The Orville, episode 1

I had zero interest in seeing this show back when the trailer first came out. Though I used to enjoy Family Guy, Seth MacFarlane’s brand of humor (farts, falling down, and mentioning things you’ve heard of before) is just not my thing anymore. But during my constant complaining about Star Trek: Discovery, I keep getting told to watch The Orville. What is going on? Why should any Trek fan want to watch a bunch of idiots making poop jokes and mocking one of my favorite pastimes?

Well, because it doesn’t do that at all.

Yes, there is some goofy humor, but it isn’t gross or stupid or mean, and actually made me laugh a few times. And more importantly, it is spread VERY thin, and gets thinner as the show goes on. It doesn’t do the supremely annoying thing where every dramatic beat has to be punctuated by a joke to break the tension.

Aside from the humor, the other thing I was worried about was the ‘ex wife as first officer’ scenario. I was ready to be sighing continuously at the constant bickering and cruel backstabbing I’d have to endure. But again, it didn’t happen. There is one big argument, and a few little quips, but they are apologetic, they want to work together, they are decent human beings. What a goddamned relief.

More importantly, the show captures that sense of excitement and exploration that is severely lacking in Discovery. You know, the actual discovering. When the captain first undocks the Orville and they fly off to adventure, I almost shed a tear. It’s just the thing I’ve been wanting since I saw the final episode of TNG all those years ago.

MacFarlane must be a Trek fan, because the love is shining through. It’s almost as if the humor is just a trick to get people to pay attention, and then all this interesting sci fi stuff happens.

I’m already looking forward to watching the rest of these episodes far more than I’m looking forward to the next Discovery episode. Because for Discovery, I already know they’ll just be blowing up more Klingons. ┬áBut for the Orville I’m wondering, where will they go next?

Star Trek: Discovery, episode 4

Well, I’m still watching.

This episode, once again, keeps dragging me along like an abusive relationship.

I get a little hint of interesting in that the deadly creature in the Captain’s chambers is somehow a giant Tardigrade.┬áThis is a super cool idea because Tardigrades are super interesting and I don’t think I’ve seen a Tardigrade monster in sci fi before. Also cool is that Michael doesn’t want to harm the creature, and is more interested in learning about it for curiosity’s sake than cutting it up for war purposes.

But then we’re back to war. The Discovery (a science ship) has a handwavy engine based on magic mushrooms that allows it to instantly appear anywhere in the Galaxy, and we better use that to bomb some Klingons! Nevermind what fans of Trek actually want to see, like, jumping instantly into unknown parts of the galaxy to explore crazy weird planets–no, lets just have some explosions.

Bored!

I keep hoping that just MAYBE one of their jumps will send them somewhere they can’t get back from, and they’ll be forced to do a bit of discovering. But so far we’re just doing war things, with a few interesting science fiction crumbs thrown out for the fans like me to keep us just on this side of starvation.

 

Star Trek: Discovery, episode 2

There were definite moments during this one, where I felt emotional, and excited, and interested. But in the end I was left heaving a big sigh.

This is star TREK, people! Not star WAR.

I am so sick of war. I’m bored and tired and tired and bored. Everything is about war and destruction and weapons and saving the world. I feel a bit misled by the title of “Discovery.”

Yes this is a pilot pair of episodes, where they have to do some crazy action to get people paying attention, but the preview of the rest of the season seemed like… more war. The Klingons are killing thousands! It’s all Michael’s fault! I just want to see intersting, thoughtful aliens and cultures and have interesting philosophies and moral questions. Star Trek was the ONE sci fi show that wasn’t about war and killing and battle. Well, so much for that.

On the plus side, if it didn’t have the label of ‘Star Trek’ tricking me into expecting something thoughtful and intriguing, it would have been a well above average couple episodes. It looked great, the acting was good, the characters fairly memorable, and it actually managed to make me feel something for a ship exploding–which I never do. I’m not sure if it was the characters expressions, the music, or what, but I felt a bit sick and sad when the Europa blew up. Major points there.

Except.

I AM TIRED OF SEEING SPACE SHIPS EXPLODE.

I want to see cool nebuli and weird aliens. I want to be asked questions that challenge my view of life and the universe. I want to be presented with situations that make me look at my morals and ask myself why I believe what I do. PLEASE can we have a science fiction show again that is not about war and fighting! PLEASE!

I’m sure the answer is no, though. So I’ll take what I can get.

At the end of these two episodes I feel like I haven’t even started the show yet. The one character is going to a new ship, so all the characters we met wont even be on the show, I guess?? I suppose we’ll see her redeem herself, learn to control her anger and think before she acts and eventually become captain of her own ship.

I just hope this all happens with a backdrop other than WAR