The Orville premiere was packed full of laughs, adventure, a bit of nostalgia, and delivered for sci-fi fans all around. The casting for the show is spot on, with each new Orville crew member introduced a perfect fit into the aesthetic and groove of the actors around them. “Old Wounds” felt like a fun mix of Star Trek OTS, Star Trek TNG, and J.J Abrams, Star Trek. Full of that awe and majesty that a space show should be, while also keeping things a little more light-hearted than the genre currently sees. Recently sci-fi shows (space shows in particular) are just plain drama. The Orville gives viewers that grand feeling of exploring space, while also realizing crew’s are human (and alien) and laughter is part of our nature. Yes there are scary things in space, and the crew of The Orville gets hit with that too, but it doesn’t have to be ALL serious. Not to mention the beautiful soundtrack to go with the show, what some might think to be a small creative touch, the soundtrack made you feel how grand space really is.
The premiere wastes no time in setting up Ed Mercer’s story, he walks in on his wife cheating on him (with an alien of course) and a year later is still having a rough go of it. But, there are ships to command and he’s given a second chance. Ed is given a ship, The Orville, to prove to his superiors that his poor performance this past year is done with. (But is that really the reason…? Dun Dun Dun!) Along the way he’s able to give his friend Gordon Mallory a job as Helmsman. Things are looking up for Ed and he finally has achieved his life long dream of being Captain on a Star Ship!
The mission for this pilot episode fits right along into the genre that Seth MacFarlane not only is reaching for but is a big fan of. You can tell that this project comes from his own passion for sci-fi and he’s doing the show justice. The Orville isn’t given some grand mission for it’s maiden voyage with Captain Mercer on deck, rather it’s a simple supply run to a scientific research outpost. Along the way they rendezvous with the ships new First Officer, Kelly Grayson, Ed’s ex wife. Which kind of throws a small wrench into Ed’s big dream of being Captain. At the outpost, the crew has a run in with the notorious war-loving Krill alien race. The research station has developed a new technology that the Krill want to use as a weapon, so The Orville have to get their hands dirty and help protect the future of the entire galaxy. After a fight with the Krill, the resolution is a creative pay off. The Orville manage to win that battle, but in a very innovative way, unlike something you’ve seen in space before.
Within the first ten minutes of the episode The Orville hits the ground running. The dialogue is sharp and this first episode has just enough gags to give us all a good laugh, without taking away from the drama of the story or be distracting. Each main character is given some great lines, but their comedic timing and sometimes sarcastic delivery help bring the entire crew of The Orville to life. From Helmsman Gordon Mallory fighting an orge in a samurai village in a holo-deck type simulation, to Dr. Claire Finn making an off-kilter comment about the state of her Captain’s balls, there is something to love about each crew member.
I think that The Orville has the potential to be something really unique and bring joy to many sci-fi fans around the galaxy. Seth MacFarlane has created an entire crew of well-written characters, and you can tell his heart is behind the project. With enough nostalgia and nods to science fiction classics, The Orville has tapped into an already established fan base while easily making a path for it’s own dedicated fans. You can feel Seth MacFarlane’s passion for the show, and that will continue to draw fans in. The Orville is genuinely funny, bringing a bit of everyday humor into something as awe inspiring as space.
The Orville Special Two Part Premiere continues on Sunday, September 17th on Fox!
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