When I first heard about The Orville Season One, the trailers gave the impression that it would be a parody of space opera adventure series such as Star Trek. When I first started watching it, this confused me because there didn’t seem to be a lot of parody to be found. Thankfully, the series found its legs and became much more than advertised.
The first episode, “Old Wounds”, seemed to be all about creating a feeling of Family Guy in space. It was crude and full of puerile humor, all of which didn’t appeal to me as a viewer. It had just a glimmer of possibility, however, so I kept watching it. Over the next eleven episodes, it proceeded to gain its space legs and become a stronger and stronger series. “If the Stars Should Appear” was the first episode to really show off this series’ potential. It had a solid story and felt more like a classic episode of Star Trek. The cameo appearance by Liam Neeson was a nice touch.
“Krill” was the strongest episode in the first half of The Orville Season One. It delved into the main antagonist aliens in the series, providing a deeper understanding of them. It also humanized them to a degree, and the characters showed that. I look forward to seeing how the events in this episode affect the series as a whole. It certainly hinted that it might have a huge impact.
The following episode, “Majority Rule”, was simultaneously a break from the seriousness of the previous episode while also addressing an issue regularly in the forefront of today’s reality. For me, it felt like the equivalent of Animal Farm for the modern world with how it addressed the court of public opinion by taking it to the extreme. George Orwell would have been proud of this episode.
Addressing the serious issue of phobias and how they can impact our abilities to do things, “Firestorm” really hit home for me. All of us have varying degrees of fears about any number of activities, and sometimes that fear can become a crushing force that prevents us from doing anything. I liked how this episode showed that facing that fear directly is the only way to ever be able to overcome it. It was one of my favorite episodes in The Orville Season One.
Leadership can be hard, and determining who will best fit into a position can be difficult at times. “New Dimensions” addresses this as well as the desire to note stand out in the crowd, to just fit in and be like everyone else. I found this episode both thoughtful in how it worked though this problem, and entertaining by not becoming too serious. It also allowed J. Lee to shine as Lieutenant Commander John LaMarr. His character gained new dimensions in this episode.
The final episode of The Orville Season One, “Mad Idolatry”, was a solid season finale. It directly dealt with the Union’s version of the Prime Directive, and handled it masterfully. I really enjoyed how it handled the topics of responsibility and accountability, especially regarding how small actions can have a big influence.
Until this series, I had never seen Seth MacFarlane in any series or film (that I can remember). He did a great job as Captain Mercer, simultaneously showing the Captain’s vulnerable and human side while also showing the Captain was a responsible (mostly) leader. Adrianne Palicki also created a solid and interesting character (I had previously seen her on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.). My other favorite characters were Alara (Halston Sage), Isaac (Mark Jackson), and Yaphit (voiced by Norm Macdonald, and who I saw as a nod to Schlock Mercenary, given the obvious similarities to a certain amorph in that series)
To wrap things up, I enjoyed The Orville Season One. There was more adult humor than I prefer, but it seemed to lessen as the season went by. I hope that trend continues, and I plan to watch the new season when it comes out. May the second season be as good as the first, or better!
Original Air Dates: September 10 – December 7, 2017 (USA)
TV Parental Guidelines Rating: TV-14
Alcohol/Drugs: 2 (regular social drinking)
Language: 2 (frequent, deity, mostly mild)
Nudity: 1 (occasional partial, but always with strategic coverage)
Sexuality: 3 (frequent innuendo, bed scenes, regular sexual humor)
Violence: 2 (some violence, occasional death, fisticuffs, peril)