The Orville is another example of something I did not expect to like. I’m just not a Seth MacFarlane fan. I know, that probably sounds heretical to many of you, but I just don’t like the things he is generally involved in. I can’t watch Family Guy, as the animation creeps me out. I don’t like Ace Ventura, primarily because I never liked the things Jim Carrey was involved in while he was young. His exaggerated facial expressions, again, creep me out. And so, when I learned of Seth MacFarlane being involved in a Sci-Fi comedy… No, I just thought, no.
I was wrong! I didn’t see the first episode, which I heard was awful, but my son convinced me to watch the second episode, and it wasn’t bad. I’m not much of a fan of the ship design, as it looks to me like a big open mouth with a tongue sticking out, which in my opinion is visually… unappealing. But the stories, they are good. In that respect, The Orville harkens back to the Star Trek legacy, in which the episodes were really morality plays. Orville is using the science fiction platform in order to present important ideas, and I really like that.
I also love how the show references older science fiction, and was shocked and extremely pleased when they discovered Flatland. When that happened, I excitedly said, Flatland! I repeated it a time or two and my husband finally asked me what the heck flatland was. In his defence, before I met him he was far more into fantasy books, although he did enjoy watching sci-fi movies and TV series.
This show is not like the others
I see in reviews that critics tend to hate the show, but viewers, on average, love it. I suppose today’s critics like things that fit into neat categories, and The Orville does not – not by a long shot.
Most shows in the sci-fi universe involve people who are the best at what they do, and we are expected to be in awe of their skills, powers, personalities, looks, or whatever. That is not this show. The Orville isn’t a flagship, the captain isn’t the best in the fleet, and while some of the crew members are excellent at what they do, they generally have far more obvious character… oddities, making them seem more like real people.
The Orville has some pretty creative and weird characters in it. And like real people, these unusual crew members react in their own unique and sometimes highly inappropriate ways. In that respect, it is completely unlike Star Trek, which was mostly populated by serious professionals. And yet, while shattering the norms of previous space series, it regularly pays homage to those very same shows.
Oh, and one of my favorite aspects of the show, the crew makes mistakes. And I mean, really bad ones. They have terribly messed up first contact situations, either attempting to disprove their major beliefs, or accidentally starting new religions. And yet each time they make a mistake like that, the episode is making important statements.
And of course, I can’t discuss the show without mentioning the graphics – they are really quite beautiful. Unfortunately I can’t find many of the most impressive ones to share with you.
So what are your thoughts? Do you like the show, hate it, find it confusing and unfocused? Or perhaps revel in what the critics despise about it, as I do?