So there were definitely people buzzing that, despite the trailers, Orville wasn’t supposed to be a comedy. Someone should probably have told McFarlane that because the first episode was very heavy in things I’ve always thought were supposed to be jokes in his other productions. Specifically all the body humor, like the blue head ejaculation, and spelling out things that were supposed to be funny.
Hint: The dog would’ve been funnier if you hadn’t spelled it out.
What I didn’t know going in was that Seth McFarlane was starring in Orville. Hey, I didn’t know what he looked like. Sue me. I never felt the urge to look up the creator of dumb comedy. The main reason I wanted to see Orville was to see if a spoof would possibly be more in tune with old Trek than the alternate timeline weirdness we’ve been getting. Not that it isn’t…interesting. It’s just not my thing.
Ok ok, so let’s be upfront here: I’m not a fan of McFarlane’s character. He’s almost a spoof of the spoof of Kirk and it doesn’t work for me…maybe because he verges on Archer territory? His highlight is the banter he has with the rest of the cast but past that I seriously do not care about him and I hope the show focuses primarily on the other characters because holy crap do I love those guys. They are the spoof I wanted. So let’s break them down a bit:
We have the TNG bridge with a more Original Series floorplan, a well-crafted and notably recognizably similar to TNG score, Anti-Data, the redhead reminds me of some kind of cross between Scotty and Tom Paris, the ship doctor could easily fit in the line up of Trek doctors, the super strong alien girl gives me some Tasha Yar vibes, and of course we have a Worf who pees once a year. And apparently is going to lay an egg. With his man mate. Which is a little cheating in a way on the LGBT rep because it’s a planet of only men, but I am very curious to see if the spoof does it better than Star Trek did it. Let’s just say their episodes that touched on gay or trans topics were……lackluster. They were better than the planet of African stereotypes in TNG though, so there is that?
Of course, I’m also worried because McFarlane’s history with these things is probably worse than Star Trek’s. And…sometimes better in weird ways? It’s complicated.
(Also I just realized…there’s probably going to be some serious mpreg fanfics to come out of this. I mean, I’ve never seen a fandom where that doesn’t crop up in droves, but this one has an excuse that’s almost better than the time Tripp got pregnant because this alien species is a main character we’re going to see more than once. Tripp wins though because their species could change the anatomy of other species to knock them up.)
When the show started rolling, the first five or so minutes had me groaning that this was going to suuuuuuck. Did we really need an ejaculation joke in the first 60 seconds? Did we? Well, it’s a Seth McFarlane production so yeah, I imagine he probably was completely unable to help himself with that one. The show would have been stronger if it hadn’t taken the time to remind me that it’s a live-action Family Guy cousin.
Now: The adventure of the episode.
So the rapid-aging aspect of this is a pretty classic tale on Star Trek, which was used more than once at that. They did do something different with it, I’ll give it that. Instead of ‘what if our main cast became O: old people!’ they had a very fun ‘what if we grew a tree!’ twist. I liked that. That was fun. Aside from that, the bad guys kind of remind me the most of Enterprise, of all things. Not sure how I feel about that. Also kind of Romulan-esque, since they were more on the cunning side. I loved the ragtag feel of their little ship taking on the big enemy battleship. That’s…about the end of my feelings there.
Oh. I liked the Arbor Day joke better. It was the superior one liner by far. The other one was, well, very Family Guy. (It probably sounds like I hate Family Guy…I actually don’t, I just don’t want to watch a whole show that’s basically Family Guy but in space.)
I hope they don’t dip into standard McFarlane comedy too much. There were so many people saying it’s not supposed to be a comedy so I sincerely hope they don’t try for that because I’m sorry McFarlane but your comedy belongs in the midnight timeslot on Adult Swim. It’s pretty crappy and it’s only really interesting when drunk or high. I want to actually enjoy this show. And there’s clearly some great comedy weaved in between the dog balls and forehead ejaculation. The banter between the exes was great and I just can’t wait to see more of the rest of the crew. They were the kind of real humans that Star Trek is supposed to be too moral to have. (I don’t want Star Trek to delve into those types of people either. I like Star Trek trying to be morally better than we are now – it gives me hope that the future might not be the never-ending KKK/Nazi rally that seems to be the present.) I hope they stick to that and cut out all of the Family Guy-esque stuff. If I want to watch Family Guy humor I’ll put Family Guy on. Or maybe American Dad if I want to see America-obsessed Americans get ripped a new one. We don’t need more of that though.
I think this show might have a shot at similar longevity to those shows though, with all the good and ill that comes with that longevity. Or it could crash and burn and be absolutely destroyed like the third one I always forget exists. It’s pretty ok, which is how I feel about all of his other work. It’s something that will entertain me but it’s not something I’ll hold as a favorite. No…wait. I lied. There is one place where it beyond excels.
God those effects are nice.