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"The Orville" Season One Talkback (Spoilers)

Discussion in 'The Entertainment Board' started by Fone Bone, Sep 10, 2017.

  1. Fone Bone

    Fone Bone Matt Zimmer

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    The Orville "Old Wounds"

    I can pretty safely say that once 12 Monkeys ends next year, this is gonna be my favorite sci-fi show. It's the best of Star Trek (sunny futurism and humanistic optimism) while fixing its most glaring faults (too perfect humans and no conflict). The future is shiny and bright, and the ships look about as big and comfortable to live in as the Enterprise. The sci-fi era this most lives up to is the 1990's. That Seth MacFarlane's favorite era too, and it shows.

    And the jokes are great. What is great about the humor here is that it isn't actually cartoony or unrealistic. It doesn't undercut the reality of situation, or take you out of the sci-fi drama aspect of the show. Do you know what previous franchise did that well? The Buffyverse. Except I have a good feeling that The Orville is going to wind up being a lot more enjoyable as the series goes along, while the Buffyverse became soul-crushing by the end. Just based on the ending here, where the twist turns out to be that the XO is an even nicer person than we thought, shows this series' sensibilities are completely different than other current sci-fi. I want sci-fi to go back to heroes I can root for like on Deep Space Nine and Farscape. And this show seems to be the first show since Farscape to want to do that.

    Amazing. It's amazing what Seth MacFarlane can accomplish when he WANTS to put in the effort. *****.
     
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  2. Fone Bone

    Fone Bone Matt Zimmer

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    The Orville "Command Performance"

    Oh my God! That opened just like a Star Trek episode! And they have a Star Trek main title, and Andre Bormanis, and Penny Johnson, and Ron Canada! I am in literal Heaven!

    I love that the Replicators in this Universe can create pot brownies. Which sort of makes me wonder why we didn't see something similar in Next Gen. Aside from Gene Roddenberry being a total vanilla square.

    I love the idea that Ed's mom called Kelly the b-word so many times over dinner, that the people at the next table complained.

    Kermit the Frog was a great leader. Yes, he was.

    They have a Ten Forward! Augh!

    What I love about this show is that it has all of the best of Star Trek, with none of its faults. Star Trek did the caged crew thing too (in the first episode no less) but this show does something Star Trek would never have the balls to do. Star Trek's perspective is that it's wrong to cage a sentient species. The Orville says it's wrong to cage animals, period. And they are right. Who is and isn't considered sentient should not only be decided by the guys doing the caging. That is immoral. And that is moral that would never even OCCUR to Star Trek. I love it.

    The white guy being allowed in Compton so long as he is with a black guy is a great allegory, and one that Star Trek couldn't make. I think Star Trek's characters were so far beyond human nature, that we couldn't relate to them. The Orville shares our history and foibles, as well as our pop culture. It may be a Utopian b.s. future like Star Trek, but I recognize humanity in it in a way I never did Star Trek. Star Trek actually had a character who was so boring that his most interesting character quirk is that he secretly liked pineapples. And we were supposed to find that cute and funny instead of appalling on every level. You suck, Malcolm Reed. Worst Star Trek character ever.

    I love the idea that reality television placates the zookeepers. Why? Because the Zookeepers think they are far above any other species. The fact that they like Real Housewives and I don't, means I am superior to them in every way that actually matters. Which is another moral that perhaps Star Trek would have avoided.

    The ending was amazing. Are we actually going to explore gender identity and possible genital mutilation? Talk about going where no Star Trek has gone before.

    If this isn't my current favorite show on the air, I imagine it soon will be. *****.
     
  3. DarkAngel

    DarkAngel Lord Vader

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    Sounds great, FB. Great move by Fox and great timing. I won't be subscribing to CBS All Access, so I might just start watching The Orville instead to get my star trek fix. Wouldn't be surprised at all if they end up stealing away a good chunk of Discovery's potential audience.
     
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  4. Fone Bone

    Fone Bone Matt Zimmer

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    The Orville "About A Girl"

    One of these weeks I am not going to give an episode of this show five stars. But this won't be that week.

    Brannon Braga directed this, but don't hold that against it. Seth MacFarlane actually wrote it.

    I kind of feel like the crew should have used Malloy and Lamar's tack to begin with. They were being incredibly judgmental toward's Bortus' initial point of view, and instead of telling him how much he sucked for it, they should have tried to change his mind by offering support and to help him work through this difficulty. It might have been easier for both Bortus AND Clydus to cope if the crew had let them know they were there for them when they needed them, rather than abandoning them to their prejudices, and refusing them a decent outside point of view.

    Here is an opinion. When the alien lawyer brings up the idea that human circumcisions are exact the same deal as a sex change operation on an infant, I think he pretty much won the argument. I don't even agree with him about it, but even Dr. Finn had no reasonable response. Which just shows something interesting our society. Our prejudices about altering the sex organs on Earth are awfully selective and situational. And it's kind of great that even though the episode endorses the right view that it is wrong to give a baby a sex change operation, that they point out that a circumcision is different only by a matter of degree. It's definitely not necessary.

    I love the idea that the planet's best and most famous author turned out to be female. That's a little too pat and unlikely, but that's also totally Star Trek. While it is true that Star Trek never would have tackled this particular topic so frankly in the 1990's, had they, this is probably the exact same ending they would have come up with. I love the idea that her parents were liberal enough to take her out into the wilderness and raise her as she was born. It shows that even in the most strict of societies, not every single person sees everything the same way.

    Speaking of which, the surgery happening over Bortus' objections is another Star Trek ending. The Federation may be right about everything, but by the end of any given episode about a cultural difference, they don't always get their way. And because of the Prime Directive that makes sense. This show doesn't seem to have that, but it gets the idea that the good guys are not going to win every philosophical battle, even if they are right.

    It's interesting that the show had to navigate the politics of this dispute occurring between the members of the same galactic union. They aren't exactly threatening Mercer about this, but that IS the subtext. And that's got to be a minefield for different species with different values.

    I love the idea that hundreds of years in the future, people are gonna forget what the capitol of the United States was. Well, I'd love it if there weren't so many people NOW who don't know the answer to that question either.

    And as sad as the ending is, I love that Bortus gives his new son a Rudolph plush at the end. Clydus may not have learned the right lesson, but Bortus did. Clydus being born female was a great, unexpected twist, which just makes Bortus deciding to stay with him at the end even better.

    Amazing episode of an amazing show. *****.
     
  5. Eldorado

    Eldorado Active Member

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    You know what I would've liked? If instead of forcing Bortus and Klydan to give their baby the procedure the judge gave them an option instead: give the procedure to the baby after all or keep it female but will be forbidden from it ever returning to Moclan again. Then they would've picked the former option because to deny their child a chance to return to its homeworld (no matter how backwoods and sexist it is) would not make them good parents.
     
  6. Fone Bone

    Fone Bone Matt Zimmer

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    Except Bortus and Klydan completely disagreed on whether or not to get the procedure. There would have been no conflict if they both wanted to keep the baby a girl. It would have been legal too.
     
  7. Fone Bone

    Fone Bone Matt Zimmer

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    The Orville "If The Stars Should Appear"

    Another classic Star Trek type episode: Turning an episode about a theocratic dictatorship into an allegory for climate change denial.

    Love Malloy and Lamarr's game of "I'd Rather" at the beginning. Also funny was Norm MacDonald looking forward to a night alone with toothpaste.

    Robert Knepper is a classic kind of Star Trek baddie in that as horrible as he is, even he is happy to learn the truth and reform at the end. "Hamalak, I presume? Great name. Just kidding. It's not," was a great burn by Mercer.

    I love that Alara wears a head kerchief on the alien world, just like Spock did. I love that Mercer refers to what she does as opening pickle jars. She is totally hot for him.

    Speaking of which, funniest joke of the episode was Isaac describing how the robots on his homeworld are constructed, and Ed says "That's hot." That's hilarious, actually.

    And Liam Neeson is God. Because of course he is.

    Fun episode. But here's a shocker. I'm not giving it five stars this week. Which is good. It's good for the show to be settling into a routine. That means it is going to be comfort food like 90's Star Trek was, and super exciting during Sweeps. That makes me happy. ****.
     
    #7 Fone Bone, Sep 29, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2017
  8. Volthoom

    Volthoom Member

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    Seth apparently really wanted to do a Star Trek show, however he never was given the chance to do so. So now Fox is letting him do a Star Trek like show, one that feels more Trek than the actual Trek show.
     
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  9. Fone Bone

    Fone Bone Matt Zimmer

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    The Orville "Pria"

    Frakes directed this!

    This was definitely the weakest episode so far, but I am actually not upset about that fact. Because it does the same thing the weak episodes of Star Trek do, or at least what the weak episodes of TNG Seasons 3-7, and all of DS9 did: It's comfort food and comfort television, and most of TV is no longer that. Even Star Trek is no longer that with Discovery. Star Trek was designed for people who love sci-fi and procedurals equally, and don't have to worry about things getting too crazy or out there. Despite its reputation for being groundbreaking and breaking taboos, Star Trek was one of the safest sci-fi shows on the air. There weren't a ton of ballsy sci-fi shows besides it anyways back in the 90's, but Star Trek was one of those things you could sit back and watch every week, and not get too upset when they delivered a dud. Next week will be better. Star Trek's problems started with Voyager and Enterprise wherein the dud episodes never stopped. The Orville seems to have a bit of a better handle on what will work on a sci-fi series week in and week out.

    Personally, I love the concept of the episode, if not the execution. First off, plothole at the end. If Pria never went back in time, she never saved their ship, and they created a temporal paradox. I think imprisoning her in the 24th century was the safest option. For all Mercer knew, he could have been killing them all over again.

    Secondly, even if the fact that Pria was a scavenger from the future was a surprise, the fact that she was a scavenger was not. In fact, I think Ed is a bit of an idiot for trusting her after navigating them out of that storm. Doesn't it seem WAY too suspicious that she popped on board to save their lives exactly the way she did? Her doing that would make ME trust her less, not more, especially if others on my crew were already suspicious.

    But I kind of like the idea that the Orville was always destined to be destroyed this early in its run, and now all of later history is in flux because Isaac outwitted Pria. I sincerely hope this is an upcoming plot thread, and a central piece of the series' mythology. If Seth MacFarlane knows what he's doing, that twist should change everything. I'm not convinced he does, because Star Trek often never realized the potential gamechangers when they happened. But once in awhile Tom Riker actually survives, and things go from there. I hope that happens next week. And I hope that the fall-out is bigger than Tom Riker joining the Maquis for an episode before being taken off the gameboard entirely.

    Malloy was right about something: Isaac's prank was literally the best prank I have ever heard of. You don't hear about that sort of thing being done by anyone but serial killers, but if you live in a society that can regrow limbs with no expense or other ill health effects, that's pretty much the greatest practical joke ever. And the fact that Isaac hid the leg showed he kind of got how this worked better than everyone else thought he did.

    Do you know what I hate? Ed rightly fumes that Pria never apologized, and she says in her experience only the wrong kind of people demand apologies, and Ed says "Fair enough." No it WASN'T "fair enough"! Asking for an apology from someone who screwed you that badly after pretending to care about you, is not something only a bad person would do. It's the only sane and human response, and it frustrates me that Ed buys her b.s. there. She's full of it.

    Do you know what I hated? That the bridge officers watch reruns of Seinfeld on the bridge in their spare time. I think that is FAR too big a compliment to Seinfeld's cultural durability. It amuses me that Kermit the Frog and Rudoph The Red-Nosed Reindeer have stood the test of time. It kind of bugs me that Seinfeld has too. At least they weren't watching Family Guy.

    Worst episode so far, but it is definitely not without its charms. It is structured entirely like a Star Trek episode, and that's tight. That teaser? Could have been done on a 90's Star Trek show verbatim. And that's the big appeal of the show to me. ***.
     
  10. MDawg

    MDawg Nerfariously planning

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    This show is a breath of fresh air for scifi on TV and if you don't want to pay for CBS' useless service to watch Trek of questionable quality, this is the next best bet. The biggest black mark on it is it's clearly Seth's comedy and it feels so forced and just not good. I like the other part of the series though. It really does feel like a Star Trek series itself and if they can just fix the comedy problem, it would be a grade-A series.
     
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  11. Volthoom

    Volthoom Member

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    This is literally Trek with actual people.

    Also the leg joke and its punchline(kickline?) made me laugh hard.
     
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  12. Fone Bone

    Fone Bone Matt Zimmer

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    The Orville “Krill”

    This is a VERY Star Trek episode, but in some ways it is Star Trek for the reasons I hate Star Trek. It’s a comedy, so it makes sense it would indulge in this particular trope, but it always drove me nuts on The Next Generation, and greatly diminished how much I ultimately wound up liking that show. And all things considered, I liked it a lot.

    But I’d have liked it a LOT more if Data, Wesley, and Geordi weren’t in the background of the viewscreen during diplomatic negotiations, making sarcastic comments, and rude and racist remarks about the aliens and their “strange” appearances on the other end of the viewscreen (and within their earshot). Picard was a master delegator, and every time one of those ‘wipes said something totally offensive that blew over the alien’s head, the alien would ask Picard what the ‘wipe meant by that. And Picard would say they meant nothing, and it was irrelevant, thereby making a liar out of Picard, and undercutting their diplomatic standing. What if the aliens used Ferengi Google later? Starfleet is supposed to be the best and brightest humanity has to offer. And in the first couple of seasons of Next Gen, it was filled with fratboy buttmunches. And this is another reason I think Gene Roddenberry’s lionization as the standard bearer for the spirit of humanity’s goodness is so misplaced. Because literally, the less and less involved he was with the show, the less and less it happened. Gene Roddenberry’s adherents claim Gene believed in the best of humanity. But he also somehow managed to create the worst behaving humans ever.

    Weirdly, The Orville’s response is to actually make the deplorable behavior seem even worse. Because even if Wesley, Data, and Geordi’s jokes are unprofessional and horrible, they also aren’t done at times likely to get Picard killed. This mission is deadly serious, and Malloy’s human jokes and mannerisms are giving them away, in a scenario where they will be killed if they are uncovered. They are very fortunate the Krill are as stupid as they are. Any alien species even slightly more insightful, would have been able to recognize when they were being made fun of. That is when Picard would say it was nothing.

    To be honest, Ed sucks at this too. While nothing he says is actually jokey or insulting, he sucks at undercover work and fitting into the surroundings. The Krill talk with a very specific and precise cadence. And Ed’s calling ‘em “Dude” and talking about tramp stamps. I don’t care that Ed has never gone undercover before. Because they should have trained him AND Malloy for this at the Academy. And it’s not like the Krill’s instantly arch behavior is all that difficult to figure out how to mirror. Both Ed and Gordon should be a LOT better at this than they are. I WOULD have been better at it than them.

    So that’s bad.

    The good is REALLY good. I mean really, REALLY good. This is not something I’ve seen Star Trek do, which is kind of a shame, because the idea strikes me as very Star Trek, but The Orville always strikes me as what Star Trek should have been. And in all of the various battle plans we occasionally see The Enterprise, Voyager, and Deep Space Nine make, I kind of would have liked to have seen them plan to destroy a ship full of aliens before realizing there were children on it. And suddenly they have to choose between the Krill committing genocide, or them personally mass murdering a group of innocent children. And of course, one of the Krill kids is curious about humanity, and doesn’t seem to quite swallow the Avis propaganda, and bonds with Ed. And that just makes the choice worse. And suddenly killing everyone else on the ship is the less horrendous option.

    Or is it? The female Krill noted that those kids just witnessed Malloy and Mercer murder their entire ship. Even the wide-eyed tolerant one. If he liked and was interested in humanity before this, he certainly doesn’t anymore. They just created a bunch of new hardcore enemies. Which is a subversive moral, because the show is partly arguing that if there are kids involved, it’s safer to leave no survivors. Which is Jihadi thinking. But that’s another essential Star Trek theme. No good deed goes unpunished. That is pretty much why the Prime Directive was created in the first place. But that doesn’t mean you decline to do the good deed anyways. Because Mercer actually DOES have a soul.

    Remember when I said this show is Star Trek as it should have been? It had two moments at the beginning that I would have loved to have seen on Star Trek. One was Mercer and Alara getting their wires crossed upon the opening of the hail frequency. I love that. It always works smoothly and perfectly on Star Trek, when it shouldn’t, because there are never any visibly clear signs as to when the Star Trek Captain viewscreen and comm are working. I kind of think there should be a “red light” near the front of room to let the captain know he’s “live”. And if this show is going to be like Star Trek and not do that, at least they aren’t going to insult my intelligence and say the crew doesn’t botch stuff like that all the time WITHOUT the red light.

    The second thing is that the panel that was hit and was currently on fire is the fire suppression panel. That is definitely a joke right there, but it is also something that should have been happening on Star Trek too. For example, the artificial gravity NEVER got knocked out once during a battle on all five previous Star Trek series. I suspect The Orville will be busting that particular trope sooner or later too.

    Ah, It was the best of Trek, it was the worst of Trek... ***1/2.
     

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