Monday, September 11, 2017

The Orville - Old Wounds

Set in the 25th Century, The Orville is more Star Trek knock-off than parody. The show's pilot episode introduces us to troubled officer Ed Mercer (Seth MacFarlane) who is granted command of a starship not out of any qualifications but simply because the Planetary Union ran out of suitable candidates. Initially psyched for the assignment, Mercer is shocked to discover his cheating ex-wife Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki) has been assigned as his first officer. The ship's first assignment, to deliver supplies to a medical station, goes awry when the lead scientist (Brian George) reveals the existence about a time displacement device which could be used as a terrible weapon an alien race known as the Krill show up to steal.

Written and produced by Seth MacFarlane, the first episode of the relies quite a bit on cheap sitcom humor while not taking full advantage of its setting. Meanwhile the production of the series (except in scenes where the use of green screen becomes painfully obvious) is actually not too bad. The choice to make the sole likable actor the most unlikable character doesn't do the show any favors (although the closing scene helps a bit). For an alien race incredibly important to plot, the Krill look like something out of Masters of the Universe and their motivations hardly make sense (why do they threaten to destroy the Orville when the device would be destroyed as well)? With MacFarlane in control of the series I don't know that The Orville will ever become more than the flawed production we see here, but I'm willing to stick around for at least a handful of episodes to see if the concept can eventually succeed.

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