The Orville, episode 5, Catcalling in space!

So far this is the first episode of the series that was a bit of a letdown for me. I guess even in the far future of space travel, its just fine and normal to comment on the appearance of every woman you come across, even right when she’s about to die.

The Orville receives a distress call, and finds a mining ship stranded on a comet about to crash into a star. The Captain, Priah, is blond and sure is pretty and all the characters make sure to comment awkwardly and creepily on exactly how pretty she is, in every scene she is in.

With Priah safely aboard, Captain Mercer finds they are from the same place on Earth, and gets to like her and shows her around the ship, where she is ogled and catcalled by everyone she encounters. In the 25th century. What progress.

Kelly is suspicious of Priah, and thinks something is up. Mercer thinks Kelly is just jealous of him hanging around with SUCH A HOT BABE and they have arguments about it. Even after Priah saves their ship from destruction, Kelly still doesn’t trust her.

Meanwhile, Gordon tries to teach Isaac what a practical joke is, by sticking Mr. Potato Head pieces all over his head to give him a face. I raised an eyebrow that anyone would know what a Mr. Potato Head was four hundred years from now, but okay.

Isaac retaliates with his own practical joke: amputating Gordon’s leg while he sleeps. This got a big laugh out of me, and that he hid the leg somewhere was even funnier. The call back later when the leg comes crashing down from the ceiling in the middle of a conversation is great EXCEPT why cant anyone pay attention to obvious details?? The leg that fell down was a full leg all the way up to the hip, and Gordon’s leg was only amputated at the knee. It is just so lazy not to use the right kind of leg in your own damn show that you presumably wrote and were aware of.

Later we find that, of course, Kelly is right, and Priah is actually from the future, and is a dealer in rare artifacts from the past. Priah plans to take their ship (which should have been destroyed, and them all dead) to the future to sell to a collector. This wont mess up any timeline, because the ship should have been destroyed.

This is a really neat idea, and this comedy show constantly has more interesting sci fi concepts than Star Trek Discovery and their universal mushroom (I’m serious.)

On a final annoying note, the Orville shoots a missile at the wormhole Priah has been using to go to and from the past, and this somehow makes it collapse and it collapsing somehow makes Priah disappear and it is implied she is erased from everyone’s memory too? Very dumb and annoying way to end an episode.

Overall, though, still enjoying this show a lot!

Star Trek: Discovery, episode 5

War war war war, Michael Burnham war. War, war war war, war spore drive war war. War Klingons war tardigrade war war. Captain Lorca punches Klingons, someone dies, I don’t care. Cue opening credits.

Another ‘exciting’ episode of Star Trek: Discovery, where nothing is discovered, they don’t go anywhere no one has gone before, and instead growl about war and punch each other for 50 minutes.

At least we get Captain Saru this episode! Neat, maybe he’ll take over the ship and run things differently and do sciency things and not care so much about war and whatever boring shit Lorca had planned.

Harry Mudd tells a long rambling backstory for zero reason since captain Lorca abandons him as soon as they escape.

A magic mushroom spreads across the universe. Mushroom. across the universe. I wonder if the writers originally had planed for some quantum veins or multiverse pockets or something more sciency and were told ‘no, make it stupider’ so they came up with a MUSHROOM that grows across the ENTIRETY OF THE UNIVERSE. A mushroom from Earth, no less, that shares 50% of it’s DNA with humans, growing across the entire universe.

Am I supposed to care about Lorca? Cause I don’t. This torture scene isn’t so tense when I don’t care about him. I’d actually be happy if he died and Saru stayed captain. Except Saru turns into a jackass as soon as he’s in the chair. Cool, everyone on this show is jerkoffs to each other. Really enjoyable to watch.

I don’t particularly like any of the characters on this show, come to think of it… hmm. I wonder if they forgot that part about TV shows where you’re supposed to like the characters…

Mudd is an asshole to everyone in the cell, stealing their food and ratting them out to the guards, so Lorca is an asshole to him, and leaves him behind! Yay! Am I supposed to like or feel inspired by any of these shitbags?

How did the tardigrade rehydrate in a vacuum. wtf.

Maybe this is a decent action/war show. It is well produced and there are some cool action scenes and space battles. But when you title it ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ I can’t help but expect the characters to trek around discovering stuff. What I got is not what I expected or wanted, and as a straight action show it’s not good enough or intriguing enough to hold my attention anymore.

The Orville, episode 4

In another great episode, the crew encounters a huge ship, so huge it contains a whole city and farmland and sky within. The crew soon finds out that they are dealing with a generation ship with a people who have forgotten they are on a ship.

This may be an idea that seems played out for someone who’s read a lot of sci fi, but seeing this on TV is just great. The ship is heading for a star, and they’ve got to convince the people that they need help before they can be helped.

Another thing I thought was great about this episode is we get to see how tough the first officer, Kelly, is. There is a pretty hardcore scene where she is being straight up beat and tortured, and though she is cracking some pretty funny jokes, it is not a funny scene. It is brutal and feels real. And–as Hollywood looooves to do when it comes to women who are captured or being tortured–I’m glad to say she was not sexualized in any way. What another relief!

At the end of the episode, the ship turns out to have a retractable section that opens to allow the people to see the stars for the first time. It was a really cool, and emotional scene.

Once again, a Seth MacFarlane comedy show is showing up CBS’s Discovery. Just let that sink in a minute… then go watch it!

The Orville, episode 3

I was only last week thinking about one of my favorite Star Trek episodes, ‘measure of a man’, the entirity of which takes place in a courtroom, and thinking how that kind of story could never be on TV these days. And then I get an episode like this episode of The Orville. On a comedy show… ???

Bortus’s egg hatches, and its a baby girl. The only problem is, Bortus’s people are all males. Any rare females that are born have a special procedure done to make them into males. Bortus, of course, wants the ship’s doctor to perform the procedure on his new child. Ethical dilemmas ensue.

And the entire episode is debating on whether it is right to change the sex of the child. Whether the Union has the right to stop another culture (species too, but let’s not go there) from doing what they think is right for their own child.

On a comedy show.

I can’t help but think that Seth is secretly giving a big ol’ middle finger to the Hollywood establishment with this series. Sort of showing them up by having actual good storylines, that make you think and care more than these big budget spectacles do, on his goofy comedy show.

This is real sci fi. While Star Trek: Discovery has aliens blowing eachother up and space ships fighting all over, this goofy comedy show is showing up with actual ideas and interesting concepts.

This is how it’s done.

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.  But 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. This 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 3

In what feels like the first episode of the series, we begin to follow Michael on her journey after having her rank stripped and being sent to prison.

At least Saru is back!

Good stuff: We are on a science ship, doing research. Not a war ship, not in battle. The characters are mostly scientists, interested in knowledge.

Bad stuff: We’re still in a giant war. The research is for the purpose of war. War war war war. War.

Silly stuff: The fungus spores turn out to not be a biological weapon but some how are used for instantaneous travel? What? At least try to have it make a bit of sense… this is Doctor Who levels of hand-waving going on here.

Creepy stuff: Those twisted bodies… wow, very creepy effect, though no real explanation as to how that creature did that to them. This episode could have been part of a horror movie almost. Very dark.

I like that they are on a science ship doing research. I like that the characters aren’t soldiers and will presumably not be seeking out battle (except maybe Michael). But the Discovery is painted as a dark, sinister kind of ship with a captain that is willing to do anything to achieve his goal, and sort of has the vibe of ‘technology bad!’ that is so damn prevalent these days.

Over-all, better than the first two episodes, and there seems to be potential. I’ll keep watching, but am not holding out too much hope.