Anyone watch the premiere?

My take, short version: Meh.

My take, long version: This is Star Trek: The Next Generation with dick jokes.

My wife complained, "This show doesn't know if it wants to be a drama or a comedy." I responded, "No, it knows what it wants: It wants to be Star Trek. They throw in the dick jokes because that's what Seth McFarlane knows how to write." 

It's mostly just regurgitated ST:TNG. Quadrants, helmsmen, warp quantum drive, guns that look and act like phasers, Starfleet The Union, "Shields up!" (why are they ever down?), aliens with funny head makeup, an android sentient robot science officer, a holodeck, and on and on and on. Even the uniforms are similar.

All the tropes are there: People running through corridors, last-minute technobabble that saves the day, phaser battles where we don't miss and the bad guys always do (except when they hit the captain, but he is not seriously impaired), human pilots when computers would be more efficient, etc.

Which would be fine if this was a parody. I loved Galaxy Quest, and would watch a TV version of that. But Orville isn't a parody -- it's just outright theft.

And I still might not mind the theft if this was just funnier. But McFarlane seems to want to be taken seriously as a genuinely heroic character. That still makes dick jokes. 

Bleah. This has a couple more episodes to get WAY better or we're gone.

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It's slogan should be "Not Star Trek but an incredible simulation!"

Having said that, I actually did like it. I found it to be very much in the vein of Galaxy Quest. It's been so long since there's been any actual Star Trek that I found it kind of refeshing. I had never even heard of it until I saw an ad the day before the first episode aired. I wasn't going to start a discussion, but now that Cap has I'll follow it.

Yay! I don't think my wife will watch another episode, so I'll need some sort of push from this group to make me find time to watch it when she's shopping or something. (For the first time in our marriage, we have the same work schedules.)

Part of my disdain probably arises from the fact that I HAVE watched some Star Trek recently. Over the Labor Day weekend, my visiting in-laws wanted to watch Star Trek Beyond, as they hadn't seen it. I found I enjoyed it even more the second time around. It's really good Star Trek, and a really good movie besides. The Orville doesn't really match up. 

And it shouldn't match up. It shouldn't be an incredible simulation of Star Trek. It should be its own thing, and quite obviously, that means more humor. It desperately needs to be a lot funnier.

Oh, and poor Adrianne Palicki. On Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., she played an adventure character paired with her ex-husband. On the Orville, she's an adventure character paired with her ex-husband. Will we ever get to see her without an ex-husband hanging around?

I would gladly watch a TV version of Galaxy Quest, but I fear The Orville may have killed all chance of that happening.

I'm no Seth MacFarlane fan, and I burned out on Star Trek a long while ago, so I had less-than-lukewarm interest in seeing this project. From what I read, I gather MacFarlane has a sincere interest in the kind of space opera that Star Trek does ...

... to the extent that he somehow talked a TV network into letting him make a glorified fan film. 

Something else has been bothering me about The Orville, and it occurred to me today.

How come the XO isn't the captain? He threw his career away by being unable to handle personal issues. She did not. And she's shown herself to be more capable than he. She is clearly more qualified to be in charge, with better temperament, better judgment and better competence.

So why is the mediocre white guy in charge? 

This is just part of a gut reaction I had to The Orville, that it is based on a kind of white-privilege, frat-boy humor that I think is becoming passe. Hell, I'm a white guy and I'm asking questions. Can't imagine what non-white, non-male people think when they see this sort of thing.

I probably wouldn't be asking these questions if it had been a flat-out, outrageous comedy. But at some level The Orville is asking us to take it seriously as a sort of dramedy. "Not Star Trek, but an incredible simulation," Jeff said. In that genre, there is no reason for Seth McFarlane to even be on board, much less the captain.



Captain Comics said:

Can't imagine what non-white, non-male people think when they see this sort of thing.

"Say, when's Star Trek: Discovery coming on?"

I thought of another tag: “Star Trek Lite.”

Is Seth McFarlane a guy people don’t like? I don’t know all that much about him, but he seems a kind of “renaissance guy” to me. I know he does cartoon voices, but he first flew into my radar as the producer of Cosmos (with Neil DeGrasse Tyson). That made me sit up and take notice, and I began to notice him on “chat shows” (British for “talk shows”) such as Graham Norton (the only such show I deign to watch). He appeared on the same episode as Cindy Lauper and sang a song of hers in one of his cartoon voices. He also put out a CD inspired by Frank Sinatra’s Wee Small Hours album (which inspired me in turn to buy Sinatra’s Wee Small Hours).

Maybe I haven’t seen enough of him to be sick of him.

If you first heard of him on Cosmos, then yeah, you haven't seen enough of him to be sick of him. He'd been saturating the airwaves for a decade before that with Family Guy and later, American Dad. Plus Ted, too, and The Cleveland Show.

I tend to like him on his talk show appearances. And I thought about giving The Orville a try. But there's so much else out there that I decided to pass on it. 

I'll give it some more time.  Uneven as it is, I like the Next Gen pastiche.

Mark Jackson sounds more like Brent Spiner than Spiner does.

Oh, I had heard of Setrh McFarlane prior to Cosmos, but I didn't start paying attention to him until then.

Is Mark Jackson the robot character? The alien dude soiunds just like Michael Dorn, too. Honestly, I don't know how they can get away with so close of a rip-off pastiche.

I only knew of Seth McFarlane by reputation, since I'd never watched Family Guy, American Dad or any other show he'd worked on. So my gut reaction had nothing to do with McFarlane fatigue.

I’m kind of p*ssed at Star Trek in general. It hasn’t been on TV in, what…? 12 years? And now that it’s slated to return, it’s not even going to be on broadcast TV, but “CBS All Access” so I won’t even be able to watch it. (I heard something about it being available on NetFlix but I read an article about the show over the weekend which didn’t mention it.) Enterprise didn’t get good until season four (the last, too little too late) but The Orville found its niche immediately. Like it or not, I see it as more like “Star Trek” than the first three seasons of Enterprise were.

In summation: F*ck Star Trek. Make mine The Orville.

Star Trek: Discovery will be available on Netflix in other markets, but not in the U.S. I'm not likely to see it until I can see it through one of my regular services; I won't be ponying up $6 a month to watch it on CBS's new streaming service.

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