The Orville

"Krill"

3 stars

Air date: 10/12/2017
Written by David A. Goodman
Directed by Jon Cassar

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

The Orville comes to the rescue of a Union colony under attack by a Krill vessel. Mercer's tactical cleverness is able to outmaneuver the Krill's superior firepower to win the battle and destroy the Krill ship. In the wreckage, the crew discovers an unscathed Krill shuttlecraft, which presents an opportunity for the Union: They can use the shuttle to send some operatives undercover as Krill crew members in an intelligence-gathering mission to learn about this mysterious enemy and their motives. Specifically, the assignment is to retrieve a copy of the holy book that guides the Krill's deeply held religious beliefs, in the hopes that we might learn what drives their society. Mercer and Malloy take on this task — for which they are not particularly well equipped.

"Krill" is the best episode of The Orville yet. It's the first episode that from start to finish feels like it's living in its own skin and starting to build its own universe, rather than reassembling pilfered pieces from here and there. Sure, the plot (undercover characters pose as the enemy) is another take on a reliable standby, but that's perfectly fine. I have no problem with new takes on reliable devices if the writers can bring a sense of energy or specificity. This is an entertaining, well-paced, breezy hour that works on the lightweight terms where this series lives.

And this undercover plot in particular proves to be a perfect vehicle for the blend of adventure and silliness. The humor mostly works; at the very least it didn't make me cringe or completely pull me out of the show. (The opening teaser with Bortus amazing everybody by being able to eat anything is particularly amusing and grows naturally from the characters.) Some of this is fish-out-of-water funny, like the fact Mercer's and Malloy's Krill names are "Chris" and "Devin." Some of it is pop-culture throwaway, like when Malloy asides that one of the Krill prayers sounds like "Katniss Everdeen" — or how he keeps quipping that the Krill deity, named "Avis," is actually the name of a car-rental company. (Since it comes from Malloy this seems in-character rather than merely random. But, okay, yes, also random.) Watching our two heroes desperately bumbling their way through a mission where they're in over their heads is solidly entertaining for the duration.

The show gradually builds some significant stakes and puts Mercer and Malloy in escalating danger. They have enough trouble trying to make the digital copies of the Krill's holy book. But when they learn the Krill are preparing to deploy a new weapon to wipe out a Union colony with 100,000 people, things get, as they say, real. Now they must figure out how to stop the weapon. They come up with a plan that will kill the entire crew: Because the Krill evolved on a planet of perpetual night, bright light is deadly to them ("Like vampires!"). So Mercer rigs all the lights on the ship to get super-bright and fry the crew after a 10-minute digital-clock countdown. But because there are children on board the ship, we also have an unexpected moral quandary, so we have to figure out a way to protect them from this deadly outcome by shooting out the lights in the classroom and keeping them confined there.

All of this, in having just described it, sounds colossally absurd. And, yes, it is. (Why would the lights on the ship even be designed to get bright enough to be lethal to the people living there?) But in the moment, this plot works like gangbusters and is fun and entertaining and glides right along. The episode was directed by Jon Cassar, who directed countless episodes of 24, and it seems appropriate that the vibe I get from "Krill" is Star Trek: 24: An Interstellar Comedy.

BUT — and there is always a "but" when it comes to this series — "Krill" also highlights how there may be a ceiling to how good this show can ever actually be. And that ceiling might never be able to push above "good" to become "great." That's because, for all its deftly balanced comedy and action/adventure, "Krill's" drama is always a hostage of its irreverence.

This is a show that tries to harbor some modest Serious Intentions regarding humanizing the enemy and trying to understand their culture. But this proves difficult because, really, at the end of the day there's no useful depth given to the Krill. Consider their religion. We learn nothing substantive about it, except that they act in the name of Avis and use their beliefs to justify deadly attacks on anyone. And make no mistake: They are going to kill a lot of people if we don't kill them first. And that's about it.

During the Krill religious service, the officiant pulls out a severed human head and then repeatedly stabs it with a ceremonial knife. This is meant to be a shocking display that shows just how grave a situation our undercover heroes actually find themselves in, but the moment itself is so over-the-top as a cultural/religious display that it's merely ridiculous. Are the Krill supposed to be unforgivably evil or reasonable folks worth our sympathy? What motivates them and their attacks? Is all of Krill society this way? Are these a subset of extremists, or are the Krill just blind followers across the board? What we get isn't used for much useful social commentary beyond "religious fanatics are bad" — and, in all honesty, the point is mostly lost anyway, because the tone of the overall show (and the part that works like gangbusters; see above) is that this is just a light, fun, adventure romp and we shouldn't dwell on any of that heavy, religious fundamentalism head-stabbing stuff.

Until the final scene, that is. This scene reveals that all the children Mercer and Malloy spared from frying on the Krill ship will be returned to the Krill homeworld, where they will likely grow up hating humans (regardless of being spared by them) because of what Mercer did to all the adults. It's a valid, realistic point that highlights how we are not likely to win over young minds in a conflict that is much larger than them. But this also again highlights the fundamental tension in this series — the one between irreverence and earnestness. That tension is not going away. (The show wants to have it both ways — where I'm supposed to ponder the future of these poor Krill kids after the story fairly glibly just barbecued a bunch of adults.) If The Orville can balance the scales and execute as well as "Krill" does, it might be a good, fun series. But it may never be a great one.

Previous episode: Pria

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58 comments on this review

Tempeh
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 9:04pm (UTC -5)
Best episode so far. Some of the things they were doing on the Krill ship were far fetched, but the episode was entertaining from beginning to end.
John Harmon
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 10:52pm (UTC -5)
Some of the jokes were tryhard, the opening scene was hilarious. Very entertaining. The final scene was surprisingly well done. Not sure the characters ended in the moral high ground though, which I suppose was the point.
Dobber
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 12:05am (UTC -5)
Great episode. Though I wonder if they couldn't have tried to sabotage the bomb rather than kill everyone...
Hpontes
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 12:13am (UTC -5)
**SPOILERS**

It's funny, I really did think, "as if the children will just forgive them and etc.." and then they go and say it.

Orville is slowly becoming that Trek in our minds (+ some weird humor here and there), like all of the, "hmm would that really work that way? Wouldn't it_____".

In all honest The Orville could be amazing and stand on its own next to Star Trek if it would slow down on the unnecessary humor. I don't mind the jokes, but it hurts suspension of belief when it randomly becomes a galaxy quest type of show for a few moments.

The eating moment was funny, didn't love it, but it felt real. The Orville keeps having these moments where it point out to the watcher the absurdity of the previous levity.

I mean, he killed her brother, then joked around and pretend to know him. Then killed all her friends...

Once again the "torture" and "blood" on the Orville is waaaay more realistic than Star Trek without being gratuitous.

Some convenient deus ex but Star Trek pulled that bs on us all the time anyways.

I'd give this episode a 2.5/4.

*SPOILER FREE*

Once again The Orville really struggles to walk the line between satire and a seriously thought opening Star Trek series.

It's as if Seth wanted a really funny comedy show, and slowly began to actually want it to mean something, so we get jolting hiccups of self-aware "comedy" sprinkled throughout a pretty good Star Trek episode.

I have come to the sad realization, that even with the weird humor, I'm enjoying this a lot more than Battlestar: Discovery... which I actually am not minding too much.

But I find mindself constantly editing 30+ years of world building and lore in order to accept that anything that happens in STD is some change in the timeline.

J.B.
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 12:19am (UTC -5)
Man, the suspension of disbelief was strong in this one. Those two were behaving like such imbeciles that they should have been arrested within five minutes of starting their undercover operation. That said, this was probably the first truly successful episode for me, entertaining, the jokes better applied (for the most part) and suspenseful. And I appreciate that they're willing to go into darker, more ambiguous territories. I actually liked MacFarlane more as a Krill. Maybe because I didn't have to see him try to act as much.

(I did groan when the lady repeated "they will be". We got it the first time, guys.)

John Lemon
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 3:06am (UTC -5)
Decent episode. Really annoyed me how badly they were trying to blend in to the Krill crew. They were even making jokes that could get them found out. Also the way they handled the situation with lights was pretty bad. Why would krills install internal lights that can be tuned to spectrum's that can kill them? Does Orville's lamps have easy to access setting for gamma radiation?

Otherwise OK episode, I'd give it 2 1/2 stars.
HawgWyld
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 8:19am (UTC -5)
A very entertaining episode, but they should have toned down the "wacky guys in space" shtick for this one. All the horsing around they did when trying to blend into the Krill crew was just distracting, although I couldn't help but laugh when they identified themselves as "Chris and Devon" to the Krill crew. Still, you've got wonder about the competency of anyone involved in that particular mission when they couldn't even come up with convincing Krill identities.
Alexandrea
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 8:27am (UTC -5)
Well stuff my shoulderpads and call me a Romulan: the Orville has thwarted my plans to stop watching. After weeks of exasperation left me willing to sit down one last time, we have the first episode that succeeds in blending comedy and sincerity. My partner and I laughed throughout, which was a first, and the hour even managed an effective final pivot to question the ability of a military expedition to "come in peace."

The screwball tone stayed consistent enough that the fundamental nonsense of the plot--two men sent into deep cover who utterly lacked the skillset for the task--fit the episode's universe. Primary cast on Trek get sent on such missions all the time when Starfleet would sensibly send someone with relevant expertise (a xenoanthropologist, let's say). Here, we're seeing that trope deconstructed.

"Krill" also delivers a plot that feels like it could come from Trek but which, for once, does not feel like a rehash of a specific episode: obtain a copy of an enemy's holy book so that we can understand them well enough to make peace. Does it make sense that the Krill would screw in light bulbs that would kill them when you flip the dial high enough? No, but the stakes of the story rise in ways that feel authentic, so we roll with the sci-fi silliness amidst an overall tone of comedy.

Also, shows should not get cookies just for not featuring prominent sexism or racism, but this is the first episode where none of the jokes rubbed me wrong. Starting from the premiere telling us that a young woman has made lieutenant because minorities receive special treatment, the Orville's track record on the underlying messages of its humor has not been stellar. No sexual harassment jokes this week! What a relief.
Dixie
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 10:48am (UTC -5)
Fantastic episode! The humor was on point, the tension felt genuine, the build-up to the dilemma at the end didn't feel contrived and didn't give Mercer and Malloy an easy out. They even managed to work in some solid continuity connecting back to observations in the pilot, Grayson and Alara's girl-talk a few episodes ago, and the consequences of the prank war in the previous episode - which is impressive for a show that's only six episodes in and isn't going out of its way to be serialized.

The episode also does an excellent job of giving some much-needed depth to a recurring group of antagonists - showing our main characters and the audience just how high the cultural and diplomatic hurdles the Union needs to overcome in dealing with the Krill are, and while one or two scenes are a little on the nose it generally seems to try not to paint them with too broad of strokes. Yes, these are some seriously bad guys, but they're bad guys with friends, and siblings, and children, and a deep camaraderie with the other members of their species. Their beliefs and their culture make it difficult for them to empathize with the people they're attacking, but the episode takes the time to show they're not just mindless, disposable barbarians.

Most important of all, "Krill" seems to reaffirm that, jokes and gags aside, Orville is at least *trying* to take itself somewhat seriously. Like "About A Girl", "Krill" presents us with a genuinely complicated moral dilemma that isn't worked out and wrapped up in a neat little bow at the end. Just like Heveena's rousing speech in front of the Moclan tribunal wasn't enough to single-handedly reform long-established social norms for an entire race, Mercer's act of compassion does little to convince Teleya of his people's peaceful intentions after deceiving her and killing her brother and crew. Their 'mission of peace' gathered valuable intel and even saved a colony, but in the process has basically confirmed all of the Krill's worst beliefs about other species, and inspired a whole new generation of hate and mistrust. I look forward to seeing how the consequences of this will play out.

Solid episode, hope we keep seeing more like it.
Jammer
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 12:49pm (UTC -5)
Review now posted.
SlackerInc
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 3:32pm (UTC -5)
I flat out loved this episode. Sure, the initial incompetence of the navigator dude in trying to blend in bordered on grating, but other than that, this was just great from start to finish.

And it ticked back up to a 1.0 in the demo! First time it has gone up from one week to the next. If it can stay at a 1.0, it should be in good shape.

I just wish it didn't sit there with that terrible Rotten Tomatoes score. One influential critic who I know is a Trek fan going way back, and who will revisit shows from time to time if enough people tell him they are getting good, is Alan Sepinwall. I would suggest that all of you who like and support the show take to Twitter as I have, and tweet at him @sepinwall and urge him to check out last night's episode and see if he sees more than he saw in his review (which was based on the first three episodes). He just released a book about "Breaking Bad", so it wouldn't hurt if you mentioned something about maybe buying that! (It does look like a good book, for real.)

@Alexandrea: "Starting from the premiere telling us that a young woman has made lieutenant because minorities receive special treatment, the Orville's track record on the underlying messages of its humor has not been stellar."

McFarlane's humor has made me cringe many times in the past, but I didn't interpret the deal with Alara that way. More like, her people are really frakking strong and capable, and don't often show interest in joining the Union, so when they do they are fast-tracked. I didn't at all get the impression it had anything to do with promoting the less capable above the more capable because they are a minority. If anything, it was more like an example of "Xelayan privilege".

@Dixie: "They even managed to work in some solid continuity connecting back to observations in the pilot, Grayson and Alara's girl-talk a few episodes ago, and the consequences of the prank war in the previous episode - which is impressive for a show that's only six episodes in and isn't going out of its way to be serialized."

Totally. It's a great balance. Re: the girl-talk, I do think this still sets us up for a potential romance (or at least crush) by Alara on the captain. BTW, it seemed like he cranked up the badass, Kirk style, this episode. Not only was he showing some strong moves in hand-to-hand combat, let's not forget the beginning of the episode when he came up with a brilliant and creative maneuver to defeat the much bigger and stronger Krill ship.
Tane
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 5:11pm (UTC -5)
@Hpontes
"It's as if Seth wanted a really funny comedy show, and slowly began to actually want it to mean something, so we get jolting hiccups of self-aware "comedy" sprinkled throughout a pretty good Star Trek episode."

Seems to me like he just really, really wanted to be on Star Trek and finally has enough pull to just make up his own version on network TV.
Yanks
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 5:27pm (UTC -5)
Funny one.

Avis, we try harder... Lol!!
wolfstar
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 6:14pm (UTC -5)
1.5 stars, awful. It was remarkably decent until they actually got on board the Krill ship and the plot started. There were some good jokes in the opening section
- Bortus being able to eat anything, the "hailing frequencies" joke, the fire suppression console catching fire. And the opening action sequence felt compelling and like it had stakes. After that, once they went undercover, it was inanely frenetic, crude and didn't work for me as drama, comedy or parody, made even worse when on top of the dumb action plot and the fact they didn't even try to blend in, they added the cheesy sentimentality of "we gotta save the kids"... it's just a vulgar, inconsequential mess with nothing to say.

I know the fandom is all about Orville vs Discovery, but by this point in both series neither is working for me at all. There is far better sci-fi and drama out there than either.
navamske
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 6:23pm (UTC -5)
I have a good sense of humor and think a lot of things are funny. But that's as far as it goes -- my thinking, "This is funny [or clever]." I actually laughed out loud at "Avis . .
we try harder." I can't remember the last time I did that. And "Humans worship their own god, called Hertz."

They were using the names of hundreds-of-years-old car rental companies -- it's a good thing they didn't try to get away with "Enterprise."

James Horan, who played the Krill priest guy, was in two episodes of TNG: as Lieutenant Barnaby in "Descent" and as Jo'Brill in "Suspicions" (aka "The Episode in Which Dr. Crusher Gives Whoopi Goldberg a Tennis Racket").
bhbor
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 7:03pm (UTC -5)
@nvamske

"The Episode in Which Dr. Crusher Gives Whoopi Goldberg a Tennis Racket"


Ahh, yes. Now THIS was the turning point in the series. So many plots truly hinged on that one tennis racket.
Ben S
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 8:53pm (UTC -5)
For me, this was the best episode of an already good show. Orville beats Discovery in my mind, so I hope they continue to deliver.
Skivvies
Sat, Oct 14, 2017, 1:46am (UTC -5)
@Tane

'Seems to me like he just really, really wanted to be on Star Trek and finally has enough pull to just make up his own version on network TV.'

He WAS on star trek.

ENT "The Forgotten" and "Affliction".

This episode is the best so far I think. My favourite joke in this one was when Mercer asked Alara to open a channel and then started talking, and she interrupted him, to say she hadn't opened it yet. lol.

Of course the episode was nonsensical, and they would have been caught on the Krill ship immediately, but it's a comedy so I'm not going to bother talking about plotholes or inconsistencies or anything like that, as I do when I'm talking about star trek, which is supposed to be 'serious' and 'realistic'.

3 1/2 stars.

William
Sat, Oct 14, 2017, 6:49am (UTC -5)
This episode has finally convinced me to simply accept that MacFarlane has succeeded in creating an admirable sci-fi show. The comedic aspect of the show will always put off some number of people who believe that social issues can only be raised in a grimly serious atmosphere, but I cannot agree that the humour devalues the social and ethical issues raised in the show. Jokes in this episode were based on word-play, alien biology, and fish-out-of-water gags. The core ideas of diplomacy being based on mutual understanding, the dangers of religious fanaticism, the vulnerability of children to indoctrination, and dangers of violence begetting violence across generations are explored seriously.

It has been a long time since there has been an optimistic view of the future portrayed on television, and since shows were willing to raise ethical dilemmas without providing an easily digestible answer by the end of the program. If the only way to get a show like that on TV again is to mask the weightiness of the ideas behind a facade of observational and, at times, puerile humour, so be it. I will chuckle at "go play in traffic" jokes, and pause to consider a system that is designed to strip a child of innocent curiosity and replace it with ideological hatred of the other.
Hunter
Sat, Oct 14, 2017, 7:25am (UTC -5)
This episode felt like a cross between Deep Space Nine and Farscape - and in a way the Krill feel like a mix between the Jem'Hadar and the Scarrens. Did anyone notice the religious Krill leader was played by the same guy who was a Jem'Hadar in DS9?
Darren
Sat, Oct 14, 2017, 7:29am (UTC -5)
@ Jammer (and others):

"Why would the lights on the ship even be designed to get bright enough to be lethal to the people living there?"

Certainly the lights wouldn't be designed such that everyday settings existed for extreme brightness, and nor would there be a lack of safeguards, I presume, against some electrical problem causing them to brighten, or else someone accidentally setting them to high brightness.

But we don't know the technology behind the Krill's lighting systems. For instance, traditional incandescent bulbs burn brighter with more current. While home electrical grids impose limits on the amount of current, were it possible to funnel a lot more into the grid, only the breaking of filaments from this excessive current, presumably, would prevent people present from being blinded or otherwise hurt. (Offhand, for comparison, I'm not sure how LED and CFL bulbs and such work.)

So, if the Krill's bulbs are engineered such that more current makes them brighter, and if their nature is such that high current won't break them (at least in the near short-term), it's not implausible that Ed and Gordon could manipulate them to produce such brightness.

It also occurs to me that considering how sunburned Gordon even got, those lights were indeed quite bright for a moment. Might the lighting system function doubly then as a sterilization system? As long as no one was aboard, remote activation of a high brightness setting could theoretically be used to sterilize the ship, I'd imagine. (Perhaps something like the baryon sweeps from TNG and VOY, which likewise were only to be used when no one was around.)

If so, and if the Krill employ their lighting systems in this manner, then the lights *would* be capable of such brightness; the grid *would* be able to handle the current / power; and there *would* be a standard setting for it, albeit one not readily accessible, perhaps.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sat, Oct 14, 2017, 11:36am (UTC -5)
Well... this was refreshing.

Coincidently (or not) this is also the first episode NOT to be written by Seth MacFarlane.

Too bad that next week we aren't getting a new epsiode. For some odd reason, Fox decided to air a rerun of the pilot on Oct. 19 before giving us episode 7 on Oct. 26. It is going to be much more difficult to laugh at the "Happy Arbor Day" Joke when you realize that there were probably Krill kids on that ship too..

@Wolfstar
"I know the fandom is all about Orville vs Discovery, but by this point in both series neither is working for me at all. There is far better sci-fi and drama out there than either."

Then why the **** are you still watching? Both shows, I mean? If you come from each and every episode with the verdict of "1-1.5 stars" then perhaps it is time to move forward to better things?

It's completely crazy how something like 70% of the posters on the Discovery threads are bitching about how that DSC is stupid and depressing and all kinds of awful YET THEY CONTINUE TO WATCH THE SHOW (worse: they are actually *paying* to watch it, for crying out loud!).

Really, how difficult it is for people get some common sense and stop watching stuff they dislike? This applies to the Orville no less than it applies to Discovery: If you don't like it, why waste your time on it?
bhbor
Sat, Oct 14, 2017, 12:23pm (UTC -5)
@William (hey, nice name, fella!)

"It has been a long time since there has been an optimistic view of the future portrayed on television, and since shows were willing to raise ethical dilemmas without providing an easily digestible answer by the end of the program."

This is my #1 beef with STD or DSC or whatever you want to call it. Its grittiness resembles my world's grittiness and I'm not into it.
bhbor
Sat, Oct 14, 2017, 12:24pm (UTC -5)
**woops, got cut off my last thought:

...the optimism, more than anything else, is what attracts me to the Orville as well..
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sat, Oct 14, 2017, 5:15pm (UTC -5)
It tells you something about this era we leave in, when a show which gives us a religious service involving severed human heads and a mob beating a guy to death (in episode #4) is called "optimistic".

And the really scary thing here is that I'm not disagreeing with you, William and Bhbor. It still feels optimistic to me, especially when compared to the alternatives (and I'm not talking only about DSC here). But a part of me still longs for the good'n'clean 1980's where Trek was all nice and naive and shiny.

I mean, I'm all for complex moral dilemmas, but do they really have to show us all this graphic violence onscreen?
wolfstar
Sat, Oct 14, 2017, 6:35pm (UTC -5)
"Then why the **** are you still watching? Both shows, I mean? If you come from each and every episode with the verdict of "1-1.5 stars" then perhaps it is time to move forward to better things? [...] Really, how difficult it is for people get some common sense and stop watching stuff they dislike? This applies to the Orville no less than it applies to Discovery: If you don't like it, why waste your time on it?"

Because I'm a completist, it costs me nothing to watch, and it's perfectly OK for me to watch and criticize. I gave episode 3 of The Orville 3.5 stars and also liked the pilot; I liked the Discovery pilot and gave this week's ep 2.5 stars. So it's not the case that I "come from each and every episode with the verdict of 1-1.5 stars" - OK, that was the case with the last three episodes of The Orville, but I don't rule out there being episodes I like in future, particularly if there are future episodes written by actual sci-fi/drama writers. It's OK for me to criticise episodes of both series and still watch. I watched 4 seasons of Enterprise and only rated 13 episodes 3.5-4 stars. I watched 7 seasons of Voyager and would only consider a third of the episodes solid, but there are great episodes scattered throughout right the way through into season 7.

I'm not saying I never bail on shows - I quit Lost after season 4, Desperate Housewives after season 2, Sense8 after 4 episodes, and have quit plenty of other shows after just the pilot. But with Trek (and Orville), I'm committed. I want to watch it, and I want to take part in the discussion, and yes, that includes criticism. A culture of "say only good things" gets no-one anywhere, and no-one should be personally aggravated at my liking or not liking a particular episode. It's OK for me not to like the last 3 episodes of The Orville and to articulate why, while also praising the parts that did work for me. It's OK for me to enjoy individual episodes of Discovery while critiquing the broader issues that hamper the series (the magic science, Michael's inconsistent characterization, the often-awkward plotting, the Klingons, the 'forced darkness', android crew members, Georgiou's arbitrary death etc.) I'm not #TeamOrville or #TeamDiscovery, I don't do tribes, and if my criticizing The Orville bothers you because you're that attached to the show that you hate it when someone doesn't like an episode and expresses that, because you're worried that emotional contagion from my post will affect your own enjoyment, just skip over my comment.
SlackerInc
Sat, Oct 14, 2017, 6:43pm (UTC -5)
A lot of people like to "hatewatch" things. It's not really my jam, but it's common.

@William: "I will chuckle at 'go play in traffic' jokes, and pause to consider a system that is designed to strip a child of innocent curiosity and replace it with ideological hatred of the other."

That last part (after "pause") was extremely eloquent. I don't have anything to add, but I thought it deserved recognition. And you've now made me like the episode even more!
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sat, Oct 14, 2017, 8:29pm (UTC -5)
@Wolfstar
"I'm not #TeamOrville or #TeamDiscovery, I don't do tribes, and if my criticizing The Orville bothers you because you're that attached to the show that you hate it when someone doesn't like an episode and expresses that, because you're worried that emotional contagion from my post will affect your own enjoyment, just skip over my comment."

It doesn't bother me at all. Not for the reason you've stated, anyway. I certainly don't mind crticism (that's part of why these discussion pages exist) or feel threatened by your posts in any way.

It just seems odd, to see the same guy coming here again and again and saying "it was awful" and then coming back next week for more. Especially when his main points of criticism seem to be an integral part of what the show is about.

But you've given me a good enough answer: You're a completist

I just don't get why people insist on continuing to watch something that they don't enjoy. Especially where their lack of enjoyment seems to stem from the very premise of the show in question. It's not like the Orville has any chance of getting good by your standards, so why even bother with it?

But I guess you've given me an irefutable answer: You're a completist, and you're willing to sit through 10 episodes of trash in order to get to the occasional good one. Fair enough. Not something I would do personally, but it's a motivation I can understand.
SlackerInc
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 1:23am (UTC -5)
@OTDP, that doesn't seem fair based on wolfstar's answer. When I commented that some people just like to hatewatch shows, I was taking it as a given that it was true that wolfstar panned every single episode (I didn't remember either way, personally). But if it's true that they praised the pilot and the third episode, that's quite a different matter. I agree with the approximate judgement on VOY that only about a third of the episodes are good--but that's still dozens of good Trek episodes, which can then be curated for one's friends and family going forward.

Obviously I think "Orville's" batting average is much higher, but I don't think it's an unreasonable approach to a show. When you hate every single episode, that's harder for me to understand, but a lot of people do--as I said--like to hatewatch.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 9:01am (UTC -5)
That's basically what I said... or tried to say.

Looking at my message again, I see that it was sloppily formatted and so it probably came out wrong (what the heck happened there? I must have been completely out of focus when I wrote that comment)

As for the Voyager discussion, I personally wouldn't continue to watch a show where 9 out of 10 episodes are stinkers. I'll be happily willing to wait for 9 so-so episodes to reach a great one, but suffering through 9 awful ones? No way.

Fortunately for me, no Star Trek series ever got that bad in my opinion. Voyager may have had long stretches of "meh" episodes, but I don't recall stretches of really bad ones.
SlackerInc
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 8:10pm (UTC -5)
@OTDP: "As for the Voyager discussion, I personally wouldn't continue to watch a show where 9 out of 10 episodes are stinkers. I'll be happily willing to wait for 9 so-so episodes to reach a great one, but suffering through 9 awful ones? No way."

Where are you getting "9 out of 10"? Both wolfstar and I are giving "Voyager" credit for about a third of the episodes being good. That means (if you're going through it the first time with no guidance for which ones to skip) watching two bad ones for every good one, which isn't ideal but is a far cry from watching nine bad ones for every good one.
Dougie
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 8:24pm (UTC -5)
I have panned every episode of this Sethtrash and have wondered why the incessant cheerleading by some here. Seriously. If you can’t smell and see garbage then you are invested. If you can’t say you’re invested, then you should not be commenting as it may be a violation of a fiduciary responsibility.

I actually graded this a B- until I more carefully thought about it then realized it’s a D+, for many of the reasons wolfstar reflects upon, including the slapstick morality of the mission they embark upon.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 9:10pm (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc
"Where are you getting '9 out of 10'? Both wolfstar and I are giving "Voyager" credit for about a third of the episodes being good"

Oops. I somehow interperted your post of "there are several good 13 episode seasons in there" as saying there are about 13 good episodes overall. No idea why (looks like I had a bad day yesterday...). And yes, I know Voyager has more than 130 episodes. I rounded down.

At any rate, I stand by my statement even of we replace "9 out of 10" with "2 out of 3". If a show required me to sitting through 2 shitty episodes before every good episode, I wouldn't be watching it.

@Dougie
"I have panned every episode of this Sethtrash and have wondered why the incessant cheerleading by some here."

Because some people like different things then yourself?

And what is this bull about "being invested"? What does that accusation even mean in this context? Aren't fans of a show always invested in it, by definition? And don't you have better things to do in life than come to a discussion page of a show you dislike and tell everybody how blind they are?

Sheesh...
SlackerInc
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 7:00am (UTC -5)
Remember how I said wolfstar didn't deserve it? Dougie definitely does. On some boards that would qualify as "threadsh**ting".
Skivvies
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 10:54pm (UTC -5)
I have this really crazy idea.

How about people watch the show if they want to and then come here and give their opinion about the show if they want to, and that's it?

There is nothing wrong with expressing dissenting opinions or even a mature discussion about a topic, but maybe stop CRITICIZING each other's opinions or posts or views or personalities or whatever. If someone says something you disagree with, unless it's an incorrect fact of some kind, like Klingons shoot lasers out of their eyes, or a dog invented the airplane, then leave it be. All the arguing on this site is starting to get pretty stupid and annoying. And I like this site and don't want to see it get ruined by petty silliness.

Like I said, a crazy idea, and I know it's the internet so it won't happen, but I can dream I guess.

Go Orville go!
Jammer
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 12:29am (UTC -5)
@Skivvies:

Crazy idea indeed.

I LOVE IT!
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 6:17am (UTC -5)
@Skivvies

Not sure what you're complaining about.

Most of the "arguments" on this site have nothing to do with people's opinions on the show. Love it or hate it, everything is cool. The arguments usually start when someone is being a jerk and someone else is calling him/her on it. And (quite surprisingly) these arguments tend to end quickly.

Besides, if you really believe that people shouldn't complain about the disruptive behavior of other posters, what did *you* do just now? How would you like it if somebody told *you* to shut up because "your complaining is ruining this site"?

I'll say that the discussions here are surprisingly civil, given the fact that this is a mostly unmoderated forum. People are definitely doing the effort to stay on topic... but sometimes they slip. And an open environment where people feel free to voice their concerns about where the discussions is going, is instrumental in recovering from these slips.

Now, back to our regular programme...
Dougie
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 10:15am (UTC -5)
Sometimes the arguments start because someone says "hey, look at the numbers" because that's a scientific measure of something and has nothing to do with opinion. I had insight into numbers, while some were still gushing and others were still booing (myself included on the latter). My reasoning for booing was, of course, the factual numbers.

About this same time I visited Jammer's virtual Livingroom Reviewhouse and some dude hanging there was berating others that their comments weren't substantive enough.

So moderated or not, boards can get bullies.
William
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 10:19am (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc
Thank you for the compliment!

Just thought I might dive back in and bullet point the issues this episode addresses once you peel back the goofy humour and AVIS jokes.

Peace cannot be brokered unless there is mutual understanding. In the case of the Union and the Krill, the Union has to understand the religion of the Krill in order to fully understand the moral underpinnings of Krill culture.

In-group biases blind people. In the episode, the Krill are so ethnocentric that they cannot see the obvious outsiders within their ranks (Gordon and Ed), because their world view predisposes them to assume that all Krill are the same. Judgements based on appearances supersede those based on actions.

Violence begets violence, despite moral integrity. Ed and Gordon go out of their way, and risk their lives in order to save the Krill children, but in the end they are still culpable for the deaths of the crew. The fact that they saved the children will not prevent those children from remembering that everyone they knew onboard was murdered. This lesson might be the most hard to stomach in a culture where we often assume that the children of our enemy will grow up respecting us because of the moral defensibility of our actions.

I will never claim that this series is for everyone. The fact that it incorporates humour into its very fabric precludes it from being universal, as humour is a matter of taste, but I will also never understand criticism that claims this show doesn't have something to say about our world.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 12:06pm (UTC -5)
@Dougie

I see. Thanks for making your motivations perfectly clear, in case anyone doubted them.

@William

I really hope that the events of this episode receive a follow up. Now that we know why the Krill behave the way they do, I'd like to see how the Fed... I mean the Union use this knowledge to actually build an understanding with them.

Sure, it looks impossible, but that's why it is so interesting.
(Star Trek always tended to be on the naive side with this, and I'd really like to see the Orville's original take on gaining a mutual understanding)

Oh, and you're 100% correct about the humor. Comedy, more than any other genre, is a matter of personal taste. One person's gold is another person's pile of dirt (for me, btw, it's somewhere in between)
Konstantinos
Wed, Oct 18, 2017, 3:13am (UTC -5)
So the reviewer sucker punches Orville for not being the great series that will change sci-fi history forever or something.

Like sheesh, it is not supposed to be a great series. It is just a funny McFarlane vehicle aiming at goofiness and its purpose is to entertain the audience for an hour. And that is completely acceptable. If you are looking for the next rare gem that will change your life, please look somewhere else. Or stick around and be utterly disappointed.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, Oct 18, 2017, 5:09am (UTC -5)
He gave it 3 stars. What more do you want?

And may I remind you that Jammer is a *reviewer* and that listing what works and what doesn't work in the episodes he is watching is his f***-ing job? Really, what do you expect from a review site? Two lines saying "that was fun" (or "that was terrible")?

As for "it's not supposed to be a great series that will change sci-fi history forever or something."... too bad, because I think the Orville is close to being that. It may not be great in the way that classic Trek was great, but it *is* groundbreaking in other ways. Don't let the McFarlane name (or his humor) fool you. He created a real gem here (and I'm saying this as a guy who hates all his other works with passion).



Konstantinos
Wed, Oct 18, 2017, 5:36am (UTC -5)
Again, I am not expecting anything. That would be bias against the reviewer. I want to see some logical arguments. The Orville is no more groundbreaking than, I dunno "Dark matter"? It basically takes the same TGN/Voyager recipe and adds some humor in it. The ideas of space Vampires and hot time travelling women have been worked out to death already let alone the humor segments.

I am not saying this is a bad show on the contrary it is tons of fun. The review is saying it may never become a classic.

You are free to nitpick any show same way I am free to nitpick these reviews. Putting the bar ridiculously high and then stating that the show doesn't reach it is foul play.
William
Wed, Oct 18, 2017, 9:05am (UTC -5)
If we are going to dwell on whether or not this show is groundbreaking, I guess it is doomed to be a failure. The underlying premise of being a love-letter to 90's Trek prevents that from being a possibility. It doesn't prevent the show from being important in its time and place.

What was the last sci-fi product that proposed the idea that we will be better people in the future than we are today? When I watch things like Bladerunner, ST:D or the Expanse, I can appreciate the stories they are trying to tell, but I am not presented with a future I would want to achieve. The Orville actually is. These are regular people you might work with or meet in a pub, who happen to be living in a Roddenberry-utopian future. They drink, make dirty jokes, play practical jokes, and have sex, but they are trying to be good people. They stand up for what they believe in, but don't use their own personal beliefs as a litmus test for determining whether or not they treat people with respect. It's refreshing.

This show isn't a revelation, it's a reminder that it's OK to imagine a world that is better than our own. It's kinda retro. I guess optimism is retro now. Maybe if it wasn't, this show would feel cliche and repetitive instead of fresh.
Jason R.
Wed, Oct 18, 2017, 10:05am (UTC -5)
William what you describe is paradoxical. You can't have people just like us living in a utopian future free of war, prejudice and hate - because then they wouldn't be just like us. Star Trek's ideal is not just about new technology but new people.

I am not just talking about the anachronism of guys cracking jokes about 20th century car rentals either.

My point is if you accept that the Orville takes place in some bright Star Trek like future then that vision is fraudulent.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, Oct 18, 2017, 2:16pm (UTC -5)
@Konstantinos
"I am not saying this is a bad show on the contrary it is tons of fun. The review is saying it may never become a classic. Putting the bar ridiculously high and then stating that the show doesn't reach it is foul play. "

I'm not sure what's the point you're trying make here.

Basically Jammer is saying "It's good but not great" (he even used various versions of this specific phrase in his review). And basically, that's what you're saying too. So what's the problem? How is Jammer "bashing" the show? His review wasn't negative it all!

Here's a thing to consider:
Everything you said about Jammer's review, I could have said about your own statements on the Orville. I could say: "Why are you saying that the show isn't groundbreaking? Why are you saying that it's just a TNG/VOY clone with some humor thrown in? And then you write things like 'the ideas of space Vampires and hot time travelling women have been worked out to death already let alone the humor segments'. Why are you bashing the show?"

Sounds ridiculous, right? Right. But how is this any different from your own critique of Jammer's review?

@Jason R.
"William what you describe is paradoxical. You can't have people just like us living in a utopian future free of war, prejudice and hate - because then they wouldn't be just like us. Star Trek's ideal is not just about new technology but new people."

Well, obviously, they're not *exactly* like us. They've grown up in a world were people no longer do things like racism and human-vs-human warfare. They've also have the tech to cure diseases like cancer.

Why would cracking dick-jokes be an obstacle to any of this?

It's like we, today, no longer do human sacrfices. Nor do we torture people and burn them at the stake for being of the wrong religion. How did humanity (or at least: western civilization) come to stop doing those things? Simple: our society has outgrown the need for these practices. They gradually became socially unacceptable and people stopped doing them. It's definitely *not* because we, as individual human beings, are somehow less petty and vengeful than our ancestors.

BTW the Orville-verse was never presented as an "utopia". It's just a better world than we have today. I actually find this to be a more believable and honest take than the Trekkian claim of a perfect humanity (which somehow still has place for all those hat-ass admirals that behave exactly like 20th century bereaucracts).
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, Oct 18, 2017, 2:24pm (UTC -5)
By the way, am I the only one here who is frustrated by the fact that there's no new episode this week?

Dammit, Fox! I need my fix! ;)
Peter G.
Wed, Oct 18, 2017, 2:37pm (UTC -5)
@ Omicron,

"It's like we, today, no longer do human sacrfices. Nor do we torture people and burn them at the stake for being of the wrong religion. How did humanity (or at least: western civilization) come to stop doing those things? Simple: our society has outgrown the need for these practices. They gradually became socially unacceptable and people stopped doing them. It's definitely *not* because we, as individual human beings, are somehow less petty and vengeful than our ancestors. "

You're up s**t's creek without a paddle on this one. If you think the docile contented people of today are anything like how people used to be then I think you're really taking modern life for granted. As a Trek fan I'm surprised that you'd take supposed advances in culture so much in stride and not consider that people have changed. Some of the changes are arguably not entirely for the better, but that's a matter of perspective perhaps. The Trekkian utopia is predicated on the notion that people can and do progress. The idea that technology improves but we stay the same is more likely a dystopia setting than anything else.
Chrome
Wed, Oct 18, 2017, 7:17pm (UTC -5)
@OTDP

I don’t think English isn’t Konstantinos’ first language, at least he was posting like this in other threads and I was having trouble parsing his sentences. Anyway, yeah, 3 stars is a good score so obviously Jammer liked this one.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, Oct 18, 2017, 8:41pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G.

I don't get what you're trying to say.

The Orville *does* show an improved society. No racism or prejudice or discrimination... that's not big enough an improvement in your eyes?

And I don't see any reason why the everyman behavior of the crew should be an obstacle to the believability of such a society. If you think the two things don't mesh together, you'll need to explain specifically why.
Konstantinos
Thu, Oct 19, 2017, 2:35am (UTC -5)
English is not my first language indeed , actually it is the third language I learned after learning Greek and French (I also speak Spanish and Turkish). I thought my name makes that point really obvious anyway. I am sorry for any grammatical or structural gaffes.

And yeah I am aware of the irony of my post. I think that the show has a limit that is pretty much clear, I don't take it into consideration though as far as my ratings go. For me so far, it is a stellar 4 stars regarding its scope and performance.
William
Thu, Oct 19, 2017, 5:58am (UTC -5)
@peter G

"If you think the docile contented people of today are anything like how people used to be then I think you're really taking modern life for granted."

The thing is, we aren't fundamentally different than those that lived in the brutal periods in our past. Heck, the brutal periods of our past still exist in the world today. Even in places where there isn't famine and endless civil wars stripping the goodness out of people, there are people still living who remember those experiences. The blessing of our modern world is that technological advances and legal reforms in certain regions have created societies where poverty is greatly reduced, and the impacts of being impoverished are also greatly reduced. I'm pretty sure Quark put it better than I can:

"Let me tell you something about Hew-mons, Nephew. They're a wonderful, friendly people, as long as their bellies are full and their holosuites are working. But take away their creature comforts, deprive them of food, sleep, sonic showers, put their lives in jeopardy over an extended period of time and those same friendly, intelligent, wonderful people... will become as nasty and as violent as the most bloodthirsty Klingon. You don't believe me? Look at those faces. Look in their eyes."

This show IS a utopian view on the future. So far, we have seen no signs of bigotry, crime, or intraspecies war. The presence of replicators implies there is no scarcity of basic necessities. Humans have broken the FTL barrier, and formed peaceful alliances with other races, despite cultural differences, and have embarked on exploration both physical and scientific. Sounds pretty much like a Roddenberry style utopia to me.

What makes me personally like this series so much, beyond the fact that I enjoy TNG and its been off the air longer now than the original series had been before its premiere, is that these characters are more like us. They drink, have sex, crack jokes at each other's expense, play stupid video games, flirt, etc. They are obviously different from us, since without the threat of disease, poverty, and homelessness, you remove a lot of the causes for the darker parts of our society. Still, I can very much picture my friends and co-workers from the better periods of my life living in this future, and that's fun to watch.

Thought I might end with something that's been bugging me lately from some other shows. The Orville is fiction, it's a fantasy world basically, but it is also one of the only fictional worlds I can think of that is being created today which thinks we might be able to overcome cynicism and prejudice. If we can't even fantasize about a world where people get along, how can we hope to make progress towards that kind of world in reality?
Peter G.
Thu, Oct 19, 2017, 10:39am (UTC -5)
@ William & Omicron,

I was specifically replying to Omicron's statement that "They gradually became socially unacceptable and people stopped doing them. It's definitely *not* because we, as individual human beings, are somehow less petty and vengeful than our ancestors."

Perhaps you meant that we'd be genetically no different, and so if 'nurture' isn't taken into account we'd be approximately just as petty and vengeful than our ancestors. If that's what you meant then I guess no contest, since it's basically a truism. But it seemed to me that you meant that our behavior and instincts are basically the same and the only difference is that we have more stuff or whatever. But that's really not true. The effect of culture, upbringing, social mores, and the intellectual ecosystem is massive on which instincts are molded and which softened. There was a time not too long ago when if you insulted someone there was a good chance you would end up in a duel to the death, or perhaps you'd just be attacked and killed on the spot. The law not only forbids this, but it would also horrify most people in civilized cultures. That's not just 'we have more stuff.' People are different; not genetically, but in all other important respects. 2,000 years ago people took glee in seeing their fellow man ripped apart by lions. Now if you showed someone that they'd vomit and never sleep again. Genetics: the same. The people: not the same.

Trek is, to whit, specifically about how people really do change, and can change so much that they'd be unrecognizable to us (whether for good or ill). In a way Mirror, Mirror gives us the juxtapose of the two extremes. The suggestion that people in the future would perhaps have the same comportment as we do while nevertheless having a superior moral and cultural ecosystem sounds to me like self-congratulatory fantasy. What's more validating then saying that people who act just like us are superior? Not that you're saying this, necessarily, but I think that would be the theoretical position. In MacFarlane's future while I do agree we're supposed to 'accept' that people are more advanced, the reality we're being shown seems to me to suggest what I've seen in other MacFarlane material, which is that when it comes down to it people are scummy and that will never change. Jason R in another episode thread said it rightly, that it's about imputing low standards onto everyone and projecting that into the future.

That's how I see it, anyhow.
MutualCore
Thu, Oct 19, 2017, 2:46pm (UTC -5)
If they can dial the dick-jokes down a bit, they might be on to something. The last scene between Captain Ed and the Krill woman was TNG at its best, implying dark things ahead.
William
Thu, Oct 19, 2017, 9:43pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G

I think we simply have a difference of opinion on cultural development, which is perfectly fine. I do agree that people in the past were less squeamish about seeing visceral violence in person. That makes sense when you are confronted with death and physical injury more often. Children dying used to be common. Women dying in childbirth were common. Death and disfigurement by disease were common. Odds are you worked in a profession where you would regularly kill and clean animals, or witness accidents that would maim or kill co-workers. Children shown public executions would unsurprisingly grow up to not be horrified by witnessing those executions as adults.

I just disagree that we have changed anything but the conditioning. Modern medicine is vastly superior. Industrialisation and automation have allowed people to work in far safer environments, and most people have no direct experience with butchering animals or soldiering. Instead of public executions and gladiatorial arenas, we have film, video games, and team sports. Let's not pretend we don't revel in gore, though. Just because it's simulated, doesn't mean it's not there. Creating more and more realistic blood and gore is a billion dollar industry in both film and video games. I'm not trying to suggest that modern people could easily stomach shooting people in the head chainsawing zombies, but there is definitely an interest in seeing these things.

Two quick caveats to this discussion. Obviously we are being very ethnocentric in this conversation, as we are not addressing the areas of our world that are afflicted with poverty, famine, disease, civil war, etc. Those regions do exist, and speak to what humans are capable of when they live in fear and desperation. Secondly, even in the peaceful areas of our world, there seems to be ample willingness to accept violence in the abstract. Police profiling, imprisonment, torture, and air strikes are all part of polite discussion, as long as they only affect someone else, preferably far away.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Fri, Oct 20, 2017, 6:05am (UTC -5)
@Peter G.

What you're saying doesn't really contradict what I'm saying. These are just two different sides of the same coin.

The important question here, though, is how this discussion applies to the Orville. Are the people in the Orvilleverse scummy (using you're own word)? Are they behaving in a way that is unbelievable for people who grew up in a world without prejudice and racism and war and disease?

Sorry, but I don't see it.

We're already 6 episodes in, and we've never seen characters discriminating one another in any way (even Isaac the supposedly "racist robot" doesn't do that). We haven't seen any dirty office politics. We've never seen anybody fudging a job s/he was given for selfish reasons.

Right there, already, are three ways in which these guys are better-behaved than your typical 21st century person. They're not perfect, but that's irrelevant. What matters is whether we can imagine these people as being the product of the Orville's enlightened 25th century. And I think the show does a reasonably good job here.

Also, remember that the crew of the Orville isn't supposed to represent the best of 25th century humanity. This isn't the flagship Enterprise, and these aren't supposed to be greater-than-life people. They're just everyday joes, who happened to grow up in a more enlightened era.
A. C.
Fri, Oct 20, 2017, 10:05pm (UTC -5)
Looking for the David E. Sluss takes on STAR TREK: DISCOVERY and THE ORVILLE.

Anyone know if his Site will go live again with his takes on them?


And 51 years after TOS we are getting the public chance

https://dpo.tothestarsacademy.com/

…now that Musk/Bezos/Branson have laid a ground work in the zeitgeist that has so wildly taken root!

APPLE II FOREVER!
SlackerInc
Sat, Oct 21, 2017, 12:34am (UTC -5)
Good news, everyone: “Orville” is (proportionately) the most DVRed show on TV:

tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/dvr-ratings/week-2-broadcast-live-7-ratings-oct-2 -8-2017/

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