"If the Stars Should Appear"
Air date: 9/28/2017
Written by Seth MacFarlane
Directed by James L. Conway
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
The Orville encounters a massive ship adrift that actually turns out to be a huge alien bio-dome — carrying passengers who think they're living on an actual world. This spaceship, whose engines have failed, is now on a collision course with a star.
If that premise sounds familiar, it is. I lifted the paragraph above directly from my review of TOS's "For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky" and made a few minor tweaks. This seems to be the approach MacFarlane takes with the broad ideas in "If the Stars Should Appear," which takes familiar Trekkian staples — including the world-ship and alien dictatorships acting out on ancient information that has been misinterpreted over generations — and recycles them without adding anything in terms of emotion or inspiration.
Look, I hate to beat a dead horse here. But if MacFarlane wants to bring back old stories he liked in his youth and present them as if they were new to his audience, he needs to also bring some perspective or at least conviction to the whole affair. The presentation of "If the Stars Should Appear" is so flat and stale that it wouldn't work even ignoring the bizarre tonal shifts that continue to undermine individual scenes. Maybe MacFarlane should employ a writing staff instead of trying to write every episode himself. I mean, it's not like The Orville is an auteur project. (And if he thinks it is, boy, has he miscalculated.)
First, let's start with what's good here: I will happily report that the initial discovery and boarding of the mysterious massive vessel is impressive and features that "sense of wonder" we're always looking for in sci-fi stories. What is this huge object, and why is it dead in space? The subsequent discovery of the massive bio-dome is also interesting. It's a good, visually arresting sequence, realized with gravitas.
But once we start meeting the locals, this all becomes an uninspired rehash. There's no dialogue that sets any bar higher than expository. Mercer and his crew seem like slow studies when they talk to the confused farmhouse folks about space and science and stuff; clearly these people are not privy to the things outside the dome. Given how much pop culture the Orville crew knows about (Friends, Rudolph, reality TV, etc.), you'd think they'd have recognized immediately the plight of these unwitting simple folk from 20th century sci-fi TV.
Hold on! Major brainstorm! What if Earth's entire society and the Planetary Union turns out to be modeled intentionally on Star Trek — like literally/actually within this universe! I sure hope I haven't spoiled the scene in episode 13 where Mercer walks into Admiral Halsey's office and the admiral is watching an episode of Star Trek: The Original Series on TV. The admiral then says, "We learned a lot about diplomacy from these guys." And wait; double brainstorm! The admiral pushes a button and the channel changes and Family Guy appears on the screen. Then he says, "Oops!" and pushes another button that turns it off.
But I digress. When it's not exploring character-development cul-de-sacs like listening to Isaac try to understand Mercer's divorce (scenes that are all-too-unimaginative rehashes of Data's need to get to the bottom of human beings) or Kitan talking to Grayson about her recent breakup, this show continues to cause whiplash when switching between earnestness and irreverence. A more consistent tone that blends the two would be better than scenes that are played completely poker-faced before Mercer then suddenly calls someone a "dick" out of nowhere. (Seriously, can this show go one episode without a dick joke?) Are we supposed to take Mercer seriously? The answer seems to be yes, except when we're not. While I'll admit that I laughed at the goofy routine with the apparently terrible food and the napkin ("Do you have a garbage?"), it weirdly comes amid what is supposed to be a serious conversation that offers clues into this strange society. The napkin bit ultimately ends up being the most entertaining part of the whole affair, and that really doesn't speak well for the drama. But Mercer isn't a character so much as a transparently artificial construction borne of the theoretical concept of comedy and drama merged in an unfocused script.
To compare, faring a little better with the comedy notes is Grayson, who gets kidnapped, beaten, and tortured (par for this course, I suppose), and offers up one-liners as statements of defiance. ("There's a little coffee shop on Lafayette Street in SoHo called Central Perk. My friends are there. Please, just don't hurt the monkey.") This at least makes sense in the context of the scene, rather than coming out of nowhere — as when The Orville gets into a pointless space battle, and LaMarr exclaims "BOOM, BITCH!" after blowing up an enemy ship. Is my reaction supposed to be one where I laugh and facepalm simultaneously? (On a superficial VFX note, I feel like the Orville loops around and around too fast in these firefights; it feels too cartoonish for a ship that size. The Millennium Falcon, yes. The Orville, no.)
The opening sequence with the deadpan-bickering Bortus and Klyden, on the other hand, works pretty well, because it's based in fairly honest character interaction and situational comedy rather than obligatory randomness. So the comedy on this show can work, and it sometimes can make me laugh, but it's so hit-and-miss because MacFarlane's scripts can't help but clown around every page or two, whether it's appropriate or not.
And, hey, look: There's Liam Neeson (!) as the mysterious Dural, whose secrets reveal that upon which this whole society's rules were founded and, over 2,000 years, contorted. It's not bad, it's old hat, mostly worth a shrug. If anything, The Orville proves it has enough clout to get A-list guest actors. Next week features Charlize Theron!
I don't know. I didn't hate this, but save for a couple stray standout moments, boy is it mediocre. The fact that they're not only plundering the overall premise but actual storylines of Trek is not in this series' favor as long as it continues to execute at this level of ennui.
Previous episode: About a Girl
Next episode: Pria
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67 comments on this post
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 8:40pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 8:48pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 8:53pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 10:32pm (UTC -5)
This episode did have a heavy TOS vibe however, pretty much as soon as they got into "the city" which had architecture exactly like Earth. I especially loved Kitan wearing a headband as a disguise, as it was an obvious callback to all the times that Spock wore a hat to be incognito on an away mission.
On the whole it didn't really cover any much ground, but it honestly did the Trek thing better than Trek has done more than half of the time in the past. And I loved the "girl talk" scene between Grayson and Kitan, which came across as far more believable than basically any time two women talked about relationships in any Trek series.
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 10:32pm (UTC -5)
And is seth going to write every episode?!?!? He's not a good writer. TNG solicited freelance scripts and had a strong writing staff who polished them up
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 11:24pm (UTC -5)
I've actually stumbled across Trekfan's comment before I got around to watch the episode itself, and his "spoiler" didn't ruin the suspense and intrigue of the episode for me.
The story *is* a paint-by-the-numbers plot, though. TOS must have done at least a dozen episodes about theocratic dictatorship planets, and this one goes through all the usual motions (I actually got more of a vibe of "Returns of the Archons" here then "For the World is Hollow..."). I did like the fact that - in the end - their myth of "the creator" actually turns out to be kind of true: Dural really *is* the creator of the universe as they know it.
At any rate, with stories like this, it all depends on the execution. And this, really, is the main strength of this episode: It felt very fresh.
Speaking of which: There are quite a few scenes in this episode where they do visual sci fi in a way that was never done in Trek before. The way Isaac accessed the panel, for one. Or the really cool way Dr. Finn treated Alara. It's these little things that elevated this episode well above it's cookie-cutter premise.
As for the humor: This episode is the first one where I felt the humor fit seamlessly with everything else. There wasn't a single joke/gag which made me cringe, which was a positive surprise. They're really getting into the groove with that balance.
Not as profound as the previous episode, but much better made. 3 stars.
"If this show wants to be like TNG it needs to dump the elementary level humor or better yet jettison the humor altogether."
If you don't like the idea of Trek with a humoristic slant, why are you even watching the Orville? It is quite clear that you aren't in the target audience for this show.
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 11:29pm (UTC -5)
I'm not a fan of humor in sff--that's why I'm a huge fan of TNG, DS9 and the X Files.
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 12:16am (UTC -5)
Mercer: "Great, those are always fun..."
Seems the Union encounters these civilizations frequently, I figured this was a joke at how often the Enterprise came across those haha
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 12:28am (UTC -5)
A coincidence? Or a deliberate wink?
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 12:37am (UTC -5)
(The early scenes exploring the ship clearly used Goldsmith's ST: The Motion Picture score as a temp track. I found this very distracting.)
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 9:16am (UTC -5)
I'm shocked you say you're not a fan of humor, and like TNG/DS9. Both shows (particularly the latter) had comedic elements similar to TOS. Voyager made attempts at comedy, but they were pretty flaccid. Only Enterprise didn't even bother trying, although from the sound of it Discovery isn't going to bother with humor either.
The dick joke involving Isaac was the best joke on the series yet. I laughed out loud halfway through the episode when he interjected "it's a compliment." Essentially they are putting Isaac (at least in this instance) in the place of Data as someone who is an outsider to the human way of thinking, leading him to jump to seemingly absurd conclusions - along with allowing him to play the "straight man."
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 10:07am (UTC -5)
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 10:09am (UTC -5)
But guys, seriously, 11 comments in and no one is going to mention Space: Above and Beyond? BEYOND. Like, "are you from beyond??"
Cause the leader of the Reformers was TC McQueen, all around badass from Space: Above and Beyond! Before there was a surly Col. Tigh. Before Tucker Smallwood was a Xindi. Before Wang started collaborating with Nazis (that's a Man in the High Castle reference). Before B5 Season 3 "Severed Dreams" was all like, dude long-form arcs are amazing. Before all that, there was this little show that could, called SAaB!
Look folks, I get that Liam Neeson is awesome. But for some of us, TC McQueen was so much cooler than Quigon cause Kristen Cloke was more smoking than a double scoop of padme.
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 11:35am (UTC -5)
Comparing an hour of television to a fairly pedestrian episode of 90s Trek oddly feels like praise, since after all, there were reasons we kept watching even run-of-the-mill Star Trek. Despite our not knowing the worldship's people better than any standard-issue dictatorial theocracy from Voyager, the show's final unveiling of the night sky manages some of the awe that we hope for in sci-fi. It earns its Emerson quote--which it promptly spoils with boring attempted humor about the captain's ignorance. To enjoy the show, I just have to ignore that.
Ignoring some of the failed humor can be difficult. Yafit uses the doctor's professional obligation to attend to him if he reports illness in order to sexually harass her--again. This. Is. Not. Funny. It is also not OK, and its acceptability on the Orville fundamentally undermines any notion that we're in a more evolved future. I hope that responses do not again feature some guys 'splainin to me how it's really fine.
It's a shame we have so much forced and failed humor, because when the Orville embeds its humor in the situations it confronts, rather than inserting immature humor on top, it can earn some laughs. Chicago has a group called Improv Star Trek, and they're pretty phenomenal onstage. Their podcast, while inherently hit or miss as an improv show, is also worth catching. Funny Trek can work. The Orville just might get there.
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 11:41am (UTC -5)
Other than that, it's alright, I liked the message towards the end about over-reliance on technology one doesn't understand (like Wall-E). But, they'll need to seriously retool the jokes (no pun intended), for me to keep watching.
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 1:11pm (UTC -5)
Make it so!
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 1:24pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 6:20pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 6:38pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 6:55pm (UTC -5)
2 1/2 stars
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 11:29pm (UTC -5)
Let's not play coy and pretend that "generational ship of people unwittingly headed for destruction, ruled over by a theocracy and visited by Earthlings who discover the truth" is as common a plot to Sci-Fi as the name "Smith" is to the English language. This episode is an obvious lift from "For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky," and not a very good one, making me want to see the TOS episode again.
Rather than the McCoy illness/romance subplot, we get a subplot about the Orville engaging in an unremarkable space battle, while on the "planet" there are a few variations in detail to the usual capture-and-escape tropes of the TOS script. Robert Knepper replaces the high priestess of the TOS show and so on. But honestly, there's nothing fresh here at all. The two-part "Discovery" pilot had some clunky writing, but it was recognizably Trek and was clearly higher-caliber on every level in its ambitious effort to do something new. To my mind, the soaring promise of the "Discovery" pilot and the rehashed boredom of "The Orville" speak to a real dividing line in quality. If "Discovery" were on network TV, rather than CBS All Access, it would continue to demolish "Orville" in the ratings. For myself, I keep coming back to "Orville" because of the involvement of Star Trek people with it, but I know an inferior product when I see it. Macfarlane obviously wants a shot at the champ, and he's taking it in his own unimaginative way here, but there is only one champ. And that champ is Star Trek, the one and only, accept no substitutes.
Sat, Sep 30, 2017, 1:48am (UTC -5)
Sat, Sep 30, 2017, 8:19am (UTC -5)
Even better, as someone who often doesn't laugh out loud no matter how comical I find something, this episode also marks the first time that I did so for this series. Isaac's "It is a compliment!" line was good, as were several other lines or moments. But to me, it was his "Perhaps she fears you are not sexually adequate" line that was just really hilarious. (And again in terms of being realistic, it's interesting that Isaac, of a people who claim to be so intellectually superior, would completely misinterpret a situation like that. I hope--and would look forward to--more exploration and insight into Isaac and the Kaylon down the road. In more ways than one, there is a lot of potential there.)
I also thought of "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky" as I watched this (but only vaguely of "Return of the Archons"). But perhaps as @Scot did, I nonetheless found the episode to be fresh. There certainly was some good character work--better, I seem to recall, than "FTWIHAIHTTS" had--and as @ Karl Zimmerman pointed out, while the setting was indeed very similar, from there, the specifics weren't. Now, there certainly was a TOS vibe--from the human-looking aliens and the architecture, and even to Capt. Mercer's method of getting into the interrogation building (whatever it was exactly). Actually, I might even suggest that it had a "Star Trek Continues" vibe about it; but with as much as I've enjoyed that series, and knowing that it will all be over in barely a month from now, I would hardly complain about that.
But for me, the real high point was the ending. It was quite moving, and, for yet another first for this series, I found myself tearing up. And I wasn't quite sure why; though upon reflection, I have some ideas. Part of it, I think, was Capt. Dural and his log entry / message. He presumably lost hope once they couldn't fix the engines, yet while it took hundreds of years (and generations upon which their society went astray) for his one small and last glimmer of hope to actualize, of course, with the crew of the Orville, it finally did.
More so though, I was later thinking about, say, people who get caught up and spend years of their lives living in abusive situations; or people who develop detrimental habits they'd like to break but haven't; or perhaps even people falsely imprisoned, only, if ever, being exonerated and gaining back their lives years later. And of numerous situations like that, really, where, "Thank you; We just gave you back what was already yours; Yes ... our future" might apply. (Not that I don't think that too often, we get so set on how our lives should go that when inevitably it doesn't work as imagined, we struggle to still see and appreciate the values of our lives. But there's no question that people get caught up in bad and unfair situations that, essentially, rob them of productivity and happiness that they never should have lost ... and the ending, I think, brought all this up to me.)
Of course, the music really helped sell it (how great has the music been so far in this show?). And incidentally, I really appreciated how Hamelac (?) was, amazingly enough, presented as a three-dimensional character. (You got the sense no matter his means, he did care about and fear for his world. And then, when even he has that briefest flicker of a smile at the end, when the stars are all appearing ... you even get the sense that he's as glad as anyone that the old reality is ending ... that it's all over.)
Overall, to me at least, this episode was the best yet. (In terms of its affect, I'd say it's on par with Star Trek episodes like "Blink of an Eye" (VOY); "Transfigurations" (TNG); or "In the Cards" (DS9).) *This* is (one way at least on) how to be aspirational with your sci-fi story ... in a way that really gives a lot of hope.
Sat, Sep 30, 2017, 10:38am (UTC -5)
By the way, the premise of "For the World Is Hollow..." is hardly original when compared to the set up of the 1963 book Orphans of the Sky by Robert Heinlein. And actually, David Mack even pointed out that "For the World..." cribbed many of its plot points from the previous Star Trek episode "The Paradise Syndrome." I mean, TOS could be accused of repeating others and itself. At least so far, The Orville can only be accused of repeating others.
@Jammer, is it really worthwhile for you to continue reviewing this series if nearly every episode is going to be "two stars/too much like Star Trek/too not funny?"
Sat, Sep 30, 2017, 11:21am (UTC -5)
Sat, Sep 30, 2017, 1:08pm (UTC -5)
That was actually the only "joke" in this epsiode that made me cringe (which is a great improvement over the previous episodes in this department).
But I have no trouble ignoring it. It's no different than all those times McCoy stepped over the line with his racist comments against Spock. You gotta gloss over these things if you want to watch the show.
And really, given that this is a McFarlane work, it could have been much *much* worse.
Sat, Sep 30, 2017, 1:17pm (UTC -5)
Yes, this plot was terribly derivative of several Star Trek:TOS eps, but there was some originality with the execution. As mentioned by Jammer, the first part recaptured the “sense of wonder” we all crave from Star Trek. And the last part was enhanced by a surprise guest star along with the title revelation. In the middle we got a “mini” space fight.
I think the bottom line here is that a lot of us are starved for a new “Star Trek” type show back on TV. And “Discovery” is now stuck behind a pay wall. I’m going to pay for a month of CBS-AA to give the “official” show a real chance, but I’m not happy about it. And right now The Orville seems more familiar. And it’s certainly more accessible.
It *does* need to get a little better, but I’m willing to give it plenty of time to get there.
Sat, Sep 30, 2017, 1:27pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Sep 30, 2017, 4:18pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Sep 30, 2017, 4:51pm (UTC -5)
After the big (and expected) drop when the show moved to Thursdays last week, the ratings were fairly steady this week (3.7 million vs 4.0 million).
I guess this means that this show more-or-less found its target audience. Does anybody know how good/bad are these numbers (assuming they remain more-or-less constant)?
Sat, Sep 30, 2017, 4:52pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Sep 30, 2017, 5:43pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Sep 30, 2017, 7:53pm (UTC -5)
"A gigantic, cylindrical generation ship Vanguard, originally destined for "Far Centaurus", is cruising without guidance through the interstellar medium as a result of a long-ago mutiny that killed most of the officers. Over time, the descendants of the surviving loyal crew have forgotten the purpose and nature of their ship and lapsed into a pre-technological culture marked by superstition. They come to believe the "Ship" is the entire universe, so that "To move the ship" is considered an oxymoron, and references to the Ship's "voyage" are interpreted as religious metaphor. They are ruled by an oligarchy of "officers" and "scientists". Most crew members are simple illiterate farmers, seldom or never venturing to the "upper decks" where the "muties" (an abbreviation of "mutants" or "mutineers") dwell. Among the crew, all identifiable mutants are killed at birth."
Sat, Sep 30, 2017, 8:10pm (UTC -5)
Since I'm not paying for Discovery on the assumption that reruns will eventually air in a free venue, I'm watching "Orville," but I'm with Jammer: Call this show out when it reheats old pizza and serves it as "new." Keep watching and keep kicking the Orville in the pants when it falls back on lazy writing.
If some people enjoy rehashing old times on the Orville, they're entitled to it, but let's not pretend it's a new spin. If you want a new spin on TOS, watch the Star Trek Voyager episode "Blink of an Eye," which takes the same concept from TOS' "Wink of an Eye" (an interesting episode with flaws of execution) and expands/improves on it. I don't see that happening at all in "If the Stars Should Appear." To my mind, "For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky" is better than this Orville rehash, because it's got the original Trek cast with their great chemistry, and the concept is treated with more seriousness and freshness on TOS even if DeForest Kelley perhaps underplays his terminal romance. At least the TOS writers weren't recycling their plot from an older Sci Fi show. When push comes to shove, I'll take average TOS over average Orville any day. I think Orville needs to either play up the Macfarlane humor -- it could be a lot funnier than it is, more like "Galaxy Quest" -- or just give it up, because its current halfhearted inclusion at tonally jarring moments just isn't working for me.
Sat, Sep 30, 2017, 9:24pm (UTC -5)
Mind telling us how - exactly - this Orville episode is a rehash of "For the World is Hollow..."?
I mean, beyond the very general premise of "A generational ship hurtling toward destruction full of people from a civilization who do not realize they are on a ship, with a religious theocracy ruling over everyone to keep them from realizing the truth"?
Other than this short paragraph of yours that I just quoted, the two episodes are nothing alike. The story beats are completely different. There's no romance story here and no omniscient oracle. The Orville episode has a capture-and-rescue story which the TOS episode doesn't. The Orville episode has a nice B-plot (the distress call). The Orville episode has completely different character interactions.
And then there's the ending, which is 100% original (and also quite moving).
So how, exactly, is "If the Stars Should Appear" a rip-off "Hollow"?
Sorry, but I don't see it.
Sat, Sep 30, 2017, 9:30pm (UTC -5)
It's not a "reworking of the same concept". It is a completely different story.
Sun, Oct 1, 2017, 1:37am (UTC -5)
Sun, Oct 1, 2017, 2:40pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Oct 1, 2017, 3:50pm (UTC -5)
Every scene leaves me wanting for the obvious comedy that never occurs, cringing from the comedy that does occur, and being mildly entertained by the storyline.
Here's the thing MacFarlane got right: IT'S FREE! So I'll watch it until it ends most likely.
Sun, Oct 1, 2017, 9:55pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Oct 2, 2017, 1:29am (UTC -5)
"When it rains, do you run from doorway to doorway trying to stay dry, getting wet all the while, or do you just accept the fact that it's raining, and walk with dignity?"
The best philosophical moment of Voyager. Hands down.
Mon, Oct 2, 2017, 3:26pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Oct 2, 2017, 9:29pm (UTC -5)
This is not a "general" or "common" story at all, say like "cop goes rogue to get revenge on the guy who killed his partner," but a very specific pitch that I can count on one hand (indeed on one finger) all the number of times I've seen it done on a TV show. That one time was the TOS episode "For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky." Case closed. We can agree to disagree about whether we enjoyed Macfarlane's take on the story, but I don't think it's disputable that he borrowed a very particular story that was done before (once and only once) on the same science-fiction show he happens to be taking as inspiration for this homage that I sometimes call The Boreville. Maybe some people enjoyed this one because they haven't seen (or haven't seen recently enough to remember) "For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky," but that doesn't change the fact that this story has been done before.
If a tree falls in the woods when you're not looking, it still falls. If "Enterprise" repeats the same story from "Voyager," as it did in several cases like the "crewmember hallucinating alone on the ship" concept with Seven of Nine and Doctor Phlox, then it's still a rehash even if you didn't see the earlier show first. And there's no way for us who have seen all of Star Trek to pretend we haven't seen this Orville story on TOS before, regardless of however Macfarlane changed various details. We can argue about whether it's a good redo, but not that's its a redo.
Look, I'm rooting for Orville, I really am. I agree with Jammer about the few moments of this episode (i.e. Klyden's funny comfort eating and the torture scene) that felt fresh. But most of it bored me, felt like stuff I'd seen before in a very specific Star Trek episode, and I never had any doubt where things were going to resolve themselves after the crew discovered the resistance movement. While Orville may be "meh" or "okay" in reminding me of better things I've seen on Star Trek, borrowing from the classics will only take you so far, and we need to see some fresh stuff (and I'm totally in favor of punching up the humor to make it sharper, more like a spoof, if that's what it takes) if this program is going to become more than network filler for people who want Trek but aren't subscribing to watch Discovery. To be honest, Discovery is a better show so far despite some early kinks, and I say that as someone who like Jammer has seen every Trek episode and does not impress easily. I'm impressed by Star Trek Discovery so far.
Tue, Oct 3, 2017, 6:42am (UTC -5)
I still don't agree with it, though.
I'll say that "cop goes rogue to get revenge on the guy who killed his partner" is just a little more generic than the premise borrowed here.
Besides, when we have something that "was only done once before", the question is how well was it done the first time? "For the World is Hollow..." is a pretty medicore episode (especially considering the potential of the premise). Do you really want it to be the last episode in the history of television to tell this kind of story?
While the Orville's take on the premise isn't great, it is still far superior - in my view - to the source of its inspiration.
And yes, I agree that that "For the World is Hollow" was probably the inspiration for the premise of this show. I'm simply saying that there's a huge difference between borrowing the general premise of an episode and actually ripping it off. The latter is always a bad thing and it should be condemned. The former can be good or bad, depending on the circumstances.
Tue, Oct 3, 2017, 11:12am (UTC -5)
I'm pretty sure that he not only took "For the World Is Hollow..." as a template, but did so with the deliberate notion that directly referencing it would both legitimize Orville as being a fan of Trek, as well as do his usual thing of trying to put his own spin on a known story. Whether that comes off to a viewer as fresh or as creative laziness will vary, but the debate about whether this ep could realistically be traced back to TOS misses the point that it was probably intended to be understood as doing so, right out in the open. That's how MacFarlane writes. If the reference is missed or denied then half the joke is gone already. The question is whether you like the joke.
Tue, Oct 3, 2017, 11:39am (UTC -5)
Then again, there's a huge difference between references and a wholesale ripoff of a specific episode. So the question of whether "If the Stars..." did that or not does have merit (short answer: it doesn't).
(the only place where a wholesale ripoff would be acceptable is in a full-blown spoof. Spaceballs got away with it when parodying Star Wars, but the Orville is playing their stories way too straight to get this kind of free pass)
Tue, Oct 3, 2017, 1:55pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Oct 3, 2017, 4:28pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Oct 3, 2017, 6:34pm (UTC -5)
Just saying "it sucks" doesn't contribute anything to the discussion.
Thu, Oct 5, 2017, 9:35am (UTC -5)
Thu, Oct 5, 2017, 3:50pm (UTC -5)
You have, indeed, explained yourself perfectly. :-)
Thu, Oct 5, 2017, 10:12pm (UTC -5)
I LOVED this episode, except for one flaw at the end. I was all ready to give it four stars, the first "Orville" episode to get that rating from me (and there aren't many "Trek" episodes that get it either), but then I *thought* they were actually going to lift something from another sci-fi classic: Asimov's "Nightfall". There's no way people who have never seen night would just accept it without totally freaking out, especially when the vast majority didn't know it was coming! But that was only like a ten second flaw, so it's still like 3.8 stars which rounds up to 4.
This episode had a judicious amount of humor that mostly worked. I disagree with Jammer about the "BAM!" bit on the bridge; and like Jammer I cracked up when the captain tried to be polite about hating their food.
Seems like Alara might have a crush on the captain?
@OTDP: TV By the Numbers seems confident the ratings are good enough to earn a second season for "Orville". Yay!
As for "Orville" vs. "Discovery": after the first two episodes of the latter, I might have called it a tie or maybe a slight edge to "Discovery" for having better visual effects. But then I saw the third episode of "Discovery", which to me was a big dropoff in quality (albeit still with some elements I like), and this episode of "Orville" which I consider the best yet. So right now "Orville" is ahead by a length at least.
Fri, Oct 6, 2017, 6:52pm (UTC -5)
Just saying "it sucks" doesn't contribute anything to the discussion."
Fair. I just didnt want to drone on being TOO negative.
My thoughts: Its poorly cast, poorly acted, poorly scripted, poorly rehashed carbon copy trash. It has no ingenuity, it has no pace, and it has no idea what type of show it wants to be. And that is my opinion just from watching the first 20 minutes. Now I get the response would be, "give it a few episodes" in which case ill say, "No". In today's TV landscape you dont have the luxury of a few episodes or a whole season to get your shit straight. You have to hit the ground running with all cylinders firing. The quality of TV out there is amazing and this show simply isnt good enough to warrant my time.
Sat, Oct 7, 2017, 3:35pm (UTC -5)
It's serviceable, but not original.
When you contrast this show to Star Trek Discovery, breaking new ground in the wrong direction, I have to ask the question:
Do you want to enjoy a TV show that ventures into a dark world that masquerades itself as a Utopia? Or do you want to live in a light world that does not hide its frivolous nature?
I think Orville needs a game changer episode to put it up there with the best of Classic Trek, but it's on a good trajectory for something like that. Star Trek Discovery in contrast is heading in a direction that makes it far more akin to Battlestar Galactica and Star Wars than Star Trek, I expect it not to live up to the classics and stride for different path that is appealing to some, but just not what I'd consider engaging for a Star Trek show. I love the new BSG for a reason, just like I liked DS9, TNG, and TOS for others, along with Babylon 5.
Right now I want optimistic Sci-Fi, not Pessimistic Sci-Fi.
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 5:18am (UTC -5)
" Now I get the response would be, 'give it a few episodes'..."
After everything you've written, it is very clear that you SHOULDN'T give the Orville any more chances. For you, personally, it really is a terrible show. There's no point in sticking around and waiting for it to change ('cause it won't).
As for your question/statement:
"I dont know how any of you watch this garbage."
Well, obviously, if we continue watching it, we don't see it as "garbage". Different people have different priorities.
For example, while you say "it has no idea what type of show it wants to be", I get the exact opposite feeling from the Orville: I feel it knows *exactly* what it wants to be. It's a weird beast, but purposely so. It's like Star Trek meeting the Office meeting Futurama, and I dig this combination very much.
Where you see "a poorly rehashed carbon copy trash", I see a loving homage made in a unique personal style. I agree that the stories themselves are not terribly original, but the execution is very fresh in my view. The directing is top notch, the pacing is good (I disagree with you on this one), the visuals are lovely and the music is downright incredible.
Also, sometimes (as in this episode) the Orville "rehash" is actually better than the source material. Other times, there are other redeeming qualities of originality. For example: Orville's "About a Girl" is obviously no match to the excellent "Measure of a Man", but "Girl" also dealt with specific issues that were never properly addressed in any episode of official Trek to date (which, given over 700 episodes of Trek, is downright amazing).
Besides, can you name even one modern sci fi show which isn't "rehashed carbon copy trash"? Nearly all modern sci fi shows look alike and feel alike. Even "Discovery" managed to turn Trek into another "generic sci fi" clone.
At least the Orville is copying something that I like. Do you realize that there's absolutely nothing like it on TV these days? It's kinda funny calling the Orville "a rehashed carbon copy" when it is doing something very brave and unique that no other show is doing.
Does the show have flaws? Sure. I agree that the acting is a weak point. The scripts, while not awful in my view, are not that great either (I hope that McFarlane realizes that he isn't exactly a genius sci fi writer and that he should bring in actual such writers to the "Orville" team). Also, I personally could do without the low brow humor (which seems to become rarer and rarer as the show progresses).
But despite these flaws, I think the show does what it meant to do reasonably well. And I like it. It may not be the greatest show ever made, but it is certainly good enough for me to want to continue watching.
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 3:03am (UTC -5)
I left this episode with a horrible realization. I'm enjoying The Orville a LOT more than Star Trek: Discovery.
It's unfair to judge a series entirely by comparing, but let's see, what do we know about character building, world building and etc after 3 episodes of each?
STD (wow... the horrible moment I also realize Discovery's acronym is STD....):
**SPOILERS** Klingons bad, war happened, commander mutinied, new captain angry, Klingon messiah, Warp/teleport hybrid.
Orville: New races, gender-weird races and their politics, we've touched on gender issues, race issues, feminism, religion and dogma... in 3 episodes The Orville has at least touched pretty much all the untouchables.
They're not masterpieces really, but I leave the Orville feeling like I've just watched a Star Trek episode. I leave STD (omg really... STD... wow...) with more of a "I guess ____ is different too in this reality... Oh I guess maybe _____ changed too because of this timeline...". With STD I'm essentially constantly having to throw away all I've ever learned from 4 series, with multiple viewings, and having to suspend my belief to the point that STD is more like some sort of Reverse Reality where we pick out the "wrong" things.
STD is going full on battlestar/wars, very little social commentary, and I'm really not liking that they're essentially building up to us not liking the captain... I mean essentially it's looking like Michael will have to "mutiny", but then realize she shouldn't mutiny and instead counsel... like yeah...
The humor in Orville is awesome, and pushing it sometimes. Most of the humor in The Orville are like mental "yes! that's really what would happen" where Star Trek was way too inhuman sometimes. Like all those times they tried other peoples foods, the awkward moments. When you yell out happy that you just did something awesome then realize that's not the right time/place...
And the violence was jarringly real... How many times did a Star Trek person get kidnapped, and you can tell they were roughed up because their hair was a mess... Seeing the commander hit in The Orville I instantly had a moment of, "Oh wow... they're right... THIS is what those kidnapping/captured scenes would really be like....". Or when they put on a random cartoon/show, whereas Star Trek would put on some classics/etc like only those would ever survive, instead of our crap too. Or when in this episode she's shot, and really bloody/pale with actual surgical tools.
Many of the humor moments are really just nods to us in a "you know... this is what us humans would really do...", because our tech does evolve much faster than our social morality/personality.
This felt like a Voyager episode. A good voyager episode.
I give it a 3.5/5
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 6:33am (UTC -5)
I also don't think I can evaluate this like trek. There's not enough seriousness to it.
Sort of a message, pretty badly told and directed....
But it's fun and that's about it.
If you're going to steel from a TOS episode, I'd choose a season 1 or 2 episode. :-)
Sat, Oct 21, 2017, 5:37pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Oct 28, 2017, 12:59pm (UTC -5)
On a sidenote, that's still my favorite piece of Star Trek music ever.
Sat, May 5, 2018, 6:47pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Jul 28, 2018, 10:49am (UTC -5)
Every Orville episode was a copy of an existing Trek episode up to this point, which was where I gave up.
Sat, Dec 8, 2018, 7:13am (UTC -5)
I agree with other posters that the plot referencing is totally deliberate and inspired. There are wall-to-wall insider jokes everywhere , the cast show great potential, the special effects and music is superb and this show is really only to be fully appreciated by dedicated Trek fans who would have seen most of TOS, TNG, DS9, VOY & ENT.
It's not surprising that that some of the humourless Trek fans don't appreciate this (and presumably missed all of the great comedy embedded in The X Files, DS9 & VOY) but in my opinion it's a lovingly crafted but also intelligent love letter to the genre.
Wed, Dec 25, 2019, 8:11am (UTC -5)
- The blob is harassing the doctor? Four episodes and two scenes already with the blob trying to flirt-harass the doctor. Jeez...
- The scene in the shuttle is like something from a film school student. Seth and Mr. Robot sitting while the others are lined up behind them. Have they forgotten how chairs work??
- good to know that men in the Orville future are still so sexists/insecure that they cannot even be with a women of superior physical strength.
- Maybe even more annoying than the jokes are how the orville officers talk in stressful situations. It feels so out of place. It really kills immersion.
- The doctor has a special tool with her for removing bullets/objects from wounds. Interesting.
- The XO recovered really fast from being beaten and tortured with that serum. In the next scene she almost looks unscathed.
- This episode should have been called "for the convenience of the plot". I'm trying to wrap my brain around it. So Liam Neeson didn't have the special set of skills to repair the ship, after a few hundred years or more the people did forget that they were on a space ship even though it was, apart from the actual flying, fully functional like the sun roof, then their tech devolved to machine guns and cars, then they created a religion about the guy who flew the ship, then that religion took over and became a dictatorship. There are sooooo many holes in this story.
- Little side story about saving a colony ship which seem so pointless that the episode doesn't even bother to show us one of the saved colonists or why a Krill ship can shot for more than twenty minutes at an apparently unarmed colony ship but the Orville is breaking apart after two minutes of fighting. And then Torpedoes something, trust me Captain, something. BOOM BITCH.
My rating: 1 1/2 collisions with a star
Mon, Jan 18, 2021, 6:52pm (UTC -5)
Anyway zzzz nothing to see here. 1.5 tops.
Sat, Sep 18, 2021, 3:22pm (UTC -5)
The opening sequence illustrates why using Moclans to deal with serious issues doesn't work. You just can't take them seriously. They already showed the guy sitting on an egg naked. Now the gender swapped one is hilariously acting like a neglected wife with all the usual comedic tropes included.
Anyway, we get a First Contact episode with none of the Prime Directive safeguards in place. How refreshing to see the crew deliver culture shock after culture shock with reckless abandon. Truly glorious watching a species have all their beliefs and ideas shattered with the press of a button.
Of course we have the obligatory 'God is illogical' drivel with no actual argument to support it.
They have to stop teasing me with this doctor/mucus creature foreplay. Let's see where it goes already😎😁😜😊🤓👱👴😂😀😆
Tue, May 24, 2022, 12:37pm (UTC -5)
Jammer's observation is priceless: "Given how much pop culture the Orville crew knows about (Friends, Rudolph, reality TV, etc.), you'd think they'd have recognized immediately the plight of these unwitting simple folk from 20th century sci-fi TV." -- Great comment! Got me rolling.
I guess we're not supposed to analyze to death how believable it is that this society "forgot" they were aboard a spaceship or that there was no one designated after Dural to maintain its systems. It was more that simple dry facts, over hundreds of years, lead to stories, which lead to legends, and then may even lead to all-encompassing religions. Liam Neeson just ran into a stroke of bad luck, little knowing he was destined to be worshipped as a deity. Interesting.
The opening scene between Bortus and Klyden was promising in that it appears that the events of "About a Girl" will have lasting repercussions for their relationship. Klyden's coping diet of ice cream and sickly saccharine movies was hysterical.
Adrianne Palicki and Robert Knepper were both magnificent in the tense torture scene ("You know what this is?" "A scale model of your penis?" "That's good, get it all out now."). The story was wrapped up nicely if a little simplistically. Just how willing will the masses be to accept that their entire belief system has been overturned in less than a day? Oh well, who cares, on to the next planet.
Mercer -- "You're not going to get Lyme disease walking through our ship. But other than that, it's more or less the same."
My Grade: B-
Mon, Jan 30, 2023, 4:35pm (UTC -5)
See, this is what happens when you ditch a Betazoid and run off with a chick from a White Snake video.
I really liked this one and thought the Liam cameo was perfection.
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