The Orville

"Majority Rule"

3 stars

Air date: 10/26/2017
Written by Seth MacFarlane
Directed by Tucker Gates

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Majority Rule," while obvious and unsubtle, feels like a modern-day take on a Twilight Zone episode crossed with Star Trek: TOS. It takes the frequently employed "alternate Earth" approach of those series and gives us an alien society that's essentially ourselves plus an exaggerated twist — and then mines that for an hour of whimsical social satire/commentary that our heroes find themselves mired in. This is consistently entertaining, albeit not particularly challenging. It alternates scenes of wry observation with others of grand absurdity. In both cases, I got the sense that's what they were mostly going for.

The story presents us with a "pure democracy" in the form of an alien society that conducts all its legal proceedings (in particular, punitive criminal measures) through social media votes — up or down. Everyone is required to wear a badge with an up and down arrow (you can press someone's badge with an up or down vote if they do something you like or dislike), and you can vote online to pile on for someone's mild transgression that somehow ended up in the public eye. If you get more than 10 million down votes during the "judging window" (how the timing of the opening and closing of this window works is not really clear, but who cares), you are sentenced to a "correction" measure to fix your bad behavior — essentially a lobotomy that turns you into a docile mental simpleton.

This is, of course, a terrible system for conducting important societal business, which is shown right up front when the young barista Lysella (Giorgia Whigham) wakes up and sees the latest judging subjects on TV giving their "apology tour"; she thoughtlessly down-votes them for purely superficial reasons (with zero actual information) while having a trivial phone conversation. It's the sort of recognizable social reflection exaggerated by a sci-fi scenario that feels like vintage Twilight Zone. (That any society could function at as high a level as this one appears to with these dopey rules is probably ridiculous, but I'll grant the story its premise.)

The men she's judging are actually undercover Union anthropologists studying the planet; their terrible crime was not giving up a train seat to a pregnant woman they didn't notice. It ended up on the "master feed" (a more-ubiquitous version of a Facebook news feed) where everyone started down-voting them, until they reached the threshold of the damned and went on to their final trial. One is "corrected" after reaching 10 million down-votes; the other is shot trying to escape that fate.

A month later, the Orville arrives to find out what happened to the missing anthropologists. They send down an undercover landing party (Grayson, Kitan, LaMarr) and slowly learn about this bizarre voting system. This unfortunately does not happen until after LaMarr, while joking around, inadvertently creates an offensive display that is recorded on video and uploaded to the master stream, where he suddenly receives millions of down-votes. With his PR stock plummeting, he must go on an apology tour with his assigned PR man (Steven Culp) to make amends.

This is milked for some contemporary satire, like when LaMarr goes on a talk show not unlike The View, where he futilely attempts to turn around his bad press. Doing so proves difficult on a world that is all about moral superiority and judging rudeness from the afar mountaintop of self-righteous indignation. (As one woman, who is refused service in a coffee shop because she has more than half a million down votes, says: "I got most of these votes in my 20s; I was a completely different person then!" Nobody cares.) This culture of judgment is of course a common criticism when it comes to social media. "Majority Rule" is not subtle or nuanced about any of this (and is one-sided about social media, the benefits of which are ignored), but it doesn't make the potshots at our current culture any less true. There's a point late in the story where Isaac floods the master stream with a torrent of fake news (the actual fabricated kind that existed before the term was appropriated by the current occupant of the Oval Office) to reverse LaMarr's bad fortunes. That he's successful is mostly because people simply like the things they like and respond to them in the moment, and not because they will actually check the facts later.

Why can't the Orville crew simply break LaMarr free of this in the first place? Because Admiral Ron Canada is playing the always stern Ron Canada role of preventing Mercer from doing anything that would violate the Union rules of whatever this universe's pre-First Contact Prime Directive is. Fair enough. But the biggest disappointment here is the story's use of LaMarr, in what is the first episode that gives him anything to do beyond flying the ship and offering up quippy black-dude asides. Here his irreverence makes him instantly conspicuous and he brings this whole ordeal crashing upon himself; it just makes the character look needlessly stupid. (And if this planet has been under observation, why doesn't the Orville crew know the basics about the popular-vote-based society?)

What I liked best about "Majority Rule" was the way it dropped us into this world and let us learn the rules along with the Orville crew. It allows for the sort of universe-building that makes the series feel larger and more lived-in. And by making the alien society mostly like 21st-century Earth, the episode can simply go out and shoot on location rather than having to create a more limited world on a confined set. It allows the show to breathe. Also, it's clear by now the series has rejected the idea of a "universal translator" and, like TOS, has decided that a language barrier is simply not a factor to bother plotting around. I'm okay with that; it streamlines the storytelling and reminds us how everything here is metaphorical.

The Orville feels like it's starting to find itself. At the very least, it feels more like it's finding me. The stories feel more original. The tone continues to smooth itself out; this episode might be the one with the lowest yet amount of shoehorned-in side-humor, though it retains its lightness. "Majority Rule" is the story of how Mark Zuckerberg might be right with his stubborn refusal to listen to the people who think Facebook should have a "dislike" button.

Previous episode: Krill
Next episode: Into the Fold

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126 comments on this post

Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Oct 26, 2017, 9:09pm (UTC -5)
While the episode was very painful at points to watch (both because a lot of the humor was based upon putting the ignorant crew in embarrassing situations, along with the general ugliness of the culture highlighted) I think that was the best Orville episode to date. I mostly say that because it took a classic TOS trope (using almost parallel Earths as a morality tale about society) but took on an issue which obviously Trek has never covered (the poisonous aspects of social media). The weird, contemporary references didn't seem out of place given the setting was basically a funhouse mirror of the modern world as well.

The funniest joke in the whole show wasn't even set up to be a joke. It was when Isaac started inserting all the fake stuff into the feed, and Mercer (I think) asked if anyone would check to see if it was fake, and the local girl responded "no one ever does."
Thu, Oct 26, 2017, 9:22pm (UTC -5)
Good episode. Idea is essentially the same as an episode of Black Mirror, although the criminal side of it is an interesting twist. Also has parallels with TNGs “Who watches the watchers”
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 12:12am (UTC -5)
Bad acting, lame social media critique, crew is unprofessional as can be.

The whole comedy angle is really holding back the show .

1 1/2 Stars from me.
Guru Laghima
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 12:36am (UTC -5)
This is only my second episode of The Orville and I'm just not feeling it. The drama was just too silly and on the nose to be invested in, and the half-hearted attempts at humor were rare and felt out of place. It feels like the show is trying to be two things at once and both halves just can't work together.

I absolutely get what they were going for (and I honestly agree 100% with the message), but it didn't do anything for me.

Next week's preview didn't interest me, but I'm willing to give the show another shot sometime later. Given the ratings though, I don't see this show getting a second season renewal.
Pirate Tasha Yarrgh
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 12:49am (UTC -5)
Welcome to planet Reddit!

For a group of people that are supposed to be at least somewhat competent, it sure seems like the Orville crew didn't do at least a minute of research on the world they were exploring. How did they not notice the badges, the giant green & red arrows everywhere, the constant feed, etc. without it being pointed out to them? Seems like the majority of this show's humor is built on the characters acting like idiots at varying times and to varying degrees.

As far as the planet goes, meh. Nothing about that society or the native characters we met makes me feel any sort of connection or hope that the planet improves.
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 12:51am (UTC -5)
A breath of fresh air after the predictable offerings from DSC. It was fun seeing Seth sit back and act captainly while other characters got to shine. Some of the scenes (the conference room) made me feel like I was right back home with '90s Trek. The only thing I didn't like was the silly countdown at the end.

Overall, one of the best offerings of the show to date.
Dave in MN
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 2:05am (UTC -5)
I see some nitpicks above, but is it fair to expect the Orville to fly in and immediately have control or access over their planetwide, universally-redundant Internet?

It was mentioned during the show that the first scientists to study the planet had only sent back limited information . . . they knew about currency, but did not have enough information to know that Alara's hat would offend someone.

It sounds to me like they were doing their mission with the limited information they had.

Besides, it was nice to see that a character's foolishness can have real consequences on this show. It might be a crew of Average Joes, but even Average Joes still have standards to adhere to.

That's a promising sign for future episodes.

I also enjoyed the usage of mathematics to justify the idea of parallel evolution. I mean, the universe is probably infinite, so the odds are there are other Earths in our own universe: no alternate realities needed!

I will also preemptively mention that Black Mirror does not own storytelling that deals with the Internet as a plot device.

That set aside, I was swept away by the story (nice to John's more serious side).

The guest cast is exceptional at what their respective roles, especially the lead guest actress. I can appreciate a little artistic nod here and there: the bookended scenes are a great example of character growth through visuals. Oh, and the lobotomized Lewis was pretty horrifying/terrifying.

Interesting interaction with Admiral: I got a Prime Directive-y feel that there are limits to what a Union Captain can do in their interactions with alien cultures. I can't wait to learn more!

The resolution to the episode was a original twist: flood their newsfeed with disinformation! I enjoyed watching them concoct lies, haha. Great commentary on the social-media twits in our society.

I also must mention that the orchestral scoring was absolutely stunning (and did I catch a nod to Horner's Star Trek II theme?) . The approach to The Orville (by the shuttle) was truly breathtaking to me, visually and musically.

Another fantastic, suspenseful and TOPICAL episode of The Orville.


PS- A cloaking device! I shouted "No way!"

PPS- Bortus made me laugh, HARD. "I will not fail you, Captain!" "I sing." Haha, love this show!
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 2:08am (UTC -5)
I thought this was a weak offering. The idea that direct democracy is a terrible idea is nothing new, and I had no sympathy for LaMarr whose behavior throughout the whole episode was reckless to the point of disbelief. The last two episodes have felt fresh to me, but this week's was stale. Hopefully it's just a temporary blip.
Dave in MN
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 2:17am (UTC -5)
One last note: I think the Orville crew was so taken aback by the superficial similarity to 21st Century Earth that they weren't expecting it's society to be so completely different than the historical Earth they know.

I think John assumed he had basically "time traveled" when in fact he had done NOTHING of the sort.

Yes, he was acting silly, but I can see why his character would have acted the way he did.
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 3:42am (UTC -5)
I liked it. It shares the same problems as all the rest of Orville's episodes, but this one in particular was carried by the central concept. It kinda felt like a blend of a few episodes of Sliders (man I miss that show).

It didn't present much novelty beyond a merger of social media and star trek, but it entertained me, and that's really all I ask of The Orville.
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 5:08am (UTC -5)
"Tonight, on an all new episode of Sliders...."

Pretty solid, though not too spectacular sci fi entertainment.
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 6:40am (UTC -5)
I was surprised by the cloaking device. that kind of opens a can of worms. Does this mean the Orville can cloak too? And if so why didn't they use it before? It could've come in handy rescuing the captain and first officer from the zoo. Or in their battles with the Krill.
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 7:45am (UTC -5)
My initial impression is, this was very good. I can think of a few criticisms; but overall, it was deeply unsettling in a good way (obviously, the whole "everyone votes, ill-informed" thing), and I suspect that as allegory, it's just specific enough so as to be clear, yet a bit open to interpretation, and without feeling forced. (Within minutes, for instance, I was thinking about people who have committed suicide over cyber-bullying through Facebook and other such sites, which is presumably why I started finding it to be unsettling.)

And one really cool thing was, I suspect all those "alien" tie knots are real. Which is to say, of course most people do the standard Windsor and Four-in-Hand and whatnot. However in recent years, various "unorthodox" knots have indeed been devised (many of which are tied using the narrow end of the tie--hence the possibilities for unusually artistic knots).

Unfortunately, it's been way too long since I was last looking up these knots to instantly and readily recognize specific ones. Nonetheless, again, I was delighted to see such knots being used, and, of course for anyone who may be interested, YouTube is a great source for information and how-to-ties and whatnot. (From what I recall, the Trinity and the Eldredge Knots are somewhat standard and good "intros" for these types of knots .... Without looking back, I've been trying to find what I think the Publicity Officer (?) was wearing. It was much like a Vidalia, though there's another one I have in mind that I just can't seem to locate right now.)
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 8:46am (UTC -5)
2.5 stars - best episode since About A Girl, I liked it more and more as it went on. The big downside is that it's an unbelievably shameless ripoff of Black Mirror's "Nosedive" (with a touch of Hated In The Nation for good measure). So the first third of the episode didn't impress me at all, but from the View parody onwards though, it was genuinely funny and engaging. There was an old-school TOS feel - a morality play on a "parallel earth". And I think it will resonate as a topical social satire with a broad audience who won't necessarily have seen Black Mirror. Something that's easy to overlook is also how well it worked as an ensemble show, with Molloy and Ed wisely toned town - Alara had lots to do (the cultural appropriation scene was hilarious), Bortus had some of the funniest lines in the episode, and the scene where Isaac and the crew added the fake memes to the feed was hilarious too. Splitting up Molloy and LaMarr was a good idea, as until now the show has treated them too much as one unit (with LaMarr reduced to being Molloy's sidekick). Another downside is that the handling of Lewis's damage was rather too glib, Claire didn't seem very distressed. He was basically just there to serve as a warning as to what could happen to LaMarr, which was unnecessary as we all know going in that LaMarr will ultimately be fine...

Shouldn't they put a warning buoy in orbit of the planet?
Dave in MN
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 9:20am (UTC -5)
Claire "didn't seem distressed"?!

That was her whole narrative arc for this episode.
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 11:15am (UTC -5)
Interesting tidbit from the episode review on ... this episode was written and produced and filmed at the SAME TIME as Black Mirror's "Nosedive", but the release was delayed.

The Orville did NOT copy Black Mirror!
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 1:00pm (UTC -5)
It was nice to see Major Hayes from Enterprise show up as the PR guy for John.

Prior to this episode, I was concerned that the Union is really a Terran Empire. Think about it: the ship has already been involved in a dispute that disrespected one crew member's cultural convictions and also invading a ship/world in which the crew overthrew the government and its religious system. This is imperialism of the worst sort, invading and ruining cultures as it goes.

But this episode demonstrates that the Union has some sort of code or doctrine such as the prime directive that deals with non-interference. But where was this code in the previous episodes? The multiculturalism of TNG is dead as a doornail in Orville.

But at least this episode offers the hope of infusion by good episodes of Sliders and the neat scifi elements from that show.
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 1:14pm (UTC -5)

Are you saying this episode was filmed over a year ago?!
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 1:34pm (UTC -5)
Ι generally like the Orville a lot but this episode was really dissapointing. They basically rehashed a dark mirror episode and added a couple of jokes. The plot is all over the place. They enter a planet they know that has money but they do not know that it has the button system? And they have even spies over there and they can watch what is going on from afar. And what is the use of spies when you can basically monitor everything that is going on from space.

The button system also makes no sense because there is no way of stopping somebody from upvoting himself a million times. Or secretly downvoting somebody else. I know I would steal my ex's button and downvote her like crazy.

There are many other problems that pile on top of each other making the episode nearly unwatchable. But for me if the jokes worked it would be ok. Sadly they don't except 2-3 times.

A big misstep. The show needs to do getter than this 1.5 stars
I eat humans 4 kah-less
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 2:00pm (UTC -5)
SARU is poo poo and Scooby Dooby Doo !!! Time for my spores and flying carpet of magic.
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 2:06pm (UTC -5)
Usually the Orville riffs from Trek, but last night it cribbed from Black Mirror, specifically the much-lauded season three premiere "Nosedive." Black Mirror gave us incisive and insightful social criticism. The Orville episode... exists, I suppose. I guess that Fox assumes that most of its audience aren't the same people who tune into the contemporary British Twilight Zone?

Everyone should watch that episode of Black Mirror. It's classic TV. The Orville only barely claims an identity of its own by touching on issues of direct democracy and fake news that aren't the focus of the inspirational material. It's not offensive or exasperating on the order of some earlier episodes, but I can't recommend it either.
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 4:16pm (UTC -5)
Friend says: "Why couldn't they have just given Alara a holographic head like they gave Ed and Molloy in the last episode?"

Very good point, that links in with the "Why didn't the use the shuttle cloak before?" comment above. The answer in both cases is is it's sloppy writing with no consistency...
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 6:08pm (UTC -5)
Happy to report that this episode got a nice uptick in it's initial ratings - even shooting up past what "About a Girl" got. Kind of impressive, so I would say a Season 2 pick up is looking much more likely at this rate.
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 8:08pm (UTC -5)
I typically don't post comments like this, but I'm surprised no one has said (unless I missed it) how hot Adrianne Palicki looked in this episode. She's about 18 times hotter than that annoying red-haired woman on "Star Trek Continues."
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 8:21pm (UTC -5)
I don't understand the positive reviews. I thought this episode was painful to watch at times. For starters, the pre-credit scene dragged on forever. Took far too long to set up the plot. And I know this is a comedy, but there has to be SOME level of realism with the characters - LaMarr was just an idiot the entire time. Nothing he did seemed believable at all. They also ignored a good opportunity to make some better jokes about how much the planet looked like Earth. As viewers, we know it's because sets are expensive to build, so why not exploit it a little more? There were some good one-liners on the ship: "I sing."

Huge fan of the series, but I thought this episode was terrible.
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 8:34pm (UTC -5)
So, how am I supposed to watch this show?

Am I supposed to take this crew seriously when they know nothing about a planet's culture when they are going to find two of their people that are lost?

They send an officer down that acts like an idiot? Are they going out of their way to make the LaMarr look like an idiot? Is he supposed to be funny?

I think this episode could have been great without LaMarr acting like a jackass. It's not just the dry humping, it's his conduct the entire episode.

My two favorite characters are Bortus and Alara... BY FAR! I don't get the impression they are stupid.

I think the story had great potential. Captain Mercer's best line was "mob rule". I don't know that I've ever seen another show that illustrated why a true democracy doesn't work.

Then we get our resident M.A.C.O. playing "lawyer" and doesn't think to teach his client about who the statue is there for? lol ... a public defender no doubt. I can't remember the name of the person the statue was commemorating... I didn't hear it clearly until the second time I heard it.

Claire's comment when learning they "reform" their criminals by some brain procedure was not that it's disturbing and horrid, it was that 21st-century technology wasn't advanced enough to do it safely. The lobotomy stuff really didn't phase me that much because I really didn't care if LaMarr got the treatment or not. It would probably make him a better character.

Seth looks like he has shoulder boards inside his uniform all the way from his shoulders to his neck .... and they are screwed into his neck. He's probably with the worst actor of the bunch.

So how am I supposed to watch this? Am I supposed to just accept that it's stupid most of the time? Should I feel anything for these guys?

I don't know. This one wasn't smart or funny. It's saving grace was Kelly looked hot as hell in jeans and a white shirt and we can look forward to Bortus singing some day.

1.5 for me.

I think I'll go watch 'Who Watches the Watchers'
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 9:26pm (UTC -5)
I definitely thought I saw echoes of Black Mirror's "Nosedive" (hadn't even though of "Hated in the Nation", but that fits too).  But if the information provided upthread is accurate, it's just a coincidence.  And the application to criminal justice does add a different wrinkle.

One nitpick: what was the point of upvotes?  Shouldn't the net (averaging up and down votes together) be the measure, or even the ratio, rather than the absolute number of downvotes alone?  One would think, too, that in such a society your votes would expire over time.

The barista sure looked nice lying in bed in her nightie or whatever it was!  Yum.

As for viewership, "Orville" is actually building on its lead-in, up 33% from "Gotham", and was the third-highest rated scripted show on all networks combined last night, not just in its time slot but for the whole evening (only "Will and Grace" on NBC and "Grey's Anatomy" on ABC were higher).  If it maintains these kinds of numbers it will be a shoo-in for renewal.

@Dobber: "I was surprised by the cloaking device. that kind of opens a can of worms. Does this mean the Orville can cloak too? And if so why didn't they use it before? It could've come in handy rescuing the captain and first officer from the zoo. Or in their battles with the Krill."

It may be that it only works on technologically "backward" societies.
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 9:34pm (UTC -5)
BTW, even if it's true that they were working on this before "Nosedive" came out, "MeowMeowBeanz" was definitely before either of them.
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 9:35pm (UTC -5)
I loved it. Today, it was the most socially relevant. I also enjoyed the fact that it is finally evened out in tone. The human did not seem out of place or jarring. And the commentary was, while not subtle, extremely topical. A very solid 3 stars.
Dave in MN
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 11:39pm (UTC -5)'s episode review (and also Seth's Tweets) both seem to indicate this episode was gestating for at least a year and a half before airtime. The reviewer goes as far as to call it another example of the "same idea, same time" phenomenon: i.e. the invention of radio, etc.
Dave in MN
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 11:44pm (UTC -5)

The episodes are not being aired in the order in which they were filmed. I believe the second episode aired was the fourth shot and i read they shot some scenes much later to solidify character continuity.

I suspect we'll be seeing less goofs like this now that the show is finding it's audience.
Sat, Oct 28, 2017, 12:22am (UTC -5)
If they were made without the knowledge of each other, it is an incredible coincidence that the Black Mirror and this episode were made at the same time, because it is literally the same subject matter and I would even say some scenes had identical dialogues or behaviors by the actors.

My least favorite episode so far, probably because I alrwady saw that Black Mirror episode and nothing felt original for me. I also find LaMarr's humor and acting a bit sub-par to be honest, he lacked drama when needed and humor when needed, so it didn't click for me.
Sat, Oct 28, 2017, 12:35am (UTC -5)
"What if people try to corroborate all this information?"

Here's the tweet where MacFarlane claims he wrote the episode a year and a half ago, so roughly six months before "Nosedive" aired in October 2016. So the claim at least comes from MacFarlane himself and not from insertions designed to alter the cycle of downvotes in this feed.
Sat, Oct 28, 2017, 1:45am (UTC -5)
@navamske, I just want to point out that in my comments to the second episode ("Command Performance"), I specifically said I came to Orville to watch Friday Night Lights' Tyra Collette wear a Starfleet uniform :) But I'll now put it on record, that I did not mind - at all - seeing her in civilian clothes.

So say we all.
Sat, Oct 28, 2017, 2:38am (UTC -5)
Having thought about it some more there are some other significant differences from nosedive. In this the downvotes are permanent and can never go away which has some harsh repercussions. In nosedive it was basically social shame combined with a bad credit rating but you could in principle recover from it.
Benjamin S
Sat, Oct 28, 2017, 7:21am (UTC -5)
I continue to love this show with each episode. This one was weaker than the last, but "Krill" was a really good episode and I suspected it would be hard to follow. Even still, this episode entertained me the entire time, and that's all I can really ask.

This is the Star Trek I didn't even know I wanted. Who would have thought that a funny knockoff version of Star Trek with Seth McFarlane could work so well? Not this guy. But count me in as a true believer. I hope it gets seven seasons.

And honestly, I need this kind of pure Star Trek-like entertainment after Discovery, which lost me after about four episodes. Thank goodness for The Orville.
Pocket University
Sat, Oct 28, 2017, 7:27am (UTC -5)
I rather liked it up until the final act, then it sort of lost me. I've been trying to put my finger on just why--I think the problem was that the shipboard plot played out like a semi-serious deconstruction of Star Trek, whereas the planet itself was played as OTT absurd.

That wasn't a problem as long as the two strands were running in parallel, but as soon as Lysella came aboard it got very confusing trying to work out which direction the comedy was supposed to be going in. If they'd played off that tension it might still have worked, but it just seem to come out kind of muddled.
Sat, Oct 28, 2017, 6:32pm (UTC -5)
That was... different. Overall, I like it, if though (or perhaps because) it was quite disturbing to watch. Should I press the upvote button? ;-)

And I actually liked the countdown (actually, count-up) at the end. It was obvious that LaMarr would be saved since he is a show regular, but it could have still played in quite a few different ways. So I was at the edge of my seat, waiting to see if the count will reach 10M or not (and I was very pleased that they didn't have it stop at the terribly cliche 9,999,999).

At any rate, aside of the obvious message, this episode got me thinking about something else: Take the social pressure to conform in real life. Is it really that different from the system we've seen in this episode?

Our own society may be less extreme, but the way people judge one another in RL isn't any less ridiculous. It's just that the judging process is less formal. We don't have actual buttons and actual rep scores, but lives can still be ruined by negative publicity. And this terrifying situation, really, had presisted since the dawn of humanity.

Does anybody else find it ironically hilarious, that this episode marks a turnaround in the Orville's TV ratings? Here Seth, get another upvote ▲. And while we're at it, here's one for Jammer too... ▲.
Sat, Oct 28, 2017, 7:36pm (UTC -5)
It was sort of going well. And then we start getting these 1980s crime drama music scores intermixed with sci fi. Focus gone. What was the show again? Why is Seth McFarlane still the star? Why do I feel every scene he’s in is on the precipice of a b-movie show tune breakout? And I swear I saw in prior comments someone knocked Galaxy Quest.

This continued farce shall not buy MacFarlane a seat at any captains table I’m aware of.
Sat, Oct 28, 2017, 8:57pm (UTC -5)

Well, it looks like the Orville is now at 0 for 7 for you. Isn't it about time to give up this show?

I mean, just last episode you wrote:
"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..."

So why, exactly, are you coming back for more every week? Why torture yourself in this way?

On another Orville thread, you've also said:
"I'll watch it until it ends most likely."

Given this week's ratings, it looks like you're in for quite a long ride. Unless the ratings somehow plunge into a real "nosedive" (hee hee... see what I did there?), this show will definitely complete it's first season and probably be renewed to a second season.

So if it's really that horrible a show for you, perhaps "sticking until the end" is not the best of ideas...
Trek fan
Sat, Oct 28, 2017, 9:18pm (UTC -5)
Wow, now this is more like it: This is the first "Orville" episode where I feel the Star Treak homage is being used to create a wholly original piece of social commentary and critique of our current zeitgeist. Here they take the "parallel earth" trope of TOS and take it in a direction I've never seen before: Government by social media. It's not deep, but neither is social media culture, and the opening scene where the girl casually "dislikes" two guys while chatting on the phone rings true in a disturbing way -- as does the scene at the end where the barista casually tells Isaac all of the manufactured images that will win them over to LaMarr.

I also like how the episode generally eschewed ridiculously out of place humor, which has been hit or miss on this series. This one felt more serious minded and used the humor of the situation for social satire rather than puerility. The one exception is LaMarr, who acts *really* stupid on the planet both before and after his arrest, belying what is obviously a life-threatening situatuion for him. The casual way he acts out with the statue and later with the authorities seems more like the deeds of a madman than a seasoned explorer. And it's not really clear why they need the navigator on the "landing team," a phrase that is itself a blatant amalgamation of "landing party" (TOS) and "away team" (TNG). Anyway, it wasn't enough to spoil my pleasant surprise that the "Orville" used its Trek formula for a fresh story this time, but LaMarr was really hit-or-miss here: I really wanted to identify with him and root for him, but his behavior was repeatedly cringe-worthy in a way that made no sense.

I think Jammer's review is fair: 3 stars for me
Sat, Oct 28, 2017, 9:46pm (UTC -5)
I enjoyed this episode, but it did feel a bit like a missed opportunity. There is a tiny amount of discussion about the society itself but no information about how it became the way it is, something that was frequently a hallmark of classic TOS episodes.

For example, it would have been interesting if this society was once similar to ours, but decided to shift to a more direct democracy in order to combat the corruption of elected leaders. It might have led to a debate about the merits and pitfalls of both systems but maybe I'm expecting a bit too much given that this show isn't actually TNG or even TOS.
Stefan T.
Sun, Oct 29, 2017, 3:04am (UTC -5)
Like the last one, this one here is 4 Stars for me.

"The Orville" is skyrocketing to become one of the best Sci-Fi-shows. After the last two episodes, I couldnt stop thinking about what actually happened in the plot. If they keep up the level like that, it will be far better Star Trek than Discovery. Of course, this comparison isn't that fair since "The Orville" has its very own unique traits like the cast, the sometimes over-the-top humor, but - on the other hand - it tackles the social issues and problems which Star Trek: Discovery should have and failed miserably until now.

This episode is about a direct democracy being based on something like a social network and asks a simple question: What, if everything is determined by up/downvoting? Even if you make a small mistake, it can lead to you being downvoted. If you have too many downvotes, you have to make an apology tour. If you will stay below 10 Million downvotes, you are fine (at least to some extent) . If not, you will be turned into a living zombie by using a "correction", meaning a brain operation.
Every action has serious consequences. The woman at the start, for example, couldnt get a coffee because she has done bad things when she was way younger. There is also no way to delete downvotes, they will literally punish you for the rest of your life. This is a world which Orwell (ironically the name of the ship is the "Orville". Just a coincidence?) couldn't have better described.

This plot is presented pretty blunt. Two scientists went missing and so the Orville sent a rescue team, consisting of Commander Kelly Grayson, Dr. Claire Finn, Lt. Alara Kitan and Lt. John LaMarr. With only small knowledge about the planet and the culture, they went down to watch out for the scientists. Of course, what would happen? LaMarr, often presented as an easy-going, joking man, makes a mistake, shows some sort of sexual behavior towards a statue, is being filmed while doing this, and gets one million downvotes immediately. The more and more the story progresses, the more the crew realizes the grave situation they are in, especially after finding one scientist being "corrected", while the other one was killed when he wanted to run away from that.

To make it worse, LaMarr isnt doing things right and brings himself into more trouble by not knowing what the woman did who that statue was from, or by his stupid behavior.
Of course, you could ask yourself: Why is he that stupid? Doesnt he realize the danger he's in? Certainly not, but this is exactly, why the story works out: You dont have the perfect future guys with a vast knowledge, but everyday people who just happen to work on a spaceship. And this is, what makes the episode even more terrifying, the perfect compilation of this world, being very similar to earth in 21st century and the "Orville", being a 24 century-spaceship.

But LaMarr ends up being rescued by Isaac hacking into the master feed and spreading false information.
This, together with the talk to Lysella, living on that planet, about this kind of voting system is crucial to the outcome of the story. LaMarr gets rescued by only a few votes below 10 millions. This leads to a lot of questions: Is this system really good, if someone can hack it? Couldnt people from the planet hack the master feed too and get what they want?
is it even good at all, having some kind of middle-age-related lynch justice combined with social media?
And lastly, this questions rise also about todays world where we have some similarities with this one. The last scene, where Lysella, instead of voting like before, just turned the TV off, is the final masterpiece, showing a possible outcome to what we have seen before as a dystopian parallel world of todays Earth.

Honestly - it gave me goosebumps only thinking about it. I could even oversee that the logic was not present everywhere or that the acting of LaMarr was more or less stupid. But that's exactly why the episode worked out. Assume, we had a Picard or a Riker here, it wouldnt have worked out because both of them wouldnt be stupid enough to bring themselves into danger like that.
This episode just shows what this series can be capable of. To me, it is a masterpiece in TV, showing that a series can critisize today's life without having a political agenda but just showing the downsides of a system.

Keep up the good work!
Sun, Oct 29, 2017, 3:16am (UTC -5)
@Jpaul. I like the angle. Example. Like us and elected a Zuckerberg like character, because he was young and cool and wore a hip piece of clothing. And then moved the society in a stupid direction. Like us. And then the culture we see emerges. Now we have something like trek. But without any depth, we have Family Guy Trek, but we don’t have that because it’s not funny and there aren’t any cut away scenes. So it’s derivative, but not even, as usual. What a mess.

I watched an episode of Cannon to hear the music effects in full force. I love the Jokes about him getting out of his Lincoln...
Sun, Oct 29, 2017, 5:48am (UTC -5)
@Alexandrea: That's cool that he was inspired by Ronson's book "So You've Been Publicly Shamed". I was totally thinking about that book while watching, at least once they got to the "apology tour" part. I swear I was! But then I forgot to mention it by the time I commented, drat.
Dave in MN
Sun, Oct 29, 2017, 8:15am (UTC -5)
@ Dougie

Well, it's obvious you dislike the show intently.

#1. Why do you keep watching?

#2. Why do you keep posting reviews?

Someone needs attention, imho.
Sun, Oct 29, 2017, 8:54am (UTC -5)
I loved when that hipster dude said to Alara something like, "By wearing that hat you are literally pissing on my heritage," of course, completely misunderstanding the meaning of the word "literally." Great parody/mockery of the mindset that degrades our language through constant hyperbole.
Sun, Oct 29, 2017, 9:22am (UTC -5)
Speaking as someone who liked 3 out of 7 episodes and didn't like the other 4, could certain people (like "Dave in MN") please leave off Dougie? "Well, it's obvious you dislike the show intently. #1. Why do you keep watching? #2. Why do you keep posting reviews?." Because it's his right and that's what this comments section is for. You shouldn't try to bully any dissenting voices out of the forum. Imagine how boring it'd be if all the comments below each episode were all in praise of it and all agreed with each other. I think it's pathetic that the moment a single person comes in with a critical perspective you tell them they shouldn't be watching or commenting. What does that even achieve? Disagree with them by all means, argue back - that's what comments sections are for! - but don't tell them to shut up and get out. Are your opinions really that fragile that you can't even stand being exposed to someone who disagrees with you? It's really childish. Viewing a TV show is not a religious cult where you have to love each episode and say only good things.
Sun, Oct 29, 2017, 11:07am (UTC -5)
iDon’t like Apple but I use an iPhone. I also use a Blackberry Priv and can go on all day about what they do wrong.

It is clear since the Sheen Roast that MacFarlane has a Shatner mancrush. It’s also clear he wants in on the Trek franchise, and as Executive Producer is now buying his way to it. I shall be his harshest critic for this act.

In one of the movie threads I suggested people must see the latest JJ crapocalypse before saying bad things. I would be an absolute hypocrite to not watch this show and then comment. Again I am suspect of those with Pom poms on this forum. Jammer is respected. An influencer from a network wouldn’t surprise me.

A forum is a virtual living room and I’m glad Jammer makes his couches available. There will be all types. I like a funny troll as much as carrying water for the newbs on occasion. But are any of you giving a real care or feels here beyond what this is?
Sun, Oct 29, 2017, 11:23am (UTC -5)
@wolfstar - the story within this episode, decent as it is, is lost. My Red Button is at 999,999 with some, you’d suspect.

Thanks for the coffee!
Sun, Oct 29, 2017, 12:58pm (UTC -5)
"Speaking as someone who liked 3 out of 7 episodes and didn't like the other 4, could certain people (like "Dave in MN") please leave off Dougie? "

Well, 3 out of 7 is not the same as 0 out of 7.

And nobody is trying to kick Dougie out or stop him from commenting. Everybody is welcome here.

I just don't understand why people insist on spending time and energy on watching a show they think is "garbage" (exact quote).
Especially when, in his own words, Dougie says that he is "stuck" with the Orville because it's the only free option. Really? I mean, he can't find *anything* else he'd rather do during that hour? Take a walk? Read a good book? Pop in an old Trek DVD?

I'm sorry, but I find this whole business of hatewatching (and yes that's exactly what this is) to be counterproductive and pointless and unhealthy. If you don't like a show, and I mean really *really* don't like it even after you've given it 7 chances, it's silly to continue watching it.

And quite frankly, I don't see how pointing this out makes me a "bully" or someone who "tries to silence dissenting voices". This is just simple common sense.

"It is clear since the Sheen Roast that MacFarlane has a Shatner mancrush. It’s also clear he wants in on the Trek franchise, and as Executive Producer is now buying his way to it. I shall be his harshest critic for this act."

Fair enough.

The question is, why do you feel you must watch every single instance of his crap in order to voice your opinion.

It's funny we're having this discussion on a MacFarlane show, because I too am a pretty big hater of everything MacFarlane (besides the Orville). Are you saying I must see every single episode of "Family Guy" in order to voice my opinion on that abomination of a series? I've seen a few, and I've seen enough.

So really, if you've seen 7 episodes and decided it's crap, what's the point of watching episode #8?

"But are any of you giving a real care or feels here beyond what this is?"

Yes, which is exactly why I feel so uneasy when I see people wasting their time like you're doing here.

And no, I'm not trying to silence you or anything. On the contrary: You obviously have many things to say about MacFarlane and the Orville, and you're more than welcome to say them.

The problem is, precisely, that you *aren't* saying all these things which seem important to you. Instead, you end up writing a post that effectively says "I've watched it and it sucked... again", which is simply boring. In short: It looks like you're torturing yourself for an hour every week for nothing.

So yes, the futility of it all bothers me. But of-course my opinion is not what matters here. It's a free country, and if you think I'm being silly (or worse - "a bully"), then feel free to disregard everything I've said.
Sun, Oct 29, 2017, 1:28pm (UTC -5)
So your opinion is I’m wasting my time. Got it. I have no opinion about what you do with yourself or your time, There’s no anger, no frustration, no misdirected passion. Check that. Jammer knows my email he can contact me and ask me to leave. I’ll do so if he does that.
Sun, Oct 29, 2017, 1:47pm (UTC -5)
I think this episode is on the better end of the spectrum so far, along with About a Girl and Krill: very entertaining, sort-of intellectually interesting in a casual way, and in almost equal measure frustrating, due to character choices I just can't fathom. Those character choices are the show's bending to the requirements of comedy rather than virissimilitude, and those are the moments that are still holding this show back.

The tonal issues have been toned down, though, and the comedy has in general now taken a back seat to the series' earnest efforts to tell a believable and semi-serious story. I respect that. It's the same choice I would have made, if I had been directing the series. So, I'm feeling hopeful. The comedy, when it does come, must come from the situation or the characters, and not from outside, being dropped in, because it's time for a gag, and I think the show runners have realized this, and are aiming for that.

BUT - here is why it's not a great episode. For the sake of comedy and to keep the conflict going, It requires Lamarr to act in a way that I simply do not believe he would act, if he were real and in that situation. The humping of the statue? Cute. Plausible? No. But it sets the plot forward, so I suppose I can allow it. But his absolute incapacity to even appear apologetic on those talk shows? That, I just couldn't buy. If he really thought his life were in danger, he could have sold his regret far better than he did. They played those scenes for laughs, but the character's apathetic attitude toward his own demise, his refusal to even pretend competently to be sorry, was just not believable to me. I wish the character had tried harder, and then perhaps still failed, which would have been fine.

Overall, though, the episode definitly reflects that the series is heading in a useful direction.
Sun, Oct 29, 2017, 7:16pm (UTC -5)
@Dougie: “Again I am suspect of those with Pom poms on this forum. Jammer is respected. An influencer from a network wouldn’t surprise me.”

I was ready to defend your right to be the resident hater. But that’s seriously uncool to darkly intimate conspiratorial accusations you can’t back with evidence, and which we who like the show can’t refute. This is the surest way to rend asunder the social fabric of the online space. Not okay, dude. I don’t accuse you of ulterior motives or a hidden agenda; please accord me and everyone here the same courtesy.
Pocket University
Sun, Oct 29, 2017, 9:05pm (UTC -5)
TBH some of the comments here did seem a bit "boilerplate" to me, though I'm not going to point fingers as a slightly stilted writing style can just mean that a commenter isn't used to writing for a public forum.

Nonetheless, I wouldn't fault Dougie for being a bit wary, as that sort of thing does happen often enough.
Sun, Oct 29, 2017, 10:01pm (UTC -5)

Funny how the guy accuses other people of "bullying" and then goes on to write something like this... Jeez.

And it isn't the first time, either. On the last episode, he wrote:
"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."

That's some chutzpah this guy has. First he is basically accusing the entire fan community of being a shill and tells us to shut up, and then he accuses us of trying to bully *him* into silence.

Yeah, definitely not cool.

@Pocket University

What the heck does a "stilted writing style" have to do with suspecting a commenter of being a shill? Why would a network pay good money for comments by a guy who can't even write properly?

You might also keep in mind that some people here are not native English speakers, and others have learning disabilities which prevent them from realizing the full potential of their writing. I'm "guilty" on both counts, so you can understand why I *really* don't like the implications of your post.

(and yes, I know you've added the caveat of "I'm not pointing fingers", but this doesn't undo the damage)
Pusher Robot
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 2:03am (UTC -5)
Minor goof: when they first connect to the master feed, if you freeze frame and read the comments, the screen shows comments about the dog even though they haven't come up with that story yet. Some of the comments in the other freeze frames are really hilarious too.

But overall good episode and a timely one. I'm really happy that they seem to toss every character a little bit of characterization in every episode, even if they aren't playing a central role in the plot. I'm hoping they can find that sweet balance with a little bit more creativity in the plots without going totally off the rails like Star Trek Discovery.
Dave in MN
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 6:50am (UTC -5)
I personally wouldn't continue watching a show where I'd spent seven hours watching and couldn't find anything to recommend.

Just like you are within your rights to hate-watch and post snide invective, i have every right to question your motivations.

Put it this way: imI gave up on dumpster-fire STD because I HATED IT, and I avoided posting reviews because I knew I had nothing positive to say. I couldn't remain dispassionate enough to provide a review that would have anything constructive to add.

Do what you want, but I'll continue to call out what i see to be trollish behavior if I feel so inclined.

Majority rules, eh? Topical episode indeed ....

Enjoy wasting your time on a show you hate.
Dave in MN
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 6:52am (UTC -5)
Also, it's a bit disrespectful to call someone who like this a pom-pom waver. One could easily assert you are a STD cheerleader who feels knocking the Orville helps STD.

Leave the name - calling to the kids.
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 8:29am (UTC -5)
Just because someone doesn't like the first few, or even several episodes of a show, and then posts bad reviews, doesn't mean that they are 'hate-watching' it. That's a broad statement and a total assumption by anyone who says that. And anyone saying that person should stop watching that show because they don't like it so far is being what I would consider to be a pompous jerk.

There is this thing in the universe called hope. Star Trek fans should know this almost better than anyone.

I personally like Orville so far. This episode I would give 3 stars, but I don't much like DIS. In fact some people reading my reviews of DIS may even consider me to be 'hate-watching' it. The highest I've given any of the episodes of that is 2 1/2 stars, and that was being generous maybe. But I have hope that the next episode will blow me out of the water. Maybe it will. I HOPE it will.

For instance, Voyager. On average I would have to say that I pretty much hate that show, but you know what? There were a few 4 star episodes of it, and several 3 or 3 1/2 star episodes of it, but 90% of the episodes were terrible, just awful, and I kept watching hoping to see one of those few gems. And when I saw one it kept me going again, hoping and waiting for the next one.

So everyone keep on Trekking and see what happens with DIS or Orville or whatever other 'Trek' show you want, because you never know.

Peace out.
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 9:17am (UTC -5)

You are doing the same thing Dougie does here in the commentary of discovery . The exact same thing. So if he should stop posting here I guess you should stop posting there. Check your own posts before calling out others.

Btw I think that both shows are 5/5 for me with the occasional blunder like this week. I am happy to have two quality tv hours every week.
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 9:58am (UTC -5)
"Just because someone doesn't like the first few, or even several episodes of a show, and then posts bad reviews, doesn't mean that they are 'hate-watching' it."

I agree.

But when said person:

(a) makes it clear that he hates the very concept of the show (the mere idea of McFarlane fulfilling his dream of his own Treklike series seems to boil his blood for some reason)
(b) doesn't show any hint of thinking the show might get better.
(c) accuses every single fan of the show of being a network shill.

Then I think the term "hatewatching" is appropriate in this instance.

And actually, there's nothing wrong with doing (a) and (b). As long as a person is aiming his venom at the show rather than on his forum-mates, that's his prerogative.

But if a person chooses to do this, then he shouldn't complain when people scratch their heads and ask "if you despise the show so much, why do you spend so much time on it"? I mean, it *is* a perfectly valid question.

Hatewatching can sometimes be a good thing. There are bloggers who turn it into an artform that is immensly enjoyable to read. I still don't really get what drives a person to do such thing, though.
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 10:56am (UTC -5)

You conviently left out the main point of my post. Hope.

All of your points may be true, but that doesn't forego the conclusion that that person may still have hope that a show will get better, or even become great.

Because one does not understand why someone does a thing, does not mean that someone should criticize them doing that thing.

And as far as complaining about other people's posts. You are the pot. And I suppose in this case I'm the kettle. But I don't like doing this, so I won't anymore, but I suspect you will.
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 11:00am (UTC -5)
Forego? That really makes no sense there. Disallow maybe? IDK. I just type stuff.

Go Seth go!
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 12:57pm (UTC -5)
Putting on my moderator hat here:

It would be great if people didn't feel the need to take everything someone else says as a personal affront, and then building a federal case around who is allowed to say what or whether it is worth their time. Too much of the dialogue here lately is sniping back and forth over, essentially, Who Started It. It gets kind of old and tiring.

Not every comment that seems to be an attack against your viewpoint needs to be rebutted with a comment explaining how that person is in the wrong for attacking you as a person or group. Just let it go, for crying out loud. Ignore comments that annoy you.

I am not trying to silence anyone, but the attempt to score points in a battle over who insulted whom is a waste of everybody's time. You can't win such an argument. So let's make it about the shows, and not each other.

Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 1:40pm (UTC -5)
Jammer.... Thank you !!!
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 3:06pm (UTC -5)
My apologies to the moderator for being part of the dispute.
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 6:05pm (UTC -5)
No one listen to Jammer.

Keep fighting each other.
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 7:04pm (UTC -5)
"But I don't like doing this, so I won't anymore, but I suspect you will..."

Hey! What happened to all your talk about "hope"? ;-)

I don't like doing this either and Jammer is right. We all got carried away but enough is enough (and I'm rebuking myself with this statement as well).

And now back to our regular program:

Does anybody here has an idea regarding what purpose the upvotes serve in this episode's society? Not only they don't cancel the downvotes (which is already odd enough) but they don't seem to serve any other purpose either.
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 8:15pm (UTC -5)
"So let's make it about the shows, and not each other."

Hear, hear.

"Does anybody here has an idea regarding what purpose the upvotes serve in this episode's society?"

I would love to know. It didn't seem to be thought through, which is probably my greatest criticism of this episode (other than having people ever physically touch buttons on other people's badges, when that obviously wasn't necessary based on the vast majority of downvotes we saw that were given remotely with phones).
Different Jason
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 10:23pm (UTC -5)
Liked it, despite the problems.

I liked the physical touching of the buttons -- it's an added feature for social aggression (or if your phone's battery is dead).

And the Internet-typical conversation here is doing a decent job at showing the relevancy of the premise.
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 11:04am (UTC -5)
I wrote this 6 months ago on another forum with regard to a news item, saw it, and thought it relevant:

Article headline: Travelers Warned to Stay Away From Texas After Sanctuary Cities Ban

I'm curious why we even have a Constitution? If "public social media opinion" is more important, or a judges "ideas" are more important, then why not just let these things determine the outcome of ALL things in the land.

So, if we don't like Trump today, we can remove him because our opinion says that's what we want. If we don't like Anderson Cooper's hair tomorrow, we can remove him from the airwaves. If we don't like Jeff Bezos' latest expansion plans, we can take his money and pitch-cap him, because opinion says so. If we want to eat all the whales and collapse the ecosystem, then so be it, because that's what we wanted.

In the end, we are a nation of laws, or we are a nation of opinion. I like being a nation of laws. Let's enforce them, and see if things improve. Not enforcing them has turned this country into a weird form of Hunger Games for Social Attention.

Maybe MacFarlane noticed something similar and made a story for it. Again, the story is decent, the presentation is spotty, and to be absolutely clear, my comment on this episode said: IT WAS GOING WELL. My specific comment is on musical score and MacFarlane's inability to act as the show's lead. These are surgical comments, quite specific, and quite obvious within this episode.

That is all.
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 1:58pm (UTC -5)
@Different Jason
"I liked the physical touching of the buttons"

Me too. It adds a personal touch (literally) that obviously has psychological significance, which we actually see at work in the episode *every single time* that someone is being up/down-voted in person.

On should also keep in mind that these personal everyday votes add up over time. So unless you do something that gets the entire mob angry (like humping a statue of the lady who saved the whale forests) then most of your "score" would probably come from these little everyday interactions.
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 3:29pm (UTC -5)
I'm a diehard Treky fan and I have to admit that this "Majority Rule" is one for the books, giving it a 3 1/2 of four stars. I find that it is attracting a larger audience that are not from the Treky space. In Facebook, I'm finding so many people applaud this episode. They are saying that this episode teaches people to turn off the TV channel like CNN that talk about politics, political correctness, or BS politics. "Majority Rule" was in the right place at the right time as many people are glued to fear of what's happening in America. Two of the craziest scenes are: to hump a statue which I think was kind of silly, maybe they should have something like wrong entrance scene or something like that and thumbs down button at the end of the show that is too close for comfort. I thought that the early scenes where they didn't know what Thumbs up and Thumbs down buttons mean was a silly preposition but Treky has to explore new worlds and be curious of their findings so this isn't as cranky as it turns out to be or something that they "should" know in advance. These Treky characters are getting to know each other as they build on future plots. It's only the first year of Orville tv and they will pick up a second season. FOX is already so impressed with the show performance that they started showing ads of The Orville in ads during tv show breaks or in a footnote scene within a show.
Dave in MN
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 6:07pm (UTC -5)
Do we HAVE to talk politics in regards to an episode that only tangentially deals with the subject?

Being pro- or anti-Trump has very little to do with the ethical dilemma presented last week.

I think Jammer was pretty clear we should try to stick to topics that relate to the episode ... oh, and I'm only mentioning this to try to help us stay focused, not as a personal attack.
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 9:34pm (UTC -5)
This is my favorite episode to date of the Orville and Best Sci-Fi in comparison between Discovery vs. Orville to date. I know Jammer is still resistant to the idea of the comedy in the show and I can see that, but let's be honest, the social commentary is spot on and if this were an episode of Voyager/DS9/TNG, it would have been given 4 stars.

The social commentary of social media and direct democracy is great, what Seth did here was underline the very biggest elephant in the room, "Democratic values do not work" in reality. It's too easy to push people into a type of thought without context, creating mobs of majority with similar ideas and ideals.

In the American and world social media, we are encountering these problems from celebrity/political maneuvering to cyber bullying by kids forming these kinds of flash online mobs. It's a reflection of how bad pure democratic system with no outside ethical or moral basis can be.
Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 11:56pm (UTC -5)
I've just seen Black Mirror's "Nosedive". Other then the very general premise of everyone-rates-everyone society, the two stories (as well as the two societies) are completely different.

Me thinks people are way too fast in accusing shows of plagiarism (and it ain't the first time such claims were made about the Orville)
Wed, Nov 1, 2017, 1:13am (UTC -5)
My favorite moment is when Lamar tells the security guards they can 'suck ass'.
Wed, Nov 1, 2017, 1:02pm (UTC -5)
I got around to watching this. First off, they've happily taken away many of the bad Family Guy jokes that plagued the earlier shows. That definitely made this a better watch, and I hope they keep on that path.

I think there's an interesting high concept here; what if we were all ruled by compulsive popular opinion? I don't want to get too political, but I'm reminded of a few election cycles where it felt like a lot of knee-jerk reactions on social media controlled the races, many times at the expense the actual facts.

That said, there's much left desired in the execution of this episode. For one thing, it's not very convincing that Lisella, the waitress, would really be interested in the world of the Orville. This isn't TNG's "First Contact" where a scientist was brought on board the Enterprise and suddenly opened up to the possibilities of the future. No, Lisella is just brought on because they ran into her the most, and nothing about her character makes us think that she would be interested in aliens or moving beyond her planet's system.

"Tell them your world can do better.", Claire says at the end, summarily dismissing Lisella's society without explaining why or how. Lisella apparently takes this to heart by turning off the TV, but we're kind of left wondering if she really learned anything. Was the solution really that people were watching too much negative news, or was it that people weren't paying *enough* attention to the innocent's stories before casting their vote? Certainly, if Lisella hadn't been watching the news, she wouldn't have known about the missing Union officers and couldn't have helped in the first place. So, I think the whole ending scene was not well conceived.

All in all, the commentary on social media and generally likability of the cast does give this show promise. There's still a long way to go for this show to work as more than just a TNG knockoff, but like the comedy getting fixed, I can imagine other aspects of the writing getting tighter. I think I'll go with 2 stars.
Wed, Nov 1, 2017, 6:55pm (UTC -5)
Yes “Dave in MN” because I was reposting intact a comment I made on another forum. Your bias continues. There was none in my comment. Please do not make trouble. Thank you very much.
Dave in MN
Wed, Nov 1, 2017, 9:35pm (UTC -5)
One would think Jammer doesn't want his comments section wants spammed with third-party news editorials, but rather people expressing their own opinions in their own words.

Then again, it's not my website.

Also, I don't make assumptions about the political affiliations/biases of strangers (especially those on the internet) since there's a good chance I might be wrong. But that's just my own personal rule.

Anyways, carry on.
Dave in MN
Wed, Nov 1, 2017, 9:43pm (UTC -5)
By the way, I am aware you were reposting a political editorial you supposedly wrote for somewhere else, but those musings (if indeed yours) were, at best, tangential to the topic.

Just wanted to clarify my point.
Kira Nerys
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 5:24am (UTC -5)
A very good show - Orville does Black Mirror! The concept was great, even though the execution was still a bit lacking, as has been the case with all Orville episodes so far. I really think that toning down the obnoxiously unbelievable idiocy of the characters Malloy and LaMarr would benefit the show a lot!

The scene where they fed fake news into the main feed was GREAT! "But what if anyone corroborates the stories?" "Don't worry - they won't" - ROFL!!!

An excellent commentary on how much we depend on the opinions of society, taken to a grotesque extreme!
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 6:42am (UTC -5)
The Orville does a present-day-related episode again. The result is decent, but unfortunately shallow.

I can accept LaMarr being silly and doing a stupid action. Some young men actually behave like that, even on duty, especially when they feel safe. Note that the entire chain of command does a collective facepalm here, so this is not accepted behaviour. Besides, the Orville never had a 'best and the brightest people' conception. The far bigger silliness is The Orville not finding out about the feed in advance, but I guess they were in a hurry?

The problem with the episode is that it doesn't have a good look at social media or direct democracy, and therefor the criticism falls flat. Lets say the voters did try to corroborate the false stories. In all likelihood LaMarr would have gotten four more downvotes, and we end up with an execution in all but name. Is that the intended moral ('Corroborate stories so we can execute more people' 'People are stupid?')? I think not. These aren't even necessarily a criticism of social media. Maybe 'Majority doesn't decide the Truth' works - if we recall the interview with the scientist which plays in the background early in the episode - but that's not much of a criticism of social media per se either.

A better ending would have been if Isaac had spread a lot of fake news meant to create outrage, and the voters end up simply too distracted to vote against LaMarr... That would have been a criticism which better justified shutting off the feed in the end. It wouldn't have been 'people don't corroborate' as much as 'the feed makes it harder to think because it has too much information and encourages herd behaviour'.

* Bortus is hilarious as always. Captain: "Maybe we should have pretzels and signs here". Bortus: "I will not fail you"!
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 10:05am (UTC -5)
"Lets say the voters did try to corroborate the false stories. In all likelihood LaMarr would have gotten four more downvotes, and we end up with an execution in all but name. Is that the intended moral ('Corroborate stories so we can execute more people' 'People are stupid?')?"

I think the moral here is that when you have a mob who judges people based on the shallowest of criteria, that's a huge problem
regardless of whether the rumours they spread are true or not.

And the actual "fake news" that the Orville crew planeted in the feed just demonstrate how silly the whole thing is. Should the life of a person depend on whether he has a dog named Chuckles? Now that's one seriously fucked-up society.

(and I'm not saying that we are that much better. That's precisely why the message of this episode is so powerful)
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 1:42pm (UTC -5)
This just in:

The Orville has been renewed for a 2nd season:
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 4:46pm (UTC -5)
Everyone has their opinion about the show. I'm not a political bluff but I see things that are odd with the way people think about this recent Orville episode in facebook. It's not anything that has to do with the Orville though. I know that Dave in MN has made a point. I don't think there will be any more polarizing Political correctness episodes going forward. This one made seems to be too realistic.
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 4:49pm (UTC -5)
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi, the link is bad. if you have an updated link that would be great. *using my firefox*
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 5:26pm (UTC -5)

Jammer's commenting system always adds a random space to all links, rendering them unusable. I'm pretty sure it's intentional, though I have absolutely no idea what purpose this serves.

At any rate, just delete the space between the "1" and the "2" in the link I've given and you'll be ready to go.
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 8:18pm (UTC -5)
Such great news about the renewal!
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 8:23pm (UTC -5)
"Jammer's commenting system always adds a random space to all links, rendering them unusable. I'm pretty sure it's intentional, though I have absolutely no idea what purpose this serves."

It is not intentional and is something I need to reprogram to fix if I can ever find a few hours to do it...
Brian S.
Fri, Nov 3, 2017, 4:53pm (UTC -5)
@Omicron: "I think the moral here is that when you have a mob who judges people based on the shallowest of criteria, that's a huge problem
regardless of whether the rumours they spread are true or not.

And the actual "fake news" that the Orville crew planeted in the feed just demonstrate how silly the whole thing is. Should the life of a person depend on whether he has a dog named Chuckles? Now that's one seriously fucked-up society.

(and I'm not saying that we are that much better. That's precisely why the message of this episode is so powerful)"


I like this comment of yours very much. Just for that, YOU get an Upvote!

However, I also read a rumor on Twitter that you run a human trafficking ring through your pizza parlor.

I suppose I COULD fact-check that rumor, but it's easier for me to just give you a Downvote and wait for you're apology tour.

Brian S
Fri, Nov 3, 2017, 5:20pm (UTC -5)
Possible explanation for the cloaking cloaks the ship visually, but not to any sensors.

So maybe you can use a cloaking device to project visible light from behind the ship to the front, thus making it appear invisible to the naked eye.....but any of the other countless devices that can make device that can scan for metal, or scan for life signs, or whatever a warp core is made of would still be easily spotted by any advanced civilization.

Which is also in keeping with some of the Star Trek stories over the years. Cloaked ships tended to have very high energy signatures. Those who knew what they were looking for and how to find it (radiation surge, plasma leak, a tachyon detection grid) could spot a cloaked ship.

In this universe--unlike the superpower that the ST Federation is portrayed as--the human-centric Union is considered to be a technologically pedestrian species in comparison to the Krill and several others. So their cloaking technology might be good enough to fool the cameras and radar of a primitive, barely space-faring world, but it makes sense it would be useless against the scanners of the other adversaries who can easily detect the signature radiation from a warp core regardless of whether or not someone see it just by looking out their window.
Sat, Nov 4, 2017, 4:08am (UTC -5)

Ok, lets say we don't "judge people based on the shallowest of criteria". Well, LaMarr did do what he's charged of and is obviously guilty. There'd be a few more downvotes and he's done for. Maybe if the mob had a choice of punishments and went for the nastiest one the criticism would stick (I wonder whether the treatment works better for natives - possibly the result there isn't as harsh as it is for Lewis). In short, the subject matter has potential, but I find the execution to be lacking.
Sat, Nov 4, 2017, 8:35pm (UTC -5)
I liked this episode, but t reminded me of the better episodes of "Sliders" which often used this sort of social satire on alterate dimension Earths. In fact one episode, "Dead Man Sliding", had a similar plot: "Quinn is mistakenly arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced to death in a Hollywood where TV viewers determine the sentence and executions are televised live."
Sun, Nov 5, 2017, 12:47am (UTC -5)
Rating: 2.9/4

Was really fun to watch.

I guess I benefited from not watching Black Mirror, so it was new and fresh to me.

My one grip the entire episode, is I NEEDED to understand how the upvotes worked. It felt like they meant nothing. I thought at least an upvote would negate a downvote so there would be a "total" but it didn't go there.

The other Con, that needs to be just waved off to enjoy the episode is why the pilot would behave in such a way and not be super reprimanded/etc.

The picture that got the other two in trouble feels so today and our viral media.

It was a really good episode, just needed a lot of waivers for you to get on with it. Like even researching such a society could affect it, going in for retrieval and affecting their system by bringing her up, etc etc.
Sun, Nov 5, 2017, 5:50am (UTC -5)

I've been thinking, and the upvotes probably serve a role similar to experience points (XP) in RPG's. That's the number that people work all their lives to bring up, and there would be perks for those who reach certain milestones.

I'm also guessing that the upvotes *can* be used to cancel downvotes after a successful apology tour. The count must be reset in *some* fashion for the system to make any sense.

(I doubt McFarlane actually thought about these things, but I guess this is another thing the Orville has in common with Star Trek: Sometimes it is up to the fans to fill in the blanks)

As for this:
"Like even researching such a society could affect it, going in for retrieval and affecting their system by bringing her up, etc etc."

Not to mention the huge hack of the feed that Isaac did in the end...

But why is this a problem? The Union doesn't seem to adhere to Trek's Prime Directive anyway. The whole conversation between Mercer and the Admiral wouldn't have been possible, if there was a blanket non-interference directive.

I do agree with you, though, that LaMarr's stupidity and unprofessionalism here isn't really believable. As Kelley said: 'what part of 'inconspicuous' don't you understand?!' ". But that's standard fare with the Orville (see Gordon in the previous episode). Can't really enjoy this show unless we overlook these things.

And they should have totally reprimanded him in the end. It's a missed opportunity, really, because Seth would totally play such a scene for laughs and I think it would have worked wonderfully.
Sun, Nov 5, 2017, 7:29am (UTC -5)
It's late, but I finally finished this episode. It feels like it hit me with a rock. This feels about as heavy handed and unsubtle as Star Trek: TNG too oftendid. I'm not saying it's bad to emulate Star Trek, nor do I think there are a lot of options for an hour-long episodic show, but it gets old really quick.

My biggest problem is something that just occurred to me - This show has already been renewed for a second season. That's fine. The offensive part is that Firefly didn't even get a full one. Fifteen years aren't long enough for these wounds to heal.
Sun, Nov 5, 2017, 11:43am (UTC -5)
"Jammer's commenting system always adds a random space to all links, rendering them unusable. I'm pretty sure it's intentional, though I have absolutely no idea what purpose this serves."

Technical update:

There was some code that automatically added a line break every 75 characters in the comment output. I'm not sure why this was in there, but I've removed it, so this should fix the display on all links, including previously posted ones.

Additionally, I've removed the prohibition of the use of "http://" on links. This was in there to cut down on spam, but the antispam question should hopefully catch most spam without the need for this additional check. We'll see if there's a spam increase with this change. If there is, I might resume this prohibition. Hopefully I won't have to, and this will make posting links easier.
Sun, Nov 5, 2017, 5:53pm (UTC -5)

True on the passes in order to enjoy the show. I'm just not used to giving the passes I have to give for the Orville. In fact The Orville keeps pointing out the passes I've always given Star Trek, and making fun of them!

That to me thus far is the "con" of the series. It's really trying to be a comedy/fun show, but then will have a serious episode/story. It's like it doesn't know what it is.

Part of me wishes it would stop trying to be funny, and be a legit show with allowance to be funny. If you understand what I mean.

And yeah, the show is so Star Trek that at times I have to remind myself that it's not and therefore doesn't follow the prime directive/etc.
Sun, Nov 5, 2017, 7:07pm (UTC -5)
"I'm just not used to giving the passes I have to give for the Orville. In fact The Orville keeps pointing out the passes I've always given Star Trek, and making fun of them!"

Yeah, I know... it's frustrating. But objectively speaking, I don't think the Orville really is any worse in this respect than Trek. It's just different, and therefore a little difficult to get used to.

I also think that it's improving on this front. At least "Majority Rule" didn't jump abruptly from funny comedy to a mob beating a guy to death... or ruin an awe-filled meaningful ending with a really lame joke (yes, episode #4, I'm talking about you! on both counts!).

And LaMarr's behavior here was still more reasonable than Gordon in "Krill". At least this time it was an integral part of the story: Everybody else calls him out on it, and it is also cited by the Admiral as the reason for refusing to allow a rescue. Had they just added a 30 second scene at the end of him being reprimanded, this would actually be an example of very good writing.

Then we have the next epsiode (the shuttle one), which as far I remember, doesn't have ANY offenders of this type.

So it really does look like the Orville is getting better in this respect (let's hope I didn't just jinx it by posting this)...
Mon, Nov 6, 2017, 6:45pm (UTC -5)
@Everyone: Can we please stop throwing a hissy fit over telling some people to post or not? What are you all, 12? This adds nothing and is only disctracting. And please don't answer to this, I consider this "discussion" pointless, I am just voicing my objection.

I found this Episode really interesting. Sure, it was totally over the top, and obvious, and LeMarr acted like an idiot, but lets be honest: He is supposed to be an idiot. At the same time, because what he did was so obviously stupid, there was no easy way out (him just explaining himself), and they avoided having to introduce some alien cultural norms that might have felt forced. It pulled the episode much closer to us than if it was, lets say, breaking some glass in a garden.

I also really liked the references. The "cultural sensitive hat" brings to mind a certain incident. It is also really refreshing to not have any political bias here: This episode could be meant for climate change deniers or "Trump is literally Hitler" types. Very good, and it shows that Seth McFarlane is not as stupid as he makes himself out to be, or as this show seems to be. The premise was also believable enough - who hasn't heard of recent social media outrages over nothing that have ruined the person in question.

And regarding the criticism that this story is not original, or that others have done similar stories in recent times: No wonder, in the fifties everything was atomic. I liked this take, and nothing stood out to me as terrible. I can give this 3 stars, I enjoyed myself watching this.
Sat, Nov 11, 2017, 8:51am (UTC -5)
This episode gets an upvote from me! It’s one of the best Star Trek episodes I’ve seen in years. It’s amazing how much better The Orville is than Discovery. Naturally the TNG and TOS atmosphere has been lovingly plagiarized, which doesn’t bother me at all and I enjoy the joke, but then uses this vehicle to present elevating material just like the best Star Trek episodes always did.

I was reading Gee’s comments on the latest DSC episode, “Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum,” wherein he noted how there are no grand views of the ship in the series to help romanticize the setting. We get plenty of those with the Orville, with beautiful orchestral movements to sweep us into the magnificence of the universe and the exhilaration of space travel. And then I laugh, because this show was just supposed to be an irreverent comedy, I realize I’m mostly just experiencing nostalgia. I think that was the intention as well. I love it!
Duke of Earl Grey
Mon, Nov 13, 2017, 12:41am (UTC -5)
For everyone complaining that this episode ripped off "Nosedive" from Black Mirror, you could just as easily claim Black Mirror ripped off "App Development and Condiments" from Community (the MeowMeowBeenz episode), which aired two years previously. Or maybe this aspect of modern culture is just ripe for satire, and everyone's taking a similar tack without necessarily copying each other.
Tue, Dec 5, 2017, 11:10pm (UTC -5)
So, why didn’t the statue thing come up later when LaMarr is up for promotion to engineering? ::balldrop::
Wed, Dec 6, 2017, 3:22am (UTC -5)

Just catching up a bit and I saw your note from Nov. 5th.


It's the little things. You didn't HAVE to change it, but you took the time to do it, and now it's better. Much appreciated. :D

Regards... RT
Sat, Feb 24, 2018, 1:19am (UTC -5)
So I watched this ep with a friend the other night (he bought the eps on Amazon Video) and I have to say, liked it as a whole. There were parts when I was just laughing at the sheer absurdity but I suppose that's the point. Still not 100% convinced to give the series as a whole a second chance though - the excessive off color jokes are still as annoying as hell - but I like it a hell of a lot better than Discovery.

Maybe I'm predisposed to agree with this ep, being a very private person compared to my peers and having scrapped all of my social media long ago (except for a LinkedIn I keep for professional networking), but I feel this was a very effective commentary episode. It deftly skewered social media, traditional "news" media/bias, and even got in a jab at the ridiculous levels of political correctness in our society today (Alara's hat - which I thought she looked kind of cute in)

Yes, it's effectively an old fashioned TOS style morality play in modern packaging and will probably be severely dated in a decade or so. But the bright setting of the Orville felt like a breath of fresh air compared to all the dark gritty shows on TV nowadays (cough Discovery cough). Thank you McFarlane for filling that need - that's definitely in Orville's favor.

Fun fact: Stephen Culp, who plays LaMarr's PR guy, also played Major Hayes on Star Trek Enterprise. I didn't recognize his voice due to the accent but thought his name looked familiar when I saw it in the credits. Good to see some Trek alums crossing over - they already have Kasidy Yates and I hope to see more.
Fri, Apr 27, 2018, 4:15pm (UTC -5)
What did they do with the surviving observer, who had been "corrected" to such a degree that Kasidy Yates couldn't reverse the damage?
Sun, Jun 3, 2018, 9:57am (UTC -5)
Didn't Seth already do a similar spin on social media's unpredictability - when you unawarely do something that will get spread to the masses pissing everyone off and face unreasonable harsh consequences - in that Family Guy episode where Brian writes a "bad tweet"?
Seems McFarlan can't help but get his Orville ideas from other shows, even his own ones
Mon, Jan 28, 2019, 5:44am (UTC -5)
Seth Macfarlane and everyone else involved in making this episode absolutely nails it here with biting absurdist satire that asks a lot of questions and allows the audience the intellectual space to really reflect on some deep issues in society here.

Easily the best Orville episode made and possibly could be included in some of the best Trek episodes ever made.

I think time will be kind to this episode and it will gradually gain more respect among critics and fans as the years pass.
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 9:07am (UTC -5)
- I have a shitty day. Guys *grrrr*... anyways I thought this would be a great day to watch some Orville.
- After 5 minutes I thought that I must have clicked on a bad black mirror episode (so all black mirror episodes after season 3)
- Uhh a cloaking device, did they ever use that before. Would have been useful, wouldn't it?
- "It was a dark time" I laughed. Thanks Orville.
- For a second even became interesting. Total democracy can easily devolve into mob rule (Ochlocracy).
- Does any women in the future have to wear shiny lipstick?
- Ok so this is a black mirror episode (with a happy ending)
- Lamarr (token black) is kind of a dumbass and the most "urban" person evah... maybe give him a personality that has more than 0.5 dimensions.

Apart from the popcultural references, which are still fairly annoying, it was ok.

2 1/2 upvotes.
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 9:30am (UTC -5)
The black mirror episode I mean is "Nosedive"
Sat, Aug 8, 2020, 9:57am (UTC -5)
>It kinda felt like a blend of a few episodes of Sliders (man I miss that show).

I loved the first few seasons of Sliders before they started messing with the cast.

>They enter a planet they know that has money but they do not know that it has the button system?

Good point. Seems like a big plot hole and it wouldn't have harmed the story if they synthesized those badges before they went down.

>The button system also makes no sense because there is no way of stopping somebody from upvoting himself a million times. Or secretly downvoting somebody else.

They probably only receive a vote based on the badge of the person voting, like they connect using bluetooth or some similar technology. One vote per person.

>it's effectively an old fashioned TOS style morality play in modern packaging and will probably be severely dated in a decade or so.

What makes you think it will be dated so soon? I think social media and direct democracy will still be relevant in ten years time.
William B
Wed, Jan 20, 2021, 10:02pm (UTC -5)
Pretty fun but kind of vapid. I expect derivative but filtering Black Mirror episodes directly through the TOS parallel earth thing needs something extra. LaMarr, as Jammer states, does not impress, though some of the scenes of him trying to mumble through an apology on the talk circuit is amusing. I think the parallel earth thing runs into problems of whether this episode wants to have the Union characters loudly proclaim that they can't understand this crazy culture or loudly proclaim that this crazy culture is just what 21st century Earth nearly was. The stuff with the barista was amusing. Low 2.5.
Cody B
Thu, Feb 11, 2021, 3:46pm (UTC -5)
Started watching Orville. This is my favorite episode so far. Felt like a comedic black mirror episode. I’m starting to know all the characters and this isn’t a bad show. I appreciate that the show doesn’t revolve around comedy. Seems like they come up with a trek episode first and foremost and then write in comedic lines. I’ll stick with it
Thu, Mar 18, 2021, 4:18pm (UTC -5)
I don't think there's an Orville episode I truly dislike more than Command Performance.

I enjoyed this one but it's definitely in my bottom 5 for the show through 2 seasons. The message here about judgmental behavior leading to online mobs ruining people's lives is delivered a little too heavy handedly. It's Christian Rock levels of being unable to be subtle about the message.
Sat, Sep 18, 2021, 7:10pm (UTC -5)
Ok, this one was just bad. This highly advanced crew
1.Couldn't hack a primitive computer system to research the customs of a primitive society
2.Isn't disciplined enough to keep a low profile on an alien planet
3.Has a device that can disguise them as Krill including Krill outfits but can't make a girl with a big forehead look human
4. Couldn't hack the system enough to just changē the actual votes
5. Can regrow limbs but can't repair a lobotomized brain
6. Will disobey orders to rescue the captain and first officer from an advanced society but won't extract a helmsman from a primitive society
yeah right
Sat, Oct 16, 2021, 2:17am (UTC -5)
How convenient that they speak English...
Proud Capitalist Pig
Sun, May 29, 2022, 7:31am (UTC -5)
“Majority Rule” is a timeless warning like George Orwell’s 1984, and a fine, topical offering in the best science fiction tradition. If we aren’t careful, this episode’s planet could be ours someday soon. Why just this month, among the mass of meltdown videos released after the pending Roe decision was leaked, included in a montage of hissy-fits and hysterical screaming, was the snapshot of a sidewalk on which someone had scrawled with a piece of chalk, “WE ARE THE LAW. NOT YOUR FUCKING COURT.” Lots of people do actually want the kind of society that the Orville visited in this episode, and I think “Majority Rule” was wholeheartedly effective in showing us why voting your way through life and bestowing *you,* the chimpanzee with a thumb on your phone, so much power is an unfathomably disastrous idea.

But we’d be kidding ourselves if we didn’t think a lot of people wouldn’t love a pure unstructured democracy that punishes the “wrong-thinkers.” Plenty of Woke slacktivists and useful idiots on TikTok would have been salivating and changing their pants afterward if they could have downvoted J.K. Rowling in the hopes of sending her to a re-education facility where she would have faced a lobotomy for daring to define “people who menstruate.” Hell, I’d get up every day and downvote Nancy Pelosi and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as many times as I could on principle alone (was there a limit on how many times during the day you could downvote one person on the “Majority Rule” planet? This was never addressed in the episode. School bullies and bigots would be interested to know, I’m sure.) But seriously, do you really want a reality in which ten mouth-breathing layabouts, whose minds are full of nothing but vapid sound-bites, can outvote one physicist with a doctoral degree when it comes to something like environmental conservation policy? That’s why we have a representative democracy, instead of the pure democracy of mob rule. I was actually surprised that the planet depicted in “Majority Rule” seems to function rather well for a developed society, despite the masses being a bunch of morons (myself included) as is usually true of any civilization. In the real world, of course, absolute mob rule would be lawless, chaotic, disorganized, mean-spirited, ugly, unsustainable, and--by the way--hilarious and entertaining as hell, because while there are a few smart people out there, most of the population is hypersensitive, lazy, gullible, racist and filled with stupidity and mental illnesses.

“Majority Rule” skillfully weaves a tapestry worthy of The Twilight Zone or some of the more thoughtful Star Trek episodes I’ve recently seen. LaMarr’s predicament was intriguing and appropriately outlandish. The idea of a publicity specialist (here played by Steven Culp, Bobby Kennedy himself of “Thirteen Days”) being more important than an attorney was deliciously handled, and I loved the sarcastic take on those execrable bloated hens of The View and media culture in general. The badges were also a nice touch--their buttons force you to invade the personal spaces of other people in order to rate them. You’d think there would be a lot more black eyes and street fights in such a world.

One great scene was the demonstration of just how easy it is to screw up in a society like this, even without being so foolish as to dry hump a statue in broad daylight. Alara nearly gets herself into her own scandal over that hat she was wearing (and My God, how perfect was the performance of the actor playing that easily-offended snowflake who accused her of cultural appropriation? He even got the vocal inflections right). There are three things that fascinated me about this scene:

1.) The whiny manchild was able to look at her and know instantly that she wasn’t “Kelvic.” Now, they’re both white, and I assume that Kelvics can be any gender. So how did he know instantly that she wasn’t part of his culture--or did he judge her based on a stereotype? Interesting and actually chilling to think about. Rather than a plot hole, it’s a feature that’s better left to mystery.

2.) This demonstrates how terrifying this planet is and also a mirror of how uncontrollably accusatory our own society can be. Alara meant no offense, and didn’t realize she was even committing an infraction, but it doesn’t matter--the snowflake took trivial offense and *that’s* what matters. How true of perpetual victimhood, how true of our own mobs, how true of our Woke PC culture. Beautifully rendered point!

3.) The quick thinking and de-escalation on the part of Dr. Claire Finn. I’m starting to really like her. Throughout this episode, “Old Wounds,” “Command Performance” and “About a Girl,” Finn has been consistently competent, adaptable and helpful. I’d want her on a crew of my own.

Black Mirror is one of my favorite shows, so yes, I too have seen “Nosedive.” And no, this is not a ripoff just because both episodes have someone accidentally spilling coffee all over another person and getting downvoted for it. As @SlackerInc pointed out above, MacFarlane likely based this on a well-known critique of social-media culture. If anything, “Nosedive” was even more chilling than this one is because its freaky social promotion system was a lot more believable and reasonable--in that world, you’re given the chance to improve your score over time because it’s an aggregate, and downvotes don’t follow you for the rest of your life like they do on the “Majority Rule” planet. I think both “Nosedive” and “Majority Rule” are nice companion pieces that show two sides of the same point: forcing folks to interact on a ratings-scale with the world around them has one or two good attributes, but a lot more bad results. “Nosedive" was really about getting us to look inward at how trying to measure yourself strictly on the opinion of those around you may earn you some great short-term benefits but ends up killing your soul in the long term. “Majority Rule” was more of a warning and a wake-up call against the horrors of an absolute democracy, getting us to look outward. Millions of Jewish people were sent to gas chambers because of mob rule, and if I may be so cynical, you’ll find out pretty quickly that there are a lot more “bad people” than “good people” should everyone be given as much power as they had in this episode’s society. I believe the Nazis themselves indicated at the Wannsee Conference that, “We make the laws we need.”

To those above who are wondering what the upvotes are even for in the “Majority Rule” world, I think they serve the same function that “Likes” do for our insipid social media. “Goddamn, that guy has twice as many upvotes as he has downvotes so he must be a solid dude!” That kind of thing.

Lysella was cute as a button. The bookend scenes of her casting a completely uninformed vote in the beginning (and thereby directly causing one anthropologist to get killed and the other one to be lobotomized), and then turning off her TV at the end after reconsidering casting another one, were rich in symbolism.

But damn, I’ll bet the Orville crew were never as glad to leave a planet behind as they were this one. We can do better, folks.

Best Line:
LaMarr -- “I even donated to the Mella Giffendon foundation for jacked-up kids!”

My Grade: B+
Sun, May 29, 2022, 8:01am (UTC -5)
And we almost made it through a week without some right wing guy complaining about how people being upset about a grave injustice is the real threat by creating a straw-man or as is far more often the case straw-woman.

"In the real world, of course, absolute mob rule would be lawless, chaotic, disorganized, mean-spirited, ugly, unsustainable, and--by the way--hilarious and entertaining as hell, because while there are a few smart people out there, most of the population is hypersensitive, lazy, gullible, racist and filled with stupidity and mental illnesses."
Wow, somebody hates people. Switzerland is a semi-direct republic. They have referenda often and still no cannibalism.

"Millions of Jewish people were sent to gas chambers because of mob rule"
No. It's really hard no to insult you for writing something so incredibly stupid and ignorant.

"I believe the Nazis themselves indicated at the Wannsee Conference that, “We make the laws we need.”
Well, it was a secret conference because the Nazis feared that the population would have a problem with mass murdering every last Jew in existence.

"We can do better, folks."
We, yes. You, no.
Sun, May 29, 2022, 9:58am (UTC -5)
I haven't watched ORV (other than the 1st episode which I didn't like) but these stories that are "timeless warnings like George Orwell's 1984" really have an important role to play and not just providing purely entertainment. Good post @ProudCapitalistPig for highlighting this trend in light of recent events.

The seeds are being planted as we speak and shoots are popping up. This is so true:

"But we’d be kidding ourselves if we didn’t think a lot of people wouldn’t love a pure unstructured democracy that punishes the “wrong-thinkers.”"

I just think people get caught up in this kind of group-think and totally lose sight of independent, critical thinking -- not to mention basic universal values relating to freedom of choice, speech, expression etc. Now if you champion free speech and love your country (i.e. a patriot), some would label you a fascist. Some people have totally lost the plot.

"We can do better, folks."
Yes we can.

I gotta check out this ORV episode somehow.
Sun, May 29, 2022, 10:06am (UTC -5)
And there he is...
Sun, May 29, 2022, 10:27am (UTC -5)
For the numbnuts and willfully uneducated. The Holocaust did not happen because of mob rule. Nazi Germany was an extremely authoritarian right wing dictatorship. Using the immense crimes of a right wing extremist dictatorship to smear left wing people. In other words using the Holocaust to make some cheap points. That shows some real class. Talk about culture of victimhood...

"most of the population is hypersensitive, lazy, gullible, racist and filled with stupidity and mental illnesses."
One really wonders how people like PC pig are even for democracy. If the vast majority is as terrible, as he believes, then we should not have a democracy. At the end he writes that we can all do better which contradicts what he believes. Either his misanthropic believes are true or we can do better but not both.
Sun, May 29, 2022, 10:55am (UTC -5)
Now I started to really think about the idiocy of the argument by PC pig. In the history of humanity you would have a hard time finding any incident where a majority vote lead to mass murder or genocide. Quite the opposite, these things are decided by small groups of people.

There is one example where the Athenian assembly, after a revolt of an ally sentenced all the men to death and women and children to slavery. But on the next day they regretted their harshness so much that they had another debate and decided to spare them.

You could very well make the argument that decisions that involve the majority of the population tend to be less harsh and more humane.
Sun, Jul 17, 2022, 4:05pm (UTC -5)
> ... mass murder or genocide ... these things are decided by small groups of people.
> ...
> You could very well make the argument that decisions that involve the majority of the population tend to be less harsh and more humane.

Agreed. At heart, I think democracy is the least bad of all possibilities because expanding franchise is more practical than making sure that the "correct" oligarchy/minority group/minority party/benevolent dictator is ruling and staying "good."

The upvote/downvote system amplifies the worst aspects of democracy, however. Heat of the moment action, no closed ballot (you can see how others vote and how a person has been voted on), bandwagoning/front-running, etc. I interpret this episode as a reminder of the excesses of democracy, not a call to move to more rule-bound liberal oligarchies that are slow to reform and which have democratic deficits, even if very constitutionalist and protective of minority rights (think of the European Union). So, this episode is not a call for a benevolent dictatorship, just a reminder that "more democracy" is not some panacea.


I will also note how easily people are misled on foreign policy. You had most Americans thinking that Saddam Hussein planned 9/11 in 2002 and 2003, and a majority supporting that war until 2008. The solution is to limit the government's self-serving PR perhaps? We only take foreign policy decisions after the people en masse are pro-active? Well, if you did that, you'd see how provincial and ignorant most people are on world affairs or anything beyond their own backyard.

Nothing would ever happen in the foreign policy realm for better and for worse. No intervention against the Nazis or the Japanese Empire, no UN, no Holocaust, no meddling in African civil wars, no international space station, no global metric system, no easy international tourism, no McDonald's restaurants steam-rolling over local cultures. As I said, for better and for worse.

Usually the people who know the most about these issues are the most unabashed supporters of the current world order: FTAs/neoliberalism/capitalism/patents/outsourcing/etc. So, you have this camp and then you have people who are anti-globalist but argue from a place of emotion and ignorance.

Just look at Reddit. Don't go looking for nuanced advocacy of an Asian Regional Bank to replace the IMF or WB. You only see pro-US neoliberals on one side and angry/ignorant people who want none of it on the other side. Intelligent criticism of the international status quo is lost.
Sun, Jul 17, 2022, 5:07pm (UTC -5)
Sure, any system from direct to indirect, from presidential to parliamentarian has it's up and downsides. The problems the current United States suffer through has very little to do with it's political system or culture. The problem is that it is a global empire which always has to maintain it's status against competitors. That is very expensive, it also requires lots of lies, deception and many other destructive things. All are bad ingredients if you want to have thriving country with a well functioning democracy.

" We only take foreign policy decisions after the people en masse are pro-active? Well, if you did that, you'd see how provincial and ignorant most people are on world affairs or anything beyond their own backyard."
I'm a political scientist and that falls into my field of expertise. Most people have almost no understanding of how their government works and understand very little about domestic or international affairs. Furtermore, most people make political decisions on fairly random events or group identity.
Here an example

How that could be changed? Well, significant parts of the elite have little interest in a more involved populace. For example, since the 1970s inequality increases in all western countries, most in the USA. Do you see any kind of political force that could actually decrease that ever growing inequality? That's another thing I hate so much about the abortion decision of the Supreme Court, now the US will have a heated debate about a topic that any other western country settled decades ago by allowing abortion to some degree. Instead of having a debate about the ever increasing inequality which brings many other negative effects. As I mentioned here, I don't think the US democracy can be saved, if it continues on the path it is on, then it is doomed. Maybe something unforeseen happens, I don't know.

" Don't go looking for nuanced advocacy of an Asian Regional Bank to replace the IMF or WB."
China is the new threat to keep people in the West distracted (besides bad ol' Russia) and China wants to create it's own structures. That's really all it is. The World Bank (headquarter in Washington) and the IMF (*gasp* headquarter in Washington) are just tools the USA uses to maintain it's empire.

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