"The Orville" Science Fiction Adventure Series

Posted by $ MikeMarotta 7 months, 1 week ago to Entertainment
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On recommendations here in the two discussions of Star Trek: Discovery we watched the first episode of The Orville. I will leave it to those who advocated for this show to explain its virtues and values.

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  • Posted by $ Solver 7 months, 1 week ago
    The Orville has some really great episodes, some on par with the Star Trek movies, but I don’t remember the first episode being one of them.
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    • Posted by TheRealBill 7 months ago
      My wife and I have developed a house rule in new shows: watch at least the first 2-3 episodes before passing judgement. It has served us well.

      I have developed a line of thinking that goes like this: if a show is going to be any good they really need to get the foundation set up in the first few episodes. That tends to be “slow” or even plodding. But often, not always, it is rewarded.

      But party of it is also messing with our own preconceived notions and expectations about what we’re going to watch. Take the movie Evolution for example. It is a “B” sci-fi movie. If you go into it thinking “oh it’s for Duchovny in it” and think X-Files type show, you’re probably going to hate it. If you know it is a B sci-fi movie, you just might like it.

      Another example is Lucifer. I thought it was going to be another “chasing down escaped souls from hell” series. Not. Even. Close. But it took a few episodes to get that.

      Not all shows survive the 3 episode window for us, but many that would not have survived a first episode pass turned out quite enjoyable.

      The Orville does have some notable episodes in the first season - and one they though might have been “too sci-fi” to for the rest. But the reviews of that episode turned out better than the others so they went a bit more in that direction in season two.

      The episode on what one might call “social credit” was particularly good in my view.
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      • Posted by freedomforall 7 months ago
        You and your wife have a good approach. Some stories need time to set up. The best example I can think of is Babylon 5. It started very slow with lots of details that didn't appear to be needed, and it became the best science fiction ever on tv. Nothing else comes close.
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        • Posted by TheRealBill 7 months ago
          And oh man were those details important! He was a big fan of the Chekhov method, and it paid off handsomely.
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          • Posted by freedomforall 7 months ago
            The contrast in the characters of G'Kar and Lando from the beginning of the series to the end demonstrate how good drama can be crafted. G'Kar delivers some of the most profound statements about human actions ever done on video. MS created so many heroic, admirable characters in B5. In comparison, Orville and STD are just empty shells to deliver pc propaganda. They are painful to watch.
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            • Posted by TheRealBill 7 months ago
              I enjoy both for very different reasons. As much as I love B5 I could sit and write about its propaganda as well. Same with most sci-fi. Frankly most good stuff has some morality theme to it, from Shakespeare to B5, from Ringworld to Firefly, from 1984 to Atlas Shrugged it is there. This is especially true for something that is to be epic - the hero’s journey and all.

              One thing sci-if has almost always done is to “push the boundaries” sociologically. Try reading old sci-fi. Whether that be Niven, Asimov, Heinlein, or Edgar Rice Boroughs, you’ll find things at the edges or beyond if society placed front and center and generally accepted in the setting as normal.

              Asimov has the novel where it was expected that a daughter’s first sexual experience was with her father, and the story centered quite a bit around the story of how the father in this case didn’t want to and how she felt it as rejection. Or the sheer amount of sex in Ringworld where sex was how you sealed a deal.

              Even in movie adaptations of books we can see the changing of the morality or politics. Take, for example, Starship Troopers. The movie is viewed by many as pro-Fascism and Veerhoeven wanted it to be that way - despite never having read the book. Of course, for those who actually know what Fascism is neither the book or the movie - despite the attempt - are actually anything remotely Fascist. Indeed they are quite the opposite.

              Hell, I could make a reasonable case John Galt was simply a Fascist who actually thought long term and wanted people to think they put him and his corporate buddies in control - it just depends on how you look at it. While I do not agree with that assessment or interpretation there is enough there to support a claim of it if you shift tour perspective.

              After all he set out on a long term plan to bring society and the economy to a crashing halt so he could ride in and take control, divvying up the various aspects of government of the country among his friends when it finally happened. In some ways what he does matches the pre-Marxian socialists: societal collapse followed by a “man of action” who rides in to save society and sets up a technocratic government of “experts”.

              That’s why I prefer to focus on the people involved, and the story itself. Besides, if you’re going to exclude a series because of socialism or collectivism of political correctness, you’ll have to exclude B5 along with every Star Trek series. Perhaps even The Expanse (good series, better books - but watch it before reading it; the stories are different enough that I think it works well in that order. Similarly Flash Forward is also a pair of different enough stories - though even more so). I will say the lead characters in the books for The Expanse are better ones than in the shows.

              On the sexuality front much of Sci-Fi has been rather open. For those of us who grew up on a steady stream of sci-fi reading, gay characters are nothing out of the ordinary, and neither are “trans” or even cross-species coupling - wether it be Dax from ST who was a symbiotic who had both male and female hosts, the OG Kirk who’d hit just about anything that let him, or the “can’t get pregnant so let’s use sex as contract signing” of the many species in the Ringworld we’ve seen it all. One might even say the Ringworld one was a commentary on reliable birth control - what happens when you remove pregnancy from the sexual equation?

              But anyways, I think one would be hard pressed to argue that The Orville’s blatant trashing of socially determined justice, or the absolute thrashing of “gender reassignment surgery” for children are politically correct these days. Indeed one might say it plunged right into TERF turf with the latter.

              Then you have the unwed black mother of two teenage boys who needs a father figure to step in and straight men out the boys. How is that PC today? Or the freakishly strong female character who has to go back to where she came from because being away literally makes her weak? Yes, that was done because the actress was needing time away for a Netflix movie but they could have gone with any number of other options such as promoting her rah rah women style if they wanted to be PC.

              Is it PC now to have a black character grow up in a local culture that punishes him for being smart rather than “cool” and it negatively affect his life and career? Is it PC to have the woman say “put my ex-Husband in command, not me” now? Is it PC to have women put into command questioning and doubting themselves?

              Is Captain Mercer a bumbling idiot? Much of the time, yes. But so is almost every member of the crew. If we’re being honest, much of the time even Kirk was a bumbling idiot and needed to be saved by the alien. Skywalker was a spoiled brat, and Worf was a tormented outcast. But Ryker, he knew how to take a seat. ;)
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              • Posted by freedomforall 7 months ago
                "After all he set out on a long term plan to bring society and the economy to a crashing halt so he could ride in and take control,"
                C'mon, you trying to bait the AS fans with this ? [grin]
                You know that is not even close to the truth.

                I have read lots of classic sci-fi and I agree many good authors do go outside contemporary societal norms and enjoyed many of them.
                I can't recall any adaptation of classic sci-fi (Heinlein's Starship Troopers, for example) done well in movies or tv.

                No, I don't agree that Kirk was a bumbling idiot; he was an explorer, a military officer, and not a diplomat or politician. In the midst of the battle that decides the fate of his species Kirk didn't order his crew to pick a target by eenie-meenie-miny-moe after being told the weapons were not effective. Save that bit of brilliant writing to define the unlikable, incompetent modern white-male Mercer. Oh, then the incompetent white-male is saved by the suddenly competent cheating ex-wife and illegal aliens - no rationale required. Love that great moral lesson - no biased political message there.

                (I can't comment on much of the rest of your post since I don't care to take the time watching it while being constantly insulted by its irrational, counter-productive political messages.)
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  • Posted by CTYankee44 7 months ago
    I think people need to understand that The Orville was created by a Trekkie for Trekkies! If the rest of the universe cares to 'enjoy the ride' then you're welcome to join in. If not, then go watch something else in the timeslot.
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    • Posted by freedomforall 7 months ago
      Insulting the IQ of your audience is not what Roddenberry or any good sci-fi writer does, but McFarlane does it with regularity. Galaxy Quest was made for trekkers and had the heart and soul that is missing from Orville.
      I'll read good sci-fi and watch B5 and GQ again on DVD. Here's to good competition and free markets!
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      • Posted by CTYankee44 7 months ago
        Babylon 5 was the best damned sci-fi on television! But one must realize the toll it took on JMS to accomplish it.

        Galaxy Quest was a humorous take on TOS without a doubt. It crammed as many tropes into its 108 minutes as humanly possible. At its core it wasn't really sci-fi either. Don't get me wrong, GQ is a wonderful movie, it's even got it's touching moments.

        "By Grabthar's hammer I will aveng..."
        -- "Don't do that."

        I don't think McFarlane is trying to insult anyone. Yes, some of the 'science' is face-palm worthy, but realize that Roddenberry invented the 'transporter' to save the production costs of filming in a shuttlecraft, and to speed the plot along. The Orville only learns that The Union will get transporters a few more centuries into the future. When a time traveller comes back to ...{spoilers}

        Let's face it' without suspension of disbelief, there isn't a sci-fi story in existence that truly doesn't insult our intelligence. But we don't know what the future holds, so we buy-in and enjoy the adventure.

        Why does Capt. Mercer like Billy Joel and not some yet unknown artist from the mid 22nd century? Because it's funny!

        What did it cost to hire a symphony orchestra to dress up in alien skins and perform? I doubt it was cheap, or easy to choreograph, but it was sublime to watch & listen to on a sci-fi comedy. I don't think anyone's IQ was being insulted that week, or any other week.

        Does McFarlane like juvenile humor? Absolutely! Why? Because even though we like to think we've outgrown it, it is still funny. It's a human foible which lets us relive the simple humor of our youth, and our mammalian bodies.

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        • Posted by freedomforall 7 months ago
          While I agree on B5 and GQ, I rarely find McF funny. (I have never enjoyed juvenile humor.) I do think McF is intentionally insulting to men. His Orville character is a repeat of the stupid, weak, begging for female acceptance character he wrote for A Million Ways To Die In The West. His white male characters are all stupid, irrational, and weak who are always dependent on smart females to survive. Humans have survived because men are a lot smarter than McF's idiot male characters. McF writes rubbish that isn't worthy of toilet paper. His humor belongs in the toilet. (To top it off he supported Obama and Hitlery which further demonstrates his reasoning and ability to understand reality. More evidence of the irrational bias in his work.)
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  • Posted by CTYankee44 7 months ago
    The Orville is a wonderful tribute to ST:TNG with an unashamed sense of self and human comedy!

    The episodes are actually good SciFi and or drama.

    The production quality & SFX are superb.

    Season three will be exclusively on Hulu but not until later this year :^(
    However, the upside is I can rewatch the first two seasons again.
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  • Posted by freedomforall 7 months, 1 week ago
    A dumbed-down Cheers in space without Ted Danson's comic timing. Formula sitcom transferred to a space ship in an attempt to get viewers who like sci-fi. On top of that "winning formula" it's another socialist propaganda vehicle.
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    • Posted by $ 7 months, 1 week ago
      You are accusing Fox of socialism. How novel. Not that I disagree, but I think that many others here would.
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      • Posted by TheRealBill 7 months ago
        Most sci-fi set in the future involves socialism. I think this is because socialism has a certain appeal to many scientists (remember that it was originally put forth as the scientific way to govern), and it makes writing easier in that you get to largely skip out on adding depth to the setting and characters - so it can be really appealing to writers.

        I don’t see The Orville as peddling socialism anymore than anything else does. They even have an episode or two that rip some of the principles of socialism to shreds.

        You can see what you want in the show. For example, some might say the episode about Bortus and Moclan practices is about feminism. On the other hand you could also say it counters the current trans-activist narrative quite heavily.

        One can see a not quite so subtle jab to a culture that denigrates intelligence with John LaMarr.

        Then there is Mercer. That he is basically emasculated isn’t a bad thing - it is kinda part of the point. We aren’t talking about the captain of a flagship or serious military vessel. He is commanding a low level ship - because he fell from being the type one needs to command that mind of vessel. He is basically bottom of the barrel at the start of the show - and that is the point. He was your base type-a focused more on getting to the top than on family, and there was a price to it ; a not uncommon story. The difference here is that he isn’t put right back on top.

        The ship gets tasked with menial mission most of the time and he whines about it to command who points out he screwed up his life and has to earn his way back into better missions. His fall from grace is not ignored and without lasting consequences.

        You can also look at it in a different way: presumably he wants to work back up to a big ship and eventually outgrow the Orville, but we all know he won’t. He will have learned that he doesn’t have to be the biggest fish to have a meaningful life.

        One could analogize that to today’s “college is for good jobs” versus trades and trade level jobs mentality. In that sense it would be a poke in the eyes of those who insist that to matter you have to be in a prestigious job and that it only comes from the college industry.

        One thing that is difficult to read opposing ways is how the show treats religion. Suffice it to say: it isn’t exactly praising of religion.

        The first episodes are more on the funny side because that was how he got Fox to approve the show. Here you have to consider that he hadn’t done a live action tv show before. So you play to your strengths to get in the door.

        Season two picks up quite well in the writing department regarding storylines and character arcs.
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    • Posted by $ Olduglycarl 7 months ago
      Not only that but with an emasculated male character.
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      • Posted by freedomforall 7 months ago
        That's Seth McFarlane's only male protagonist character. He is the "creator" of the Orville. He wrote that same character (and played that character) in his stupid comedy screenplay A Million Ways to Die in the West. That movie's revenues exceeded production costs by $40 million (probably because of the cast- Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, and Liam Neeson.) So the same script was relocated to the Orville to afflict us with more feminist propaganda. (McFarlane's other contributions to feminism are his wimpy male characters in Family Guy and his caricature of the white male in American Dad.) It's too bad he missed Flight 11.
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  • Posted by $ nickursis 7 months ago
    Orville is fun, and makes like the Original Trek, a lot more of a story, and less actual effects. When Trek started in 1965 or so, I remember watching it, and had no idea how it all worked, I just knew it did. That has slowly fleshed out, so will Orville. Since CBS decided to trash the whole Trek universe and just make up whatever works for their needs, I am not willing to pay for it, except when I find dvds on sale or used....
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  • Posted by ycandrea 7 months ago
    I tried to get into it, but I just couldn't. I like witty humor like Roseanne, Mash, Young Sheldon, Mom, etc. This show was kind of stupid. I got bored.
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 7 months, 1 week ago
    I agree with Solve: Keep watching past the first episode. I only watched Season One. It's like TOS but not trying to be taken too seriously. It gets more serious later without trying to be serious sci-fi with dark themes. I like it and will watch the next season when I have a chance.

    In TOS, the main characters deliver absurd lines with total seriousness:
    MCCOY: Take him where?
    KIRK: In search of his brain, Doctor.
    MCCOY: Jim, where are you going to look? In this whole galaxy, where are you going to look for Spock's brain? How are you going to find it?
    KIRK: I'll find it.
    MCCOY: Even if you do, I can't restore it.
    KIRK: It was taken out. It can be put back in.
    MCCOY: But I don't know how.
    KIRK: The thief that took it has the knowledge. I'll force it out of her.

    Orville is similar but it knows it's asking viewers to watch the show and not focus on the silliness of space opera premises.
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