In 2016, Fox green-lit Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane’s spec script called “The Orville,” is based on his passion for Star Trek. According to Seth, Fox were inspired by the success of “Guardians Of The Galaxy” & “Deadpool” which set a benchmark on sci-fi comedy. It took Seth & Fox approximately a whole year to film, edit, post-production etc. Jon Favreau was brought onboard as a “consultant” for the series. After every little detail is competed, The Orville’s first season was finally done.
The Orville officially aired in 2017. (around the same time Star Trek: Beyond aired) It received mixed reviews. Critics disliked it & viewers thought it was pretty good. Despite mixed reception, Fox green-lit a second season which premiered on December 30, 2018.
There are two reasons why I wanted to review The Orville, is because Family Guy is celebrating its 20th anniversary & Seth’s co-star, Patrick Stewart will reprise his role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in an upcoming Star Trek series set after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis is slated to air this year.
Today’s review doesn’t contain no SPOILERS. Feel free to read my non-spoiler article just in case if you haven’t seen the first season.
The Whole Season
Positive: The Main Cast features Seth MacFarlane, Scott Grimes, (Steve Smith from American Dad) Adrianne Palicki & lesser known faces all did a great job for their respective performances.
In addition to portraying Ed Mercer, Seth also wrote a total of eight teleplays. Which means, he only wrote 8 out of 12 episodes.
Ed’s surname is taken from singer, Johnny Mercer, who’s one of Seth’s favorite singers.
Isaac is my favorite character on the show. He’s basically the equivalent of Data. Isaac is named after author, Isaac Asimov.
As the season progresses, some of the characters earn themselves Character Development.
The show is obviously a genre throwback to Star Trek. Seth is a real life Trekkie. (fan term for a Star Trek fan)
Visual Effects looked pretty dang gorgeous.
Musical Score balanced between drama & comedy to match the tone.
Prosthetic Makeup were used to apply the actors to resemble a different alien species.
Cinematography was shot well lacking Shaky Cam.
Former SNL Cast Member/Stand-Up Comedian, Norm Macdonald has a recurring role as a blob like creature.
J.J. Abrams’s trademark lens flares weren’t featured.
Rachel MacFarlane (Hayley Smith from American Dad & Seth’s real life sister) voices The Orville’s A.I.
Like Family Guy, The Orville contains pop culture references minus random cutaways/flashbacks.
The show manages to balance between seriousness and comedy.
A famous actor guest stars in a selected episode. If you’re a huge Star Trek fan, you’re gonna see a few familiar faces.
Each episode isn’t formulaic like any Power Rangers season. The Orville’s twelve episodes felt unique.
Jon Favreau is credited as a “consultant.” He’s got experience in Sci-Fi since he worked on a movie called “Zathrua.”
Space Battle were decent in selective episodes.
Negative: Most of the jokes can be a hit or miss. Whether the comedic timing is executed well or not. I would say a certain joke is dependable.
Episode 1 – Old Wounds
Good: Jon Favreau directed The Pilot Episode. Plus he served as an executive producer.
The Pilot Episode introduces Ed Mercer & his crew gearing up to board the titular vessel.
My favorite part of the first episode is when a blue thing “inks.” What I just saw, indicates you’re gonna laugh your butt off on some effective jokes.
Episode 2 – Command Performance
Balance: Alara is pressured to do something she’s never done before.
The episode mocks a television “genre” appealing to the Lowest Common Denominator. (LCD for short)
My favorite joke has something to do with a famous person’s last words.
The second episode involves Ed & Kelly trapped like zoo animals.
Episode 3 – About A Girl
Stable: The third episode is named after a Nirvana song.
This episode reflects a real life issue involving gender. It’s not actually shoving it in your face.
We get to witness Bortus’ home planet.
A Plot Twist reveals a character’s specific background.
In one scene, Ed wears a cowboy outfit. A nod to Seth’s western film, “A Million Ways To Die In The West.”
Episode 4 – If The Stars Should Appear
Yay: A former Star Wars actor makes a guest appearance. I’ll give you a clue, he was also in a film based on a DC Comics superhero.
One of Seth MacFarlane’s favorite movies are shown on a television screen.
Episode 5 – Pria
Healthy: Charlize Theron guest stars. She’s also good friends with Seth since they worked together in “A Million Ways To Die In The West.”
The title of the fifth episode is named after Charlize Theron’s character.
Jonathan Frakes, known for his role as Commander William Riker from Star Trek: The Next Generation, directed the fifth episode.
We get to know about Pria’s background.
Cold Opening foreshadows what’s yet to come.
My favorite gag has something to do with dark comedy.
Episode 6 – Krill
Good: The sixth episode is named after an alien species.
The Krill’s name of their religion made me snickered.
The Krill’s evil plan is similar to The Galactic Empire attempt to destroy a planet using The Death Star. Seth is also a fan of Star Wars.
Episode 7 – Majority Rule
Stable: The seventh episode mocks our society consumed by social media. Basically The Internet consuming human civilization.
The show did a jab at “The View.” It’s known for mostly complaining about any topic brought up.
Episode 8 – Into The Fold
Balance: Someone quotes Stewie Griffin repeating the word “mom” from an episode of Family Guy known as “Stewie Loves Lois.”
My favorite part of the episode is when Isaac throws and shoots something. Kinda like Skeet Shooting.
This episode centers around Isaac who must protect Dr. Claire’s kids.
Episode 9 – Cupid’s Dagger
Yay: Rob Lowe (the “stepbrother” from Tommy Boy) guests stars as a familiar face from The Pilot Episode.
Ed & Kelly’s divorce from the first episode fleshes out more context.
Episode 10 – Firestorm
Strong: The tenth episode centers around Alara’s phobia and the crew’s various forms of phobias.
This episode is influenced by the Alien franchise & Stephen King’s It. Alien Covenant & the 2017 version of It both came out the exact same year The Orville aired.
Speaking of Stephen King, a clown is based on Pennywise The Dancing Clown.
Robert Picardo (Doctor from Star Trek: Voyager) makes a guest appearance.
A Twist Ending reveals how the entire episode (almost) played out.
Episode 11 – Dimensions
Good: The eleventh episode reveals LaMarr’s hidden depths.
LaMarr briefly mentioned his backstory about his skills.
The two-dimensional environment looked really pretty. I’m surprised the effects weren’t fake at all.
Episode 12 – Mad Idolatry
Positive: The season finale involves a planet’s “religion.”
Kelly Hu (Lady Deathstrike from X2: X-Men United) makes a guest appearance.
The major theme shows us what happens if your actions interfere a civilization from a different planet, the consequences will drastically rise.
The Final Verdict: A-
As both a critic and viewer, The Orville’s first season turned out to be a decent. Each episode was interesting. I never got bored. Main Characters were memorable. If most of the humor was executed well, I would’ve given it an A. If you’re interested in The Orville, I highly recommend the first season.