‘The Orville’ Review: Ed Falls For A Stranger In Conventional “Nothing Left on Earth Excepting Fishes”

The Orville Season 2, Episode 4 – Aired Thursday, January 17, 2019
Written by Brannon Braga and André Bormanis
Directed by Jon Cassar 

As the Orville is called to deliver supplies to a colony in need, Captain Mercer and his new girlfriend, Lt. Janel Tyler, decide to take their relationship public and go on a vacation together. Meanwhile, Gordon begins the process of applying for a Command-track position.

“Nothing Left on Earth Excepting Fishes” is a competent but bland episode that hits all the expected marks but does very little that isn’t completely safe, boldly going where we have been many times before.

Warning: there’s nothing left below excepting SPOILERS!

Scott Grimes in the “Nothing Left on Earth Excepting Fishes”


I’ll admit, if I hadn’t been warned in the comments thread of a previous Orville review, I wouldn’t have seen the big switcheroo coming, that Lt. Janel Tyler was really Teleya, the Krill schoolteacher whose brother Ed and Gordon killed in the Season One episode, “Krill.” There are a couple of reasons for this. The first is that I suspend disbelief in a heartbeat – I’m a sap. The second is that we saw so little of Janel Tyler that there was very little time for the show to seed clues to her deception.

Prior to the start of the second season of Star Trek: Discovery, I rewatched the entire first season, thanks to my kids who got me the DVDs for my birthday. As I watched along, I picked up a ton of the breadcrumbs left by the show’s writers hinting that Lt. Ash Tyler was not quite who he seemed to be. Lots of little references, here and there. Granted, he also had way too thorough a grasp of English slang, culture, and idiom for a guy who learned the language in a month or two – a problem that also plagues Janel Tyler – but there were hints there to be found, because Tyler was on screen for several episodes before the big reveal.

Date night with Ed and Janel

Janel Tyler has no such track record. She’s been in this episode and very briefly in the season opener, and that’s it. This episode gives us some clues early on – mainly in the fact that Tyler has an inadequate knowledge of 400-year-old movies and music – but the character has left no trail for us to have followed, and so the revelation that she’s a Krill infiltrator has a lot less emotional punch than it should.

Janel is apparently a perfect woman. Ed says to Gordon, she “checks all the boxes,” and later Teleya says she was created to be the ideal Union officer. But because we barely know her, we have only their word for it.

All that sounds like I disliked this storyline, and that’s not the case. Michaela McManus does a good job with her part, and Seth MacFarlane’s Ed Mercer seems convincingly smitten. It is great to see him smiling rather than snarking. Audiences want to see their favorite characters happy – up until their lives are destroyed by the machinations of the plot. So all of that is good, and the scene where Ed tells Kelly that he’s seeing Janel is a great parallel to a scene earlier in the season when Kelly told Ed about Cassius. There are a couple of spiffy lines in the dialogue, but it’s mostly routine, by-the-numbers TV drama stuff.

Ed and Teleya crash-land on a nearby planet and have to learn to trust each other or be killed, which is a classic sci-fi trope, as well as being derivative of DS9’s “The Ascent”, where Quark and Odo have to work together and carry equipment up a mountain in hopes of calling for help after they crash.

This ends up lending a certain predictability to the proceedings of this episode. Will Teleya hold a gun on Ed? Check. Will Ed make long speeches about humanity’s moral superiority to the Krill? Check. Will circumstances conspire to require Ed to save Teleya’s life? Check. Will she need to learn to trust him, despite herself? Check. The episode needs to add more boxes, because all of these are checked, and were checked long before they unspooled on screen.

Ed and Teleya


The B-plot involves Gordon Malloy wanting to apply for the Shipmaster Qualification Program, also known as the Command Test. Malloy is probably the most useless character on the show, serving only to deliver the lamest of the show’s punchlines and to make the most obvious of its observations, so it may seem that anything that gives the character something interesting to do would be a gift. However, that would require giving him something interesting to do.

Everything we see in this plot is taken from somewhere else. The desire to pursue a command track is reminiscent of Deanna Troi’s attempts to become a bridge officer in TNG’s “Thine Own Self”, and his simulator ploy is a direct lift from TOS’ “The Corbomite Maneuver.” Gordon’s responses to Dr. Finn’s psychological test are the punchlines to one of the oldest jokes I remember my Dad telling when I was a kid. Only Bortus enlivens the storyline with his characteristically-blunt assessment of Malloy’s chances: “He will fail.”

Peter Macon and Scott Grimes “Nothing Left on Earth Excepting Fishes”

These scenes throw together two characters we rarely see paired up on screen: Gordon and Kelly. Looking back over prior episodes, Kelly’s opinion of Gordon seems to be almost entirely negative, and it is Gordon’s discussion of his masturbatory habits two episodes ago in “Primal Urges” that leads Kelly to say, “God, this whole ship is gross.” And so it comes as a surprise and somewhat insincere when Kelly, on discovering that Gordon’s primary motivation for entering the Qualification Program is to enable him to impress “chicks,” responds, “If your goal is to prove how charming and awesome you are, as far as I’m concerned, you’ve already passed that test with flying colors.” Really, Kelly? Really? Have you ever watched this show?

The plot kind of sputters out without a real resolution. Gordon emphatically declares, “I’m a pilot” in the well-staged and well-executed shuttle rescue scene, but it’s not clear if this is a realization and a decision, or just a momentary declaration. Later, Kelly asks Gordon if he’s sure command is the direction for him, and the camera lingers on Gordon’s pondering face. Perhaps a future episode will give us the resolution of this question, but for now, the whole thing feels incomplete.

Scott Grimes and Penny Johnson Jerald in the “Nothing Left on Earth”


There’s nothing badly done about this episode, but nothing that stands out as excellent or challenging, either. It’s a by-the-numbers science fiction episode, built out of parts done earlier, better, and more convincingly by other shows, many times in the past. When compared to the daring morality discussion of “Primal Urges,” the shocking violence and heartfelt family drama in “Home,” or even the extended piss joke that is “Ja’loja,” “Nothing Left on Earth Excepting Fishes” is notable for very little besides its Billy Joel references.

Seth MacFarlane in the “Nothing Left on Earth Excepting Fishes”


  • Chad L. Coleman (as Klyden) is credited but does not appear in the episode.
  • The show’s title is taken from a song sung by Yul Brynner in “The King and I”: “But unless someday somebody trusts somebody there’ll be nothing left on Earth excepting fishes.” It’s a good line.
  • Apparently, the Orville’s shuttle cannot raise its deflectors while cloaked.
  • Union Central has trained their Captains to give dummy command codes in the event of torture. These dummy codes allow the captor to access mountains of junk information that looks real, but isn’t. This gives the captive time and leverage and seems like an excellent strategy. The code is Alpha Charlie 27 Gamma 42 Delta 6. Does anyone know if these numbers and letters are significant?
  • The Krill escape pod launches from one, tiny hexagonal hatch on the Krill Destroyer. Maybe I’m too used to Star Trek ships, which are designed with dozens of escape pod hatches visible on the surface of the ship, but is there only one escape pod? If not, where do all the others launch from?
  • The Krill are attacked by the Chak’tal, who look like the love children from the union of a Ferengi and an Orc. They do have nasty-looking weapons, though. “They are savage, and never leave survivors.”
  • A day on this planet is 23 Earth days long. Is that possible? Wouldn’t a planet with that slow of a rotation have a tiny gravity, or a mass so huge that it couldn’t support life?
  • Ed covers Teleya with his jacket to shield her from the sun – reminiscent of an earlier scene in his quarters,  when he brings Janel his jacket.
  • On the day this episode dropped, the actors who play Gordon and Kelly, Scott Grimes and Adrianne Palicki, announced their engagement on social media. We at TrekMovie wish them all the best.

Krill ship under attack

The Chak’tal


  • “Righteous. Mellow alert.” – perhaps Lt. Tharl’s last line in the season, if Avis has any mercy.
  • “Tharl driving you crazy, too?” “He does not stop talking. He makes loud noises when he consumes food. He comes to the Mess Hall wearing…sandals.” – Kelly and Bortus, discussing Puddy-phants’s many charms.
  • “We’re supposed to be out here exploring – instead we’re the pizza guy.” – Gordon
  • “I just want to make sure you’re okay with it. Because I know you had a thing for her at one time, and if it bothers you at all…” – Ed telling Gordon he’s seeing Janel. How was Ed going to finish that sentence? Characters in TV and movies say these sorts of things from time to time, but never get to finish the sentence. Because how could they? What would be an ending to that sentence that isn’t completely stupid?
  • The distress beacon scene was shot in Rocky Peak Park, California, and it’s gorgeous. The distress beacon itself is a cool prop, with lots of bits.
  • Kelly’s response to Gordon’s simulator test? “Well, the deflector thing was novel. You’re thinking on your feet, so that’s a start. I’m just not sure that good digestion is an effective deterrent.” Novel? Kelly, Kelly! You need to watch more 20th Century Earth television. Check out “The Corbomite Maneuver.”
  • “Part of being a leader is knowing when you’ve reached your limits.” – Kelly with some excellent insight.
  • “I liked you a lot better when you used contractions.” – Ed to Teleya
  • “We canoodled! You canoodled with me! That was all fake?” – Ed to Teleya
  • “I guess lately I’ve been feeling bored with myself. And if I’m not enough for myself, what if that means I’m not enough for other people?” – Gordon in a rare moment of insight.
  • “Take a message back to your people: we can keep fighting each other, or we can talk.” – Ed, with perhaps the least impressive parting line ever, other than Gordon’s line about dairy.
  • “Our scans show no such device.” “Well, maybe not, but you know what we do have? We have heart. We’ve got a lot of heart, a lot of passion – so – you know – watch out. We also eat a lot of protein, you know, fresh fruits and vegetables, that kind of thing. Very, very healthy diet. Makes us tough. You don’t want to mess with that, trust me. Very little dairy. I mean, the occasional sweet…”- Okay, I admit this was a funny sequence between Gordon and a simulated Krill.
  • I liked Teleya’s description of her humiliation and confusion when Ed and Gordon infiltrated the Krill ship last season. It was very realistic and heartfelt: “You offered kindness, all the while preparing to murder my entire crew.”

Lt. Tharl goes extra casual on the bridge

MacFarlane addresses trope of people in the future referencing modern pop culture

Like many past episodes of The Orville, “Nothing Left on Earth Excepting Fishes” included a number of references, including the film Taxi Driver, Jane Goodall, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The King and I, and especially Billy Joel. These references stand out for a show set in the 24th century. Joel’s “Don’t Ask Me Why” and “She’s Always a Woman” play large roles in this episode, raising the question that keeps coming up with The Orville.

Watching The King and I

Why are its characters so fixated on 20th Century Earth pop culture? MacFarlane addressed that question this week on Twitter, explaining that fake futuristic music always sounds awful – and I would agree – but the question will keep coming up as long as the show makes pop culture its key touchstone.

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

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The name “Tyler” should have tipped off the switcheroo. I am amazed at how much they get away with stealing fron trek shows.

D’oh! I totally missed that! Good catch!

Or it was just coincidence.

Or perhaps an intended “wink” to the audience. Honestly there wasn’t ANY point of actually “stealing” that name.

A day on Venus, which is Earth’s ‘twin,’ takes 243 Earth days. (I totally knew that and didn’t at all just look it up.) It would seem unlikely you’d get plants like we saw, though, with loooong nights.

I thought the Corbomite reference was a loving parody. On the other hand, is ‘Lt. Tyler’ the agreed alias for aliens pretending to be canoodling partners on Earth ships? “The proceedure was very painful.” Oh, just go ahead and show a clip of L’Rell hacking at your guts with bizarro Klingon instruments.

Beyond that, I totally agree with your review.

Any insight as to why Isaac got zero lines? If the actor was on vacation, he could soooooo easily have looped it, literally phoned it in. Sorry, but that character is a fail.

Some other improvements in season two. Bridge lighting still needs work. But in general it’s a beautiful show to watch. The writing… fingers crossed. I thought MacFarlane’s acting worked. So, again… signs of improvement.


Also, Earth’s moon takes 29.5 Earth days to complete a rotation on its axis, i.e. a lunar day, and the Chinese are currently trying to grow plants there.

Unknown where Denes got this notion that size restricts a planet’s rate of rotation?

And I remind you that Earth’s polar regions experience months of days without a Sun in the sky and vice versa, and plants do just fine there, even moreso with globalwarming.

Dammit, Disinvited, I’m a TV reviewer, not an astrophysicist! :) Seriously, I have no idea where I got that notion, either.

Denes House,

Re: not an astrophysicist

Thanks for the compliment, but neither am I. However, in full disclosure, I should mention that my Computer Science mentor did work for JPL all the while he mentored, and I’ve hung around the periphery of astrophysics perhaps more than the average bear.

Probably where most strange ideas come from – “A mail-order house in Schenectady.” (I forget which famous author gave that answer at a con when asked where he got his ideas.)

Yeah. I think the Corbomite comment was more a loving reference than anything. The review author didn’t see it that way. I got a small charge out of it, actually.

Picard dated a stellacartogropher. Mercer dates a dark matter cartographer.

Geordi LaForge not-good-with-ladies worked on the bridge and got promoted Lt Cmdr and chief engineer. John LaMar good-with-ladies worked on the bridge and got promoted Lt Cmdr and chief engineer.


“Picard dated a stellacartogropher.”


Stella ? Dear …

Seth’s acting is improving. I don’t know if he has much acting training. If he doesn’t have much, it’s actually quite impressive he’s as good as he is, consider he’s not primarily an actor.
I also thought the scenes on the planet wete gorgeous and looked real.
Is it just me that thinks the CGI spaceships on the Orville, and really alnost every show these days, still look more like video games than real ships with mass? I think by now CGI spaceships should look more real.

I personally think that it is a conscious decision by the producers to go for a certain book for the show. It’s frustrating — sometimes the effects are positively cinematic looking, like during “Primal Urges“, and sometimes they look very hokey. The shuttle always looks dreadfully fake, for example.

It looked to me like they were trying to put extra lighting on the shuttle a show or so back, to enhance the look, but that design is so dead right out of the gate, and the motion is so by-rote that it never feels like it is being ‘flown.’

I put my blu-ray of FIRST CONTACT in a couple days back, just to watch the space battle and the various beauty shots of the E-E in earth orbit. That stuff looks so much better than most modern ship stuff. Even the CG ships blended in with the practical models during the borg battle are lit in ways that don’t scream digital or distract unduly — the fleet seen there is mostly digital except the E-E and the ship type from the last shot of GEN that debuted TNG s4.

The Vulcan ship at the end is a fail in terms of feeling like it is there, but maybe that is due to being shot in Earth environment rather than space; other than that, I was very impressed with most of the VFX (which are the only things I usually watch with FC, as I dislike most of the film outside of Woodard’s performance.)

Bear in mind that the VFX of First Contact are getting close to a quarter of a century old. But yes, the Vulcan ship landing was clunky as hell. It should have been a CE3K moment, but it just sort of squatted and pooped out some Vulcans.

I still look at late 90s miniature motion control as the zenith of spaceship stuff (except for TMP and 2001, which still look better most of the time.) There have been occasional recent exceptions like GRAVITY and INTERSTELLAR (the latter being model-driven, not CG for the ships), but they really are exceptions. The majority of the CG ship stuff from the last 2 decades just doesn’t measure up to the best miniature work.

What’s funny is that the VFX guys who did the Vulcan shuttle were just so proud of it — they had worked on some series eps and really felt they had earned this sequence, which was described to them as being the most important moment in trek history — and the impression I got when talking with them before the film came out was that the results were going to be (no pun intended) out of this world.

I think they’d’ve have been much better off going with a physical miniature, assuming ILM would have had time to take on another project on that film (which is unlikely, given how Paramount kept demanding more and more iterations on stuff that looked fine the first or second time.)

I can tell you that I saw the PHOENIX and the E-E miniatures in person on the mo-con stage and even for somebody as jaded as me, the PHOENIX was like this amazing jewel, especially those impossibly tiny warp nacelle caps. I didn’t just covet it, I practically daydreamed about it during a very long commute home that day from Marin. The fact they got the -e painted in something like ten days is just a miracle.

I’m not always ILM’s biggest fan — I think of what they did to the refit with dulling spray and shooting/compositing choices as something of an atrocity, and consider that design work they did on SFS and TVH (except the Bird of Prey) to be largely ill-considered, mostly belonging in another universe either far far away or in Wolfgang Peterson and Joe Dante pictures — but I like most of their GEN and FC work a whole lot. And some of the stuff that doesn’t look good in FC, like the ‘jello fire’ coolant effect, was mandated by Paramount, so I don’t blame Knoll & co.

So with you on that. I never get the feeling from CGI space shots that they’re ‘real’ in the same way that I feel like model shots look better. I think TMP and TWOK and SFS and TUC and GEN and FC all look ‘real’ in a way that ST09 never did. It’s really puzzling why, after all these decades, they still can’t get it right.

ST09 ships looked damn good.

I watched “A Million ways to die in the West” for the first time this weekend. Typical Seth humor and his acting wasn’t bad either. His comedic timing was on point in many scenes.

Dr beckett

That movie got terrible reviews and I wanted to see just how bad it really was (like HOLMES AND WATSON today), so I watched it at home. And I was pleasantly surprised at how funny and entertaining it was. It’s not a great movie, but it’s fun.

@Dr beckett — (a character dear to my heart BTW), I was really looking forward to A MILLION WAYS TO DIE’ from trailers, and the fact that I like FAMILY GUY; but it was pretty disappointing. It slowly meandered around, the jokes weren’t particularly funny, or fresh, and Seth was as wooden as the set, made all the more apparent by the otherwise excellent cast around him. But I would sure take what he did there in many cases over what he’s doing in ORVILLE. At least he sort of made sense in that role. Either way, different strokes for different folks.

Like Discovery? Ahahahaha!

I’m not watching the show anymore allura should be back on the show I think the show is going to take a nosedive in the ratings and I don’t like Seth MacFarlane profanity what are you doing to talk show it’s disgusting

Allura is Supergirl’s mother, nobody on the Orville has that name. Now if you mean Alara Kitan the actress, Halston Sage, decided to leave, she was not fired, so even if they want to bring her back its her decision all the way. Blaming Seth for Halston’s decision is assinine.

Not if there was sexual harassment involved

There wasn’t Halston and MacFarlane were dating, and had been for sometime before the Orville began production on season 1.

There wasn’t

You know this how? The issue needs to be considered anytime a showrunner gets involved with a cast member. Or did you sleep through Harvey Weinstein?

First, they were a couple before the show existed. Their relationship had nothing to do with her job and she wasn’t hired on the Orville by Seth.

Second, Halston is not making any accusations of any kind whatsoever against Seth. None. I’ll take her word on the matter thanks. It was her decision to leave the show, I have no idea of the status of her and Seth’s relationship as a couple, so far as I know they are still dating.

You’re stirring a pot without a pot or a ladle.

This is awful. It’s unwatchable.


I happen to agree, but for my own part, I don’t like raining on the parade of those who enjoy it in a forum specifically designed for those who enjoy it. WC, enjoy away, and ignore the haters.

I don’t care about people’s opinions, I care when they make statements as if they were facts without any actual facts to support them. The show is not unwatchable, its number 1 in DVR +7 Ratings for 18 to 49 year olds, that is eminently watchable. It isn’t awful either, there are no Idols, Voices, Survivors, Kardashians, or any other trace of the visual feces known as “Reality TV” other than the well used joke from season 1.

Well I find it unwatchable, but i’ll openly admit there are CLEARLY many people who enjoy it. It’s just not for me. I’m pleased to see it find its audience: more sci-fi on TV is good for the genre.

I agree with you.

I would have to disagree.

What is it that Discovery fans say? Haters gonna hate?

I don’t think there’s a problem with the speed of rotation of the planet in relation to its mass or the surface gravitational acceleration. It’s just weird that an escape pod programmed to land on the night side would land where the night was about to end. But maybe that was the only reasonable landmass available. And why didn’t they realize this until it was already daylight? It must have been a very slow sunrise.

Scientific accuracy is not The Orville’s strong suit.

Nor was it ever Trek’s.

or FIREFLY’s. Man, I was convinced listening to the opening voiceover during broadcast run that they didn’t know the difference between solar system and galaxy. I’ve since seen stuff indicating the whole series and movie takes place in a single star system with hundreds of terraformed planets, so you don’t actually have any FTL at all.


They actually changed the intro. The first one or two Firefly episodes had an intro that set the story in a different galaxy. I guess they got comments about just how far away that would be, so they changed the setting to a single star system within the Milky Way. And that actually bothered me a bit, too, because it seems very unlikely that there would be that many Earth-like planets within a single star system. But, who knows. Weirder things have borne out true.

@HubcapDave — which is a shame given MacFarlane’s pedigree with COSMOS. That said, ORVILLE started out as a parody of Trek, so highlighting Trek’s own shortcomings in that area would have made sense. Now, I’m just confused by it …

Sure, but at least this is something interesting to discuss. And more reasonable than the imminent collision with a pulsar in 5 hours that we got on Discovery.

I am not getting what this show is, at times it’s a TNG-lite homage, other times it’s a poor man’s Cheech and Chong I think every episode I’ve seen is derivative. The only episode I thought was a legitimate entry was the social media one, which still had echoes of TNG’s Justice about it. I think at some point it needs to decide if its low budget Trek, if it’s a ‘hilarious’ drugs referencing spoof or if its trying to be credible sci fi, because this bricolage isn’t working. The season two opener with the b plot about the kids making booze??? Boring and so safe/clichéd.

I don’t see these drugs references you’re referring to.

Are you serious?

In one, only one, episode Kelley replicated a pot brownie. This was a reference to the expanding and decades overdue legalization of marijuana in the US, for most of the rest of the world it was never illegal to begin with. That has been the only drug reference so far, and that was season 1 episode 2.

And here we have it, 3 posts and we’ve gone from it didn’t happen, to it happened once (and it doesn’t matter) who are you Rudy Giuliani? I’ve watched every episode, I find it works as background TV when I am working from home, and I am confident there is more than one. Maybe it’s a language thing or maybe you are referring to references to actual 20th century drugs where I am counting references to being high or wasted. I wouldn’t rule out a misinterpretation on my part (nobody is perfect), unfortunately the show isn’t compelling enough for me to watch twice with a notepad to prove my belief. But my point wasn’t that those references make it bad, more that the show is so tame about said references that it simply has no identity, its too attracted to sincerity when iconoclasm would be a better route.

Look at Red Dwarf, its started as an original sitcom about people who hate each other being stuck on a space ship and unfortunately it became predictable and repetitive over time. To me the Orville has jumped straight to Red Dwarf’s predictable era, Shape of Kryten’s head joke? check, Space Core directive joke? Check, Cat smelling something joke? check. I’m not saying the Orville is out and out garbage, just that I think there is room for a Star Trek spoof and the Orville isn’t delivering a credible version of it.

I mean, all of the characters are nice, everyone gets along, there is more character conflict in The Goldbergs. What are Kelly’s flaws? What are Eds? Name a character the audience loves to hate? The first season 2 episode literally had a B plot about kids getting into trouble at school 25 years after Rom and Nog were doing it, only DS9 was braver because a lot of the time Jake was an equal participant! The Orville is the Brady Bunch of science fiction comedy.

The social media episode was well done and had the required social commentary, but it felt like an episode of “Sliders”.

At least the first two seasons of Sliders were great stuff. The Orville might be okay but it can’t be like that show.

“A day on this planet is 23 Earth days long. Is that possible? Wouldn’t a planet with that slow of a rotation have a tiny gravity, or a mass so huge that it couldn’t support life?”

Please tell me you don’t think gravity is caused by a planet’s rotation. Slow rotation wouldn’t cause tiny gravity for any logical reason at all, unless you think gravity is caused by a planet’s rotational speed.

If you think that, don’t review science fiction anymore until you’ve read a science book or two. Or at least research something like planets and their rotational speeds BEFORE you write something about it.

What he said

I asked it as a question, because I thought some of you would know. I apologize for my ignorance on this matter.

Surface gravity is dependent on three things: Mass, diameter, and density of the planet. A world the diameter of Earth that was 100% lead would have a higher surface gravity than one that was all ice–different masses, different densities. If you increased the diameter of the lead Earth, surface gravity would actually decrease. And so forth.

The spin rate of the planet produces a centrifugal force which counteracts gravity to a small extent. At the Earth’s equator, the “effective gravity” is reduced by about 0.35%. I believe this effect explains why the Earth bulges a little bit at the equator.
Loved this episode, BTW.

I like the show. And I don’t want the humour to disappear. My fear is that MacFarlane will go the Orci route and pay attention to a handful of comments on sites like this one.

If you don’t like the show and don’t watch it, why keep commenting?

Trouble is Jack ‘if you dont like something, dont comment’ is a rule your comment breaks isnt it? However the reason people comment, especially about the Orvillle is:
1, its heralded as ‘true’ Star trek by fans, which is baffling
2, its such a mix bag
3, sometimes an alternative perspective is useful in reconciling your issues with something
4, arguing the toss on the internet is a global passtime


“And I don’t want the humour to disappear. ”

Too late. It feels like it did.

The Orville is still a lot better than Star Trek Discovery.

I dont agree with this. And I also think its a tedious point to make. Its more than possible for people to like both, or neither. I get why people wouldnt like Discovery, I personally think its excellent. But for me is if The Orville is your idea of pure Star Trek then surely you’d watch a TNG box set which would be better in every way. I think the Orville has the potential to be an interesting show, I just think it lacks the courage to be what it wants. Its so tame, tame stories, tame characters, tame visuals, tame comedy.

The Orville been bolder touching sensitive topics in one season and a few episode more then any Star Trek show in the first two season. Frankly, I’m surprised they been able to be so in people face. TNG was a mix episodes of shows the first two seasons.

Wow, maybe its down to interpretation but I’d say Nog’s recovery from a disabling war wound in Its Only a Paper Moon’ was far more believeable, sensitive, hard hitting and relateable than the Porno episode which covered the same ground. I get that the reason for the addiction, FGM, is a brutal and real practice, however we saw Nog’s optemism, his hard journey to join starfleet and then we saw his injury, how it affected him and how he dealt with it. Bortas’s child seems fine, its only Bortas who has an issue with it, which he deals with in comedy sex scenarios, Its classic tell and not show. With Nog’s story we see it all. With Bortas’s story we are told there is a problem to justify a porn gag and a stabbing/divorce gag.

A TNG box set would include more than the first two seasons. TNG in the mid-late 80s set a template for TV sci fi in general and trek in specific. And my point is that as I see the best of the Orville is a slightly crude and watered down version of the TNG episodes it copies.

But put against Trek in general id say Trek has always been harder hitting and more relevent.
Its Only a Paper Moon > Bortas comedy holodeck addiction (essentially the same story)

Definitely not true with Season 2. Barring this episode Orville E1-3 have been horrible.

1st season, no question. 2nd season? Discovery has the early lead after one show compared to Orivlle’s 4.

So far, Discovery season 2 is sitting as a dismal 28% audience approval on Rotten Tomatoes (https://www.rottentomatoes.com/tv/star_trek_discovery/s02). If that’s your idea of an “early lead”, I’d hate to see what your idea of a disappointment looks like. Also, if Discovery season 2 is so strong at the START of the season, why all the reports of chaos behind the scenes and the showrunners being FIRED by CBS after the first five episodes? If they did such a “good” solid job with the early episodes, does that mean the show will suck starting with episode 6?

lol that 28% is proof it’s being spammed by Orville fans. NO show has such a high disparity, it’s laughable that anyone would take that seriously.

I remember before the DSC pilot aired, it somehow already had a low audience score, and over 5000 reviews. The day it aired, it jumped to 10,000, more triple what most popular shows had after their season premieres. A week later, it had 25,000, almost 10 times what other season premieres had, and they were, funny enough, mostly from people with no avatars.

At one point, RT tried to purge fake accounts and the number of reviews were cut in half over the course of a day.

Audience scores are easily manipulated, just as DC fans tried to do for Black Panther and Infinity War.

Even though I haven’t caught any later S1 or more recent episodes, I hope the show continues. Obviously it is something that some Trek fans really like so let’s hope the show can build on its S2E1 ratings and the second episode ratings were just an anomaly. I will try to make sure I catch E3 to get a better idea how the show is doing.

they should’ve started the season with the last 2 episodes. I fear those first two lost the audience they would’ve needed to stay. Ratings are horrible.

Ratings are horrible because it’s been a poor season.
I really couldn’t connect with the first two episodes I’ve seen. They are horrible actually.
Orville as a concept could be great but execution is not doing justice so far, IMO.

If the ratings are indeed down I think it’s because they have virtually abandoned the comedic aspects of the show. Without that, it’s awfully bland. The comedy was what set the show apart.

I think the s2 e2 carried over from last year is the only serious winner of the bunch to air this season, but at least this last one started strong. It’s interesting to me that opinion about what works on this show is so divided. I like all the serious downer stuff, and most of the Bortus stuff, but am not all that thrilled with the lead humans on the show. And occasionally it just makes me laugh out loud due to some anachronistic absurdity. I haven’t missed it yet, but I’m not exactly hooked either.

I’ve laughed at nothing so far. Burtus character I think I hate lol.
I do want to like Orville as the concept has potential, but so far I’m not keen on it.

I asked a TV critic about how ratings work in this era, and she said The Orville gets most of its audience from DVR viewings, in the +7 category, and they don’t put those numbers out until several weeks later. I looked up the ratings for the Orville premiere and it said it was first in DVR viewings in the 18 to 49 category.

@Vice Admiral Nakamura — yeah, but you can’t pay for a show with L+7 ratings. Advertisers don’t even really count L+3, which are allowed to count toward actual viewers. The reality is, ORVILLE is a LOW priority for those viewers, at least that’s how advertisers see it. So FOX, and now Disney, are free to deficit finance the series in hopes that the audience latency translates to major syndication deals and a successful post broadcast life, but the reality is studios don’t work that way. The network is only doing it because of its relationship with MacFarlane, just like the studio. It will be interesting to see what Disney decides to do with the series once they take over Fox Studios. As long as MacFarlane is making money for the studio and network, Disney may likewise give him a pass. But if FOX doesn’t cover the costs with a license fee, Disney might explore other options for it, like it’s own streaming service they’re launching in the Fall. That’ll be the real test for its longevity, because with ratings that depend on L+7, commercial broadcast is not the venue for it.

Can you please define the terms L+3 and L+7 for those of us not in the industry? Thanks.

Live plus 3 and Live plus 7.

This means Night of broadcast plus 3 or 7 days to account for people watching via DVR, Hulu, or other legal means, most streaming services that offer new episodes of current season shows delay it until the night after broadcast, some people wait a couple of weeks between watching so they can get 2 or 3 episodes at once to make it feel like a movie, stuff like that. Same day ratings are very much a lesser concern nowadays.

@The River Temarc — it means that viewers watched the show within 3 and 7 days of the original broadcast, respectively. The live broadcast is really the only number the advertisers care about, because it’s one of the few guarantees the audience has actually seen the commercials they’re paying FOX to broadcast, which in turn supports the show financially — and in this case, a very expensive show. Advertisers give some weight to the +3 data, but almost none to the +7, which they allow per a deal with the networks. However, they couldn’t care less about any data 8+. Which means binge-watchers are basically killing the ad-revenue for the show. The assumption being that anybody watching post live is skipping the commercials on a DVR.

To the extent there’s a thriving audience for the show, interested enough to watch the show at some point following the initial broadcast, it basically means the audience is only interested in watching the show for free, since the network isn’t seeing any income for those viewings form the advertisers. As much as that might delight the producers, neither the network, nor studio can afford to make an expensive TV series for free.

Where the L+3 and +7 data becomes valuable is for Disney/Fox to sell it to a streaming service, which draws in the viewers who subsidize the show by subscription. That said, any audience who doesn’t really prioritize the show within the +3 window, likely isn’t interested in subscribing to a service just for that show, and certainly not beyond the +7 window.

Curious Cadet,

Speaking of streaming, ever since Disney announced they were going to follow CBS into the streaming “network” (channel?) subscription business, I’ve been pondering whether they were considering shuttling Seth’s projects off to there, selling him on the less censorship, longer episodic times, etc.?

Even been pondering whether they might try to launch such a thing not just on their impressive vault alone, but also, making it exclusive for Seth’s various productions’ new content, i.e. episodes?

I thought the episode was a good one…i initially feared that the story-line was going to forced to be too serious in nature. But it touched upon a subplot of moving on and being hurt by deception…which I will suspect with change the way Ed as a capt and person views things and people…being shielded and guarded.
The ironic part is the story character scenario of Janel being a Krill is almost a parallel ripoff of STD Lt Tyler…down to the same last name….its not bad per se, but a little unoriginal especially since view of both shows just came off watching Tyler’s reveal on STD…so its little fresh in the minds.

I thought the episode was one of the better ones. Yes. It’s nothing new story line wise but a story done better. It had new aliens, new civilizations figuratively, and new ships. The mix between humour is more streamlined. I take this mix of a show more then STD anyday. The best part is the acting and conversation between Teleya and Ed. They probably will have a Teleyan Human baby. That would be a interesting twist.

Why does this site review the Orville? It’s a Star Trek site, not a “cheap copy of Star Trek that only exists so that old people can claim that ‘Orville is so much better than DSC'”.


The Orville seems to serve a portion of some Trek fans that feel disenfranchised with Discover and CBS. Personally even though I am a Disco fan and I do not watch much of The Orville, Trekmovie.com has done a great job compiling Trek content for us fans, so if they want to provide some info re The Orville too, so be it.

Orville is basically a unofficial Star Trek show right down to the fact that the producers are ex-trek-producers and fans, we have had veteran Trek stars on the show, both behind and in front of the camera, and the whole concept is related to Star Trek, in the guise of spoof and dramedy, as we all know.
And also McFarlane being the well known rich TrekGeek, the biggest there is probably.
I’d say TrekMovie.com can say Orville falls into their remit.

I watch both The Orville and Discovery, and I am very far from the only one.

It’s reviewed because it’s a TNG clone, and there are a ton of Trek alumni involved with it. No more, no less.

If you really want to get pedantic over it, why are they covering Discovery? After all, the name of the place is “TrekMovie.com”!

You must not have been around back in the day when they used to do a roundup of all things Sci-Fi.

We’ve been through this. I’m not a fan of seeing it here either, but the admins have made it clear they will cover it, so best to just get used to it. This is their site. They offer a tremendous service to Trek fans for free, it’s a small nuisance at worst.

Speaking of Star Trek, for the latest episode of The Orville, one of the writers has 19 Star Trek writings credits, and the other has 111 Star Trek writing credits. That’s funny you mention old people. My minor-age niece/nephew and their friends watch The Orville, and I don’t think they have heard of Discovery (due to All Access, I would guess). (As a point of trivia, Alex Kurtzman is 7 weeks older than Seth MacFarlane).

Why does somebody have to make this protest every, single time?

If you don’t like it, scroll past. It’s unbelievably easy to do.

There have been 19 posts about DSC since the last Orville post.

Why don’t you go read them instead, and leave this one alone?


Isn’t it a little late, in this estimation of yours that the site should only review corporate licensed Trek productions to complain about about this, now? You should’ve headed this off by speaking up when they started reviewing fan produced episodes, stage productions in the park, drag shows, etc.

And while I doubt you would then have effectuated any more change than this current feeble attempt will, at least you would’ve seen the handwriting on the wall long erewhile and started casting your gaze elsewhere sparing us all this unenlighten call for less diversity in a STAR TREK fan forum, of all things.

I love reading Orville reviews here. I watch both DSC and Orville and enjoy them both.

On a personal level Trekmovie is one of only two entertainment websites I visit when I have the time, so it works out great. If one doesn’t like Orville content here, then just skip it and move to the next post ;)

I’ll take Gordon Malloy over Reg Barclay any day. Its at least believable that Malloy could be in active service, there is no way Reg Barclay graduated the Academy that Jim Kirk or even Wesley Crusher talked about.

Well I suppose it depends. Is there a social skills class of the Academy? Would they not permit him to graduate simply because he was withdrawn and without friends? He was highly skilled, boasted exceptional intelligence, resourcefulness, and creative thinking. That’s what makes a good Starfleet officer.

What’s less plausible is that he could have gotten to the age of … what, 35?… without ever having used a transporter!

Barclay would have failed the Academy Psych test Wesley took in season 1 of TNG not to mention he would have failed the physical training program called “the best in the galaxy” by Tasha Yar, he would have failed literally every aspect of the Academy that we were given information about in the entire franchise. There is no way for him to even pass the tests to ENTER the Academy much less graduate!

Not unfair points. If we’re looking for justifications, it’s also possible (and I suppose likely, if he passed) that he was different during his academy days. Maybe his problems worsened as he found himself more isolated (and thus ironically, more forced to socialize) on starships.

And we don’t know if there are any folks who get field commissions based on unique skillsets who bypass the Academy, either. If you’ve got a savant with value to the Fed and ‘fleet, you maybe make exceptions.


Not just that, but starfleet is open to sentient beings from civilizations with zero, i.e. they’re extra terrestrial, human social skills. On what basis, as an equal opportunity employer, could they discriminate against solely humans for lacking same?

The funny thing, I’ve been a fan of Dwight Schultz since The A-Team, and I like the Barclay character, its just past the point of plausibility that he could graduate from the Starfleet Academy we have been told about all these years. I would also have to say that if he was different during the Academy days then his superiors have been grossly negligent by leaving someone on active duty that displays that level of personality change as that indicates severe neurological damage.

Even the guy from Voyager “Good Sheppard”, played by the actor who played the Android Chip in Not Quite Human was more plausible to have graduated the Academy.

Sometimes to create an interesting character shows will bend the confines of believability. I think they bent it, but never broke it. As Janeway states in “Good Sheppard”, there’s always people who slip through the cracks.

@Afterburn — heck it happens today. Senators pull strings to get kids of affluent donors into the Military Academies all the time, and rules are sometimes softened or bent to make sure those cadets graduate despite not meeting all of the minimum standards 100%.


The actor is Jay Underwood, he played the android Chip in Not Quite Human. His character’s name in Good Sheppard was Mortimer Herron. He was also in The Boy Who Could Fly with a pre-Princess Bride Fred Savage & the original Herman Munster Fred Gwynne.

My Harriman was in response to CC. I know who Jay Underwood is owing to THE BOY WHO COULD FLY, but have never seen the episode you’re talking about.

My appologies, may I suggest the episode if your in a Voyager mood then.

I don’t think I’ve seen VOYAGER this century, except for the finale. Maybe I’ll try the Jon Savage 2parter first.

Side note… Funny you mention that episode as I am rewatching Voyage for the first time and just saw the episode only yesterday!

It sticks in my head because I was a big fan of Not Quite Human as a kid and I recognized him immediately.

I’m pretty sure Yar was specifically referring to the security division, not Starfleet (or the Academy) as a whole. Also, I didn’t see a lot of evidence that Barclay was *physically* unfit.

The “psych test” thing was pretty silly all around, as was the whole notion of “only one or three geniuses gets admitted.” I read read these aspects of Wesley’s application as a special requirement for the Academy’s early admission program. We never saw any indication that he re-took these tests when applying at a conventional age.

The episode witb Wesley has multiple Enterprise officers talking about taking the same tests Wesley did. This was presented as standard Academy Entrance exams in the episode and nothing has later contradicted that. Wesley did retake the exams but in that episode he was not on Enterprise, he had gone to a starbase it was mentioned in dialogue. Then he missed his transport to the Academy later to save the ship and Picard field commissioned him.

Tasha’s exact words were “no physical training in the galaxy compares to Starfleet”.

Twist and turn, Barclay remains an anomoly.

@The River Temarc — I’m not sure we know Barclay’s origin story. But I certainly wouldn’t rule out that a young cadet in different physical condition, and mental state, could pass the Starfleet entrance exams, and then develop some psychological issues, perhaps in part to the pressures of their assignments, or some traumatic experience that reverted them to an introverted state. Just as I doubt the Scotty of TWOK could pass the Starfleet physical entrance exam, people have psychological changes throughout life as well. I have friends who went to WestPoint who couldn’t qualify today, physically or mentally. Everyone in the military knows someone who they went served with who couldn’t cut it today.

As horrid a character as I find Malloy, I would prefer to follow him around to the neurotic Barclay.

Ever since he moved to Chief Engineer, Lamarr has been the most useless character. They should have brought in someone, because having Lamarr and Gordon on the bridge at the helm together worked really well and they tore that apart. I actually really like Scott Grimes as Gordon and J Lee as Lamarr, I just wish they recognized the bromance and ran with it more.


Good point. I think you’re right. They should bring Lamarr back next to Gordon.

Exactly, that bromance was working in the first season. Now the bridge just seems empty.

Wait, are you all suggesting Gordon get assigned to Engineering to restore the dynamic? Well, can’t deny wondering how an Engineering with Scotty, Keenser and Chekov in it was going to work out?

Um, no. I think they need someone in the chair next to gordon for him to bounce off of. As a character Malloy doesn’t do much on his own, he’s always better bouncing off of another character. Ditto Lamarr. It was working til they moved him off the conn. I would have preferred Lamarr stay at conn and a new engineer be brought on board, especially now that Alara is gone. Bortis can do the job of security and tactical, I’m not sure why they choose to have separate officers a la Tasha/Worf.

@Marcelo — kind of makes you wonder why they did it, except: Geordi started on the bridge and went to Engineering, and it’s really hard for Braga to come up with original ideas?

True, but I got very tired of their antics very fast. They should never be a part of landing parties, I’ll tell you that.

In a vacuum, the main storyline was compelling and well-executed. I did not see the Tyler twist coming and figured she’d be a season long regular. In the context of watching this after hundreds of Star Trek episodes, the plot felt pretty formulaic and anything but fresh.

I am starting to think that Orville might have better off skipping the Star Trek homage and forging its own unique identity. We’ve certainly seen plenty of other sci-fi starship shows do that – e.g. The Expanse, BSG and the little seen Other Space. Or, maybe ala Galaxy Quest, Orville would have been better as a one-time movie.

I’m still onboard for the ride for now but hope season 2 sharpens its focus.

@Randy — I didn’t see the twist coming either. And I was so bored by the beginning of the episode, I fell asleep and missed it. Then went back to see it and still missed it — because it wasn’t there. Just one minute she’s human, then the next a mustache-twirling Krill. It was so badly done in terms of her seeking revenge, and then trusting him, with the ultimate insult of her becoming a damsel in distress. And Ed was as stiff as a stale cracker, and about as palatable. He’s a terrible actor, no expression, no emotion. The Krill are fast becoming a two-dimensional stereotype, and their ridiculous ships unwatchable. And Ed is making speeches with the depth of Jim Kirk outsmarting a super-computer.

The first four episodes have really been a disappointment. The previews make the next one seem like it might be good, but then so did they for this one.

This looks like a parody, and acts like a parody but brother it’s fast becoming something else, that’s neither parody, nor drama. At least last season it tried to be funny. FOX can’t be happy with this bait-and-switch.

To be fair, I think GALAXY QUEST would have made a fantastic series, and ORVILLE had every potential to take that legacy and run with it. Instead, MacFarlane just squandered the opportunity to make a vanity project to allow him to play Captain Kirk, without adding anything original of his own to it. I’m sort of reminded of Melllvar’s screenplay …

GQ will still make for a good series, assuming they figure out which aspects of the film need to get played up. I keep thinking that doing it as a mix of out in space plus back on Earth intercutting might not work for a series, but perhaps … ? Not having Rickman is the real problem (though having to deal with Tim Allen might be an even bigger deal, come to think of it. Am thinking any SJW treatments would probably get his ‘nix this’ stamp.)

I can’t see how GALAXY QUEST would make a good series. The main appeal of the story is the fish out of water situation of our protagonists. By the end of the story, they’ve developed spaceship skills enough to defeat the villain and save the day — they’re no longer fish out of water, and they’re aware of their whole predicament. So, what would they do over the course of a series? They can’t go back to being unwitting heroes. Making them a regular spaceship crew would be ridiculous — we have astronauts and aviators who are much better qualified. And even if they were, for a lark, made a regular crew of a spaceship, then it would just be Trek knock-off with no twist.

I just assumed most of it would be them working on the TV series, not the SF end of things. You could still have the fantasy aspect with the alien girl, and stuff coming down to earth, and even these guys being drafted to help NASA on a consultant basis (using their celebrityhood as a cover.) I have a tendency to look at stuff through the wrong end of the scope, perspective-wise — I’ve only had a handful of genuinely high-concept ideas in my life, the best of which was probably JURASSIC QUARK (which I guess is a possible for the Picard-era series, now that I think of it) — so who knows how it will go?

I think meta-on-top-of-meta might fly in this era too, so they could also have been caught in development hell for the last couple decades, trying to get a feature adaptation of their actual adventure made and finding it sidelined by ‘creatives’ who insist on messing with the funny stuff or cutting the serious bits. Shoot, you could have them get cancelled or thrown off the studio lot and call their alien buds to trot out the omega 13 to give them another take at things — you don’t want to deus-ex-machina every time out, but this show would have that option built into its DNA from the feature.

Or you could find that Guy became an Oscar winning character actor who is too ‘big’ for GQ now. Or that the Captain has turned into a right wing reactionary jerk. (I’m just spitballing, don’t take any of this too seriously.)

Supposedly they have a showrunner with a good rep, so maybe he has a whole approach locked in they bought off on before starting development again.

I think I should have been born into a timeline where SEINFELD IN SPACE was a series — either that or the late Sol Weinstein’s Israel Bond novels got adapted for Jerry S to play oy-oy-seven. I’m not Jewish, but there’s a crazed quasi-DennisMiller-in-the-old-days quality I’ve not seen in narrative programming that would have been my ‘excel at this’ niche.


I think you have some good ideas there. I’m not sure that they could be dragged out for an entire series, but I think they might make a good sequel feature film. Or, maybe a mini-series.

Cygnus-X1 & kmart,

Paramount’s “vision” for the GQ series was NEVER to base it on the plot of the movie per se, but to make the fictional tv series and its episodes mentioned in the GQ movie, or rather flesh them out, for real.

(jaw drop)
For real? I’m thinking I spent more time making that post than they did in settling for that approach. I am so seriously bummed.

What are they going to do for resonance, cast Valerie Bertinelli from C.H.O.M.P.S. for the CHOMPERS episode? This concept so needed a Charlie Kaufmann approach!

@Disinvited — really!? That completely undermines the potential of that concept. In order for it to work, they would have had to make it a cheesy sci-fi knock-off of StarTrek, in which the characters were incompetent (not unlike ORVILLE), and that loses much of the charm (not unlike ORVILLE).

It needs some workshoping, but at the end of the movie, I rather got the impression that they were making the series in space — i.e. the actors were using real tech to shoot stories in space during peacetime after they saved the galaxy. You could introduce studio execs and producers, and crew also in space to shoot the series and then get caught in scenarios where something real happens while they’re shooting their fake TV show. An entire season could be based on the cast and crew trying to get out of one dangerous situation after another, with their usual humorous aplomb. Season 2 could then be that the ratings were so high from that season, that they can’t turn down doing it again, and so on. Perhaps, one season they refuse to go back into space, then aliens invade Earth, and only they can defend Earth because of the experiences only they have. Etc. There’s just so many more appropriate ways to go with this concept.

Curious Cadet,

It all seemed crazy to me too, until much later when I started reading their cross-marketing plans which seem to hint that by creating the “real” series they think they can make the movie’s parody of it more moving for these new viewers when they discover the film which I think means more GQ movies based on the original premise?

To my mind, to achieve this goal, they can’t make the series as sitcomy as they seemed to be originally indicating but rather have it stradle a line where they subtlely introduce loveable quirky elements to the series which they can later mine for comedy gold in the movies’ parodies of it.

It’s never been clear to me who Paramount thinks is the genius that can coordinate this grand comedic scheme?


That seems like a terrible idea. At least someone had the sense to nix it.

I thought GQ was in active development again as of last summer. I even thought a 2019 air date was bandied about.


Your understanding of GQ’s ptoduction status was mine as well, but I have been wondering how they were financing it?

One can hope that if Paramount’s original designs got nixed (Possibly due to Allen’s sitcom resurrection?) that a new direction would emerge. But last I read they had seen ORVILLE’s 1st season and planned to embrace its perceived goal of an sf sitcom wholeheartedly.

A planet’s gravity is a function of its mass, not angular momentum.

I think you may be missing the point. This is Orville’s take of the phenomenon of being “catfished”.

Now, part of Orville’s mission IS to go where others have gone before, then put their own spin on it. On Trek, Kirk would fall deeply in love (I’m thinking of Edith Keeler here), then never speak of it again. Chakotay’s relationship arc with Seska in Voyager was a closer template for this episode, but I think Ed may be a while getting over being catfished so badly. I may go on a limb and say this may not be the end as far as this connection goes. Mercer’s willingness to defend Teleya’s life at the risk of his own was second nature to him, and that might give any enemy a moment of pause. She’s not a love interest; she’s the seed that may take root when the Krill and the Union need to find common cause.

@Chuck — “catfished”? Really? If so, that makes this even more shallow than I first observed. No, I think your “limb” explanation is closer to what the writer’s intended. It was handled with all the subtlety of using a hammer to fix a watch, but nevertheless, I think you may be right. The problem is, it was basically a rehash of the first episode where he saved her and the children, albeit this time he didn’t kill her crewmates, and protected her from the enemy (and likely made the Union a new enemy?). So hopefully next time they’ll get on with it.

Chuck Abernathy

This is Orville’s take of the phenomenon of being “catfished”.

Ha! Interesting point.

Another very satisfying hour for me. The review is correct in that the episode didn’t really break any new ground, but I found the themes very relevant to today’s social morass. Orville always leaves me feeling good at the end, and that says a lot considering the divisive times we’re in. I’m one of the ones who’s struggled with Discovery thus far (though the season 2 opener was a vast improvement). Not so with Orville, it had me hooked from the first episode. And since I’m an adult, I can watch both without any malice towards others. Nice work, Seth MacFarlane, and congrats to the happy couple on the engagement! I appreciate that Trekmovie keeps a pulse on this show, very much. Ok, now back to rewatching Game Of Thrones before the premiere in April.

Pretty good episode. Loved the fact that the escape pod seeks out the dark side of the planet — guess they’re assuming you need cover. Like the location shooting, too.

Krill die in direct sunlight, so naturally their escape pods are going to go for the night side.

I do admit to kind of liking the dying in light thing, as it kind of points to their unyielding fundamentalism as something that doesn’t survive any serious scrutiny once out in the open.

I’d think the ‘future music’ thing is a great example of a serious challenge to throw down with. Best bet would be to avoid sampling altogether, which would be enough to make it seem like another world to modern young-uns, AND to stop pinching so much from Goldsmith and other greats (plus Horner, who by his derivative and repetitive nature can only be considered entertaining at best.)

TNG avoided a lot of dramatic possibilities by limiting the theatrical stuff to seriously old-fashioned stage presentations, instead of showing how you could devise a mass entertainment using the holodeck tech or something VR+, which only got hinted at on some lousy eps like the Geordi’s mama one. I had a pitch with a c-plot/runner story about Data trying to come up with a unique gift for Picard’s b-day (he always manages to be off the ship for his birthday to avoid these things, and this is one time he can’t manage that), and he winds up using these Easter Island-head looking ‘holo-men’ that are part of the a-plot, repurposing them as the world’s scariest-looking Barbershop Quartet, singing Happy Birthday to Picard at the end. Do something visual and different, sort of like how Wesley devised that great date second season where he used the holodeck to take the girl to weird rocks in space and suchlike.

I disagree with about half of the opinions in this review. It’s always strange when someone arrives at a similar conclusion in their assessment of a piece of entertainment, but for reasons that are largely contrary to your own. As we often say here, there’s no accounting for taste.

“Nothing Left on Earth Excepting Fishes” is a competent but bland episode that hits all the expected marks but does very little that isn’t completely safe, boldly going where we have been many times before.”

I agree that most of the tropes are familiar, and the writer does a good job of showing us where in Trek we’ve seen them before, but there’s one trope in “Nothing Left…” that is new territory, and the writer completely missed it, which isn’t too surprising being that it’s given shallow secondary treatment as a theme. More on this below.

“Will she need to learn to trust him, despite herself? Check. The episode needs to add more boxes, because all of these are checked, and were checked long before they unspooled on screen.”

The Krill have thus far been completely intransigent in their dealings with not only humans, but with all other non-believing species. The only other religiously dogmatic villain in Trek that I can think of are the Sphere Builders (“the Makers”) worshipers in ENT’s “Chosen Realm,” one of whom is a suicide bomber. And, the Krill having been portrayed as likewise stubborn and dogmatic, it was not necessarily a given that Teleya would end up trusting Mercer. It would have been entirely in character for her to have killed Mercer (and thereby herself) out of stubborn contempt for him as an immoral, heathen non-believer, just as the worshiper in “Chosen Realm.” Or for her to have used Mercer as a human shield in the cave against the attacking aliens (who look like a cross between the Remans from NEMESIS and the Orcs from LOTR). Or for something else to have happened.

Mercer was able to get Teleya to trust him by showing her that her only alternative was certain death. And so she chooses to trust Mercer out of rational self-interest. But, I disagree that it was a given from the outset of the story. (Though, I’m sure we all expected that Mercer would survive the incident, however it unfolded.) BTW, another variation on the trust your enemy theme was in TNG’s “The Enemy.” Themes that resonate by showing us something of the human condition are bound to be revisited, and I disagree that revisiting them is a bad thing per se. The issue is whether there’s anything fresh about the way it’s revisited.

“Malloy is probably the most useless character on the show, serving only to deliver the lamest of the show’s punchlines.”

Malloy might deliver some of the show’s lamest punchlines, but he also delivers many of the show’s funniest punchlines, such as the line in “Home” about him and his family being “trash.” That was hilarious. Useless? Comedy is Malloy’s main function on the show. And while I’d agree that Malloy wasn’t all that funny in this episode, most people who like the show seem to like it, at least in part, because of the comedy, of which Malloy is usually a main ingredient. So, I don’t see how you can call the main comic-relief character in a comedy show useless. But, there are people who don’t think THE BIG LEBOWSKI is funny, either. And neither will I probably never understand that.

Only Bortus enlivens the storyline with his characteristically-blunt assessment of Malloy’s chances: “He will fail.”

You don’t think Malloy is funny at all, but you liked that line?!? That’s the cheesiest, most predictable line in the whole episode. Bortus began the show with very promising comedic potential and has completely gone downhill since.

“There’s nothing badly done about this episode, but nothing that stands out as excellent or challenging, either.”

I’m always dubious when someone criticizes a dramatic work for not being “challenging.” What sort of challenge would they like to have gotten from it? A moral challenge? A challenge to their values or an intellectual challenge? If the implication is a moral challenge, then is it their own values that they’d like to have challenged or just the values of people with whom they disagree? If they value equality, for example, would they like to see a show make a strong case for the value of social hierarchy and systemic inequality? I’m dubious that people who say they want a show to be more challenging truly want their own values challenged. I’m dubious that many people really want feelings of irritation, anger and defensiveness evoked by their weekly entertainment. But, without further clarification, I suppose I can only give the writer the benefit of the doubt.

As for my own opinion, I actually agree that “Nothing Left…” is a middling Orville episode. There are a couple of technical issues that took me out of the story. Firstly, Teleya says that she underwent an extremely painful “trans-celluar” procedure in order to appear human. And she says this not 10 seconds after actually being human. A procedure that would make an extra-terrestrial person pass for a human would have to involved genetic engineering. It’s more than likely that Krill, like most species, have their own scent. Teleya would have to get rid of that scent and replace it with one that would be pleasurable and attractive to a male human. She and Mercer did the do, so she’d have to be fully human inside and out. They expect us to believe that such a transformation could be completely undone in 10 seconds? There’s suspension of disbelief and then there’s ridiculous. When TNG trans-species cosmetic surgery, it was always implied that a certain amount of time had passed during which the procedure was done. The Orville jumped the shark by having Teleya emerge fully transformed, from human to Krill, inside and out, within 10 seconds.

The other technical issue that bothered me is how Teleya and Mercer land on the surface of a nearby planet, again, within seconds of their escape pod being ejected from the Krill ship. Firstly, it’s extremely unlikely that a planet would be that nearby. My knowledge of basic astronomy has unfortunately made it very difficult to suspend disbelief about basic attributes of outer space, one of which is that it is extremely vast and extremely empty. Stars with planetary systems are extremely far apart from each other. The chances of a random location in space having a planet nearby are something like the chances of a random location on the Earth having your passport on it. And, even if we assume that the Krill ship was a few million kilometers (which is very nearby) away from that planet for some reason, landing on its surface 10 seconds later is ludicrous. The escape pod doesn’t have warp engines, and even if it did, the planet has atmospheric resistance. And then, there’s typically a landing sequence whereby the craft gently descends, etc…. They should have implied time passing during both the escape pod and trans-celluar surgery plot points.

At any rate, I wasn’t liking this episode all that much up until the very end. The Malloy storyline didn’t really work, and I mostly agree with the writer as to why (though I strongly disagree about the utility of the Malloy character in general). The technical issues that I mentioned above are symptomatic of the plot being a bit too paint-by-numbers, though, again, I disagree with the writer about the value of the story’s main theme. But, the ending had just enough heart to win me over. I got a nice feeling from this episode at the end, and that redeemed it for me.

The secondary theme that I thought had value and great untapped potential was the concept of Mercer’s perfect woman. Does Mercer really want a woman who likes everything that he likes and never disagrees with him? Is a relationship totally devoid of tension going to satisfy Mercer for very long? Is he actively looking for a submissive mate, the opposite of Kelly? If so, is he aware that that’s what he’s doing? How much tension is the right amount for a relationship, and how much is untenable? Is Ed aware that he’s so easily manipulated, having fallen for a woman who placated and mollified him without ever asserting her own wants and desires over his? This secondary theme could have made for a very interesting story had it been more developed. I see TNG connections to Kamala in “The Perfect Mate” and Minuet in “11001001.”

I realize now how I have missed seeing these kinds of responses, Cyg. Nice to get them again. It’s kind of like in the 90s when Thomas Doherty would write reviews for CINEFANTASTIQUE that were far better — or at least with greater depth — than the projects he was reviewing.


Thanks, I appreciate it!

As much as I love The Orville, I’ve often said that you could make a drinking game for every plot line and trope it lifts from Star Trek. The only problem is, you’d likely die from alcohol poisoning……

Best episode of S2 by far. First 3 episodes were very poor

Amazing episode far better than most syfy shows now. More character development in this episode than in all of star trek discovery.

I like this show and it’s a lot more fun than DSC- to me personally. If you like TNG *and* you’re willing to laugh at all the tropes you should view it. If not and “meh” is something you say more than once a day- you probably will hate it.

Dénes House,

If the concept of how a future society could become so infatuated with an ealier one is so alien to your thought processes, I remind you of Earth’s Roman civilization’s Greek fetish and The Renaissance’s for both.

I would instead simply point to things all around us every day. Movies about Kings and Knights, Robin Hoods and Gladiators, symphonies and operas composed centuries ago being performed by people who worked years to get there, Rennaisance Fairs, the Society for Creative Anachronism, its all there around us. The problem is that sci-fi in general really has no way to dream up “future pop culture”, and it struggles hard when it tries, remember Jono’s music in Suddenly Human (TNG).

I thought The Fifth Element kind of did good with coming up with future forms of entertainment. That blue opera singer was a classic, one of my favorite scenes in the movie. I think the potential for creativity is there if there are creative people involved with the products.

TNG seemed very resistant to incorporating actual advances in some ways. I think sticking with very conventional stage plays was part of that, though I guess they could have evoked CONSCIENCE OF THE KING as a canon basis for that. But TNG didn’t have the tech or dollar constraints of TOS, so they don’t really have that as an excuse, just the failure of imagination, or fear of same. They might put a sf concept like a dyson sphere in a show, but it was just as background color, not as a key component.

Likewise, evolved versions of the press were never seen. I pitched a story about a newsperson aboardship that was going to touch on right to publish in an era where there are (supposedly) no secrets, as even Starfleet has to have some kind of PR to generate appropriations when it comes to rebuilding the fleet post Wolf359, and boy, even though they were interested in some constitutional issues (actively asking for one in particular in their list of wants for season 4 onward), that was not one of them. They said they were going to introduce an in-house newspaper on the starship later (didn’t happen till VOYAGER) so they didn’t want to bring an outsider in, when I thought this was a chance to see the characters through a different lens, like when the shrink came to MASH. You could have gotten disclosures from Worf over his feelings of failure over not killing Picard to prevent his Borg abduction — which was always my go-to when thinking about BOBW — and other types of explorations that we didn’t get in the usual ten-forward byplay among principals.

Maybe their are social moires in century 24 that we don’t really yet even understand … given the utter surprise in HOLLOW PURSUITS over Barclay having replicated real people, like nobody has ever thought to do this before. Is that because of ethical/moral outrage, or lack of imagination, or a programming issue? I absolutely loved HOLLOW right out of the gate and have probably watched it more times than any other TNG ep except THE DEFECTOR (and since I am not a fan of TNG, there aren’t a lot of eps I’ve seen more than once or twice), but it made me interested in exploring a lot of underpinnings for thing said, yet they seemed to not want to go there about a lot of things touched upon. I kind of feel that if you pick at the scab, you better see what is underneath at some point — but except for FAMILY and a few other occasions, that didn’t happen. I really liked that Dorn, once forced to accept the no-transfusion thing, said he was going to hold the staff accountable for that and make them not ignore it, but they only rarely ever even indirectly reflected upon it that I can recall, outside of NEMESIS in a throwaway line about Rom honor.

Interesting point I had not considered.

Lt. Tyler! Boyo, it sure does seem The Orville is gently trolling Discovery’s (lame) season one “twist.” Hmmm. (I am but a neutral observer in the fandom menace wars.)

Also, social commentary alert. Have people started to pick up on the fact that the monotheistic, supremacist, imperialist Krill have pale white skin? Hmmm.

One more thing, commenters should reconsider calling Orville a rehash of TNG. It really doesn’t have the tone of TNG, at all. It seems like a tribute to pre-Abrams/Kurtzman Star Trek, in general. Season 1 had callbacks to TOS, even. But tonally, the show is nearest to Enterprise, the Trek show with characters that were the closest to contemporary humans. Heck, the last Orville episode could have been an Enterprise episode. I could imagine Trip Tucker (or Tom Paris) making Billy Joel references. Ha ha. And yes, last Orville episode was written by a co-creator of Enterprise, a show with a lot of heart…

I realize the interior of Orville ship is influenced by TNG. And Marvin Rush might be going a bit 1991. And Bortus is like Gay Worf. And Isaac-Data. But The Orville has a different sensibility than TNG, because The Orville’s humans don’t act like they’re from the 24th (or 25th century).

And there may be less humor in season 2 of The Orville, but I still laughed when Malloy did his psych evaluation.

A lot of ‘heart.’ Man, I hated that song they recycled for ENTERPRISE. I used to put it on mute when I was still watching and try to make it into a song about constipation, like: I have faith that I’ll fart. (I used to be pretty good at doing parody songs, but have no voice. There was an Eminem song that went something like “I’m sorry momma.” And I had a whole STAR WARS thing with various refrains like ‘I’m sorry Jabba, I didn’t mean to kill you, I only meant to save my friends, but tonight, I’m blowing up your sail barge.’

@VA Nakamura — right, but that’s only because of MacFarlane’s stated goal — he wanted to do something like THE OFFICE in space, a look at the average “Joe” just going about their daily jobs in Space. So the people are basically 21st century people with 24th century tech. But that doesn’t change that they’re basically parodying TNG and VOY. You make this connection yourself with Tom Paris, and frankly Janeway was no slouch when it came to 20th Century references. And good lord, the holodeck visits to old Earth were endless. Frankly when it comes to anything involving the Union, it pretty much takes its cues from TNG, and not ENT, or the Kelvin-verse. It’s no secret that TOS influenced MacFarlane, and indeed his character is much more like Kirk than Picard. But everything else about it is more Berman era ensemble interaction.

I agree with Seth, future music had never turned out well and was always a reflection of the time it was conceived in.

Well, if you’re talking about original BSG pilot and BUCK ROGERS, that is certainly the case with the disco sound, but those folks were looking at the music as a contemporary tie-in for selling stuff, not doing something creatively interesting.

It’s hard to be unique and original; I remember after hearing some chant music 30 years back, thinking techno-chant was something you could do that wouldn’t sound instantly outdated, but then in 1995 I worked with somebody (at a train store of all things) who was doing techno-chant with his garage band, though they weren’t calling it that.

A planet’s rotational period has nothing to do with its size. Check Venus and Mercury for examples.

I keep hearing The Orville is doomed to disappear which is quite frankly a shame considering how much like Star Trek it goes for and succeeds by. It’s not a perfect show but it’s halfway there unlike Discovery.

While I am a fan of the Orville (and Discovery) the plain unvarnished fact is that it is doomed. Not because of ratings, not because of quality, because its on Fox. All sci-fi shows on Fox get cancelled for no good reason whatsoever. A few years ago a great show called Almost Human ran on Fox, had better ratings than Bones (also a Fox show) but Almost Human is the one tbat got cancelled. Fox kills sci-fi every time, only reason the Orville is still going is because MacFarlane makes basically their entire “Animation Domination” block of shows except the Simpsons.

As for Discovery, maybe try actually watching it before making stupid comments.

He can’t. He’s one of those people who can’t talk about Orville without trashing Discovery, and can’t talk about Discovery without applauding Orville. It’s a disease.

I believe it’s called Ahmend-Proto-Criticis-Syndrome.

I LOVED “Almost Human’ too, Who Cares. Still pissed off about that. I agree, if Orville gets the axe, it’ll be Fox, just cancelling it because it’s sci-fi.

Actually, it’s likely to get canceled because of ratings…or lack of them. If the program didn’t cost much to produce, it might have another season left in it on Fox, but my understanding is its a pricy vanity project, and no one is watching.

Your understanding is flawed.

He’s right, in terms of his logic. I can’t say whether current ratings bad enough to get it cancelled though.

The ratings might get the show cancelled which is sad considering how much more Star Trek it is than actual Star Trek right now.

Two points:

1) It’s true Fox doesn’t have a good reputation with sci-fi. I mean how many sci-fi shows in the 90s did they cancel? But the fact is that it’s a network that can cater to a larger audience than a streaming service so if it does get cancelled I don’t believe it’ll be because of the network.

2) Who cares my comments are always valid, not pointless at all. Peace.

The more episodes that get shown this season the more it is obvious this show is suffering from a lack of COMEDY. For the most part, the sparse jokes that are left are not landing as often as they did in the first season. This show is going downhill fast. Every episode thus far has been “meh” at best. Please, for the love of God… MORE JOKES!!! Without them this is a very bland show indeed.

I would bet this is MacFarlane himself, who’s real goal was to do his own version of TNG, and probably didn’t want all the humor to begin with, but was forced to by the network, who wanted a “Seth MacFarlane Comedy.”

A rare agreement. I had long suspected that Seth really wanted to do a Star Trek like serious show. But the only way he could get it on the air was to pitch it as a comedy. The promos last year presented it as total comedy yet the articles about it said it would be more in line with MASH. Now that he got his 2nd season it feels like he is going for the more TNG show that he wanted. Although there are reports that there are some straight comedy episodes coming. But 4 episodes in I would have thought they would have thrown ONE in. The lack of good jokes is turning me off to the show. I still watch because I enjoyed season 1 and am hoping it gets more back to that tone. But even S1 I felt needed to lean a little more towards comedy.

The fake codes for disinformation reminded me of “Sons of Mogh” (DS9) where Kurn explained that Klingon ships have directories and databases full of false information “designed for spies to find.”

Ratings cratering would seem to suggest there won’t be a season three.

Last night’s ORVILLE, the astrology ep, really got things back on track. I have no major objections to it at all, and was even surprised once or twice. THIS is a lot of what I want from my space genre viewing in 2019, something somewhat relevant to the world, that has some bite as well.

After watching last nights episode I have decided it is seriously going over a cliff. I am wondering what the ratings are. I’m thinking they have to be declining over last year’s. Not only have the laughs become extinct, he’s even copying the idiotic TNG version of future economics. 5 episodes in and none of them had more than two laughs and none of them were worthy of pausing, as happened a handful of times in the first season. Without the jokes this is just a sad Star Trek rip off. With the jokes, it’s a wonderful homage.


I largely agree. I think it’s too soon to make judgments about the future of the series, but “All the World is a Birthday Cake” is nothing more than a low-grade TNG knock-off. I could make the same criticisms about how oddly the episode reflects the passage of time, or, rather, the non-passage of time. The alien planet is identified early on as being especially far away in the galaxy, and then the Orville arrives there in literally 3 seconds. You can’t even suspend disbelief that time has passed, due to Bortus’s comment about the joint birthday party, which is implied to occur soon after his conversation with Kelly about that same issue up on the ship. Three seconds, that’s how long it takes to for the Orville to travel to an especially far away star system. And then there’s all of the ridiculous coloquialisms exchanged between the humans and the aliens. Yada yada, it’s not even worth getting into. I really hope this episode was a low-point, like Season 2 of TNG’s “The Outrageous Okona.”

The thing about TNG is even in the lesser episodes (and there were a lot of them even in the later seasons) you had a show populated by engaging characters played by charismatic actors giving solid performances. That’s really what Orville is missing. When the episodes aren’t interesting and/or funny, there’s nothing to keep you watching.

Agreed. Nobody will ever accuse Seth of being anything remotely in the same universe as a Patrick Stewart.

I like some of the characters and actors. But the humor must just be not my style because i don’t find it that funny. It is also too often like a TNG fanfilm. Without any of the Star Trek IP. I don’t find it refreshing as it is warmed over Berman Trek, which i can always watch on blu ray or DVD or on Television.