” successor to TREK, over DISC, the high quality fx with unprecedented 21st century TV model work … so yeah it’s getting held to a higher standard than it should. Add to that the stories being pretentious allegories which aren’t taken seriously by the action until the last scene where Seth MacFarlane splashes his single card producer credit. None of the shows you mention tend to present their “lessons”, if any, as pretentiously as this. If you simply want to debate quality, I’d say that Malloy’s “random stupid comments” weren’t at all funny in the Krill episode, which is why that didn’t work. MacFarlane tends to just shoe horn in jokes that feel like he’s been jotting them down on napkins for the last year looking for a place to use them. At least in ‘MILLION WAYS TO DIE’, the jokes were mostly appropriate to the film itself, however ridiculous they otherwise seemed. I don’t get that here. But that’s all just my opinion — obviously there’s around 4 million viewers tuning in weekly live, with upwards of another 2 million watching it later, who don’t agree. And that’s fine. But it doesn’t diminish that around here, there are those who ignore all of that parody and farce as… Read more »

vertigo

I guess I just don’t see The Orville, based on MacFarlane’s history and what I’ve seen so far from it, as something to be taken very seriously either, just like my examples. And the others I listed (A Million Way, Scrubs, The Office, Warehouse 13) are more serious than the ones you mentioned, and more in line with how I see The Orville. Maybe the disconnect here is that I haven’t heard anything about Seth’s or the producers’ views, and so my expectations are more realistic and accurate to what it actually is versus what they might be if I’d heard or read about them making statements like what you said. I’m familiar with MASH, but never really watched it aside from small bits and pieces, so I can’t draw any comparisons there. And as for Seth “likening the show to TNG,” I guess it depends on what he said exactly. Because it is *like* TNG in a broad sense, and that may be all he meant. If he meant it as in a true successor, then yes, that would set some very different expectations. As for Malloy’s comments in the Krill episode, I did find some of them ridiculous and painful, but I found many of them funny. But humor is very subjective and, as I said, I also don’t take the show very seriously at all, so I can easily ignore how inane a lot of them were. As to your comment about how it feels like he’s been jotting jokes down and waiting to use them, I wouldn’t say that’s how it feels to me, but I definitely feel like he doesn’t test the jokes to see what’s funny and what’s not. It seems to me like he just throws in whatever jokes he comes up with… Read more »

Kirok

@Vertigo

I see your point and 2nd what you said. To me it works much better when it is light and funny. It is not Trek. It’s inspired by Trek. I don’t even think it was sold as Family Guy in space. That seems disingenuous at best. It think Seth is a Trek fan and wanted to something like Trek since he can’t outright make Trek. Adding the humor is probably what sold it to FOX, however. My hope is that he doesn’t start abandoning the jokes due to his desire to be more serious. I honestly don’t think that is his strength.

And again, I don’t see any rivalry between the two space shows. There is room for both and fans can like or hate both. Guess what? I like Star Wars too!

J Rockwell

I loved the episode. Timely, relevant sci-fi, with a great addition of humor. Was LaMarr’s behavior with the statue ham handed and out of place as a catalyst for this week’s episode? Sure. But.

“Majority Rule” is very watchable television, raising important issues for thought and discussion. I look forward to the show more and more every week, as does my family, as do my friends. And right now, we look forward to it more than any other show airing this fall.

As has been pointed out, so far it’s been far closer to the ethos of Star Trek than Discovery has, and has occasionally offered shades of Firefly, and even the first five seasons of The Simpsons, which often managed to be both socially relevant and hilarious. I can’t wait to see how The Orville evolves.

MacMan48

Didn’t know this site changed to OrvilleMovie.com…

Marja

Oh for cripe’s sake don’t get on the Orville thread on TrekMovie, it’s just that simple. They do a lot more coverage of STDiscovery. This is just a small piece of the pie, and you don’t have to eat it.

Phil

Fox is paying good money for these glowing reviews now….

quantum47

Well, it has. Deal with it.

ADeweyan

I saw the social media aspects as allegory for direct democracy. The commentary about social media was obvious, but those same arguments work against any democracy where low-effort voters have substantial power.

Marja

You know, it does worry me that we’ll move to abolish the Electoral College, just at a time when the US has consolidation of political power in one party due to gerrymandering and other practices of voter disenfranchisement.

0dkinWood

And also due to people waking the hell up about the corrupt anti-taxpayer socialist descent of the other party.

kmart

okdwin
Socialist DEScent?

Curious Cadet

@Marja — doubtful … unless a certain presidential committee can prove there were over 4 million illegal popular votes, and/or make it so impossible to vote that more than 4 million opposing voices will avoid it, then the EC is that same committee sponsor’s salvation.

Ian

Yes, but would dismantling a system which makes votes in some states worth less than those in others really be a bad thing? Candidates would still address local state issues in the primaries, but would be focused on a national campaign after that.

It’s incredibly disheartening to be overseas and have to explain why the sensible candidate who received millions more votes lost to the monster who won a 78,000 majority in the Rust Belt.

danger man

This show is way more ‘star trek’ than the official movies or current CBS show.

PEB

Dream on…

GarySeven

I agree with you, Danger Man.

0dkinWood

Agree 100%. Cosmetically very TNG-like but in spirit very TOS-like. Discovery appears to be soap-opera filth, and Abrams-verse was brain-dead Transformers trash.

quantum47

You got that right.

Olaf

“Alara confirmed that the Orville is one of the smaller ships in the fleet, while much bigger ‘heavy cruisers’ exist elsewhere in the galaxy.”

Eh, haven’t we just seen one of the heavy cruisers in one of the previous episodes? I bet we did, or was that some preview of things to come?

And I honestly don’t get all the negativity for this one, or the series in general. Majority Rule was one the best Episode of the series for me, and I just freakin’ love The Orville. Yes, I actually enjoy Seth’s kind of humor, so that may help, but there wasn’t much of it in this Episode, so that’d be no excuse not to like it. Other than that, it feels perfectly like TNG, which is by far my favorite Trek series, so I’m fine with that.

And what’s wrong with Isaac being the Data/Spock-type character in this series? Or the soundtrack sounding a whole lot like ST:TSFS? Don’t try to nit-pick everything, but enjoy it for what it is. For me, when I’m watching it, I don’t even notice it’s not Trek/TNG, that’s how Trek-ish it is for me. Live long an prosper, Orville!

Phillip Thorne

Yes, we were shown a heavy cruiser — in “Krill” (ep 6, aired October 12) — so that’s an odd way for reviewer Marcus to characterize the exchange. It was in formation alongside the _Orville_ (like the classic TNG _Ent-D_ and _Excelsior_-class shot) so we could directly compare their sizes (well, as much as any comparison can be taken at face value where the established artistic choice is nose-to-nose starship confrontations).

Here we are: the LCV-529 _USS Olympia_, a _Leviathan_-class heavy cruiser (http://orville.wikia.com/wiki/USS_Olympia), over twice the length of the _Orville_.

Curious Cadet

@Olaf — ” Isaac being the Data/Spock-type character in this series? Or the soundtrack sounding a whole lot like ST:TSFS? … For me, when I’m watching it, I don’t even notice it’s not Trek/TNG, that’s how Trek-ish it is for me.”

That’s what’s wrong with it. FOX and MacFarlane are making the sequel to TNG (badly IMO), and cutting CBS out of the picture. If it’s a parody it’s one thing. But that can’t be indistinguishable from the real thing. If you can’t tell them apart, then you either have a warped idea about what TNG was, or ORVILLE has gotten way too close. Either way, it’s a problem.

Boldly Going

Bring director LaVar Burton into the fold. He had some of The best storylines to direct and he was an excellent storyteller. Along with Jonathan Frakes. If you want great continual storylines,and then add other sci-fi writers, this show can and will take it all for a long timeframe. P.S. Another excellent director to consider for sci-fi is Chad Lowe. Just my opinion.

GarySeven

I started out super excited about STD and saw the Orville as a curiosity at best. As the weeks have progressed, I had time to see things differently than what I had expected. The Orville is much truer to Star Trek than Star Trek Discovery. To me, it’s clear that Seth and Braga and co. wanted to keep with the spirit of Trek: The optimistic vision of the future, the allegories for our current situation, and the message of the week. STD wanted to ride the wave of current gritty, dark, mean spirited dystopian sci fi we have today. I always wanted to be in the Trek world. But I would rather stay where I am, or be with the gang on the Orville, than live in Discovery’s world.

GarySeven

I thought “Majority Rule” was great. The Orville is intended to be about the “message of the week”, so I don’t mind it being a straightforward allegory. Not only did it comment on popularity being a dangerous thing to guide a society. It had more to say, in my opinion. When the woman from the planet said that the Orville crew shouldn’t worry because the people won’t bother to corroborate what’s fact from fake, I thought it hit a bullseye for what’s going on in politics today. How wonderful when Bortus says something to the effect that a vote must be earned and not given away, putting the responsibility on the citizens to think more and pay more attention to facts, instead of passions, I thought “this is Star Trek” at its best.

Curious Cadet

@GarySeven — Trek is usually ahead of the curve. Stating that people can’t tell fact from fake is old news. Yes timing is everything, but ORVILLE isn’t really taking any chances. They’re essentially telling us a story we’ve been hearing every day since Trump invented the word “Fake” two years ago. IMO, this is spoon fed drivel pandering to the lowest common denominator. I expect much more from Trek, and I feel like DISC is giving it to me, and making me think. ORVILLE is punching me in the face with their “messages”. Stating the obvious is hardly Star Trek at its best in my opinion. But to each his own.

JMS

My biggest laugh with regards to this episode was when I was reading the review at AVclub and the reviewer said

“What culture designs a pyramid-shaped alarm clock? We see Lysella stab her hand down one to shut it off, and it’s hard to imagine that making it past r&d, regardless of what planet you live on.”

and then someone in the comments immediately posted a link to Amazon page featuring THE EXACT SAME clock.

I almost fell off my chair!

Olaf

Hehe, how cool! I thought too, that it must hurt to put that thing into snooze mode by hitting on it. Guess I gotta get myself one of those ;-)

navamske

“Bortus can sign, or so he claims.”

Maybe he learned how from Marlee Matlin.

Marja

The Apologies of the Week, ladies and gentlemen.

What a funny comment on today’s public bloopers. I look forward to it. But why in the world would a Union fleet officer dry-hump anything on a planet they know nothing about?

Some serious misses in the fleet organization and education thar.

Phil

It was supposed to be funny. Not.

Curious Cadet

@Marja — now that I’ve seen it, it actually makes more sense than some commenting on it here. However, it doesn’t make it work any better. It’s also unfortunate that it’s LeMarr doing it, since it arguably perpetuates a minority stereotype as well. Suffice it to say, he was merely engaging in playful banter with one of the crew, and demonstrating dance moves. It could have been done on a street lamp post, but this particular statue happened to be conveniently placed, in order to tell this particular story.

That said, it was wildly inappropriate, and completely implausible, especially given the circumstances. @Vertigo has a dissertation above about how this is all part of the farce, and he has a point, but I’m not sure that most Trek fans are watching it that way, nor does it fit with the narrative of the producers and their comparison to MASH. I know you enjoy the show, so it’ll be interesting to see how you view it.

Ian

MacFarlane’s heart is in the right place, he’s personally funny and charming and has affection for some wonderful parts of our culture like ’90s Trek and Cosmos. He also has a good sense of worthy collaborators to build a solid creative team.

But as a writer (as well as an actor and a singer), he’s merely competent where he thinks he’s good, and he’s simply out of his league when it comes to being able to articulate a compelling story about social injustice, morality or ethics, or meaningful character development. Not only is a story about the shallowness of social media not taken anywhere intriguing, but it’s used as a vehicle to feature a weak main character and fail to develop him in any way whatsoever.

The condundrum of a creative force of nature having the clout and goodwill to get something made, but also being the biggest thing holding his creation back is probably worthy of its own sci fi parable.

The show clearly needs him to collaborate with better writers than he is, but it doesn’t seem that his ego, for now anyway, is willing to take a step back.

kmart

IAN,
“The condundrum of a creative force of nature having the clout and goodwill to get something made, but also being the biggest thing holding his creation back is probably worthy of its own sci fi parable.”

That comment might be the basis for a good dramatized version of GR’s later years and how he acted when starting up TNG.

Michael Hall

True. It’s demonstrably not good for anyone, least of all an artist, to be told year on year for decades that you and your works are just the greatest things ever, and with not much in the way of dissent to ground you. But at least GR professed some decent values, even if he didn’t always live up to them. And he didn’t have the nuclear codes. There is that.

Ian

Absolutely. A warts and all biopic of Roddenberry taking him through the TMP-TNG years would be fascinating.

Shatterhand

I’ve seen a few reviewers complain that MacFarlane’s message in this episode was heavy-handed and that seemed to be their motivation for an overall negative rating, but I would safely bet that was the point. I don’t think he’s going for the more subtle allegory to current-day issues that Star Trek employed. I think he wants to put it right out there so people can clearly see what the show’s trying to say, and I thought it worked well here. Considering the levels of toxicity different fandoms have begun to suffer from, the concept of “Majority = truth” isn’t all that outlandish. I mean, just look at the toxicity among different fandoms right now. When it comes to defending or decrying what we like or hate, respectively, about something, our instinct is to go straight to “let me tell you about all the reasons you’re wrong” and if enough people side with you, it’ll become gospel by default, just like the events of this episode. It’s happening right now, folks, in every aspect of modern society, from sports to politics to religion to scifi fandom. The only difference between our society and that of the planet in this episode is we haven’t actually adopted that as our judicial process.

But what was Seth’s message, other than people shouldn’t be punished for being unrepentant aholes, because that’s the actual message of the script. And that’s what happens when, as a writer, one doesn’t have the finesse to stay on message.

Legate Damar

I felt like the crew were too judgey in this episode. I know that this planet’s society was messed up, but the crew just seemed too arrogant coming in and deciding that this society was doing everything wrong. And Lamarr could have at least understood that he was being disrespectful by humping that statue, even if he felt his punishment was too harsh.

Cygnus-X1

While it mentions many salient points, this article misses the main theme of the episode, which is the inherent flaws of direct democracy (such as the democracy of ancient Athens).

The scene where Lysella is in the Orville’s meeting room being debriefed lays it all out. . .

Cygnus-X1

LYSELLA: [regarding the badges] It’s how we can tell who’s good and who’s bad.
MERCER: So, this is an absolute democracy?
LYSELLA: Yeah. How does your world work?
MERCER: We select representatives who discuss issues and enact laws.
LYSELLA: But, what about everybody else? Everybody deserves a voice; that’s what we’re taught.
BORTUS A voice should be earned, not given away. [my emph.]

ISAAC: I believe you are confusing opinion with knowledge.
ALARA: With so many voices at once, how do you filter out the truth?
LYSELLA: My dad always says the majority are the truth. You always know what the majority wants; that’s what matters.

Cygnus-X1

This allegory is not just about social media. Social media just happens to be the technology by which herd mentality is expressed these days. The point of the story is to indict the notion of majority rule, which is the title of the episode. Social media has given everyone (well, 2/3 of everyone) a, more or less, equal voice. But, does everyone deserve an equal voice? Is everyone really equal, in terms of knowledge, education, qualifications? Do all opinions have equal value?

Cygnus-X1

“Majority Rule” is an allegory that takes the premise that we are, in fact, all equal, to a sociological extreme. Just as the ancient Athenians would, once a year, vote on a citizen to be ostracized, or banished from the city, modern people do likewise via social media. One might feel that the likes of Harvey Weinstein deserve to be ostracized for their behavior; but it is an easy matter to think of examples of people being ostracized that you might not consider so cut-and-dried.

The “apology” tour that LaMarr must do in the episode is pulled directly from real-life, where celebrities like Jonah Hill have to prostrate themselves on TV before the general public as penance for, in his case, uttering words out of frustration consequent to being intentionally provoked and stressed in his private life by an ill-intentioned paparazzo.

Cygnus-X1

It is commonly said that everyone is entitled to their opinion, but are uninformed or ill-informed opinions as valid as knowledgeable opinions? When word spreads via social media, for example, that vaccinating your children against deadly diseases will cause them to develop autism, and a majority of Americans believes it, is the greater good really being served?

Cygnus-X1

“Majority Rule” employs the allegorical technique, seen in TOS episodes like “Let This Be Your Last Battlefield,” of reducing the whole world down to one issue, in order to examine that issue. To some, this technique might seem heavy-handed or unsubtle. To me, it all comes down to whether or not the story earns it in the end——that is to say, whether or not the moral of the story is worth the cost of our attention and suspension of disbelief. For me, “Majority Rule” is worth the cost. Like its predecessors, “Majority Rule” is not a perfect episode. But, it kept me interested, compelled and entertained throughout. When the downvote count is slowly inching up to ten million, I found myself feeling anxious. Why? Because I was invested in the outcome of the story.

Cygnus-X1

PRO: Bortus has a couple of lines that made me laugh. His line about singing, for example. His over-earnest, deadpan delivery is great.

PRO: The story tackles an important and inherently controversial issue in a fairly smart way (see the above-quoted dialogue) that kept me interested, compelled and entertained.

Cygnus-X1

CON: Once again, members of the crew that should, by any reasonable standard, know better, behave totally out of character, like clowns——in this case, LaMarr, which is doubly bad in that his clownish behavior serves as a major plot point that the whole story relies upon. What The Orville really needs, in order to resolve its perpetual internal logic problem (wherein the characters regularly behave out-of-character within the setting of the story), is a different premise——or, at least, a modified one.

Cygnus-X1

(cont.)There were no such logic problems in Galaxy Quest, for example, because the protagonists had reasons for behaving so unlike trained aerospace personnel (namely that they WEREN’T trained aerospace personnel). The main problem with The Orville is that the crew have no reason to behave so ostensibly out of character. Anyone who would behave as LaMarr does in this episode, while under direct supervision of their commanding officer on a mission, would never be entrusted to do the job that LaMarr does every day aboard the ship. LaMarr needs a reason for his wildly inappropriate behavior, and he doesn’t have one. Neither do Mercer and Malloy (who behave wildly out of character in previous episodes). That, in a nutshell, is the fundamental problem of “The Orville.”

dion1701

Am I the only one that thinks we would have evolved to not dry humping a statue in the future? To do so in ones free time in one thing but while serving on duty is other. I guess that is the one thing about the Orville that gets me. I would think they would be just a little more professionals. Not do lewd acts on duty and call other aliens dicks. Maybe it is just me.

Cygnus-X1

dion1701

Am I the only one that thinks…Not do lewd acts on duty and call other aliens dicks. Maybe it is just me.

It’s not just you. I just wrote a big long thing about that. Right beneath your comment.

Kev-1

Think they did this as well as it could be done–more broadly than Trek (broadcast) would have with more “serious” characters. Shades of “Bread and Circuses” but different. Enjoyed the episode.

Jeff

I think this episode and the “Krill” episode had to much stupid for me to suspend my disbelief. Both having away-teams trying to infiltrate another culture undetected, yet both away-teams taking morons with them who go out of their way to be extremely human with their dialog and actions.

On different note, that scene with the fake dog video would have been so much better if Lysella said, “what the heck is that?” after seeing the dog, and forcing the Orville team to research pets on Sargus Four and find something that wasn’t quite 100% parallel to Earth, or else come up with a 4th option. Maybe the budget was too small.

Red-Shirted Monkey

Social media is indeed satirized in this episode, but the reviewer misses the broader critique of pure democracy as mob rule. The discussion of governance between Lysella and Mercer goes unmentioned.

The US Constitution was written to include the phrase, “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government” to ensure that legislation would be written by elected representatives, and not by the people themselves. (Don’t get your panties in a bunch. The use of the word Republican does not refer to the political party.) The founding fathers feared mob rule as much as tyrannical dictators.

The proposition system in California and similar systems in other states where citizens create law have been incorrectly ruled as constitutional.

Zaid

The episode had some good moments but I hated Lamarr’s behaviour. He acted like an idiot at the statue and after being arrested. His language and tone were disrespectful, especially as an undercover guest in a foreign location.
I expected a scene where Mercer gave him a dressing down, but that didn’t happen. I hope we see a reduction in rank in the next episode, a vocal decision not to send him off the ship, or a month in the brig.
He was immature, disrespectful, non-repentant and totally unprofessional.

ziplock9000

Doesn’t get an upvote? Yes it does from me. It was a great story about contemporary social networks. Good Star Trek story for modern times.

Andrew Gilbertson

I actually thought this one was astoundingly brilliant; the allegory works on numerous levels, from the political to the moral to a commentary on human nature. It was surprisingly apt to cut through multiple layers of human society and make sobering points to each.

“But what if people try to verify any of this information?”
“Oh, don’t worry- they won’t.”

Curious Cadet

@Andrew Gilbertson — its lines like that which made it impossible for me to suspend my disbelief, even viewing this as pure parody, and not trying to take it seriously. I was actually distracted by how ridiculous the badges were, and how they would actually work in a real world situation. How would you remove accidental down votes for instance? How would you prevent someone from just walking around all day giving themselves up votes? Much less abusing the system? It seems implausible there could be the functional society depicted with the amount of potential chaos generated by such a system. And that’s just the most overt problem with it. Add to that MacFarlane’s half of the episode staged as a sober drama, while the antics on the planet were pure farce. This show continues to try to have its cake and eat it too, which I find enormously distracting. Moreover, simply holding up a mirror to a culture that looks and acts just like us, is probably the worst way to use allegory in this case, if for no other reason than people will simply look at it the way I did and see it as a silly comparison. Now maybe that was the parody of “Miri”, or maybe it was real budget constraints, or maybe they just didn’t want to work that hard, or a little of each. Either way, warping the lens a little more would have been how Trek did it — maybe a more primitively culture that gave us THE SCARLETT LETTER kind of story. Or a more futuristic culture that removes the direct comparisons to ourselves. All things considered, it was an observational story that was a little late to the game, and didn’t offer much to the conversation at this point, not to… Read more »

Ahmed

That was a great episode. ‘The Orville’ took a familiar concept and managed to make it fresh and relevant to our times.

Have an upvote.

Ahmed

The ratings are getting better.

Variety: ‘The Orville’ Hits Highest Ratings Since Week 2

“The Orville” averaged a 1.2 rating on adults 18-49 and 4.2 million viewers, up by over 20 percent in both measures compared to its last original episode two weeks ago.

Cygnus-X1

David Goodman mentions in the recent interview that FOX acknowledges that The Orville is maintaining its viewership while being in a tough time slot, and hence the network is “bullish” on the show. Which is good news.

Trek, Star Trek

It felt like an episode of “Sliders”. They should have had Jerry Romjin…errr…O’Connell do a cameo. Speaking of ex TNG writers, did Trace Torme have a hand in this episode? Some will get this.

Cygnus-X1

It felt like an episode of “Sliders”.

I had the same thought. Sliders regularly employed the same sci-fi story-telling technique of making the whole world reflective of one issue in order to examine a theme related to that issue.

quantum47

The Orville IS Star Trek. Period.

I LOVE Orville!

To infinity and beyond! :-))

Ah, bulls**t. It was a good episode. It just wasn’t very funny… but it was still good.

Jim J

So, how much is CBS paying the reviewer. The Orville has dominated Discovery in every single episode. Sad that the best Discovery episode is a rehash of many Trek’s before. All the other episodes have been gawd awful At least last night’s Discovery was almost watchable. I admit, it was fun to see Lorca “get it” numerous times and ways.

Curious Cadet

@Jim J — perhaps you should define “dominated”?

Jim J

Oh, you know………

Curious Cadet

THE WRAP: Seth MacFarlane’s ‘The Orville’ Audience Grows 24 Percent After Heavy World Series Promotion

…Fox has been promoting the hell out of “The Orville” during its World Series, which aired over the prior two nights.

It will be interesting to see how ORVILLE does next week, if this alleged “World Series” audience, enjoyed their first taste or ORVILLE, or whether this was even the case at all.

I think what bugs me about the episode is that it’s pretty much a story told entirely from the perspective of a celebrity.
When normal people do something profoundly stupid on social media, they don’t get apology tours. They don’t get handlers telling them what they can and can’t do in public. They don’t get sent to therapy. They lose their jobs, their friends, and their standing in the community. Those stakes are frankly much higher, and more relatable, than the ones typically suffered by a celebrity who’s done something stupid. It also doesn’t show us the more obvious problems with mob rule – namely the kind of simplistic, dysfunctional government policy that you’d expect to come out of it and the kind of feedback cycle that can set up within a population.
We hear brief snippets about these things more or less in background noise, but they’re never actually commented on, nor are they particularly evident within the society they created. For the most part they seem very functional outside of their lack of a justice system, but it’s almost impossible to imagine that they could be given that their entire society is based on the idea that there are no authoritative sources of information, which is something you generally need to advance to the level that they have.
By keeping the focus so tight on what’s essentially just the aspect of it that is most relevant to Scott MacFarlane and his friends just feels self-serving.

Thirty

The character acted like a jerk before, during, and after. It’s what makes The Orville bad, the dumb humor that really isn’t very funny. If it would have been me writing the show, they’d have stopped him 3 votes short. Then at the end when he insulted everyone the guards should have all voted him down with the Publicity Agent casting the last vote so that he breaks the 10 million. Then they zap his brain and send the navigator character back home and off the show. Not a fan of that character anyway, so maybe they can add an Asian actor. Now that would have been funny.