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The Orville – Seth MacFarlane does Star Trek

When I heard that Seth MacFarlane was working on a new project and basing it on a Star Trek universe, my interest was certainly enough to actually go and watch the whole series via Amazon.

I will say that I am not a massive fan of the series that Seth MacFarlane produces, but I certainly appreciate him as a writer and a producer. My history with him consists of watching a fair amount of Family Guy, without it taking over my life. I also have a general fondness for American Dad and can certainly appreciate Ted – Although, I’ve not seen Ted 2 – even though it was in general quite rubbish as a film. I get the feeling he is one of these produces/writers you either love or hate for mostly getting away with simplistic humour and poking fun at politics and stereotypes. I’m going to try and get through this review with minimal spoilers.

Overview

  • Number of Episodes: 12 per season
  • Length per episode: 44 mins (approx)
  • IMDB Rating: 7.9
  • Metacritic Rating: 36
  • Digital Price: SD or HD from Amazon £19.99

Storyline

The storyline follows of Ed Mercer played by Seth MacFarlane. Ed is a little down on his luck at the start of the series until he is offered the position of becoming Commander of the Orville. The rest of the crew is made up of people that Ed Mercer already knows, a bunch of new faces and finally Ed’s ex-wife as his first officer. If this sounds like that they are setting up for on-going problems between Ed and his ex-wife, then you would indeed be right.

The rest of the main characters that the Orville introduce also have their own semi-predictable nuances. The main security officer is female and makes all the men that she encounters feel inferior. One of the engineering staff is a sentient blob who is deeply in love/lust with the medical officer, which allows for some awkward moments between the two. Navigation officer Gordon Malloy played by Scott Grimes is a prankster and gets caught out by his own antics.

The Orville and in fact the faction that it works for (known as Union) has a major enemy, known as the Krill. Think of the Krill like a combination of the Romulans and the Klingons in old school Star Trek. They are certainly a force to be reckoned with and are incredibly racist towards humans.

Verdict

I didn’t exactly expect high-grade movie level CGI from this series, however, there is something to be said about the level of production of the Orville. It’s certainly put together well as a series, there is a hint of an over-arching storyline and a few callbacks during the season to earlier episodes which makes the characters more believable, and to some, I would say endearing. The acting is fairly solid and the characters don’t break any traits that have already been set, so at least they are consistent.

Now a lot of people might say is that Seth just channels Peter Griffin for the Ed Mercer character and puts him in space, but in my opinion, there is more maturity in the character. If you read the reviews on Metacritic it is understandable that they have had this reaction. Seth’s frat boy like style of comedy is something that will always split opinions, it’s something that will appeal to some and not to others. Personally, I laughed from time to time and at times was just tired of the level of comedy.

I’d like to say that I loved but I didn’t; however, I also didn’t hate it. I can certainly appreciate what Seth MacFarlane is aiming for and I’m not sure if I will actually take the time, or pay the money, to watch season 2. I’m glad I gave it the time though. You can find out more about the series on the Fox website and there are some clips over on YouTube. If you have seen the series, I’d love to know what you think? Are you a fan of Seth MacFarlane and if so do you feel that this series is something you would watch, despite the bad reviews? We would love to hear what you think, so get in touch with us via the comments section or over on Twitter or Facebook.

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