From the man who brought Family Guy to small screens everywhere, comes a sci-fi dramedy that screams Star Trek wannabe. At first glance, The Orville seemed like a parody of the successful science fiction media franchise, but the first episode clarified that it was worse – much worse. The Orville is drab.
In his first *TV* live-action appearance, Seth MacFarlane delivers a character that lacks the charisma of his voice-overs. Watching him struggle through the scenes makes us forget the genius behind cult classics such as Family Guy and American Dad. Perhaps MacFarlane is out of his element, or perhaps The Orville’s screenwriting does not work.
Set hundreds of years in the future in an obvious Trek-inspired land, Ed Mercer (MacFarlane) walks in on his wife in bed with a blue alien. Right off the bat, we see a first attempt at bringing some of the Family Guy-esque humor, but it immediately plummets. The pilot consisted of failed attempts at comedy, questioning whether the hour-long show is comedic at all.
The rest of the cast — comprising very talented actors in the likes of Adrianne Palicki — is eclipsed by poor writing. Palicki’s potential goes to waste with her role as the cheating ex-wife who becomes Mercer’s first officer. From Episode 1, the plot line is confusing and it becomes difficult to decide whether to take the show seriously or to laugh at it. The erratic writing contributes to the confusion; one scene has the characters being overly serious and the next immediately follows with forced humor.
The first episode falls flat and brings in doubts that subsequent episodes will be any better. The dialogues are painful and the acting awkward, leaving very little hope for the rest of the season. The show is one that never gives; the audience is on the edge of their seats for the punchy MacFarlane lines that never come.
Despite MacFarlane’s reputation, The Orville feels like a semi-expensive ripoff of Star Trek, that takes itself too seriously. Marketed as a ‘hilarious’ sci-fi comedy, the audience received an hour-long drama with a semblance of comedy instead. The Fox dramedy tries too hard to be something it perhaps never will be.
Was it a passion project gone wrong for MacFarlane?
Q U I C K • C E N T S
b r i e f • s u m m a r y
Set hundreds of years in the future, Ed Mercer becomes Captain of the U.S.S Orville. His first officer happens to be his ex-wife, who cheated on him with a blue alien. Together with his new crew, he has to navigate the perils of space.
t h e • g o o d
Expensive and well-done CGI
t h e • b a d
p r o g r e s s
S01E01 DNF at 30 minutes.
f o l l o w • u p
f i n a l • t h o u g h t s
Don’t waste your time with this show — Star Trek fans deserve better.