Review: ‘The Orville’ Gets Serious In Season Three Premiere “Electric Sheep”

“Electric Sheep”

The Orville Season 3 (New Horizons), Episode 1 – Debuted Thursday, June 2, 2022
Written and directed by: Seth MacFarlane

The Orville is back, after an over three-year hiatus, on a new delivery service (Hulu streaming) with new characters, new uniforms, new sets, new theme music, and a new, more serious tone. And it is back, if not with a bang, at least with a loud rumble. The first episode of this third season (now titled The Orville: New Horizons) is an entertaining, long, kitchen-sink sort of episode that answers a large number of my personal beefs with season two, while introducing a couple of new ones. But most of all, it is definitely science fiction worth watching.

Capt. Ed Mercer (Seth MacFarlane) and Cmdr. Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki)

WARNING: Spoilers below!

Opening with an extended slam-bang action sequence set during the events of season two’s “Identity, Part 2,” “Electric Sheep” starts fittingly with a dream sequence, and features a number of alternate-reality segments involving Isaac, the show’s android crewmember, thus earning its name. The episode centers around the relaunching of the Orville, massively refitted (presumably after the pounding she took during the battle with the Kaylon in “Identity, Part 2”), and around the crew’s–and most especially the Finn family’s–grappling with Isaac’s betrayal of the Union in “Identity, Part 1.” Marcus Finn’s sequence dream expresses his anxiety about having Isaac on board. Throughout the episode, we see simulations that illuminate how Ty Finn and Dr. Claire Finn each are dealing with their grief and a simulation that illustrates both the special skills of new crewmember Ensign Charly Burke and her own divided loyalties.

Ensign Burke was one of the few survivors of the destruction of the U.S.S. Quimby, and watched her best friend Amanda die, exchanging her own life for Charly’s. Burke does not want Isaac aboard the Orville, and she expresses forcefully to Isaac emotions of a kind the android had never before encountered among humans–hatred. When Isaac returns to his de facto quarters, a beautiful new science and engineering lab set, later in the episode, it is to find a blood-red paint scrawl across one entire wall: “MURDERER.” The list of suspects for this vandalism could encompass many of the crew, but Charly’s outbursts make her the most obvious person on the list. But the true culprit is Marcus Finn, devastated by Isaac’s betrayal, unsatisfied with Isaac’s emotionless expressions of regret, and fearful of what the android’s presence on ship could mean for everyone’s safety.

When Isaac commits suicide following Marcus’ angry wish that he was dead, the crew wrestles again with their emotions. Are they glad that he’s gone? And when there’s a possibility that he could be brought back to life, are they willing to help?

Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki), Capt. Ed Mercer (Seth MacFarlane), Dr. Claire Finn (Penny Johnson Jerald), Isaac (Mark Jackson), Lt. Cmdr. John LaMarr (J Lee), and Lt. Talla Keyali (Jessica Szohr)

This episode is full of many of the things that I have always loved about The Orville. Absolutely drop-dead gorgeous special effects shots abound. The producers told TrekMovie that Hulu’s lack of time constraints on each episode allows them to have extensive use of establishing shots coming into any given scene, and that is clearly on display here. Exterior shots of the ship show busy interiors, then the camera swoops seamlessly inside the ship, and become interior shots showing busy exteriors.

The show also takes time to explore the inner lives and conflicts of the characters, and in a way that is characteristically The Orville, it showcases characters with genuine disagreements, and valid points of view. These are not perfect people. Their emotions are not always positive. They are not always sure of how they feel, or why, or whether they made the right decisions. Real-world relevance pours out of this episode, with discussions of the merits of suicide, of loving someone who does horrible things, and of forgiving what you cannot forget.

The added time for storytelling is not always a boon. Some sequences go on for too long, notably a gorgeous, action-packed set of scenes introducing us to the capabilities of a spiffy new fighter ship carried by the Orville, the Pterodon. It is fast-paced, lushly-animated, and shows off both the skills of pilot Gordon Malloy and Ensign Burke, but it’s conceptually silly–you’d never conduct such an exercise in a crowded space dock with so many ships under repair and so many people’s lives threatened by an error in piloting or an equipment malfunction. And while each individual set of establishing shots in the episode is lovely and helps bring us into every scene, the package as a whole feels over-long. Art thrives on limitations, and it seems like season three of The Orville will have far fewer limitations than the previous two seasons.

From “Electric Sheep”

The cast is generally good. Because this episode rests mostly on the shoulders of the Finn family and their relationship with Isaac, it gives Penny Johnson Jerald and Mark Jackson ample opportunities to shine, and they rise to the occasion. I have always been impressed with the abilities of young Kai Wener (Ty Finn) and he’s excellent again here, but I was very pleased to see BJ Tanner as Marcus get a meaty opportunity to show his abilities, and he turns in an impressive performance. All the players get at least some screen time, including Norm Macdonald’s animated character, Yaphit. Newcomer Anne Winters as Charly Burke has some scenes where she’s tremendous, and other scenes where it’s clear she’s still finding her legs. The character is well-written, and her performance promises good things to come.

Dr. Claire Finn (Penny Johnson Jerald) and Ty Finn (Kai Wener)

All in all, it’s a very strong episode, but it’s an episode that should have run immediately following season two’s “Identity, Part 2.” The themes, situations, and characters all flow from the events in that episode, and the fact that these questions weren’t dealt with in the five shows following that epic two-parter was a glaring problem last season. All the repercussions from it are piled in here, which is better late than never, but is definitely still late.

Charly Burke (Anne Winters) and Isaac (Mark Jackson)

Great quotes:
  • “So you see, it really is a shame that you can’t feel anything; because you deserve to feel all the pain in the universe. And If I were you, I’d stay out of the mess hall. It makes people sick to look at you.” – Charly Burke to Isaac.
  • “Gordon, why don’t you take [Lamarr] out tonight, get him wasted?” “Is that an order, sir?” “It is.” “I enjoy this job, sir.” Kelly and Gordon, with a fun exchange.
  • “I would remind you, Commander, that I am incapable of being hurt by such hostile interactions. In fact, it has provided me the opportunity to observe an intriguing facet of human comportment I have not previously encountered.” “Hatred.” “Correct, sir. The behavioral data has been quite plentiful.” – Isaac and Mercer.
  • “A whole lot of people on board this ship are angry that you reinstated Isaac. And I mean angry. And the fact that he just sits on that bridge every single day as if nothing happened is a kick in the teeth to every single one [that we lost].” – Charly.
  • “How do you know that he’s not carrying some sleeper program, just waiting to take over the ship? People are scared, Captain. Your crew is scared.” – Charly.
  • “Definitely worth the wait.” Engineering officer #2 with a trailer line.
  • “You know, I haven’t been too public about this, but I don’t think Isaac should have been reinstated. Whether he was reactivated or not, he doesn’t belong at that bridge. Whenever I’m on duty, I feel like I have to force myself to actively ignore it.” “I don’t think you should ignore it. You acknowledge that he’s there, and you stay angry.” Gordon and Charly.
  • “He kills thousands of people, and I’m the one in trouble? This is bullshit!” Marcus, in a powerful scene.
  • “I am sorry to have caused you distress.” “Is that what you think you did? Cause me distress?” Isaac and Marcus.
  • “I wish you were dead.” Marcus.
  • “I offer my best wishes to the Finn family.” Isaac’s last words in his suicide note.
  • “I had no idea things were this bad.” “How could he get to a place like this, with no emotions?” “I never believed that.” Mercer, Keyali, Dr. Finn.
  • “Just because someone you love does a bad thing, doesn’t mean you automatically stop loving them. It’s not that simple.” Kelly.
  • “How could you love someone like that?” “Do you?” Dr. Finn and Kelly.
  • “What if I find out that I still love him? What do I greet that with? Shame? Or acceptance?” Dr. Finn.
  • “There’s no wrong way to say goodbye.” Mercer, at Isaac’s two-thirds empty funeral, just before Finn stops Ty from saying goodbye to an Isaac simulation.
  • “I’m sorry, Captain. I’m not going to do it. He’s dead, and deserves to be dead.” “He was a member of this crew. Some would say that makes you duty-bound.” “Yeah, some would say.” “So your willingness to assist a fellow crewman depends on your personal feelings at the time.” Burke and Mercer.

Charly (Anne Winters) and Ed Mercer (Seth MacFarlane)

Cool Bits:
  • The episode was dedicated to the memory of the late Norm Macdonald, who voiced Yaphit (and completed his work for season three before passing).
  • The USS Orville has new shuttles, with much more character than the lozenge-shaped minivans that I heavily criticized during seasons one and two. Thanks for listening, producers!
  • The new title sequence features a stirring, lush new orchestration of the theme music, which is simultaneously more epic and also more laid back than the original, much like Jeff Russo’s title theme for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.
  • The new Pteradon fighter is a sleek little thing and a “gorgeous girl,” but does it really make sense to have only one fighter aboard a capital ship?
  • Bortus (Peter Macon) gets just a few functional lines on the bridge; Klyden (Chad Coleman) does not appear.
  • The costumes are similar in design to the last two seasons, but have a bit more black, perhaps heralding the more serious tone of this season?
  • The new engineering set, two-leveled and with lots of bits and bobs, is a huge improvement over the weird, minimalist set of the first two seasons. Again, thanks for listening, producers!
  • We get to see crewmen Dann and also Unk, who is still an impressive visual effect, and some alien crewmembers speak their own native languages, with subtitles.
  • John Lamarr gets to demonstrate that he’s still a “ladies’ man” with a spiky Dakeelian woman, in a scene that is equal parts great and too long.
  • Finn reminisces about Isaac moodily over a banana in her office, which is not a reference to Isaac’s reproductive parts, but is a callback to Season Two’s “A Happy Refrain,” where Isaac kindly brings her a banana, to help her keep up her energy while she works, perhaps the first real step of their odd romance in Season Two.
  • Watching Yaphit utilize a humanoid EV suit was fun, and made sense, but it was a bit weird that he just left it on the floor of Engineering.

Yaphit (Norm Macdonald)

More cool images:

All photos by Ali Goldstein/Hulu


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Its kind of weird that this week’s Star Trek episode was much funnier than this week’s Orville episode,

Orville was never very good, but for many Trek fans, it was closer to what they were looking for than Discovery. But with Prodigy, Lower Decks, and now especially Strange New Worlds, Orville now seems like exactly what it is: a second rate, watered-down copy.

I don’t share those feelings in the slightest. For me it’s not at all a watered-down copy, but easily outshining the rest! ✨️

Before 2018/2019 I would have never thought I’d feel this way about a show again, but The Orville has handily surpassed my love for what I perceived as my “core” Trek until then — DS9, TNG, and VOY. By now it’s mostly on par with (if not slightly more enjoyable than) my #1, DS9.

As I said in another thread, it’s akin to comfort food; the healthy kind that you love!

Isn’t the point of comfort food, that it’s unhealthy? Like Trip said about Pecan Pie: “Ain’t good for the body but sure is good for the soul” :-D

Being unhealthy isn’t the point of comfort food, it is just a frequent correlation.

Gross.

I’ll agree with that for the first two seasons. I am going to give S3 a shot though.

Your opinion…Thank goodness opinions are just that…

I agree..

Agreed. It started like Family Guy in space. Some (dirty) jokes and that what people love on other shows of Seth, along with some sidekicks of Star Trek (TNG). Since the episodes with the Kaylon war that all went down the drain. Now it’s just another SCI-FI show. Am very disappointed.

That’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it. I for one loved it and found it a lot stronger than any of the shows you’re listing there in almost every department.

Of course it probably still loses out to the hights of TNG and DS9 but, so does every single Secret Hideout Show and much more so …

Yeah it is very weird lol. Kind of funny how both are going the opposite ways they started as. I think this is the show McFarlane always wanted, but needed it to be more ‘comedic’ to get it on the air since that’s the thing everyone thinks of him as. I didn’t mind the jokes, but that’s not why I watched it either. II don’t think a lot of people. Most just wanted his own take on Star Trek more than anything.

As far as SNW, I think they decided that show will just be a light hearted romp and just keep the tone more fun and focusing on all the Trek tropes fans have been missing since Enterprise ended and not really getting with Discovery and Picard. Episode 4 was definitely a serious episode but it still felt on the lighter side when you compare it to Balance of Terror or The Siege of AR-558. The show is waaaaay less weightier than Discovery or Picard lol. But maybe the second half will be heavier than the first. I don’t really care, I’m really enjoying the show on the level I’m enjoying Lower Decks! Just good ole comfort food of past Trek with a light approach but sticks to the elements of what makes Trek great. I still want them to deal with more serious topics and subject matter like the other classic shows but I think it will come. If not this season, than probably the next. I now think this should’ve been the first show back in 2017, but yes that comes with TONS of hindsight no one had at the time.

I thought it was a solid ep. Welcome Back Orville.

Ditto. Although I think that story could have been told just fine in 44-50 minutes without all the FX, which – except for that battle scene just seemed distracting and show-offy. How many shots of them fixing whatever they were fixing outside did we really need?

Frankly, I miss the pre-redone sets as well. Why do 2022 sci fi shows put light strips in places that don’t need to be lit. Does every room need to be blindingly bright?

Yeah, I felt they overdid it with the effects a little, too. It’s nice to see they have the budget but it was at times a little much. May because it was otherwise a very talky episode … but it’s nice to know, the budget is there if they need it (unless they blew the seasons budget on the pilot and now have no money for the rest of the show, like discovery did in Season 2 :-D )

I really enjoyed this episode. I’m happy I read some of the reviews first because I don’t think I would’ve been prepared for how serious it was. Suicide on a show like this is not something you think would ever be done. It just shows how much the tone has changed overall, but I really like the change. It’s still a more upbeat show but it’s not a broad comedy or parody anymore like the first two seasons. It feels much more grown up and a tone closer to TOS/TNG, ie can feel lighthearted at times, but can be very serious when it has to as well.

Obviously this is just the first episode, so who knows how much this will continue. But I have to say I’m really looking forward to the season now. I never really been a big fan of the show. Season one was very up and down for me (to this day, there are still episodes I haven’t watched) and felt too much like a lighter TNG clone, just with broad humor. Season 2 was a big improvement though and really enjoyed most of the episodes. But I never rewatched a single episode to this day. Season 3 looks and sounds really ambitious though and off to a strong start.

And it will be funny if the Orville will be the more ‘serious’ show while SNW stays the more light hearted and fun show while both keep up with the ‘Greatest hits’ of Star Trek tropes. I really don’t mind that for either, just as long as they tell good stories and so far at least both are doing that!

I’ve loved Orville since day one, probably because I love Seth McFarlane’s humour being a huge fan of Family Guy and a Million Ways to die etc. That aside, I did think the humour in some places didn’t work early in season one but along the way, like in Episode 5 ‘Piar’ the hijinks and practical jokes between Isaacs and Gordon were priceless and showed a more sophisticate humour level that worked.

In season 2 we got some real serious stuff in ‘Home’ and ‘Identity Parts 1 & 2’. By the end of the season Seth had the balance right I think and I’m so looking forward to see how that direction solidifies this year.

I believe there is a place for Orville on TV and along side Star Trek. Many of it’s story lines have not been covered in any Star Trek.The Orville is unique and deserves to be judged by it’s own merits and not continually be compared to Next Gen.The Orville has always been more Galaxy Quest then Next Gen to me. Galaxy Quest was compared to TOS but is looked more like Next Gen. You can lose yourself here comparing one against the other!

Finally, isn’t this a time great for Star Trek fans! We had nothing new on TV for 10 years. Now the tap is full on, both hot and cold!

I understand where you’re coming from. I will be honest though and think the first season some of the jokes got in the way of telling a stronger story. They would latch on to what I think is really fun concept but then it would lose me with the sight gags and the forced humor. Some of it was good of course, but overall it was very uneven for me. Not bad, but far from great. And I don’t know if you can compare it to Galaxy Quest.

People originally compare the two but Galaxy Quest is really a parody of how the fanbase treats Star Trek as an entity and not really a critique on the stories themselves. It’s really about how fans have taken the show and treated it like it was an actual reality of the future to the point the actors on that show couldn’t get other jobs because they became so identified as those characters. That was the entire point of the plot line and that in true Star Trek fashion the aliens in the movie were really just an analogy of Star Trek fans who can’t distinguish reality from entertainment. That’s why it was so clever and completely on target lol. It was a post-modern view of where Star Trek fandom has gone in the last 30+ years. And I swear I truly feel that movie was more right than it deserved to be at times talking to some people here and other places lol.

Not trying to be mean but when people are upset that a science fiction show is going forward in it’s timeline because it will no longer be a ‘realistic’ view of the future in their eyes that apparently TOS has been portraying all along, then you really need to take a step back and evaluate some things. I love Star Trek as much as everyone here, but it’s not meant to be a STEM class to teach kids in school, a view of what future technology will be like or a new left leaning ideology for future generations where there is no more money or religion. You can’t pretend that’s what it is but then have episodes where Vulcans accidentally switch bodies for an hour.

The Orville is more of a show that is meant to push the absurdity within the world of Trek itself, exactly what LDS does, but with the same optimistic slant. The difference being LDS can directly do all of that in the universe where Orville and Galaxy Quest has to just allude to it.

I will say in season 2 though the balance was much better and why I enjoyed it more. That would do a few outlandish episodes but the stuff like ‘Identity’. I think that’s when the show really came into its own for me. I wasn’t even planning on watching season 2 at the time, but I kept reading the reviews, especially what Trekmovie would put out and convinced me to keep with it and liked it more. So I am very much looking forward to season 3 now.

 “That would do a few outlandish episodes but the stuff like ‘Identity’.”

Yikes! That line should’ve been, “They would do a few outlandish episodes in season two but then you got more straight forward and really strong stuff like ‘Identity’.  

Thanks so much for the thorough review! 🤟😃 I enjoyed the episode a lot, and share your criticisms both positive and negative (though fortunately, the former outweigh the latter by a long shot).

This show is the natural evolution of ’90s/’00s Trek for me — way more positive, light-hearted, thought-provoking and masterfully written than Discovery and Picard, similarly relaxed and fun, yet more innocent and truly genuine than Lower Decks, and a cleaner, more realistic look than all of ’em combined. I suspect the Strange New World showrunners heavily studied this show when developing their own, and are much better off for it (even if they can’t quite shake their Disco-borrowed hoity-toity undertones quite yet, unfortunately). 🖖😉

Seth really gets it, knows how it’s done; you can tell that everyone is having a blast, and I’m constantly impressed and delighted. 🤩 Here’s hoping that enough people watch The Orville, so there’ll be more seasons to come! 🤞😬👍 … 🚀🪐🛸

I’ll be honest, I think we only have shows like LDS and now SNW thanks to the Orville. I don’t mean we only have SNW because of this show, but like you said, its direction and tone mostly. I think they knew there was a big audience segment that was not responsive to Discovery at all but very receptive to the Orville. There are a lot of long time Star Trek fans who don’t even watch the new Trek shows but are Orville fans. Now I’m sure they are in the minority (not trying to trigger anyone lol) but it probably told Kurtzman and the others they were missing something with Picard and Discovery and had to find approaches to lighten things up for the fans who rejected those shows from the outset.

LDS was that first approach and SNW became the second. LDS was clearly a direct response to having a true comedic Star Trek show that I don’t think would’ve gotten on the air without seeing the Orville first. SNW was a way to capture the TOS/TNG/VOY vibe fans felt they were getting with Orville and really missing in the new shows. And look it’s WORKING! SNW seems to be a huge hit with the fanbase none of the other shows has had. LDS has definitely struck a chord in the fanbase as well, if still a bit removed being animated. I do see complaints in other places SNW is feeling too derivative and just relying on past Star Trek stories and characters, but hey if ain’t broke…

And I think that will change. First season is probably just to give people exactly what they wanted and a reminder of Star Trek of well worn but popular tropes that made TNG the success it became. It will probably get more ambitious in time.

As for Orville, for me it’s first two seasons have been decent but neither amazing. But maybe third season will follow the great Star Trek tradition of finding its identity and going full steam ahead. I hope so, last season or not!

OK, but I don’t think The Orville ever had a “big audience” that threatened Kurtzman and CBS/P+ to change what they were doing? Especially given that for the first season of the show the humor was off and did not work for many viewers?

This would be like saying that what Fish Hooks was doing got the producers of Sponge Bob Square Pants to improve their show. ;-) An A-level TV series isn’t typically influenced by what the B-level TV series does.

No it doesn’t, but what it DOES have is a very loyal and cult like audience…sound familiar? ;)

And we can’t say the the first season didn’t work for everybody. Yeah maybe it didn’t work a lot for people like me and you, but for its core audience, it worked well. The best example of that is it’s audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Do you know where that is at? It’s at 90%. It’s been at that rating since early 2018. If fact the Orville audience rating is higher than all the Star Trek shows. TNG and TOS are just below it and both tied at 89%. DS9 is next with one point below that at 88%, SNW is at 81%. SNW actually the first NuTrek show that broke above 70% in its first season on RT and the only one in the 80% tile. Trust me you don’t want to know what it is for Picard and Discovery at the moment lol. But that tells you a lot, people have gravitated to that show as some of the best Trek shows and I’m guessing nearly all of them are probably Trek fans.

But I’m not suggesting the show gets more ratings than the Trek shows (and we don’t know what they get, so its useless to debate it). I’m saying they know there is a group of fans not subscribing to these new shows and wanted to find ways to appeal to them in ways PIC and DIS didn’t and didn’t have any fun or breezy shows until LDS 3 years later. I don’t know if they made LDS to partly appeal to those fans but I don’t think it would shock anyone if it was.

And if you are on the Orville Reddit boards, it’s a very tight knit group of fans over there. Not like all the arguing we have here.

Fair enough on your points. Regarding RT though, that’s not a scientific poll, and I think it’s likely that genre fans who didn’t like the show just didn’t care enough to take the time to give it a negative review, hence it’s rated artificially high.

Dude, you can’t come out and say things like the humor didn’t work for ‘many’ viewers but then want to argue about the accuracy of online polling lol. Then where are you getting that source of info from??

It’s all anecdotal man. With polls you at least get a gauge of where fandom is even if it’s not completely accurate. And if you’re hitting 90% with people who bothered to take it, that tells you a lot. I don’t think anyone would argue that TNG and TOS are not highly popular. It’s always odd how all the shows people say everyone likes are rated high. Weird how that works, but OK.

That’s kind of my point. I agree.

OK, but you said it first. So what did you base it on??? And I’m going be honest about it, if the poll said the show had 35% audience rating, I don’t think you would be questioning it as much. Could be wrong. Either way, Orville IS a popular show for its fanbase, it doesn’t mean it’s popular for everyone either. I think everyone can agree on that.

Right, so it’s a voluntary vote, and typically only passionate fans are going to take their personal time to do a review negative or otherwise. So, and I’m totally making these numbers up, you could have 100,000 fans voting on SNW, with 81,000 of them voting positive, while for The Oriville, it could be say just 10,000 fans voting with 9,000 of those fans voting positive.

So this is sort of meaningless — anecdotal as you correctly said — unless RT would give us the data on say the same 1242 fans (making up this number) that rated both series on RT…if we could compare the ratings from that set of fans who watched both, then we would get a result that was more meaningful. But we can’t get that data from RT, which is unfortunate.

I’ll just add that I based it on my personal review of Trek fan web site fan comments. It’s an informed opinion, which I admit is not conclusive.

All I’m saying is people genuinely seems to like the show vs not like the show. Sure I get your point, these polls don’t take into account all the people who don’t care about the show, only people who do care. Yeah, welcome to fandom lol. That’s how it ALWAYS worked! The overwhelming majority of the population has never seen or care about Star Trek. But for the people who DO, yeah that’s what those polls are based on and represents. It doesn’t matter if 5,000 or 50,000 are voting.

But the point is where do you think when Kurtzman or someone wants to make another show or change a show, where do they go? They come to places like this! Or Twitter! Rotten Tomatoes, Reddit, etc. Kurtzman has directly said that. These polls and fan reviews are all taken into account. That’s where they are getting their pulse of where to take the franchise, online fandom! It’s the 21st century of Star Trek conventions. If you go online and everyone is speaking positively about a show, polls are very high on a show and people are responding positively to any news about it, you’re going to pay attention because those are the people you want to reach.

It’s why we have from a show like Discovery in it’s first season to a show like SNW in it’s first season! These shows have made a large U-turn to how they started to where they currently are. Because they are getting the pulse of the fan reviews, all the people who posts in places like this etc.

And I’m not suggesting you should look at one site and ONLY one site to gauge a show. Like everything online, you have to see if it’s a trend, ie, if the popularity stays along a spectrum of polls and review sites. And guess what Orville has high remarks on IMDB and Metacritic as well. So it’s not some fluke, the show seems to be popular across the board for fans.

And RT you vote between 1-5 stars. I know, because I been voting there for years and has voted on all the Trek shows and movies. But haven’t for SNW yet. I try to wait until the end of a season at least and give a full review of it. Fear not, I feel it’s going to be very positive though! ;D

Hmm. Well OK, let me address some of this, much of which I pretty much agree with.

I think the reason we have SNW is because it’s another fan sub market for a Trek show — this time it’s TOS fans who got theirs. Each series is different to expand the market. I like DSC and SNW, you like SNW and LDS, someone else likes Picard and Prodigy. Some fans like them all. And my original point stands in this regard — I don’t think this has anything to do with Kurtzman and company watching The Orville. I just don’t. I don’t think they really pay attention to that show that has a season like every 2.5 years on a different channel and is more like TNG than TOS anyway. That’s my opinion.

And what I just said above here of course aligns with what you said about Kurtzman and company listening to fans on this and other sites. That’s why we got SNW, which of course, owes it’s entire origin to DSC…and note again here that (in my opinion) this has nothing to do with The Orville.

And I know you think DSC made this huge change to sort of a soft reboot in the 31st Century, and you know that my opinion is that was a predefined direction based on the original series concept for DSC….I don’t see much point in us covering that again because we just will always have a different opinion on that, and I of course respect yours. Yet I would imagine we would both agree here that they didn’t make that change because of the The Orville.

And regarding RT and fan opinion between Trek shows and The Orville, until we would be able to get from RT reviews from the smaller set of fans who put in reviews from both sets of shows, it’s just apples and oranges. Neither of us can prove anything on that, but yea, it’s fun to quote the numbers anyway in our fan discussions on web sites. :-)

As I said I don’t think SNW had anything to do with the Orville. That was because as you said, fans demanded it for months. And where did they demand it? On the internet obviously. I was only saying in relation to Orville it followed that model of being a lighter and episodic show again instead of Discovery and Picard as long convoluted and dark serialized shows saving the galaxy every season. But yeah that’s what fans were asking for too, simpler stories again–and thankfully we got it! I think the Orville just proved that yes it was still something fans liked and wanted since neither Picard or Discovery were that, that’s all.

So I’m not giving Orville credit for SNW lol. In my initial post, I made it clear I was only talking about the tone and format as being lighter and why fans are liking it more than Discovery and Picard in general. And of course the Orville was just following what TOS/TNG/VOY/ENT had mostly done decades ago so it all circles back to the source. BUT it was also the only space opera show still doing that type of format in 2017.Can you tell me another one? So obviously they probably looked at it and how it fared given it was the only sci fi show doing it today. Now do you understand what I’m saying?

As for RT, dude really the Star Trek movies and shows people think that suck surprisingly has low ratings. The movies and shows people think are GOOD has, surprisingly high ratings. None of this is rocket science. If you can find me an example where TNG is sitting at a 24% rating and TFF is sitting at a 89% rating (they are the opposite ratings just to make clear) then maybe I could be swayed. Until then, yeah, this is not really an issue. In fact on RT pretty much all the Star Trek shows are above 70% which is above average. The only ones that aren’t are Lower Decks, Picard and Discovery. So people generally like or accept most of the shows. Are you suggesting that’s not correct? Seems correct to me. Same for all the movies except the ones most fans think that sucks, ie, Nemesis, TFF, Insurrection, TMP, etc. But the Kelvin films are all crazy high so maybe I just killed my own argument lol.

Everything else, fine.

Yea, were all good. I think you misunderstood my RT comment. I wasn’t saying that you couldn’t compare relative ratings of Star Trek shows against each other using RT as a guideline — I am fine with that and the ratings generally make sense, except I think there is too much sentimentality for a couple of the old shows that were really not liked by a lot of fans during their initial run like Enterprise…but I get that they are more appreciated now, it’s human nature.

What I am saying is that I don’t trust comparing any of those rating levels to the singular rating of The Orville. I don’t think that’s all that comparable because it’s a different set of fans voting, and a much smaller set obviously as well. For example, I don’t think the average Trek fan who gave The Orville a shot and didn’t like it bothered to review it, yet that same fan reviewed multiple Trek series on RT. So that obviously skews things.

Yeah you’re right about your RT comments. I read it wrong. Sorry about that. And as for the point about The Orville and RT, I wasn’t really comparing it to Star Trek. I was only making the point the show is very popular within its own fanbase. Just like most Trek shows have a loyal, active and vocal fanbase, so does The Orville. It’s really Reddit where you see it. But of course it doesn’t mean everyone who watches it likes it, I’m strictly speaking on the fans that do! I hope I made that clear.

Yep, agreed, and no worries.

Naw, I think you had it right the first time around, saying “we only have shows like LDS and now SNW thanks to the Orville”…😉 I am right there with you!

I seriously have no doubt that the direction they’re going with SNW is a DIRECT result of The Orville’s reception when it ran against the first season of Discovery, and a very vocal chunk of the fan base went wild for Seth’s format of choice, criticizing the living daylight out of what Trek had become. CBS All Access even changed release days to directly and aggressively compete with Fox a little bit down the road!

The SNW writers are acutely aware of The Orville’s success mixing drama and humor in the way that they do, and are finally doing what the same vocal group of fans demanded, in going back to the story-of-the-week format, while allowing ample character development at the same time (one of the many things that made DS9 so great; though they won’t even give their own legacy show that credit if you’re watching the SNW producers’ recent self-praise on The Ready Room). 🙄

Aaaanyways… I didn’t mean to cause that long of a discussion, but I’m glad there’s room for it all! 🖖😁

Anything is possible obviously but SNW wasn’t just born in a vacuum. Fans were screaming they wanted a Pike show and none of that had to do with the Orville. The character just really registered for a lot of fans on his time on Discovery and they made it happen. But we can agree to disagree of course.

But where I do agree with you is that they knew the show had to be radically different and feel closer to the classic shows and as said the Orville was proof that the format still registered with fans in 2020. I used to roll my eyes when I hear fans say that TNG can’t work in today’s TV landscape, ie, overly positive characters and episodic shows with smaller adventure of the week stories. Well Orville proved it still works just fine to many fans. It certainly doesn’t mean everyone likes the show itself but it’s not the format that was the problem, just other factors like maybe the comedy or characters. And yes now SNW is proving the format still holds up today in 2022, but LDS has also been proving that as well for two seasons already even if you don’t like the broad comedy in it.

So nothing is black and white of course. Until LDS and SNW, Orville was really the only sci fi space show doing this format when everyone else was going the more serial and dark route. Some Star Trek fans wanted a lighter and optimistic feeling show again and the Orville offered it when ironically Star Trek or Discovery certainly wasn’t doing that at the time. So you can’t rule out it didn’t have an influence of SOME kind when SNW came around.

And no need to apologize about the discussion, that’s why we come here! And it’s fun to discuss!

Agreed – it strains credibility that The Orville led to us getting SNW…my opinion.

i think it’s freaking obvious that we got SNW because of the great story element of Pike/Spock/No1’s and the E’s appearance in DSC S2, and the fans’ overwhelmingly positive response to that elements. We “demanded” that series and we got it.

But everyone is entitled to their opinion, so who am I to try to shut down a wacky idea that we got SNW because of the influence of the The Orville? No worries if you want to believe that – all opinions are welcomed my friend. IDIC

And I like Discovery too btw…I just wish I liked it more or as much as you and others do.

Got it. :-)

Well it’s hard to compare a streaming and a network show in terms of viewership. The only time Discovery ran on TV it had terrible ratings. But it was like two years old at that point so that’s not surprising.

The Orville always had a stronger Audience score and – after the first season – critical reception. Some of the 50 Producers working in the new Trek shows must’ve seen this :-D

Good post, but “realistic” is the last word I would use to describe the special effects on this show. The special effects looks like 90’s CGI (updated to HD resolution) to my eyes, and the ships look moronic. Just my opinion though.

I agree with that too. I never thought the FX was that good. It was another reason I wasn’t a huge fan in season 1. It does look better in season 3 but still nothing amazing.

With “realistic” I’m comparing The Orville to any of the recent Trek iterations of extremely dark and visually muddied (lens-flare overload!) ship shots (especially in the first couple of seasons of Discovery).

If these worlds were real, I’d wager the “bubblegum”-aesthetics would be closer to how things ACTUALLY looked… or at least, I’d much rather live in Seth’s brightly-lit and colorful universe than in that grim Disco-world! 😉

In my opinion, DSC still has the best special effects and ships of any Trek show, including what I have seen so far on SNW.

And this is not an opinion but a fact — continuous space scenes where all the ships are brightly lit like we see on The Orville is not realistic. DSC may overdo it a bit on the muddling, lens flares, etc, but it’s still more realistic looking than The Orville universe.

And the starship Orville looks like a giant space beer bottle opener with small, medium and large size rims you can use depending on your bottle top size. And the shuttlecraft looks like it belongs in Finding Nemo. LOL

Well, since we’re readily accepting there to be SOUND in space (!) in both Trek AND The Orville, let me add this… what we don’t see, you see, is that there’s ALWAYS a sun close by as well, just a little off to the side behind “the camera,” to brightly light this future! 🛸📹😆☀️

(Also, DS9 had superior VFX compared to DSC — but luckily, taste really isn’t something worth arguing about…😜)

I will give you that I think DS9 had the best SFX of all the Berman series’.

I am going to give S3 a shot based on this review and other positive reviews I am hearing, but the special effects in the first two seasons, as well as the ones in the trailer, are weak and cheap looking CGI, and the ship still looks like a 3-size bottle opener.

Can’t say I agree … some of the textures in the battle scene don’t really hold up in closeup but other than that the vfx here are fantastic. Especially compared to the at times really lazy space scenes in Discovery Seasons 1-3 (haven’t seen 4) or Picard. You can see the care, that went into the models and how they look and the Use of real modelwork vor reference payes of well. It’s not perfect but on par with everything else on TV.

It’s not realistic when it comes to the physics of how a space scene should look, but no TV show is. You can use Discoveries weird Rainbow Universe, where theres coulourfull nebulae averywere and it’s still pitch dark to hide the flaws of the cgi-ships or you like the brightly lit TNG look, that makes not sense as to the lightsource. It’s a matter of taste and I for one like to see something when I’m watching a show :-D

As for bottle openers: I see you’re point but it’s not nearly as bad as Discoverys Voyger J, is it? :-D

With Isacc’s re birth, did our friend install an emotion chip just waiting to be triggerred

I kinda hope, they don’t go down that road. That was what made him different from Data. He had no interest in actually becoming more human, he was perfectly content with being “superiour”, however he was fascinated by it.

In the Bad Timing department, the ‘spiky Dakeelian woman’ looked a bit too much like she had Monkeypox

Not even vaguely did she look like she had monkeypox.

That was a strong premiere episode. Their wasn’t much humour though so people looking for that sort of thing be aware there’s very little of it. The topic was suicide and it was explored in a thoughful and mature manner. It was pretty long though, the pacing could’ve be a bit tigher but not a big deal. I’m kinda sad that this will be probably it’s last season because the show has improved considerably from it’s humble beginnings.

I had completely forgotten about this show after stepping away halfway through the last season.
Glad to see they improved those horribly designed shuttles. The Orville still looks like the bastard child of Voyager and Spock’s jellyfish ship.
The effect we’re good but very crowded to the point of distracting.
I always love Gordon’s character and the new addition to the crew seems good.
The training with the new fighter around the starbase and ship seemed weird. Why risk it in a heavily populated area?
I found some scenes to be quite long and could have used some edits to tighten the flow of the show.
The biggest weakness with Orville has been and will always be Seth’s acting. He’s actually pretty bad if he isn’t making character cartoon voices. He just can’t pull off serious parts.
But yes, vast improvement over the first 2 years. But very uneven and was just an okay episode for me. Was thinking they should also have an “inspired by Star Trek created by Gene Roddenberry” credit at the beginning of the show.

That’s not how credits work.

I’m guessing you don’t understand the concept of sarcasm.

Star Trek: Inspired by Forbidden Planet by Cyril Hume et al.

Forbidden Planet: Inspired by The Tempest by William Shakespeare.

William Shakespeare: Inspired by Francis Bacon.

Mmmmmm, bacon…

Actually, no. You can see the blatant ripoff of TNG when watching Orville.

Actually no… what? I said nothing about Orville.

To be honest, I prefer the less serious first season of The Orville more than the last two seasons. I mean not every sci-fi show needs to have deep discussions on important issues or some sort of message. Sometimes it can be a way to escape reality and I preferred that a bit more. Another thing that makes me curious is that recently some streaming shows started to have almost movie length episodes (stranger things being the biggest example) I wonder if something like that happens to Star Trek? Should we get movie length or longer episodes on Trek? I actually find the approach of Star Wars shows the best here. They aren’t overlong and straight to the point.

SNW – ENT hide in event horizon and blow up bomb to fool the enemy into thinking they have blown up, ORV – hide in gas giant and blow up bomb to fool enemy into thinking they have blown up. Maybe next weel Charly and Isaac swap khatras?

Well, let’s guess which one of these two episodes was written and produced first!? Hint: It ain’t the one with the Gorn ships! 🤫

Well, first come, first served:)

Hulu and Netflix were my first two streaming channels, but due to lack of interest, i cancelled both a few years ago. Fortunately, north of the border, The Orville is on D+ which from a personal standpoint, is a much more viable streaming channel, especially with the new ObiWan show and the Marvel and Star Wars libraries. As soon as Kenobi is done, I plan to sign up for $11.99 and binge watch the six hour series. Then I can also check out The Orville S3. Thanks for all the posts and reviews, the show seems much better than S1 which was okay and worth watching, but quite honestly I could never take seriously.

No matter how good The Orville is, I hope the show convinces enough of an audience in the U.S. to buy Hulu. If I were Seth, I would at least consider strongly lobbying to get the show on Disney+ in the States, which has so many more subs than Hulu. The problem with that tact is it might just get lost in the gigantic Disney sci-fi fantasy library.

What an awesome couple days of genre television.. Strange New Worlds, Obi-Wan,
Superman and Lois, The Boys 3, and now The Orville.. I had a blast and thoroughly enjoyed each of these over two nights… Don’t care for the critiscm.. what a great time for genre fans…

Absolutely! Last week was a nostalgia fest for nerds who grew up in the 70s and 80s with Superman, Star Trek (TOS/Movies/TNG) and Star Wars! It would be perfect if they could revive 70s style Battlestar Galactica too.

Oh, and welcome back Orville team.. it’s been way too long :)

One thing Orville does well is have characters with fundamental disagreements and differing value still work together. It feels like so many shows push an all-or-nothing attitude with that kind of stuff. Like, you and I disagree on one thing and we have to be mortal enemies. It’s refreshing to see real tolerance on display.

Wholeheartedly agree. Well put!

I don’t get the criticism that this show looks cheap or that the special effects look substandard. Sure they do, but aren’t they supposed to look that way? Isn’t this meant to be a throwback of sorts, like in the same way Young Frankenstein was a throwback? I mean, were there any criticisms back then of it being shot in black-and-white?

It’s alright. Plot makes little sense since so much happened after the S2 two parter. Oh well, least we got Strange New Worlds.

I thought the story was a bit weak in this episode

I watched some of season 1 when the show premiered and gave up pretty early on. It just didn’t seem all that great to me, but I know many people love it. know this is so ridiculous, but much of the fanbase seems very toxic towards Star Trek on social media and it just has completely turned me off even wanting to tune in and check it out again.

I was wondering, if you’ll do a review of this one. Happy to see you did!

It was a fun episode. Probably intended as a kind of Re-Pilot and as such it works. Didn’t expect them to go with this dark of a subject matter right of the bat but it was handeled very tastefull for the most part. Especially after seeing Picards tonedeaf handeling of the same subject just two weeks prior.

The dialogue was very well written and felt like it allways had somsthing to say instead of just being there to sound emotional and McFarlane had the good sence, to actaully convey the emotion of the dialgue scence through the actual dialogue as opposed to some sentimental music. That was really refreshing to watch and hear. It makes the times they do use their awesome orchestral score that much more impactful.

Burke seems like a great new character, I just found it weird, that she basically just appeared. A Transfer scene would have been nice here. But on the other hand it makes the universe seem a bit more real in that we do not get to see everything that happens. Though I do feel, that the – having to be allied with a former enemy – Plot was done better in last seasons amazing “Blood of Patriots” and the expositional dialogue at times felt a bit on the nose.

Also die Cuts for the Ad Breaks are really really jarring. If you go for a more cinematic presentation you should really get rid of those.

Other than that a really strong start. It’s nice to finally have some good optimistic SciFi on again and I’m looking forward to more episodes and hopefully more seasons.

I was hoping to see Cleveland (i.e., Dann), but I didn’t. The review says he was there. Where?

The dedication to the late Norm Macdonald was nice. I expected it. I was surprised that his name wasn’t in the opening credits, but a look back at a season 2 episode shows it apparently never was.

The shots of Gordon in the Pteradon thing reminded me of Luke Skywalker in his rebel fighter.

Gordon has a completely different personality this season. The change is kind of jarring, but I never really liked the old personality. Maybe being sued for divorce twice by Commander Grayson will do that to you.

I was surprised by how dark the episode was but I enjoyed it and I am looking forward to being able to watch it on Hulu for sure.

Yeah.Well. Seen three new star trek series with some sort of six seasons and 8 episodes or so per season, but not one(!) episode that strong and that smart. And this is no exception, this is Orville. There has been many strong episodes and you start to wonder why this is not possible on star trek anymore. Its a shame. If Kurztman has any honor he saves this series if cancelation is coming. This is the best star trek show right now on TV.

The Orville is a Disney/Fox show. Kurtzman works for Paramount/CBS. There is nothing he could do. And the guy doesn’t buy shows, he simply creates and runs them. It would have to be Paramount itself that tried to buy it and good luck with that.

I’d much rather Paramount buying Alcon Entertainment so we can see The Expanse Season 7-9 rather than buying Fuzzy Door for The Orville.

It’s certainly an ambitious premiere and a story that needed to be told, but the suicide story and death fake-out is such a tired cliche that my eyes rolled into the back of my head. Not to mention the literal hand-waving at the end of the episode (you’re the only genius onboard who can do this!..punches a few buttons…done!). Combine that with several extended cringey performances from new characters and I found this nearly interminable to sit through. Story was way too thin for its length, not to mention the aggressively syrupy sci-fi music and cartoonish cinematic style clashed against the serious tone of the story. Isaac is almost impossible to sympathize with, he’s a faceless emotionless machine who did something completely unforgivable and there is zero emotional catharsis to the entire story. It just all felt so amateurish and cheap. Didn’t work for me at all and it’s a bad start to the season, but I still think it’s worth watching. I have to say Lamar is the unexpected bright spot, huge improvements to his character. I’m looking forward to getting back to the crew we actually care about however, I’m hoping the show didn’t forget how to have fun.