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  1. - Top - End - #181
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    Default Re: The Orville

    Yeah, pretty much. There was no indication in the episode that the Union admiralty was upset at Mercer and Malloy for doing what they did considering the alternative was the total destruction of a colony.

    And it's almost doubtless that she doesn't recognize the compassion in what the Union officers did. Recall, she was patiently explaining to her students that humans are analogous to machines and don't have souls or rational thought earlier in the episode. In her worldview, nothing a non-Krill does can be right or compassionate.
    "Courage is the complement of fear. A fearless man cannot be courageous. He is also a fool." -- Robert Heinlein


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    I genuinely enjoy Orville. I genuinely like Discovery. I find that one rewards repeat viewing and thinking about what the episodes have to say while the other does not.

    I don't want to attack Orville for not being what I want it to be. I understand but am saddened by the need some have to do that to Discovery.

    I feel like I need to try to defend my preferences and feelings when this happens - but I don't want to attack other people's. instead I'll just try to explain my own. To me there is really nothing "Trek" about Orville. If feels more like Stargate Atlantis to me (I love Stargate too). Stargate was always a big fun adventure. It was fun first, and sometimes smart too. It used sci-fi concepts to explore fun or make adventure. Trek was always more introspective to me. The adventure was front and center - but it grappled with what it means to be human, our duty to protect whales, how we see other cultures. The best Trek asked me to think about my life and choices. The best Stargate made me smile, laugh, and pump my fist as the heroes triumph.

    I like Orville. The episodes are fun and gripping. They really don't reward thinking too much about them or repeat viewing so far (this could change).

    Let's look at Krill: that nice trope subversion at the end ... what is it suppose to say to us, the viewer, about reality? (I know the answer is that is isn't - it's just escapist fun and that's okay).

    We start with a conflict (us vs them, union v Krill). We are given a perspective that the Krill are just plain evil. We're told that they are very religious - get a heavy handed "religion makes people bad/stupid" comment - we're introduced to the hope of peace through understanding the other. We get some, not very funny situation comedy (which follows the actually funny "eat this" comedy). We get the sort-of friendship with the teacher and the very interesting and promising interactions with the one nice Krill kid. We get the ritualistic violence and WMD plot which hammers home that the Krill really are monsters. We get the "Heroes don't kill kids" plot to remind us that "we" aren't evil (even though the heroes have blown up two other ships which apparently had kids on them too). We end by pointing out that the compassion of saving the kids only produces more animosity because the kids grow up knowing we killed their faimly...

    So what was Mercer suppose to do?

    Kill the kids? The Krill wouldn't know the details (and we know from the start that they don't value non-Krill life). The way they ended the episode really suggests that this was he smarter action - and that leaves me very uncomfortable when I take that idea and look to the real world. He didn't know about the kids before - but he also learns about them after he gets a vivid demonstration of just how "evil" the adults are. So, with the exception of the one good kid who was curious about the world we are left with a situation where the smart thing would have been to kill the kids.

    That is a very bleak perspective. There is no hope in that message of "Compassion is a weakness". It is dressed up with bright lights, happy colors, and smiling faces; but that message is a very dark one.

    Alternately they could be trying to tell a story about how even good people can get messed up by the things they do in war. Good people who go off to war thinking they are going to be the hero often wind up haunted by things that happened in the war when they come home and are being told that they are the good guy. It can be hard to reconcile the action you needed to take, i.e. killing ships full of people, with the ideals you are suppose to represent. There are not yet any signs Mercer is going to suffer any lasting psychological issues from his time on the Krill ship. It is unlikely that a show like Orville would take time to give a decent portrayal of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and try to show a person who feels that they need to do evil things to protect good people and desperately wants to be a hero. I have a different show for that, so I don't mind Orville not approaching it.

    About A Girl is similar - "we" know that the Moclan way is wrong the same way "we" know that killing kids is wrong. "We" agree that forcing an operation like that on an infant is unethical - but given their level of medical technology ... is it still? Within the context of the medical tech the Moclan argument is logically valid (I mean - amputating someone as a joke is a minor inconvinence in this universe). The operation has almost no lasting side effects physically or psychologically that are known.

    If there was a medical procedure that let parents choose a child's eye color - would it be unethical to do so? What if brown eyes dominant in the culture and people with different colors faced very real discrimination. How many of us would side with the parent who wants to leave the kid's natural blue eyes over the one who wants them to be brown. We'd all dislike that society and think it's rules we're backward and stupid - but that choice within that context isn't backward or stupid. Within the episode, the Unions's cries of, "Be tolerant and don't be jerks" wasn't a compelling argument. Okay, that is smart place to start a discussion. Only Orville ended the discussion with that. In reaction to that argument not working they gave up. We are left with a group which is more of an "other" than before because we disagree with them. We're then asked to move on without introspection - just like all members of the crew do.

    The Union members learn nothing form the Moclans, the Moclans learn nothing from the Union. The heroes loose. Within the hypothetical of the Moclan society they are presented as right. Moclan society is also presented as pretty darn awful. The seeds of a start of the conversation are there - The Union's tolerance has made a better society than the Moclan's close-minded-ness. This is undercut by the Union's inability to tolerate the Moclan's intolerance which Mercer lamp shades so that the show can hammer home that tolerating that kind of behavior is bad... The episode is thematically a hot mess that leaves me wondering if they weren't trying to say "Tolerance itself is dumb, the Union is superior because it is." Nothing in the episode really shows us that the Union actually is tolerant, it mearly shows us that the Union says it is tolerant (Crew-members joke about Moclan reproduction in derogatory ways the episode before, no one knows anything about Moclan society, the planet is called out as a horrible place to live, the reaction to hearing about Moclan society is to instantly try to change it - initially against the wishes of the friend they want to change it for).

    I don't think Orville will run long enough for us to see the baby Moclan grow up and struggle with her identity as she tries to be what her parents want her to be instead of who she was born as. That's okay, I have a different show for that.

    So kindness is a weakness and tolerance is dumb? Those feel like dreadful messages to me.

    I want to stress again, I liked both episodes while watching them. The subversions made me want to think about the topic. Thinking about the topic left me deeply uncomfortable.

    I'm left wondering which of the following is most true:
    A) the writers didn't think about these things and neither should I.
    B) the writers did think about this and it is suppose to deconstruct Star Trek rather than pay homage to it.
    C) the writers are playing a long game and these plot lines will come back with clever, intelligent, and positive resolutions later.

    Sadly both A and B leave me with a very pessimistic and cynical view of reality that is light years away from what is "Trek" to me. B would make me angry and I think is he least likely to be true (the show seems to honestly think it is a love letter to TNG). Nothing in the writing leave me thinking C will be true. I enjoy the show because it is A. I would freaking love the show if it was C.

    TL:DR

    I find Orville to have a Bright aesthetic (bright lights, crisp colors, upbeat music), a Cheerful presentation (Happy people, fun adventures, a mix of good and bad comedy at the forefront), and a deeply Cynical theme if I stop to think about them. So I try not to.

    I personally find Orville much darker than the show its constantly (and unfairly to both shows) compared against. I find this to be true because I look less at the aesthetic and presentation and more at the theme of what is being presented.

    I love the aesthetic and presentation of Orville. If I allow myself to get lost in the adventure and not read to carefully into it (if I ignore the theme) it is wonderful TV.
    Last edited by SuperPanda; 2017-10-27 at 01:57 AM. Reason: originally posted from my phone, clearing up typos

  3. - Top - End - #183
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperPanda View Post
    I genuinely enjoy Orville. I genuinely like Discovery. I find that one rewards repeat viewing and thinking about what the episodes have to say while the other does not.

    I don't want to attack Orville for not being what I want it to be. I understand but am saddened by the need some have to do that to Discovery.

    I feel like I need to try to defend my preferences and feelings when this happens - but I don't want to attack other people's. instead I'll just try to explain my own. To me there is really nothing "Trek" about Orville. If feels more like Stargate Atlantis to me (I love Stargate too). Stargate was always a big fun adventure. It was fun first, and sometimes smart too. It used sci-fi concepts to explore fun or make adventure. Trek was always more introspective to me. The adventure was front and center - but it grappled with what it means to be human, our duty to protect whales, how we see other cultures. The best Trek asked me to think about my life and choices. The best Stargate made me smile, laugh, and pump my fist as the heroes triumph.
    Preferences are each their own. The fact that some people can't look past Discovery's basic premise and design to enjoy a deep sci-fi that breaks new ground saddens me. Not much can be said to defend the new aesthetic from purists.

    I do feel you are doing more than just describing your appreciation of Orville and Discovery. You are giving a handle on the differences.

    The Orville is more like Stargate in the sense that neither is especially deep.

    Quote Originally Posted by SuperPanda View Post
    I like Orville. The episodes are fun and gripping. They really don't reward thinking too much about them or repeat viewing so far (this could change).
    This is where Orville differs from Stargate. We can hope for Star Trek levels of thoughtful sci-fi plots, and what we are getting is something...less.

    For example compare this episode to its TNG analogues:

    Spoiler: Orville E7 Majority Rule
    Show
    This reminds me of both the TNG episodes Justice or First Contact (more the former than the latter). Both TNG episodes elevate the members of the extreme civilizations and deal seriously with the notions. This episode deals with the notion of true democracy by extrapolating from social media, celebrity magazine, talk shows, and reality TV trends. "Government by American Idol." The crew get in trouble because the navigator decides to dry hump a statue.

    The crew suggests the waitress might lead a movement against such strict democracy, but all we see of her post-close encounters life is that, rather than participate in the daily shamefest, she turns off the TV to that sort of vapid noise.

    The basic problem with the episode is that Orville, is that it's own show doesn't rise very far above that sort of reality show nonsense.


    Quote Originally Posted by SuperPanda View Post
    Let's look at Krill: that nice trope subversion at the end ... what is it suppose to say to us, the viewer, about reality? (I know the answer is that is isn't - it's just escapist fun and that's okay).

    We start with a conflict (us vs them, union v Krill). We are given a perspective that the Krill are just plain evil. We're told that they are very religious - get a heavy handed "religion makes people bad/stupid" comment - we're introduced to the hope of peace through understanding the other. We get some, not very funny situation comedy (which follows the actually funny "eat this" comedy). We get the sort-of friendship with the teacher and the very interesting and promising interactions with the one nice Krill kid. We get the ritualistic violence and WMD plot which hammers home that the Krill really are monsters. We get the "Heroes don't kill kids" plot to remind us that "we" aren't evil (even though the heroes have blown up two other ships which apparently had kids on them too). We end by pointing out that the compassion of saving the kids only produces more animosity because the kids grow up knowing we killed their faimly...

    About A Girl is similar - "we" know that the Moclan way is wrong the same way "we" know that killing kids is wrong. "We" agree that forcing an operation like that on an infant is unethical - but given their level of medical technology ... is it still? Within the context of the medical tech the Moclan argument is logically valid (I mean - amputating someone as a joke is a minor inconvinence in this universe). The operation has almost no lasting side effects physically or psychologically that are known.

    I'm left wondering which of the following is most true:
    A) the writers didn't think about these things and neither should I.
    B) the writers did think about this and it is suppose to deconstruct Star Trek rather than pay homage to it.
    C) the writers are playing a long game and these plot lines will come back with clever, intelligent, and positive resolutions later.
    Actually I think these two endings (if not the episodes themselves) are the best part of the series, and its percisely because it leaves you reaching to try to think about the point.

    Most shows like to tell stories with clear morals and the moral is reinforced when the moral behavior or argument wins the day and the hereos are rewarded or applauded for their solution.

    Not so with these two Orville episodes. Mercer saves the kids and is taken to task for it by the one Krill he spares (who paradoxically also attacks him for killing everyone else on the ship). This leaves one to think about "what should Mercer have done," without affirmatively saying that he should have killed the kids or spared them or have the Union keep them prisoner.

    The Moclan baby gets the operation in the end. The Orville, Bortus, his spouse, everyone continues the status quo. That certainly isn't the ideal outcome, but the question becomes, was there anything anyone should (or could) have done differently?

    These sorts of endings produce far more thought and contemplation than the standard endings. In real life, one should expect moral choices to always be rewarded or the moral outcome to prevail. I think they are great endings, but deserve weightier episodes to conclude.
    Last edited by Reddish Mage; 2017-10-27 at 06:01 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    It would have been awesome if the writers had put as much thought into it as you guys do.
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  4. - Top - End - #184
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    Default Re: The Orville

    Quote Originally Posted by SuperPanda View Post
    So what was Mercer suppose to do?

    Kill the kids? The Krill wouldn't know the details (and we know from the start that they don't value non-Krill life). The way they ended the episode really suggests that this was he smarter action - and that leaves me very uncomfortable when I take that idea and look to the real world. He didn't know about the kids before - but he also learns about them after he gets a vivid demonstration of just how "evil" the adults are. So, with the exception of the one good kid who was curious about the world we are left with a situation where the smart thing would have been to kill the kids.
    That honestly wasn't my reaction to the end. To me the question is, was returning the kids to their warmongering theocracy the right move? The smart thing is arguable, but it certainly isn't killing the children. That's just a horrifying waste. Either returning the kids back to the Krill is a good PR move to try to soften relations and give some credence to the idea the Union isn't a bunch of soulless automatons (Sorry Isaac), or if the Krill society is more resistant, then indoctrinating the kids into Union values is a better move.

    Beyond hopefully avoiding having a bunch of soldiers gunning for you for obliterating their community, you get a better idea of Krill biology and psychology. And if Krill are amenable to other viewpoints (the episode seems to suggest their genocidal actions are more the result of a thin hodgepodge of religious propaganda) you gain a valuable tool for peacemaking later on. Having the same face as the enemy deliver your message is a big advantage in communication.

    Now, whether or not that's what you should do is a different question, and probably more controversial than the Moclan dilemma. The final point to the episode to me was less killing potential enemies now is rational, and more, don't necessarily expect people to appreciate you for taking what you believed to be the best choice for them when it came at traumatic personal cost.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Legato Endless View Post
    or if the Krill society is more resistant, then indoctrinating the kids into Union values is a better move.
    Ah, yes. We can give them their own school. We'll call it the Carlisle Indian Krill Academy.

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    *shrug*

    Real life morality isn't necessarily easy, and not everything gets tidly wrapped up in a bow after 30/60 minutes, minus commercials.

    That sort of trope aversion actually makes the show a great deal better/more grounded IMO. A saccharine ending isn't necessary. Yeah, there's a theme there, but the show doesn't necessarily hand you answers, or even act as if a perfect answer exists. It doesn't, you do the best you can, you crack a few jokes, and life goes on.

    Now, the show definitely has weaknesses sometimes, and yeah, the infiltration leaned on suspension of disbelief pretty hard in service to comedy. I definitely did some eyerolling once or twice as they bumbled though everything. That said, I think the modern viewer often regards a stereotypical happy ending as a waste of time, damaging to verisimilitude, or otherwise awful. Consider, old trek would likely have resolved the baby surgery plot with the heroes winning via heroic speech at the end there. It's not even just a Trek thing, a ton of old movies have the same thing. In real life, very few people utterly change their opinions because of a heartfelt speech, though, and the idea that finding the right couple of words fixes most anything kind of undercuts the stakes of conflict.
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    Spoiler: episode 7
    Show
    Boy, those disguise gadgets sure would have been handy in this episode.

    But I like it. Don't look too far into it, don't try to find a perfect analogy to a real world thing they're making. I don't think they are.

    And regarding the ending, I think it's kind of cool that they end up making only a small change. Somehow in moments like that The Orville manages to be more serious and more real than the stuff it imitates. You're not going to change the world with one maybe kind of cool speech.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    Consider, old trek would likely have resolved the baby surgery plot with the heroes winning via heroic speech at the end there. It's not even just a Trek thing, a ton of old movies have the same thing. In real life, very few people utterly change their opinions because of a heartfelt speech, though, and the idea that finding the right couple of words fixes most anything kind of undercuts the stakes of conflict.
    Its actually as old as Greek theater.

    Also, we haven't actually got any sort of persuasive heartfelt speech to end a conflict yet. This is something that we got in Star Trek quite a bit. There's even a trope for the Patrick Stewart Speech (and the trope explanation notes he got good at it from being a Shakespearian actor).

    Quote Originally Posted by Lvl 2 Expert View Post
    Spoiler: episode 7
    Show
    Boy, those disguise gadgets sure would have been handy in this episode.

    But I like it. Don't look too far into it, don't try to find a perfect analogy to a real world thing they're making. I don't think they are.

    And regarding the ending, I think it's kind of cool that they end up making only a small change. Somehow in moments like that The Orville manages to be more serious and more real than the stuff it imitates. You're not going to change the world with one maybe kind of cool speech.
    Spoiler: E7 Too Much Free Speech
    Show
    Actually, if this show ever tried to be contemporary social commentary (it is) this is where they are doing that.

    They discover a planet that is a near-perfect analogue to 21st-century earth. The people are all watching television and using smartphones and tablets to take photos, share videos over the internet, and up vote and down vote people.

    The only way the "aliens" are doing anything different is they are up voting and down voting people, and society is built around people's social media reputation to the extent that getting too many down-votes sends you to prison. This is just a dystopic extension of today's trendy social activity. Netflix's Black Mirror sci-fi has an episode based on a society that is similarly constructed (its the first one of the third season).

    The angle they take makes it more political rather than just a critique of social media and reality TV. The crew equate the way society behaves with any form of true "direct democracy."

    What's I find odd is that, in addition to explaining how a representative democracy works, the crew suggests the problem is that "everybody has a voice" and tells the alien waitress that "a voice must be earned not just given."

    Essentially, they are saying that truly free speech harms the political process. This abstracts out the hysterical society obsessively based around how many "likes" you can earn (and moreover avoid the other thing), to make a broader point that suggests the problem with society today is that its, too easy to get a message out there.

    I've already said the message of the end is to shut down all the noise of vapid social media and reality TV. Read in the context of this episode's political message, however, it is also suggesting a more tightly controlled social dialogue is superior.

    Given the current climate, of course, I suppose the message might have been aimed narrowly, to suggest that certain politicians shouldn't be paying so much attention to TV and social media.
    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    It would have been awesome if the writers had put as much thought into it as you guys do.
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  9. - Top - End - #189
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    I’ve just now caught up with the Planet Facebook episode, and while I didn’t love it as much as the gloriously goofy Krill episode, I still enjoyed the extrapolation of a society that runs on Like buttons.

    There seems to be some lamenting about Orville being “dumbed down” or otherwise not holding to the standards of earlier Trek. I’m not perturbed by this supposed failing, because it never occurred to me for a moment that this would be anything other than Trek Lite. The previews were pretty clear on that.

    For me, Orville hits the sweet spot between sincere Trek and affectionate parody. The details are fantastic; clearly the people doing this show loved TNG, and that comes out in unobtrusive ways. The sparkly-wondrous music as the shuttle brings the barista up to the ship was absolutely perfect—it sounded straight out of Star Trek II.

    As for messages, I think the main message was what Isaac said, about confusing opinions with facts. Beyond that, there’s also some commentary about basing decisions on instant outrage, without context or time for reflection, plus a tip of the hat to hypersensitivity about so-called cultural appropriation. And they did a nice job poking fun at the prim, sanctimonious hosts of talk shows, as well as internet culture overall. (Dog videos save the day!)

    Unlike others here, I can’t make direct comparisons between Orville and Discovery. But in this episode Orville went straight back to the grassroots of Trek, using improbable science fiction for some real-world social criticism. That sort of commentary was bread and butter for TOS, and Orville has managed to fuse that sensibility with the design ethos of TNG. It may not be Asimov-class science fiction, but it’s fun blend nonetheless.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reddish Mage View Post
    Preferences are each their own. The fact that some people can't look past Discovery's basic premise and design to enjoy a deep sci-fi that breaks new ground saddens me. Not much can be said to defend the new aesthetic from purists.

    I do feel you are doing more than just describing your appreciation of Orville and Discovery. You are giving a handle on the differences.
    I was trying to frame my perspective on both in part as a reaction to seeing both here and elsewhere the idea that liking Orville is mutually exclusive to liking Discovery; as well as the implication that enjoying the latter somehow invalidates my love of the franchise that it belongs to.

    I really like both. Orville is its own thing and I like what it is. My greater explanation was more about how trying to fit Orville into my completely subjective idea of what Trek should be would prevent me from liking this show for what it is in the exact same way I see people complain about Discovery. I get how the complaints about Discovery are valid in that it actually is part of the Trek franchise while Orville is not - but since both rely on a "No True Scotsman" argument to begin with I was mostly just trying to vent my frustration at the new Star Wars vs Star Trek argument currently dividing the internet when I want to enjoy both and share that enjoyment with people who enjoy either one.

    This is where Orville differs from Stargate. We can hope for Star Trek levels of thoughtful sci-fi plots, and what we are getting is something...less.
    I did not mean to rag on Stargate. SG-1 had some amazingly thoughtful episodes. I was more focused on the drive behind the shows. Star Trek was intended from the outset to challenge its viewers in both subtle and not so subtle ways. TOS was downright inflammatory in its original socio-political context. TNG, DS9, and VOY pushed boundaries (although increasingly more conservatively at the franchise went on).

    Orville does hold a mirror to our society in interesting ways. It does provoke thought. As an exercise in literary analysis the show makes clear that it doesn't have answers for any of those questions - it is just presenting the question. For me (meaning entirely from my subjective position) this does not reward critical thinking about the show while it does serve as an interesting start for a conversation. I haven't had a chance to see Episode 7 yet but it sounds like a good one for this sort of thing. My problem with "About a Girl" and "Krill" as conversation starters is that the conversations they want to start are oooold.

    "About a Girl" wasn't really about transsexual rights or situations. The sex-change operation which served as the conflict was drawing attention to the societies massive misogyny problem. The subtle (for Orville) commentary about what a society that has no traditional-female-roles in it would look like reminds me of Sliders - and to be clear I love Sliders. I've rewatched Sliders more than I have TNG - so this is a point in Orivlle's favor. Those details make me love Orville for what it is. The attempt at a morality play.

    This is very similar to TNG's "The Outcast"

    Single "gender" species. Demands hero's respect their culture. Hero's try to change their minds. One member seeks to oppose societal norm. Episode is resolved with a female loosing that gender identity.

    Outcasts also has the heroes fail. It opens criticism about how society segregates gender. It includes a passionate plea about how two consenting adults love each other doesn't hurt people who aren't involved (which wasn't exactly a commonly accepted argument in 1992). The allegory works better for homosexuality than it does for trans-gendered individuals. Heck the J'naii's counterarguments were ones used against the acceptance of gay people in 1992.

    We talked about the comparison in this thread and some here only remember the TNG episode ending being sad because Riker didn't get laid - and that's fine. On a surface level reading that's sort of what the story was. The episode put the pieces needed for a deeper reading about a topic which was controversial at the time. The same time of reading for "About a Girl" isn't

    Actually I think these two endings (if not the episodes themselves) are the best part of the series, and its percisely because it leaves you reaching to try to think about the point.

    Most shows like to tell stories with clear morals and the moral is reinforced when the moral behavior or argument wins the day and the hereos are rewarded or applauded for their solution.

    Not so with these two Orville episodes. Mercer saves the kids and is taken to task for it by the one Krill he spares (who paradoxically also attacks him for killing everyone else on the ship). This leaves one to think about "what should Mercer have done," without affirmatively saying that he should have killed the kids or spared them or have the Union keep them prisoner.

    The Moclan baby gets the operation in the end. The Orville, Bortus, his spouse, everyone continues the status quo. That certainly isn't the ideal outcome, but the question becomes, was there anything anyone should (or could) have done differently?

    These sorts of endings produce far more thought and contemplation than the standard endings. In real life, one should expect moral choices to always be rewarded or the moral outcome to prevail. I think they are great endings, but deserve weightier episodes to conclude.
    I pretty much 90% agree with you. I find Orville lacks any payoff for bringing up these questions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    *shrug*

    Real life morality isn't necessarily easy, and not everything gets tidly wrapped up in a bow after 30/60 minutes, minus commercials.

    That sort of trope aversion actually makes the show a great deal better/more grounded IMO. A saccharine ending isn't necessary. Yeah, there's a theme there, but the show doesn't necessarily hand you answers, or even act as if a perfect answer exists. It doesn't, you do the best you can, you crack a few jokes, and life goes on.
    This is what I like Orville for. My complaints against it were specifically in the context of trying to fit Orville into the mental box of Trek. I don't find Orville a hopeful show but I do find it a very fun show. It is observant but ultimately cynical. It focuses on the world as it is, not the world as it could be. I like what the show is. I was just venting some frustration at what I felt were forced comparisons that had no need for existing.

    Now, the show definitely has weaknesses sometimes, and yeah, the infiltration leaned on suspension of disbelief pretty hard in service to comedy. I definitely did some eyerolling once or twice as they bumbled though everything. That said, I think the modern viewer often regards a stereotypical happy ending as a waste of time, damaging to verisimilitude, or otherwise awful. Consider, old trek would likely have resolved the baby surgery plot with the heroes winning via heroic speech at the end there. It's not even just a Trek thing, a ton of old movies have the same thing. In real life, very few people utterly change their opinions because of a heartfelt speech, though, and the idea that finding the right couple of words fixes most anything kind of undercuts the stakes of conflict.
    There is no show without weaknesses. When I gripe about Orville its out of that feeling of "this could be mind-blowingly good instead of just pretty fun." There is nothing wrong with it being pretty fun. Pretty fun is good place to be at.

    On Old-Trek resolving baby surgery - see above. On heartfelt speech - they did that in the episode with Bortus completely abandoning his societal norms because he watched Rudolph. So Orville used that trope too. I eye-rolled hard at that. It would have been more interesting to me of Bortus's time with the Union had changed his world view and as a result he was no longer sure which path he'd take. I think that, tiny, change would have made the episode alot better.

    Part of my point was that the joke supersedes the message in the episodes. I found Krill similar though I have a hard time putting my finger on the issue with that one. Again, I compare this with Sliders (the good seasons, before Rhys Davis left) where the situation of the week was normally all the commentary you'd get and if you were lucky the episode had a nice theme behind it too. This is wonderful Science Fiction - and in an interview McFarlane pretty much said that this is what he wanted to do - use Science Fiction stories to make people look at themselves again. Not with an moral message, but just to "Hold as it were, a mirror up to life." Orville does this brilliantly. I love it when it does this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Legato Endless View Post
    That honestly wasn't my reaction to the end. To me the question is, was returning the kids to their warmongering theocracy the right move? The smart thing is arguable, but it certainly isn't killing the children. That's just a horrifying waste. Either returning the kids back to the Krill is a good PR move to try to soften relations and give some credence to the idea the Union isn't a bunch of soulless automatons (Sorry Isaac), or if the Krill society is more resistant, then indoctrinating the kids into Union values is a better move.

    Beyond hopefully avoiding having a bunch of soldiers gunning for you for obliterating their community, you get a better idea of Krill biology and psychology. And if Krill are amenable to other viewpoints (the episode seems to suggest their genocidal actions are more the result of a thin hodgepodge of religious propaganda) you gain a valuable tool for peacemaking later on. Having the same face as the enemy deliver your message is a big advantage in communication.

    Now, whether or not that's what you should do is a different question, and probably more controversial than the Moclan dilemma. The final point to the episode to me was less killing potential enemies now is rational, and more, don't necessarily expect people to appreciate you for taking what you believed to be the best choice for them when it came at traumatic personal cost.
    Fair enough - I honestly didn't even consider the Union taking the kids prisoner and indoctrinating them into the Union as a tool for fighting the war.

    My complaint was more that A) the show has set no precedent of this event making a lasting impact on Malloy or Mercer, B) Neither appears to think they did anything wrong, C) Neither seems to have realized that they've killed two ships that certainly had kids on them before, and D) The ending seemed to be opening a the question of whether or not Mercer's Mercy would result in more death later on - which itself is an implicit suggestion that "Mercy is bad" because this is the last we hear on the subject.

    If Mercer then went on to have trouble sleeping because he'd killed kids and didn't know, or because he himself is worried about how he'd do things differently I'd be much more satisfied with the story and arc. This is not intended as a knock against Orville. Sliders never really had the professor overcome his misogyny even after being on the receiving side of objectification, twice. Sliders wasn't trying to judge, only to create questions. Orville does the same. I always found Trek as trying to make judgements.

    It sounds like I'm going to love Episode 7. I've skimmed comments and it sounds like the Sliders episode where they landed on an earth which handled all of its criminal justice choices by "TV-Court." Also like the part of nu-Doctor Who where the Daleks uses reality TV to control and cull humanity.

    Going to watch when I can and I fully expect to love it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reddish Mage View Post
    Spoiler: E7 Too Much Free Speech
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    Actually, if this show ever tried to be contemporary social commentary (it is) this is where they are doing that.

    They discover a planet that is a near-perfect analogue to 21st-century earth. The people are all watching television and using smartphones and tablets to take photos, share videos over the internet, and up vote and down vote people.

    The only way the "aliens" are doing anything different is they are up voting and down voting people, and society is built around people's social media reputation to the extent that getting too many down-votes sends you to prison. This is just a dystopic extension of today's trendy social activity. Netflix's Black Mirror sci-fi has an episode based on a society that is similarly constructed (its the first one of the third season).

    The angle they take makes it more political rather than just a critique of social media and reality TV. The crew equate the way society behaves with any form of true "direct democracy."

    What's I find odd is that, in addition to explaining how a representative democracy works, the crew suggests the problem is that "everybody has a voice" and tells the alien waitress that "a voice must be earned not just given."

    Essentially, they are saying that truly free speech harms the political process. This abstracts out the hysterical society obsessively based around how many "likes" you can earn (and moreover avoid the other thing), to make a broader point that suggests the problem with society today is that its, too easy to get a message out there.

    I've already said the message of the end is to shut down all the noise of vapid social media and reality TV. Read in the context of this episode's political message, however, it is also suggesting a more tightly controlled social dialogue is superior.

    Given the current climate, of course, I suppose the message might have been aimed narrowly, to suggest that certain politicians shouldn't be paying so much attention to TV and social media.
    Spoiler: Or...
    Show
    Or it's actually a half serious overextrapolation that clearly has links to a dozen different phenomena, some of which named in the episode, including free speech, reality television, trial by media and referenda like the one on Brexit. But there's no single direct analogy being made.

    Zootopia was clearly about racial relations, yet everyone who wanted it to be a direct analogy got stuck trying to determine who the black people were supposed to be. And that's one of the things that made it great, they got to play around with this stuff without having to end on a grand moral lesson that turns out to be full of holes if you examine it for five minutes.

    This episode to me is the same way. In the end the girl doesn't "shut down all the noise", she merely refrains from joining in on the public lynching of a single man who's case she doesn't know enough about at this point. It's a small step, probably in some sort of right direction. But it specifically doesn't say "this is what should happen here because this is exactly what should happen in real life because the situation is exactly the same even though the one we made up is kind of silly". The episode with the generation ship did do it that way, but this one refrained from it, and to me it's the better episode of the two because of it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lvl 2 Expert View Post
    Spoiler: Or...
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    Or it's actually a half serious overextrapolation that clearly has links to a dozen different phenomena, some of which named in the episode, including free speech, reality television, trial by media and referenda like the one on Brexit. But there's no single direct analogy being made.
    Spoiler: Analogies
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    There's no single analogy because there are multiple. As you mentioned, free speech, reality television, trial by media, are all explicitly mentioned. So is direct democracy. There's quite a few trends that can also be extrapolated, such as to social media presence (pretty easily) or referenda.

    However, its pretty clear there is one single overall they made about this planet, and that is its a near-perfect parallel Earth.

    The social trends they refer to are numerous, but the politics they critique are singular. They critique "direct democracy." (
    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    It would have been awesome if the writers had put as much thought into it as you guys do.
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    This latest episode felt more like Twilight Zone to me:
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    with the mob sentencing two guys to lobotomies for an offense they neither committed intentionally or knowingly and the indication that many in the mob didn't know or care about those details.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BannedInSchool View Post
    This latest episode felt more like Twilight Zone to me:
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    with the mob sentencing two guys to lobotomies for an offense they neither committed intentionally or knowingly and the indication that many in the mob didn't know or care about those details.
    By eerie coincidence, the other sci-fi show that ran a similar I referred to in my post, Netflix’s Black Mirror is a Twilight Zone copycat.

    Spoiler: E7 and S3E1 “Nosedive” of Black Mirror
    Show
    The Black Mirror episode focuses on status obsession in a society in which people’s lives are governed by a numerical rating based on how many likes and dislikes they give each other (and the status of the person doing rating). The Black Mirror episode is basically one woman’s awakening to the system and its played straight.

    In Orville however we get more of outsider’s view of the social media-based status system, together with other contemporary media trends, through the Orville’s crew. The differences shows how clear Orville’s take on the trend is. The premise is of Orville puts everything in stark terms from the start is having our protagonists look at the society from the outside and recognize what’s going on.

    The beginnings of each episode also shows how obvious Orville is being: “Nosedive” starts off showing the everyday life of the POV character. Orville starts off with watching the two scientists in prison, one gets killed the other brain-fried.

    Orville may need some of the obviousness of the plot because Orville has its typical distractions from the plot. When the Orville gets there, they more or less immediately get into trouble because of silliness. In the end they get saved because Malloy is a 21st century reality TV (and apparently social media) aficionado. Basically, they are in a Twilight Zone-like world but they crash through it with, if anything, more than their usual amount of blundering and other comedic antics.

    By now, this series seems to have to established its formula: doing more Star Trek parody amidst the backdrop of straight sci-fi circumstances with the guest crew playing straight-men.

    In a sense, this is too bad, because the premise for this episode, perhaps more than any previous episode, is one that can make for truly great sci-fi. As it is, this was a better episode, its just never going to be a comfortable integration of comedy and sci-fi.


    On the subject of mass rule and all important numbers determining status. Orville ratings are way up.
    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    It would have been awesome if the writers had put as much thought into it as you guys do.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reddish Mage View Post
    Spoiler: Analogies
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    The social trends they refer to are numerous, but the politics they critique are singular. They critique "direct democracy." (
    Spoiler: democracy
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    Direct democracy would be the people directly setting the rules. This is a society without much formal rules and popularity contests in place of a judiciary system. So no, I can't see this as a direct analogy about direct democracy and direct democracy alone.
    Last edited by Lvl 2 Expert; 2017-10-29 at 02:34 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lvl 2 Expert View Post
    Spoiler: democracy
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    Direct democracy would be the people directly setting the rules. This is a society without much formal rules and popularity contests in place of a judiciary system. So no, I can't see this as a direct analogy about direct democracy and direct democracy alone.
    Spoiler: politics and analogy
    Show
    In-show the crew of the Orville make a explicit political characterization about the governing system that they say is so screwy and they call it "direct democracy."

    True, this sort of direct democracy doesn't look anything like ancient Athens or any real life examples or direct democracy (or even anything that anyone would propose). Athens would have very big juries and decide the fate of the prosecuted by majority vote but direct democracy is usually defined by the people being the legislature.

    Than again, Athens supposedly had an ostracism system where if enough people left anonymous pottery shards with someone's name inscribed on the street ("ostracon" means "pottery shard") that someone would be exiled. As a result, a lot of notables eventually got ostracized. Ostracism was an application of Athenian democratic tendencies, and that is pretty similar to the story being told in this episode.

    So if you want to make an analogy to a contemporary political trend that isn't really direct democracy, I suppose it might be in there something. However, the show itself calls what's going on "direct democracy" so its pretty clear that's, at the very least, that's one political thing they mean to critique.
    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    It would have been awesome if the writers had put as much thought into it as you guys do.
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    Spoiler: Majority Rule
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    To start off - That cold open was absolutely amazing. That reminded me the good Sliders episodes in such a good way.

    The background on what the scientists did was a great set up for commentary. I really liked that background story in this episode.

    I really, really, liked the straight faced Admiral chewing out Mercer. When they mentioned in the first episode that he had been an exemplary officer until his meltdown following the cheating I'd been hoping to see his continued lack of professional behavior be a source of conflict.
    The pilot really gave me a Down Periscope vibe (love that movie) - of a traditionally incompetent crew being assigned to a smart but immature captain. I liked that Mercer was directly called out on that and hope it becomes part of a season long arc.

    Its odd that the Union seems to have a Prime Directive like protocol which hasn't been used/referenced before. Mercer seems to either not know about it or not care about it given past episodes and actions in this one though. I hope to see more of him butting heads with HQ, ideally getting a recurring overbearing boss figure to provide comedic setups.


    I felt this was the strongest episode yet. It had alot of things I liked in it and reminded me of films/shows I've liked in the past.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperPanda View Post
    Spoiler: Majority Rule
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    Its odd that the Union seems to have a Prime Directive like protocol which hasn't been used/referenced before. Mercer seems to either not know about it or not care about it given past episodes and actions in this one though. I hope to see more of him butting heads with HQ, ideally getting a recurring overbearing boss figure to provide comedic setups.
    Spoiler
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    If there is anything resembling a Prime Directive on this show, it's clearly far less strict. In Star Trek violating the Prime Directive is supposed to be almost unthinkable. Yet here the Union freely has scientists interacting with a pre-warp civilization, and the moment one of their people gets into serious trouble the captain requests permission to go in and openly take him back. And when they bring someone from the planet up to the ship, there's no real discussion, implying that no one considers it to be a controversial move. At most, the Union's Prime Directive seems to be "Don't openly get involved without permission, or out of serious necessity." I suspect that if a situation like in the TNG episode "Pen Pals"
    arose, where the captain is willing to abandon a pre-warp civilization to destruction in the name of non-intervention, simply wouldn't happen, and that the Union would readily step in to help. Really though, we need more episodes to fully flesh out this topic.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DraPrime View Post
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    If there is anything resembling a Prime Directive on this show, it's clearly far less strict. In Star Trek violating the Prime Directive is supposed to be almost unthinkable. Yet here the Union freely has scientists interacting with a pre-warp civilization, and the moment one of their people gets into serious trouble the captain requests permission to go in and openly take him back. And when they bring someone from the planet up to the ship, there's no real discussion, implying that no one considers it to be a controversial move. At most, the Union's Prime Directive seems to be "Don't openly get involved without permission, or out of serious necessity." I suspect that if a situation like in the TNG episode "Pen Pals"
    arose, where the captain is willing to abandon a pre-warp civilization to destruction in the name of non-intervention, simply wouldn't happen, and that the Union would readily step in to help. Really though, we need more episodes to fully flesh out this topic.
    Spoiler
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    Uh the scenario with scientists and a pre-warp culture is almost identical to "Who Watches the Watchers" TNG episode. Troi and Riker specifically disguise themselves to go find the scientist who is observing the people. I mean hell they even beam someone aboard and show her the things to try and get her to understand that Picard isn't a god.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chen View Post
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    Uh the scenario with scientists and a pre-warp culture is almost identical to "Who Watches the Watchers" TNG episode. Troi and Riker specifically disguise themselves to go find the scientist who is observing the people. I mean hell they even beam someone aboard and show her the things to try and get her to understand that Picard isn't a god.
    Spoiler
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    You're right, I'd forgotten about that episode and how they had Troi and Riker blend in with the locs. However, warping aboard one of the locals to show them that Picard wasn't a god was after there was already cultural contamination, and they'd accidentally shown the ship. At that point the cat was kinda out of the bag. In The Orville though, though one of the crew was in trouble there was no real cultural contamination going on.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DraPrime View Post
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    You're right, I'd forgotten about that episode and how they had Troi and Riker blend in with the locs. However, warping aboard one of the locals to show them that Picard wasn't a god was after there was already cultural contamination, and they'd accidentally shown the ship. At that point the cat was kinda out of the bag. In The Orville though, though one of the crew was in trouble there was no real cultural contamination going on.
    Spoiler
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    Well the woman they brought aboard had already seen the alien security officer too. Not as bad a violation I guess as in the TNG episode but still. Realistically they just shouldn't have brought her on the away team.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chen View Post
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    Uh the scenario with scientists and a pre-warp culture is almost identical to "Who Watches the Watchers" TNG episode. Troi and Riker specifically disguise themselves to go find the scientist who is observing the people. I mean hell they even beam someone aboard and show her the things to try and get her to understand that Picard isn't a god.
    Spoiler: E7 Prime Directive and TNG First Contact
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    I think the relevant episode is TNG “First Contact.” Riker gets injured investigating a civilization on the cusp of developing warp travel, and Picard make first contact with the civilizations leader in a bid to save Riker, stepping up the timeline a little bit since the warp drive wasn’t actually finished yet.

    Mercer makes a similar argument to the admiral, that this civilization was ready for first contact and that this was an opportunity. The Admiral seems to dismiss the suggestion, but it sounds like he did so mainly because he is so appalled at LaMarr’s behavior that lead to the situation in the first place.

    Also here, like in “Who Watches the Watchers,” they only brought the individual aboard AFTER Alara accidentally revealed herself,.

    Mercer and his crew are clearly a bunch of misfits to the Planetary Union. However, nothing we seen about Mercer’s decision making is actually over the line established in TNG, where the Prime Directive is taken very seriously.

    Orville is (to the extent they are serious about things) much more serious about the rules than TOS, and I would go so far as to say that Orville’s Star Trek, the Star Trek they are basing the show on, is TNG.
    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    It would have been awesome if the writers had put as much thought into it as you guys do.
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    Star Trek was serious about the rules. Kirk wasn't.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reddish Mage View Post
    I would go so far as to say that Orville’s Star Trek, the Star Trek they are basing the show on, is TNG.
    O, definitely, that's why it works.

    Even the opening credits and the visuals of the first episode establish this (which is no mean feat and very well done). Everything is clean and shiny and humanity is striving to live up to its ideals. And then the main character gets cheated on by his wife. That's funny because even when you see that the setting has already been established. In Kirk's days the blue guy would have gotten a round of high fives. In Archer's time they would mostly have handled it like grownup people who have flaws. Even Sisko and Janeway could have expected this to come up far out on the frontier, and on Discovery they probably have some sort of don't ask don't tell policy about it because they have more important things to scowl about. But even just imagining the prize crew of Captain Jean-Luc Picard dealing with a plot like this is silly. If they met an alien race where people cheat they would handle it with nothing but tact and understanding, aaaaand one or two long speeches about how they should totally change their ways, but a Starfleet officer doing something like that? And from that shock, that total turn that works because of the established setting, they can then generate a very nice and honest story, because it resets your idea about how things should be.

    So yes, agreed, this is Next Generation territory all the way through.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DraPrime View Post
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    If there is anything resembling a Prime Directive on this show, it's clearly far less strict. In Star Trek violating the Prime Directive is supposed to be almost unthinkable. Yet here the Union freely has scientists interacting with a pre-warp civilization, and the moment one of their people gets into serious trouble the captain requests permission to go in and openly take him back. And when they bring someone from the planet up to the ship, there's no real discussion, implying that no one considers it to be a controversial move. At most, the Union's Prime Directive seems to be "Don't openly get involved without permission, or out of serious necessity." I suspect that if a situation like in the TNG episode "Pen Pals"
    arose, where the captain is willing to abandon a pre-warp civilization to destruction in the name of non-intervention, simply wouldn't happen, and that the Union would readily step in to help. Really though, we need more episodes to fully flesh out this topic.
    If the Stars Should Appear already fleshed out this topic. They clearly will not abandon a pre-warp civilization to destruction, because they already refused to do that once.
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    From the reading of this show, it feels to me like the first seasons of TNG with Control Freak Roddenberry in charge, the holier than thou bits.

    Or I am just reading that because it was made by Seth McFarlane. I could see somebody like Seth Green (the one in Austin Powers) making a show like this, but seriously Seth McFarlane? Master of Family Guy and SouthPark? (Did he do southpark?)

    It all comes across as a cheesy version of a parody of Trek, but not really tongue in cheek like how Galaxy Quest was.

    Although, I don't know. As soon as I heard, made by Seth McFarlane, I figured it wouldn't be worth watching. I never liked Family Guy or South Park.
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    Quote Originally Posted by russdm View Post
    From the reading of this show, it feels to me like the first seasons of TNG with Control Freak Roddenberry in charge, the holier than thou bits.

    Or I am just reading that because it was made by Seth McFarlane. I could see somebody like Seth Green (the one in Austin Powers) making a show like this, but seriously Seth McFarlane? Master of Family Guy and SouthPark? (Did he do southpark?)

    It all comes across as a cheesy version of a parody of Trek, but not really tongue in cheek like how Galaxy Quest was.

    Although, I don't know. As soon as I heard, made by Seth McFarlane, I figured it wouldn't be worth watching. I never liked Family Guy or South Park.
    No, he had nothing to do with South Park, which is a show superior in basically every way to Family Guy.

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    Default Re: The Orville

    Quote Originally Posted by russdm View Post
    Although, I don't know. As soon as I heard, made by Seth McFarlane, I figured it wouldn't be worth watching. I never liked Family Guy.
    I had kind of the same reaction. "Seth McFarlane, that's one of those minor Hollywood celebrities who is supposed to be funny right, like Ben Stiller or Adam Sandler*?" Luckily by the time I saw that name I was already watching the opening credits. I don't know how they did it, but The Orville is a really clever show that genuinely finds unexplored corners in the Star Trek setting. Half the time it completely forgets to be a parody, and it works. Typically you'd expect comedians to stop making good shows ones they get a budget and the studio wants to get involved, but in this case the studio must have sent some amazing people because the humor gets nowhere near "and now a random reference lulz" Family Guy. Honestly I'm currently edging towards The Orville as the better Star Trek show between it and Discovery (and I like Discovery), although the long term arcs could make up for that.

    I do like South Park though, but that's not very similar to The Orville either.

    *He did have Little Nicky though, I guess that was a little bit like his Orville, as flawed as it still is.
    Last edited by Lvl 2 Expert; 2017-11-01 at 01:47 AM.
    The ultimate OOTS cookie cutter nameless soldier is the hobgoblin.

  29. - Top - End - #209
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The Orville

    South Park is the work of Trey Parker and Matt Stone; MacFarlane has nothing to do with it.

    In other news, the show has been renewed for a second season.
    "Courage is the complement of fear. A fearless man cannot be courageous. He is also a fool." -- Robert Heinlein


  30. - Top - End - #210
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    Default Re: The Orville

    Huh, this latest episode would have been a pretty standard character-building episode of TNG, but better, IMO. Little doubt they'd live happily ever after, but I was sucked-in to it being important to the characters.

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