For most of this season, I’ve felt like the better episodes of The Orville have come from everyone but Seth MacFarlane. And then, he has to go and deliver what is probably the best episode of the series so far with “Identity, Part 2.”
This two-part installment felt like The Orville’s attempt at “Best of Both Worlds,” taking our characters to some dark, scary places all while facing the potential obliteration of humanity at the hands of robotic beings. And while the cliffhanger here isn’t quite up to “Mr. Worf, fire!” (to be honest, few cliffhangers are), it was still enough that I was glad I’d let episodes build up on the DVR and didn’t have to wait a week to see how it all played out.
MacFarlane and his writing staff pull a lot of threads into focus here, from the romance of Doctor Finn and Issac to the on-going conflict with the Krill to the revelation of why Issac was really on the ship to begin with. Watching as Issac and his robotic others revealed that Issac was there less to learn about becoming a member of the Union and more to probe for weaknesses and possible ways to destroy humanity really put the comment about his race being “incredibly racist” from the pilot into a completely different light. Continue reading
An open letter to Seth MacFarlane:
Do you mind if I call you Seth?
I understand that your new series, The Orville is intended as a homage to the optimistic spirit of Star Trek. And I know that many of your other animated comedies feature callbacks to certain moments from popular culture.
So, you will understand if I’m a bit concerned that it feels like the latest (at least to me) episode of The Orville feels like you crossed the streams of your series. I can understand and forgive the plot line where Gordon is taking the command test and pulls out the “we’ve got this weapon that will reflect back whatever you throw at us” moment. After all, Captain James T. Kirk only used that twice in the original series (and did it better. Of course, when does James T. Kirk not make just about anything better?!?). Continue reading
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
Dear producers of The Orville: More episodes like this one, please.
Not sure yet if this episode will be the exception or the rule, but I’m hoping it becomes the rule. While not perfect, “About a Girl” feels like it’s a step in the right direction.
Which, knowing Seth MacFarlane can only mean next week will the series take on “The Naked Now” only instead of acting drunk, everyone will act like they’ve had one too many of the special brownies the replicators can whip at the drop of a hat. Continue reading
While “Old Wounds” introduced us to the universe of The Orville and its characters, the episode really didn’t tell us much about the characters beyond a basic character tic or bio line.
And while “Command Performance” still suffers from many of the issues that played the pilot episode in terms of establishing a tone for the series, it at least tried to give us a bit more insight into a few of the characters. Continue reading
Based on the promotional material and my expectations of what constitutes a Seth MacFarlane show, I expected The Orville to be a bit more Galaxy Quest than Star Trek.
Turns out FOX took all the “funny” and “zingy” one-liner parts of the premiere and edited those into a (much repeated) commercial for the show.
It’s almost as if Fox doesn’t quite know what kind of show Seth MacFarlane is giving them.
Which could be because The Orville doesn’t seem to know what kind of show it wants to be either. That’s my big takeaway from the first episode, “Old Wounds.” Continue reading