The Orville: Primal Urges, Home
I’m not sure what this says about season two, but my favorite episode of the young season is one held over from their first season. Borrowing a page from TNG’s “Evolution,” “Primal Urges” finds the ship in danger because of crew member’s carelessness. On TNG it was Wesley Crusher creating a new form of sentient life. And The Orville, it’s Bortus getting a nasty virus into the computing systems thanks to his new-found addition to holodeck adult content.*
*Because the series has to remind us at least once per episode that Seth McFarland is behind this. Don’t get me started on the CGI alien whose species writes the best adult simulations in the business and how he talks exactly like a character out of Family Guy. Continue reading
I started off last season doing a weekly recap of The Orville. Well, at least until three or four episodes piled up on the DVR and I got behind in my viewing and recapping.
I eventually got the rest of season one, binging them* over a short succession of days. What I found was a show that was growing in confidence, characters, and storytelling, slowly moving away from the “typical” Seth MacFarland type of set-ups for jokes that more often than not didn’t quite land. The only drawback of the last three-quarters of season one was the show spent far too much time dwelling on what I considered the least interesting aspect of the show, the “will they or won’t they” aspect of Ed and Kelly’s relationship.
*As much as one can binge having a two-year-old. That generally means that binging is watching a full episode in one sitting without being distracted by whatever mischief Shortcake has discovered.
With the season one finale, I hoped the show might have finally resolved this arc and decided to move on. Continue reading
This week’s installment felt a lot like an episode of Quantum Leap with the TARDIS crew trying to put right something going wrong with history. But where most Quantum Leap episodes (well, at least until season five) were concerned with history on a personal scale, “Rose” found the Doctor and company at a pivotal crossroads of world and universal history.
It made for a fascinating hour of television, buoyed once again by the performances of the quartet that makes up the TARDIS crew. It was interesting to see Ryan and Yas have to confront racism is Montgomery, Alabama at the birth of the civil rights movement. Going back to Quantum Leap, it felt a bit like an early episode when Sam leapt into an older African-American man and was forced to confront the horrors and realities of racism. Continue reading
Last week was all about meeting the new Doctor and assembling her new trio of friends for adventures through time and space. “The Ghost Monuments” is about that first adventure in time and space — even if the trio is accidentally brought along on the journey to locate the TARDIS.
After being rescued from outer space, the Doctor and company find themselves on a planet called Desolation, which is the end-point for a galactic race that will leave one person wealthy and the other stuck on a world that’s pretty much going to do everything in its power to eliminate him or her as quickly as possible. Seeing a planet where even the water is a threat was a nice touch, though Chris Chibnell’s script doesn’t slow down long enough for us to ask questions like who would design such a planet and why they would do it. Continue reading
Introducing a new Doctor can be a bit of a tricky thing. Have too much emphasis on the previous eras of the series and you lose drive-by fans who might be tuning in to see what the new Doctor is like (especially this time around). Have not enough connection to the history of the show and you run the risk of disenfranchising long-time fans who may decide to not tune in again or won’t make Doctor Who appointment viewing any longer.
Over the thirty-seven season run of Doctor Who, we’ve seen examples of both.
In many ways, the debut of Jodie Whitacker as Doctor reminds me a bit of how the Jon Pertwee era began, wiping the slate clean for a new era of the series. For the third Doctor, it was a huge jump from black and white to color. For Whitacker, it was another major change for the show with the first female Doctor. Continue reading
Over the summer, I saw a couple of promos for NBC’s new series, Manifest, giving away the series premise and showing us the highlights of the first act of its pilot. Those teases intrigued me enough that I decided to tune into the series and see if it was worth filling a spot on the DVR.
Watching the pilot, I couldn’t help but feel that I wish I hadn’t known the set-up heading into it. The first act is a taut, well-constructed mystery involving a group of people who gave up their seats on one flight and heading toward New York on the next available flight. Among them are a woman mulling her boyfriend’s proposal, a boy with a form of pediatric cancer who also has a twin sister and a couple of other various people with varying backstories. (I have a feeling we’re going to meet more of the passengers and crew as the series develops).
Going through some turbulence, the plane lands only to find that some wacky time-travel has occurred and they’re five years in the future. And while they haven’t aged, the world has moved on around them.
If you’re worried about SPOILERS, I don’t think I’ve really given anything away (yet) that you couldn’t get in the marketing campaign leading up the series’ debut. From here on out, I will probably get into some pretty episode specific SPOILERS for the first two episodes. So, if you haven’t seen ’em and don’t want to know more, turn back now. Continue reading
“Shada” is something of an enigma in the Doctor Who canon. The final story of the much-maligned season 17, production was suspended due to an industrial strike at the BBC with just over half the story filmed. And while there were several attempts to get it remounted, “Shada” never saw the light of day again and was “lost.”
For years, the only snippets we got were those in “The Five Doctors” to cover Tom Baker’s absence.
Since that time, “Shada” has become one of the more re-told and released stories in the classic Who canon. We had the VHS release of the completed bits with linking narration (in character as the Doctor, I might add) by Tom Baker. We had the animated web version with Paul McGann as the Doctor and then an audio version by Big Finish (also featuring McGann as Doctor). There was an adaptation of the original scripts in printed form a couple of years back and an accompanying audiobook release, as well. (This is to say nothing of a certain fan’s creating his own animated version) Continue reading