TV Review – The Orville (2017- )

Space. It’s big, huge, and a never-ending source of comedic fodder.

BQB here with a review.

I have been meaning to check this show out for a long time and finally have, after noticing it was available through Disney Plus.

I’m six episodes in. My first impressions:

#1 – Critics call it a Star Trek rip-off but it’s an obvious Star Trek parody. Seth MacFarlane, the man behind the raunchy, constantly pop culture lampooning Family Guy, is obviously a big Trekkie, and relishes the chance to cosplay a spaceship captain. If you take Star Trek, then add in the ability to make crude jokes, you’d get this show.

#2 – I get why some might call it a rip-off in that it goes beyond the humor to build adventure of its own. If you stay for the funny, you’ll get plenty of serious. In my binge session thus far, I’ve seen Captain Ed Mercer (MacFarlane) and crew rescue an agrarian society living (unbeknownst to them) in an ecosystem built into a massive spaceship, a historic ship dealer who travels back in time to steal spaceships of the past and sell them to collectors of the future, and a battle to prevent a hostile alien species from getting their hands on an aging device. All of these sound like they could be straight out of Trek, so when you see the Trek like uniforms, the Trek like military organization, the Trek like set up of the ship, it’s hard to not feel like MacFarlane didn’t just hijack Trek, change a few things around, then add in plenty of dirty sex jokes.

#3 – Speaking of sex jokes, while I enjoy it, Disney Plus really isn’t the place for it. I get Fox and Disney are part of the same company now and apparently Disney Plus is breathing new life into the series by offering a sequel New Horizons, which is basically just a continuation of the show. However, young kids shouldn’t be watching it. It’s probably fine for teenagers, but if you’re one of those parents who subscribed to Disney Plus so you could park the kids in front of it while you do housework, eh, take another look.

All in all, Trek is the granddaddy of all space opera. Many would say Star Wars, but SW just changed the game by introducing badass special effects. Trek was the first who challenged us to go where no man has gone before. (There are probably others who would say Lost in Space or other 1950s offerings beat them all.)

At any rate, Trek is a 20th century view of what military style space travel would be like. The Trek ships are set up more or less like a large ocean going vessel, so one might argue that Trek doesn’t really “own” that concept. Then again, when you watch The Orville, when you see the captain, you think Kirk, the science officer, you think Spock, the engineer, you think Scotty. Then again, does Trek own the concept of a captain, a science officer, an engineer and so on?

STATUS: Shelf-worthy. Enjoyable. In the end, I don’t think this takes anything away from Trek, and if anything, it’s a humorous love-letter to Trek. Maybe if Trek had been more open minded about captains finding their wives in bed, messing around with blue goo spurting aliens, MacFarlane might have made a deal to create Funny Trek. Ultimately, he did, with just the names changed to protect the innocent. Come for the funny, but stay for the space drama.

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2 thoughts on “TV Review – The Orville (2017- )

  1. The Orville is a great show inspired by Star Trek and a few other shows. I hope it gets a fourth season.

    • I feel like only Seth MacF and Fox could get away with it. Like if I tried to self-publish a Star Trek parody novel I’d probably get hit with a lawsuit from Paramount that is in the unlikely event theyd notice someone as small potatos as me.

      On the other hand, Star Trek takes present military navy concepts and puts them on a spaceship so I don’t know if it’s possible for anyone to write military space exploration without being compared to Star Trek.

      I like it. I’m hooked.

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