Orville 1

Orville Series 1

The Orville is an American science fiction television series created by and starring Seth MacFarlane. MacFarlane stars as Ed Mercer, an officer in the Planetary Union’s line of exploratory space vessels. After his career takes a downturn following his divorce, he is given the ship Orville as his first command, only to discover that his ex-wife, Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki), has been assigned as his first officer. Inspired by several sources, including Star Trek and The Twilight Zone, the series tells the story of Mercer, Grayson, and the crew of the Orville as they embark on various diplomatic and exploratory missions.


Episode 1 ‘Old Wounds”
Introduction of the characters: Ed Mercer (McFarlane) divorces his wife, Kelly Grayson, after catching her cheating on him. Feeling guilty, she call in favours to get him a position as captain of the U.S.S. Orville, a mid-level exploratory vessel.

This first episode is OK, but it’s not clear what the genre and tone will be. It feels very Star Trek-TNG.

Episode 2 Command Performance
The technologically advanced Calivon capture and imprison Mercer and Grayson for a new exhibit in a zoo filled with humanoid species from throughout the galaxy. Alara is left in command of the Orville, as Bortus has laid an egg and must incubate it. Left in charge, Alara disobeys orders and retrieves Mercer and Grayson, along with a kidnapped alien child.

This feels like another story I have seen from the original series – feels like they are recycling old TV shows.

Episode 3 “About a Girl”
When Doctor Finn refuses Bortus and Klyden’s request for her to perform sex reassignment surgery on their daughter, a standard Moclan practice on the rare occasion a female is born, they petition
Mercer to order the procedure.

The first real ‘issues’ episode. This could be a metaphor for other injustices. Fortunately they don’t resolve the problem by having the Crew’s opinions prevail.

Episode 4 “If the Stars Should Appear”
The Orville encounters an immense, 2000-year-old derelict ship drifting into a star. Mercer, Grayson, Kitan, Finn, and Isaac enter, discovering an artificial biosphere and a civilization of
three million who worship an entity called Dorahl.

Not a new concept in SciFi, from Arthur C Clarke’s ‘Rama’ series to Wesley Allison’s ‘Princess of Amathar’. A Dyson sphere is a hypothetical mega-structure that completely encompasses a star and captures a large percentage of its power output. The concept is a thought experiment that attempts to explain how a space-faring civilization would meet its energy requirements once those
requirements exceed what can be generated from the home planet’s resources alone.

Grayson is held prisoner by their theocratic dictator. Although this is mainly due to her approaching him as an enemy.Eventually the crew rescue her and reveal the nature of the world to the inhabitants. Liam Neeson turns up in an ancient video recording.

Again a bit derivative but it does have a satisfying ending.

Episode 5 “Pria”
The Orville rescues Captain Pria Levesque (played by Charlize Theron) from her imperiled mining ship. The beautiful Pria charms the crew and romances Mercer.

Anything with Theron is going to be good, and she delivers the goods, captures the ship to ‘sell’ only to be beaten by the security officer.

Episode 6 “Krill”
After recovering an intact Krill shuttle, Mercer and Malloy are ordered to pose as Krill soldiers to board one of their vessels and obtain a copy of the Ankhana, a sacred religious text via which
the Krill believe by divine right they are superior to all other species in the universe.

Everything about this story seems forced and illogical, designed to put the Captain in situations where he has to make ‘difficult’ decisions.

Episode 7 “Majority Rule”
Grayson and an undercover team land on Sargas 4, a planet with a culture similar to 21st-century Earth, to search for two missing anthropologists. LaMarr is arrested after what is considered
inappropriate public behavior and receives more than a million “down” votes by viewers watching a televised clip of the film footage.

One of the best of the series. Here the writers create a satire on social media. Popularity is everything. But the ending is rather contrived and allows everyone to escape.

Episode 8 “Into the Fold”
While traveling to a recreational planet in a shuttle, Isaac, Finn, and her sons, Marcus and Ty, fall into a spatial fold, and crash land on a planet a thousand light-years away from their original location.

Really, just an episode to allow Penny Johnson Jerald (Kasidy Yates of DS9) to strut her stuff, from mom to action hero.

Episode 9 “Cupid’s Dagger”
The Orville is dispatched to mediate talks between the Navarians and the Bruidians, two alien species at a centuries-old stalemate over which race lays proper claim over the planet Lapovius.
Also assigned to the matter is Darulio (Rob Lowe), the Retepsian whose affair with Grayson a year prior ended her marriage to Mercer.

The best of the series. Mainly due to the script and story structure. It manages to get Seth McFarlane for fall for Rob Lowe (in blue face). The humour really works, mainly because it is done by secondary characters. The solution to the talks becomes apparent to the audience before the characters discover it. And the final line “maybe” resonates through future episodes.

Episode 10 “Firestorm”
When Lt. Payne is trapped beneath debris during a plasma storm, Alara’s pyrophobia causes her to hesitate, resulting in his death. Blaming herself, she tenders her resignation, which Mercer
declines.

Another episode concentrating on a main character (Halston Sage as Firestorm). It soon becomes apparent that she has stepped out of ‘reality’ when major characters die. Fun to see some action,
but like all the ‘alt-reality’ stories, not very satisfying.

Episode 11 “New Dimensions”
With Lt. Newton leaving the Orville, Mercer must find a new chief engineer. Although Yaphit is next in line for the position, Cmdr. Grayson discovers that LaMarr has been concealing his
intellectual gifts.

This is just an excuse for the art department to show some very cool Tron-like graphics. As expected, there is reference to Flatland by Edwin Abbott.

Episode 12 “Mad Idolatry”
Grayson leads a shuttle team that crashes on a suddenly appearing planet with a Bronze Age society. After leaving, the crew discovers that the planet phases in to the universe for a short period every 11 days as 700 years passes on the planet.

The series ends with one of its best. The theme of societies evolving and leaving behind their religious part is not new. But the mechanism by which it happens is different, and manages to
provide some surprises.