The Orville Through the Eyes of a Star Trek Fanboy
So I finally got round to watching Seth MacFarlane’s high budget star trek fan film, The Orville. Much Like MacFarlane, I am quite the star trek fanboy so lets see how this tribute / spoof lives up to things.
Now while it is the in thing at the moment is to run comparisons between The Orville and the new Trek series Discovery, I have yet to watch Discovery thus will avoid making any comparisons between the two. I will however note the clear not to The Original Series and Next Generation, both of which clearly played an influence.
The Orville is set about 400 years in Earth’s future where MacFarlane plays Ed Mercer , an officer in a federation like organisation. He is reluctantly assigned to command the exploration vessel The USS Orville, after strain from a recent divorce has dampened his performance. Humorously his ex-wife ends up as his first officer.
Much like any Trek series the man cast comprises the senior officers, specifically those amongst the bridge crew, who are a mix of humans, various aliens, and a synthetic life form. Weekly adventures exploring different planets and cultures then ensues. I use the term weekly loosely, as nowadays most of us are going to binge the entire season on a lonely Saturday night…. I swear I have a life guys…
While many of the nods to its predecessor are quite obvious; The multicoloured uniforms, the bridge layout, the fleet belonging to a (Sort of)peaceful multi-society alliance, Sisko’s wife being the ships medical officer… Hell the scene where the captain briefs his new crew looks straight out of ST:The Motion Picture. The real link between the two though, in my opinion, is the writing of the episodes.
Star Trek was always an intellectuals show, pumping out thought provoking questions while running social commentary of the times. Despite being a comedy series, The Orville actually does one hell of a job continuing this legacy. Only 5 episodes into season 1 and we’ve dealt with forced gender roles, female equality, respecting other cultures, where to draw the line of ethics, oppression, and youth dealing with responsibility. Now occasionally is felt a bit forced but overall it flowed into the stories quite well, and i genuinely felt the spirit of Roddenberry hovering around.
This is quite brave of the writers in the current world where everyone is complaining about everything being too PC, and calling everyone a Social Justice Warrior. But I genuinely feel controversial topics of the day are addressed enough to get you thinking about them, without feeling you have an agenda shoved in your face. Much like back in the sixties when Roddenberry called our overzealous religious dogma, the cold war and racism.
Its always hard to get a good feel for this kind of show in the first season, as you need time to get yourself familiar with the lore. However I am already getting into it, and really hopeful of a long multiple season run, though it is a sci-fi series on Fox, so lets see how that goes…
While it might not be everyones cup of tea, very mixed reviews have been coming out, I really am enjoying it, and do recommend at least giving it a chance.