Review: The Orville Weaves High Concept Sci-Fi With Character Development In “New Dimensions”

Review: “New Dimensions” 
The Orville Season 1, Episode 11 – Aired Thursday, November 30

Written by Seth MacFarlane

Directed by Kelly Cronin

When Chief Engineer Newton (Larry Joe Campbell) departs the Orville in order to accept a post designing a space station, an unusual candidate emerges to take his place – bridge slacker extraordinaire John Lamarr (J Lee). The ship explores a fascinating new realm, but has to battle their way out using technobabble. Captain Mercer (Seth MacFarlane) learns that Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki) was partly responsible for his appointment as commanding officer of the Orville, and struggles with his self-confidence as a result. Along the way, “New Dimensions” showcases the awkward, teetering balance that is The Orville, trying to be both a thought-provoking science fiction show and a workplace comedy. The result is an uneven but mostly-enjoyable episode.

“New Dimensions” shifts fairly well between two major plotlines – one centering around Lamarr and the other around Mercer. It’s almost like the showrunners at The Orville heard complaints from last week’s TrekMovie’s review – John Lamarr has been one of the most useless characters I’ve seen on TV, and this episode seeks to bring him much-needed depth. It does so by telling us that Lamarr is secretly a genius engineer, raised on a fledgling farming colony where intellect marked you as strange and different. In his childhood, he learned to hide his smarts, and it became a habit that he never cared enough to break.

 

When a prank Lamarr and fellow troublemaker Gordon Malloy (Scott Grimes) play on the gelatinous engineer Yaphit (Norm MacDonald) is discovered, Grayson finds out that in Union Point, the space academy of the Planetary Union, Lamarr had top scores in Advanced Engineering, and that “his aptitude rating is through the roof.” Grayson urges Mercer to give Lamarr the chance to shine. Mercer rightly argues that intelligence isn’t everything – Lamarr has consistently shown poor judgment and a general lack of respect. “Heading up a division is about more than just smarts,” Mercer comments, “He’s never shown any indication of leadership ability. He’d have to oversee a lot of personnel.” But Grayson is determined – she sees potential in Lamarr. She begins giving him assignments designed to allow him to show his worth, and although he has a rough start, soon Lamarr’s intelligence and problem-solving skills begin to emerge.

The problem with this is two-fold: first, The Orville has already done a lot to showcase the foolish, ignorant side of Lamarr. There is a lot of character momentum there to overcome. Second, J Lee may not be up to the task of portraying the change. His acting thus far is broad and showy, with very little subtlety. It is hard to believe his character has the sort of rich inner life that this new direction requires. Maybe Lee will grow into this new role – I hope so. The obvious TNG parallel here is with Geordi LaForge, who started the series as the pilot of the Enterprise-D, but in the second season was promoted to Chief Engineer, where the character flourished. The problem is, though LaForge seemed wasted on the Bridge, it was clear that there was potential to waste in the first place. The same cannot be said for Lamarr, and even without the use of his eyes, Levar Burton was able to communicate a depth of thought and feeling in his character that I have yet to see Lee reach.

Giving Lamarr command of the science team is a smart first step for Grayson to take, but it rankles Yaphit, who is next in line for promotion to Chief Engineer. Yaphit now has two grudges against Lamarr: the foul prank that the Bridge officer played on his gelatinous crewmate earlier in the episode, and seemingly being passed over for promotion in favor of a slacker. In a somewhat silly scene, Yaphit suspects racism. “You guys can’t handle the thought of a gelatinous person in charge of a department. This is so racist!” Yaphit rages. Mercer replies with the obvious and dull rejoinder, “I am not racist! I have several gelatinous friends.” Ha. I have a couple of problems with the Yaphit scenes: For one thing, Norm MacDonald has one and only one voice setting, and it is annoying, and for the other, Yaphit winds up slinking back into the story with no resolution near the end. He angrily refuses to eat a gumdrop in an ill-conceived ice-breaking activity in engineering, but ¾ of the way through the episode, he returns sheepishly to the engineering team with no indication of why he has a change of heart. It feels like there’s a scene missing somewhere, some conversation that reconciles Lamarr and Yaphit. Without that scene, Yaphit’s arc makes no sense.

Of course, Lamarr proves himself through the challenges of the episode, earning the Chief Engineer position. Along the way, he snarks hilariously at technobabble, and pukes all over a shuttlecraft. Like I said, uneven.

 

The Mercer plotline showcases the struggles the captain has with his sense of self-worth. When a joking aside from Grayson reveals that he had received his command in part thanks to her recommendation, he begins to doubt his abilities.  Would he have succeeded in earning the Captaincy on his own? Grayson assures him that he would have, that he is in fact an excellent Captain, due to his ability to see all sides of a situation and make a good judgment call. But Mercer values self-reliance. It’s here that the episode both shines, and falters. The Mercer plotline makes the best description I’ve ever heard of the concept of privilege, a controversial topic in our culture at large. Mercer thunders, “I’m a prideful ass? Why, because I want to be self-reliant? Because I want to feel like I got where I am alone?” To which Grayson replies, “I don’t know if your two-dimensional perspective has room for this concept, but nobody does anything alone. We all have people who help us along the way. Sometimes we know about it, sometimes we don’t. But it doesn’t take a damn thing away from you.”

It’s exceptionally well-done, subtle, and sensitive, but it’s telegraphed a minute earlier by Mercer’s reference to the fascinating 1884 novella that was turned into a fascinating 2007 computer-generated film – Flatland. I love that it is in the back of MacFarlane’s mind in writing this episode – the influence is clear throughout. I hate that he has Mercer say, “Have you ever read Flatland?…it’s a metaphor for inequality.” Boom. It’s so on-the-nose, such a flashing light saying, “THIS IS THE MORAL OF THE STORY,” that it treats the audience with just a smidgen of disrespect. We got it already, dude. You don’t need to highlight it so obviously. Let me put it this way: the subtle excellence of this episode’s treatment of privilege ranks right up there with the best Trek “issue” episodes, like “Measure of a Man,” “Darmok,” and “Far Beyond the Stars,” while the on-the-nose bluntness of these lines smacks more of “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield.”

 

These two storylines play out against a fascinating science fiction backdrop – the concept of a 3D ship co-existing in a 2D realm. It’s a fun, fascinating idea, and no less so because it was borrowed from Flatland. The show’s visuals in this regard are another uneven mix. I found the 2D space to be unimaginative (though colorful!) in its circuit board-like portrayal. The scale of the details seemed wrong, in comparison with the Orville. On the other hand, the way the 3D ship interacted with the 2D realm was wondrous and lovely. The camera angles and movements, the shot choices, and the visualization were all gorgeous and well worth watching. But when the crew discusses the fact that the 2D entities inhabiting that realm might not even be aware of their presence, what looks like the start of a fascinating exploration of philosophy, or religion, or science, is instead used as the setup for a masturbation joke.

The episode ends with a gentle kiss from Mercer to Grayson, a hint of the softening that their relationship has been undergoing, and with Lamarr taking his new post in Engineering.

Again, an uneven episode. Some great, lovely and fascinating bits, troubled as usual by the show trying to be two things at once. As is often the case, if you try to be two things at once, you can almost never excel at both.

 

Random thoughts:

  • Ty (Kai Di’nilo Wener) and Marcus (BJ Tanner) Finn are in this episode, for just about no reason.
  • I liked Kelly’s line: “I’m your First Officer. Part of my job is to help assemble the best possible staff on board this ship.” A lot of people have no idea what Riker did on the Enterprise-D other than leading Away Teams. I appreciate that The Orville shows us what Grayson’s responsibilities are.
  • I also liked Kelly’s description of what happened in The Orville’s universe when money was phased out: “Human ambition didn’t vanish. The only thing that changed is how we quantify wealth. People still want to be rich, only now rich means being the best at what you do.”
  • Sadly, that was followed by Lamarr’s observation that, “Some people want to go to work, go home, drink a beer, and pass out.”
  • We meet a Horbalak smuggler (Paul Vogt) named “Blavaroch.” Gordon’s comment, “God, that generation has so many Blavarochs” almost made me spit out my drink, it was so funny.
  • Gordon’s suggested icebreaker seemed to me like a wasted opportunity. It involved Yaphit eating a gumdrop – a gelatinous candy – when earlier in the episode, Gordon and Lamarr had tricked Bortus (Peter Macon) into eating a small bit of Yaphit – a gelatinous entity.
  • Incidentally, that “prank” is rather horrifying, when you think about it.
  • The skull-headed crewman, named Dann in the last episode, and played by MacFarlane buddy Mike Henry, is an amusing supporting character. Share a little about yourself, Dann…
  • Using the shuttle to tow the Orville is a good solution, but it raises obvious questions of mass and inertia that the show doesn’t bother to answer.
  • The show makes reference to Doctor Who’s police box, Oscar the Grouch’s can, Snoopy’s doghouse, and Dumbo – continuing its trend of referring to 20th and 21st Century pop culture in a show ostensibly set in the 25th 

Clips from  “New Dimensions” 

Preview of season finale

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

 

 

newest oldest
Phik

I enjoyed it. I wasn’t subtle, but Star Trek has never been subtle, or as intelligent as it pretends to be. When the Orville follows suit, it seems unfair to judge it more harshly than TNG or VOY episodes.
Although, I may be biased. I read half of Flatland the day before I saw this episode — I randomly selected it on my Kindle before I went to sleep. Maybe the coincidence is making me overrate the episode.

Curious Cadet

Looks like ORVILLE has settled into a predictable ratings average, with a somewhat marginal live audience for FOX. The season finale is next week, so it will be interesting to see if it spikes back up to some of its previous highs, or stays the course.

Ep. 1, L+SD — 2.7, 8.5M PILOT
Ep. 2, L+SD — 2.2, 6.6M
Ep. 3, L+SD — 1.1, 4M MOVE TO THURSDAY
Ep. 4, L+SD — 1.1, 3.7M
Ep. 5, L+SD — 0.9, 3.4M
Ep. 6, L+SD — 1.0, 3.3M
Ep. 1, L+SD — 0.6, 2.2M REPEAT
Ep. 7, L+SD — 1.2, 4.1M
Ep. 8, L+SD — 1.0, 3.8M
Ep. 9, L+SD — 1.0, 3.6M
Ep. 10, L+SD — 0.9, 3.3M
Ep. 6, L+SD — 0.4, 1.5M REPEAT
Ep. 11, L+SD — 0.9, 3.6M
Ep. 12, FINALE

Phil

Good enough for a second season on Fox.

Curious Cadet

@Phil, actually it’s not, considering how expensive this show is, and the fact other shows were cancelled with similar ratings. MacFarlane’s relationship with the studio is what’s driving the pickup, as well as the fact that the network had to pick up the show when it did in order for MacFarlane to get started writing the scripts for next season, so he’ll have time to produce and work on his other shows, before having to commit to shooting ORVILLE. I’ll add the pick up date to the next ratings chart, as the outlook was rosier back when that happened.

Captain Ransom

Looks like people won’t tune in for the repeats. Nothing interesting for people to want to tune in again.

Curious Cadet

Ep. 12, L+SD — 1.2, 4.3 M FINALE

Overnights are in for the finale. Overall not a great showing or finish to the season. Other series on FOX which had similar ratings to ORVILLE on average, yet were cancelled, have finished much higher in their season finales. once again demonstrating FOX commitment to their relationship with MacFarlane.

Curious Cadet

UPDATE

Ep. 12, L+SD — 0.9, 3.5M FINALE

Wow. This is TERRIBLE for a season finale. These are some of the lowest numbers ORVILLE has gotten. This does NOT bode well for a second season. FOX has its work cut out for it to build a live audience to pay for this expensive series.

gaiusross

Is a show deemed renewable only if it is a success in the US? What about the UK and other places?

Disinvited

gaiusross,

I believe the show you are looking for was BAYWATCH.

Gaius Ross

Sorry, I don’t understand your reply.

The FrozenNorth

Did anyone else catch the Vulcan salute given by the guy in the hall whose name I can’t remember?

Disinvited

Plovis?

MikeB

This isn’t a Trek show.

Aren’t you adorable.

PaulB

Wow, MikeB, that’s a brilliant observation. Truly, you have a dizzying intellect.

Dandru

MikeB is auditioning for a new role, Captain Obvious of the USS Whiney.

MikeB is simply pointing out the fact that people are still trying to judge The Orville in Star Trek terms rather that on it’s own merits.

PaulB

That’s not what MikeB wrote, so why don’t you let him speak for himself? It could as easily mean “This isn’t Star Trek, so don’t talk about it on a Trek site” as others have whined.

Dandru

Exactly. People keep posting that tired whine, and MikeB is doing exactly the same.

Dandru

No, that’s not at all the point he’s making.

Viv

The show is heavily inspired by Star Trek from production teams from makeup to directors, writers, actors, and even fans. It follows the template and respected by Star Trek standards. Great show. I like the oddity in it and I love to learn more about the universe and hope other Star Trek alumni continue to be a part of it.

Dandru

People like Mike aren’t capable of recognizing the obvious. This show IS relevant to Star Trek since it was originally conceived and pitch as a Star Trek series, and is now very much a Trek pastiche.

Aaron (Naysayers are gonna nay)

Dandru can you cite that assertion?

Aaron (Naysayers are gonna nay)

Perhaps they should have been inspired by their own imaginations and created something that didn’t feel like a blatant Star Trek ripoff. They claim to be creative but don’t have the ability to create a show that stands on it’s own merits and the creative staff have been selling it as the new Trek that is not quite Trek forever now.

Phil

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. The legal suits at CBS probably agree with you, as they haven’t sued Fox for trademark infringement. Yet.

jerr

and it’s not a “movie”…lol

kmart

The heavyhandedness of the way the storytelling plays out is still very irksome, but I’m somehow enjoying it anyway. Also liked the TRON like 2d vistas a lot.

Gary 8.5

I hope the show breaks out on its own a bit more.
You know, be a little less Trek like.
I am not sure how they achieve that though.

Curious Cadet

@Gary 8.5 — except they seem to be going out of their way to more trek like. When the “Chief” said he was leaving to go to a space station, I immediately thought of Miles OBrien and TNG/DS9, in fact he’s reminded me of OBrien since the beginning. Then they obvious Geordie/Navigator goes to Engineering, just seems like the episode Braga wanted to write to explain how Geordie ended up being chief engineer, and OBrien going to DS9.

Aaron (Naysayers are gonna nay)

Yep. That’s what happens when you don’t have the ability to create your own things and blatantly ripoff another franchise.

Blorg

Best episode so far, very entertaining. They are making steady improvements to the tone of the show. I expect season two to be a big improvement over the first one.

Aaron (Naysayers are gonna nay)

I expect season 2 to be the season of cancellation.

Drew Melbourne

You also thought season 1 was going to be “the season of cancellation” so I don’t know that your opinion carries a whole lot of weight.

Aaron (Naysayers are gonna nay)

Drew, please show me where I said season 1 it would be cancelled. I was tentatively hopefull for Orville and watched the first 6 episodes. When it became apparent that the much touted humor was all going to be juvenile penis jokes, I called it a day. I was also thoroughly disgusted when an alien character thought it would be great to extend its gelatinous penis to the doctor.

Sad to see so many Star Trek vets have stooped to this low in their career. Even Patrick Stewart, once a pillar of dignity, is stooping low. Of course, after his disgraceful performance as Professor X in Logan… I guess I should have expected as much.

It’s really to bad that Seth MacFarlane and Co did the show the way they did. They decided to make a crude parody of Trek that tries far to hard to be relevant with messages that the real Star Trek shows were covering alreast for 50 years. As a result we get half baked humor that is shallow and not funny that drags down the show while the show is unable to be taken seriously because they treat the social issues with the same level of juvenile mentality. As a result it does nothing well and everything poorly.

Again though. I had hoped for better and am sad it is crap. Don’t ever make false claims against me though. Because not only are you lying, but clearly you don’t know what your talking about.

More Troubles, More Dribbles

Having believed Seth McFarlane incapable of taking himself seriously in front of the camera, The Orville’s ‘Seriously Funny’ premise, and straight-faced acting on McFarlane’s part has changed my belief completely.
This new televised sci-fi series is breaking new ground, going where no sci-fi series has gone before. (pun intended)
It completely amazes me that Seth’s longest dream, and driving inspiration behind mostly everything he’s ever created was his dream to create a Star trek like series in which the main character is an explorer- much like what he’s created with The Orville. One could say that all his previous works, i:e Family Guy, American Dad, Ted, A million ways to die in the West were all stepping stones that brought him to the emanation of his perpetual dream- The Orville.
I didn’t even think I would care for a humorous sci-fi show, but The Orville is so much more than I, and perhaps anyone ever expected. Then, having read about MacFarlane’s love of Star Trek, and his ultimate dream, I realized that The Orville HAD to be a success. Sure as my belief, It’s the best show he ever made.
In my eyes he now stands among the likes of Gene Roddenberry, and Stanley Kubrick.

Ian

As what? A fellow licensed driver of cars?

I’ll admit he’s exceeded some of my expectations, but I’m fully aware that my expectations were so low they required an archaeologist to bring them to the surface.

Curious Cadet

@Ian — except LaMarr is Chekov. He didn’t really need a re-boot, just some writers with talent and imagination.

kmart

Going by your last line, all you’re really telling me is that McFarlane is male.

Ian

The Lamarr criticism is entirely valid. It’s a course-correction taken without any sort of setup, just done because they had a flailing character in need of a boost that makes Dr. Bashir’s genetically engineered background look like a subtle character note you’d miss if you looked down to reply to a text message. Just once, I’d have loved to see him slyly correct something Gordon did wrong and then hope no one noticed, or look like he’s about to profess an answer and then decide to clam up. And the episode about his apology tour certainly offered no hints that he had any depths. It’s clumsy character work which every MacFarlane-penned episode has displayed.

But, it’s a good reboot for the character, all the same. He needed it. I don’t know that it’s a great fit for the actor either, but he was feeling pretty extraneous on the bridge. Shows can be forgiven for drastically retooling characters if the ends justify the means. They just can’t pretend it was all part of a grand plan from day one.

Meee

Well.. His father was in the pilot making old bananas.

Jack

Interestingly, you could say the same about Geordi LaForge.

Ian

But you didn’t have to make any stretches of imagination with Geordi getting an offscreen promotion. He was competent, smart, professional and didn’t undergo a pointed characterization transplant.

DIGINON

I might be wrong but from next week’s preview it looks like he will be back at his old post on the bridge. So reset of the character reboot?

Denes House – check your typo. The gelatinous engineer is Yaphit, not Yaphet.

Denes House

Thanks!

I *LOVED* that there is a crew member whose name Ed can never remember and he just says, “There he is!” to him and does so later. I thought that was hilarious.

Curious Cadet

@Robert Gillis — in the context of FAMILY GUY in space, I totally agree. This is parody at its best. That said, Kirk did that sort of thing a lot: ‘get me that historian, what’s her name? Mcgehvers? Give her a chance to do something for a change’

Legate Damar

I liked Newton. Its too bad he’s leaving. I also think that Yafitt should have been his replacement. Lamarr may be smart, but he has never really shown either an interest in engineering, or an ability to lead a department. Besides, now they’ll need a new navigator.

Curious Cadet

@Legate — I liked him too. Just like I liked Miles OBrien on TNG, much better than Geordie. I missed him when he left, but at least he got a chance to shine on DS9. Too bad I never got into that show to enjoy seeing him in that role.

DIGINON

From next week’s promo it looks like Lamarr will be back at his post on the bridge.

0dkinWood

This was the shark-jumping episode. First, I really liked the under-used everyman Engineer. Clearly a demographics calculation here for age and race. Second, the sudden, never previously hinted-at disclosure of a skill or power to reboot a character is just cringe-inducing. And the writing was REALLY weak here. They introduced a beautifully depicted alien universe for nothing – a throwaway Macguffin explanation of why the ship was stuck. And it wrapped up in the way of the WORST of TNG – paragraphs of talky exposition with everyone bantering in technobabble. That’s not drama. That’s depicting a problem for 50 minutes and then having someone say ‘I know, we could wave the magic wand!”. It’s just a cheat.

0dkinWood

Oh and the absolute worst sin of this episode – the continued neutering of the Captain in submission to his apparent co-captain. That whole joint command thing never works. It didn’t work with Number One, it didn’t work with Riker, it didn’t even work on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and it doesn’t work here. It’s turning into a typical McFarlane show where the wife takes charge as the uninteresting voice of reason and the man just gets dumber and dumber.

Apparition

Thank you for continuing to cover “The Orville.” It’s actual new Star Trek, unlike “Discovery.” I look forward to your season two coverage.

Blorg

+1

AdAsteraPerAspera

*eyeroll* There is no need to start attacking Discovery in a thread about The Orville.

Dr Beckett

Wow, nobody has ever made this comparison before. What a revelation.

AdAsteraPerAspera

I snickered at this. Shade!

Cygnus-X1

I found this a middling episode.

Both thematic concepts——the science theme relating to physical dimensions, and the overachiever/underachiever theme of Mercer’s and Lamarr’s attitudes toward their careers——were potentially interesting, but, for me, they both fell short of satisfying in the end. I find the dimensions theme problematic because there’s no way for matter to lose or gain physical dimensions, that I know of, anyway. A Hydrogen atom that loses a physical dimension is no longer matter as we know it, which means it’s basically been destroyed. And there’s no coming back from that, even with a nosebleed.

Cygnus-X1

The careers theme sort of got wrapped up in both the Mercer and Lamarr plot-lines without much reason. Mercer never really had a reason for his personal crisis, to begin with. As he says in the end, he was just being “a whiny little bitch.” Really, Mercer was just being irrational. Regardless of how he got the job, the fact that his bosses want him to continue in that position is all the validation that he should need, because the proof of the pudding is in the eating. And, while Lamarr’s overachiever/underachiever attitude was more realistic, the way that it gets resolved——by Lamarr saving the Orville from 2D oblivion——doesn’t really show us anything about Lamarr’s psychology or internal emotional life. The resolution plays like Lamarr just needed a little confidence in himself, and——voila!, he’s cured.

Ian

I don’t expect good character development from MacFarlane, but it’s not like Star Trek hasn’t been that trite before.
I was so annoyed when Voyager, after taking the laudable step of giving Torres severe depression in response to learning the fate of her friends in the Maquis, then just had her be on the mend after she jury rigged a forcefield. Her character resets after that, it’s never addressed again, and “Juggernaut” even feels like a regression to season 1 or 2 Torres.

Disinvited

Cygnus-X1,

Confidence? Hmmm…he didn’t seem to lack of that with his “always being right” statement. It seemed more that he inherently lacked motivation as he was taught that his abilities weren’t valued. It seemed he just needed someone in command to show him that the fleet’s stated goals for its recruits weren’t just lip service glossing over the reality he learned back home?

Re: Mercer was just being irrational.

Agreed but nothing unusual for holders of the “self-made man” delusion which many in positions of power hold. We discussed this in these forums with the pilot. I clearly recall mentioning that no one creates themselves. MacFarlane, in fact, seemed to be taking notes from trekmovie’s comments in his writing on Mercer’s dilemma. I was happy with the points he decided to hit with his dealing with Mercer uncovering how reality played out in his getting his assignment.

I found it odd though, that some here, not you, seem to find it preposterous that Kelly, like Spock, doesn’t really want command?

It’s strikes me as very odd; as if they would expect in AMOK TIME that Spock should deck Kirk and McCoy for tricking him?

Cygnus-X1

Disinvited

You could be right about LaMarr’s motivations, but either way that theme was unsatisfying because they didn’t show us much of his character growth.

The self-made man delusion is definitely a compelling and interesting theme to explore, and I wish that they would have spent more time on it. Though, as I don’t have your super memory, I don’t remember the discussion that you’re referring to regarding the pilot.

Cygnus-X1

At this point, I need to start complaining about the Yaphet character. They’ve got the brilliant Norm MacDonald voicing the character, and I’ve been waiting through 11 episodes now for him to say something funny, and it’s just not happening. The producers of The Orville seriously need to re-think the Yaphet character and either give him funnier dialogue relating to his sort of laid-back, letting-it-all-hang-out personality, or give him character attributes that will lend themselves to humorous dialogue and situations. Yaphet in his current incarnation is a terrible waste of Norm MacDonald’s talent.

Cygnus-X1

Not many laugh-out-loud moments in this episode, for me, but I did laugh at the callback of the crew member whose name Mercer just can’t remember: “Hey! There he is!

Kevin Attwood

One of my favourite Orvilles. This show is such a welcome relief to all the doom and gloom sci-fi we’ve had to endure for years now. To the criticisms that Lamarr has a left turn and been promoted to a position that no one saw coming, they did the exact same thing to Geordi La Forge in Next Gen. Season one – Helm, Season 2 – Chief Engineer! Go figure.

DIGINON

I think people don’t have a problem with someone being promoted to a new post. The problem is that the Orville writers took a character who has acted like nothing but a fool until this point and now all of a sudden he’s supposed to be this genius. With Geordi they at least took a competent bridge officer and gave him a new post.

Aaron (Naysayers are gonna nay)

Dumb show. Looking forward to the day I read about it’s cancellation.

AdAsteraPerAspera

So far I’ve seen the pilot and the episode where the CO and XO both sleep with the blue alien guy. Neither one impressed that much. The show doesn’t appear to know what it wants to be- for every genuine moment there are a rafter of penis jokes or humour straight of Family Guy.

And I dislike the way that Penny Johnson Jerald ended up in the latter episode lusting for a pile of yellow slime after being initially portrayed as a strong, confident woman. It was sexist shit of the highest order.

Denes House

Wow, you’ve seen the worst of the episodes, only. I recommend this one, and “Firestorm” as examples of some of their better work.

Curious Cadet

@Denes House — Better at what!? I’d suggest that “better” exists in a purely subjective context. I find these some of the worst examples of what this series could be.

Loving how this show has really got into it’s stride and has developed a real heart that some previous incarnations of Trek struggled with.

As for the so-called “comtemporary” pop culture references, I’d like to think that Doctor Who is still around in 400 years time, on his (or her) 300th incarnation.

Captain Ransom

Finally got around to watching it. I actually forgot about it to be honest. Not really “must see TV” for… but I digress. I found this episode particularly bland and dull. Very uneven throughout. MacFarlane continues to be the weakest of the cast. His acting is still cringe worthy. The show is so generic and forgettable. Nothing stands out to me. Nothing memorable. I said I would give it a season… one more episode left. Feels like such a chore to watch… I probably won’t be tuning in for the second season.

ST Nerd

Regarding Riker’s role on the Enterprise, the sixth-season episode “Lessons”, Picard tells Riker that “ship’s resources are your responsibility”. They were talking about personnel assignments and Riker being uncomfortable with Lt. Cmdr. Daren’s requests for crew reassignments (since she was “dating” Picard).

T F

The episode aired Thu Nov 30, not Thu Dec 31.
I thoroughly enjoyed it. LOL’d several times and enjoyed the story. Love this show. :-)

Denes House

Thanks for the correction!

Kirk1701

I agree subtlety isn’t The Orville’s strong suit, where Star Trek always manages it. However, I always felt that the TNG characters had zero sense of irony. We have not seen many truly sarcastic, sardonic characters in sci-fi. Intelligent people tend to have a highly developed sense of irony. Lamarr’s not a goof-off, as we’ve previously thought, he’s bored. There’s a difference. The comparison to LaForge becomes a contrast. Geordi was always positive and optimistic. Lamarr is a pessimist, if not completely depressed. This is interesting territory. We’ve never seen a functioning pessimist or skeptic in this genre before. These people exist in droves in the sciences, but since sci-fi is concerned mostly with “wonder,” we discourage the melancholic. Or they’re villains. TOS did have these sorts of characters with McCoy and Scotty, but they’ve become objects of pity or comic relief, rather than the realists they are.

kmart

Losing the engineer feels VERY much TNG to me, because this guy didn’t register any stronger for me than Argyle (remember him?) in his two awful TNG appearances. Along with the equally godawful Leland T. Lynch and the forgettable Mr. Singh, the TNG s1 chief engineers were almost like prototypes for MURPHY BROWN secretaries, except being less entertaining.

Michael Hall

Agreed, but then, just about ALL of it feels like TNG to me, with the addition of some off-color humor and pop-cultural references to make up for the loss in seriousness. Nothing wrong with that, necessarily, and over the last three episodes I’ve managed to enjoy The Orville for what it is–the show has demonstrated it has some heart, even if not much is going on upstairs. But it’s definitely a mystery to me how someone like yourself who professes not to care for TNG in the first place can find much of value in this show.

kmart

Me too. Absence has not made the heart grow fonder for me, either; though I’ve tried watching about a dozen eps of remastered TNG, I think I only finished two or three of them. In that same period of time I’ve rewatched at least 2/3rds of DS9 twice — and that’s having to put up with the terrible resolution of the thing, too.

Cygnus-X1

Argyle was rather bland, but I will defend him on the grounds that he has one or two funny lines when he’s putting down Kosinski, the fraud super-genius, in “Where No One Has Gone Before.”

Cygnus-X1

Also, this Orville episode mirrors TNG, not only in the chief engineer being replaced early on in the series, but also in that his replacement is one of the two guys on the bridge who sits up front (the helmsman and the navigator), of which Geordi LaForge was the helmsman on the Enterprise and John LaMarr (even similar-sounding names) was the navigator on the Orville. Also, both LaForge and LaMarr are promoted rank from Lt. to Lt.Commander when they make the transition. And, to state the obvious, both characters are played by African-American actors.

John in Canada, eh?

Interesting that for the preview of the season finale, they’ve pretty much ditched any effort to highlight the humour, and they’re pitching it more of a Sci-Fi Action Adventure.

Yes, I know they only have 30 seconds to sell it; I just find it fascinating that they’re downplaying the “It’s a Seth MacFarlane comedy!” vibe that was prevalent in the pilot’s trailers. The show certainly doesn’t seem to consider itself a comedy anymore (even though, like this article’s reviewer, I also laughed out loud at Gordon’s “That generation has so many Blavarochs” line).

I think the Lamarr story was interesting. Maybe it’s because I saw this in my own life: people hidden their intellect behind a facade. In order to protect themselves from a family that doesn’t value this trait. Even if the actor is not the most experienced, he really did showed up the fragility of his confidence. I really like the special effects this week. It was really strange and fun to look at. I hope they keep Lamarr on the bridge, like Jordy did at times in TNG.

Cygnus-X1

There’s a Wiki for The Orville: http://orville.wikia.com/wiki/John_LaMarr

Anthony Thompson

Tarantino Trek is on it’s way!

Danpaine

I enjoyed this episode very much – good character development, some neat fx work and some laughs. Looking forward to season two. This show has really been a bright spot for me this fall.

Kirok

I found this episode to be rather pedestrian as far as The Orville goes. Which is not a rip of the show. Overall I think the show has been OK with a couple of real winners. Hope the finale leans more to the laughs. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… This show works best when it trends towards the comedy side than the drama.

Also, I think the reviewer of the episode was being rather harsh and is taking the show way more seriously than it ought to. While it was obviously inspired by TNG it ought not be compared directly to it. Also, I find the comic stylings of Norm MacDonald to be spot on. He was also argably the best Weekend Update anchor ever. Just my take.

ziplock9000

I really hate to say it, but this show is beating ST:D in almost every way apart from the last ST:D episode. Even the music is better in Orville.
So for ST:D to have a mid-season break, just as it’s possibly getting better is a stupid thing to do.
They have really screwed up Star Trek.
However there’s obviously time to fix this, I just hope it’s not too late for more casual viewers.

Curious Cadet

@ziplock9000 — sorry, do you have some objective evidence to present to qualify your statement, or is this merely your opinion?

Dave

I started watching it 1st episode. Loved it, funny. Stopped watching in Nov because it’s not very funny anymore and sexual content got to be a bit much.