Well, everyone was right about ‘The Orville’.

Although I have dozens of singles to watch at any given time, for a few years I haven’t been able to escape a firm recommendation, Orville.

Originally, the show looked like it would be Family Guy mentor Seth Macfarlane’s attempt at a live Star Trek parody on FOX, and that may have been what was originally shown and greenlit. Because of actual turns out? It’s not that. Not even close.

Orville, who is now about to end his third season under new ownership at Hulu, is far from a parody of anything. It’s much more than a tribute or homage to early Star Trek, which Macfarlane clearly adores, but given the Stream Trek’s case is, in a way, improbably so, it’s actually much better than all of the other current Star Trek projects, whether it’s Discovery or Picard. Recently, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds felt like it was based on Orville For inspiration as well as the older Trek, as the focus shifted to smaller, humorous stories at times.

Another intriguing element here is how much you can watch the budget increase across seasons. Season 1 appears to be practically an SNL sitcom. Season 2 got a lot more money for space battles and the like. Season 3, now funded by Hulu/Disney, produces block-level sequences with identical runtimes, including last week’s Wild Episode IX with four types of battle royale for the fate of the universe. Things escalated… “If the show’s good, give it more money” sounds like Hollywood 101, yet it doesn’t seem to be happening as often as it should.

But the reason The Orville does so well is that, despite all the flashy influences, it’s still based on its characters. By focusing heavily on the core cast of 6-7 main characters, we get these years-long arcs that really pay off with continued investment. The best of them revolve around the saga of Toba, a child from a shockingly oppressive alien culture, and Isaac, a sensitive robot constantly torn between his acquired human family and the directives of his parent race. If I have any criticism of this show, it’s that the character the show plays is most likely Captain Ed Mercer himself. Some say MacFarlane is not a good fit for the role and shouldn’t cast himself, but I don’t think that’s the problem. He’s more than just feeling like an observer of these more compelling stories than a meaningful participant.

Then of course, there’s the politics, which doesn’t seem like a 2022 “wake up” thing, but then again, a trip back to the original Star Trek that dealt with social issues all along, even if some fans wish they could be forgotten. Here, the show tackles the plethora of topics here with a surprising heart, whether it’s misogyny, transphobia, or even abortion. There are a lot of ways that all of this could have gone wrong, and none of this Will be It worked if The Orville was a real “parody”. But after three seasons, it’s like even though he’s inspired by Trek, he’s built his own characters and legends that can resonate with audiences even if they’ve never seen Star Trek. This comes close to my description, even though I’ve seen a few seasons and movies over the years, I’ve never been real Trekkie. But I’m now a fan of The Orville, and in this age where Star Wars and Marvel don’t stop, it would be wise for Disney to cultivate new and potentially attractive universes like this within its catalog.

Watch it, you won’t regret it.

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Pick up my science fiction novels Herokiller series And the Earthborn trilogy.


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