The Orville


2.5 stars.

Air date: 10/5/2017
Written by Seth MacFarlane
Directed by Jonathan Frakes

Review Text

When Pria (Charlize Theron, lured here I presume because she had so much fun with MacFarlane on A Million Ways to Die in the West, like Liam Neeson last week) announces to the crew that she is actually a time-traveler from the 29th century who came back to save and then steal and sell what was the doomed-to-destruction-had-she-not-intervened Orville, my mind immediately went to the con man in TNG's "A Matter of Time," and I blurted out to my wife, "Star Trek already did this episode too!" I realized in that moment that I had essentially become the annoying kid Dougie in the South Park episode, "Simpsons Already Did It." This plot was new to my wife; she's never seen "A Matter of Time" or indeed any of the Trek plots that have been repurposed so far for The Orville. Maybe I just need to let it go already.

Granted, this is an ongoing liability with The Orville, which is that these stories can sometimes seem like reheated Trek leftovers and thus distract from themselves, even when that critique really isn't fair (and it's not here). "Pria" does enough of its own stuff to be its own thing, and it does it fairly entertainingly — a marked improvement over last week's tepid "If the Stars Should Appear." Granted, it still sorely lacks conviction in its semi-dramatic intentions (and the sci-fi is fine if unambitious), but it's a more enjoyable effort for sure, and possibly the most purely enjoyable Orville episode so far.

That's because "Pria" features probably the most successful and natural integration of comedy into an Orville episode yet — so much so that I'm beginning to wonder if this series would be better off just embracing itself as a comedy and not trying to be Star Trek so damn hard. The subplot where Isaac doesn't understand humor when Malloy plays a practical joke on him (dressing him up as Mr. Potato Head) at first had me rolling my eyes at the blatantly obvious retread on Data never getting human jokes, which we've seen about a million times.

But as it later becomes clear, this was actually clever misdirection to set up a genuinely funny and twisted gag, in which Isaac plays a "practical joke" back on Malloy by amputating his leg in his sleep and hiding it somewhere on the ship. The timing of Malloy's horrific realization is wonderfully played by Scott Grimes. (The leg later falls crashing from a ceiling panel in a gag suitable for Airplane!) This is genuinely funny and subversive, because it (1) grows from a logical character place of Isaac's misunderstanding, but also (2) takes the trope we've come to expect from all of Data's stories and elevates it to a whole other level of twisted absurdity. This is sharp, vintage Seth MacFarlane. Well played, sir.

The sci-fi plot is serviceable and also unpredictable, mostly because we have no idea if Pria, who is clearly lying early on, is lying later after she's confronted and presents Mercer with the confessed "truth" about her identity. So it works fairly well, even with the usual time paradoxes and technobabble that come with the territory.

What doesn't work so well is the setup in getting there. The endless observations by other characters of Pria's attractiveness venture too far into "okay, we get it, and you're all being inappropriate" territory, and the whole thing is primarily used to set up a would-be-but-not-actual triangle between Pria and Mercer and Grayson and a question over whether Grayson is jealous or Mercer is being played. (Clearly it's more the latter, even if Grayson pushes the envelope too far in looking for evidence of Pria's malfeasance.) Mercer and Grayson have arguments over whether she's jealous, or whether he's lost all objectivity, and these notes are shrill and obvious and played for obligatory histrionics.

And Seth MacFarlane as a romantic lead? Nope. Not buying it. Not for a second. His scene with Pria on the holodeck environmental simulator where he displays vulnerability before she moves in to kiss him ... well, it just made me cringe, in all its forced and unnatural glory. Wisely, they cut immediately to a post-coital punchline that plays it off as a joke, because attempting seriousness here is probably not in anyone's favor. It's a tricky business to ask anyone — even Patrick Freaking Stewart — to play these notes when a romance is thrust upon the audience at such implausible speed (this was often a problem with Trek romances-of-the-week); asking MacFarlane to do it is probably asking far too much.

Fortunately, once it gets moving, "Pria" is perfectly fine, and the comedy actually punches this episode up quite a bit, rather than weighing it down. But it's still hard to be invested in the characters' dramatic plights or the meat of the plot, because everyone comes off as amateurs compared to their Trek analogues. This is admittedly by design, as if to transplant an everyman office workplace mentality into Starfleet. But it doesn't really allow the substantive material to take root, like this whole contrived idea that Mercer puts his "heart on the line for the first time since his divorce" only to be betrayed by a time-traveler whom he makes vanish at the end through timeline manipulations.

Maybe the comedy isn't the problem here. Maybe it's the drama.

Previous episode: If the Stars Should Appear
Next episode: Krill

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56 comments on this post

    I liked this episode -- it takes up the old "alleged time traveler hijacks the ship" story from post-TOS Trek, but it's not as derivative as last week's rip from "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky." And "Pria," perhaps due to the direction by Jonathan Frakes, is executed neatly enough that it genuinely kept me guessing right up to the end about whether Charlize Theron's second story was true and/or how the crew would get out of it. Unlike last week's show, which plodded relentlessly to a predictable resolution, I really didn't know how this one was going to end. Some of the humor was pretty funny this time, including the practical joke Isaac-Gordon exchange which put a darkly humorous edge on the old "Data wants to be human" theme from TNG. Overall the tone of glibness continues to undermine the drama and make it hard to take the show seriously. And the plot resolution, when it finally came, was a little too pat and simplistic for me. But this was watachable for me on a show that has been watchable at best for me -- it's not Trek, but I'll accept it as Trek Lite for now. It's Diet Trek, barely one calorie, but it fills the time pleasantly in spots.

    This is the first episode of The Orville I've watched and... it's really pretty bad. The acting is wooden and the tone is far too uneven and light for there to be any dramatic tension. Charlize Theron's performance was about as phoned in as it can get. I don't really get what this is supposed to be. All that's leaving aside the derivative plot and pedestrian characters. As it stands, this was a mix of TNG's "A Matter of Time" with a bit of VOY's "Hope and Fear". But much worse. The Isaac character is something of a mean-spirited Data by way of The Day the Earth Stood Still. The whole business with Mercer and his ex-wife and the strained "love triangle" involving Pria was the lamest of lame sitcom plots.

    I will say that the score was pretty fantastic for a TV show. But the sets look cheap, none of the actors seem rise above the level of an SNL skit, and the plot was dull.

    I'd say it was...marginally...the best episode yet. It didn't hit the highs of About A Girl, but it didn't have the lows either.

    It seems they've finally figured out the humor/drama balance. Or I've just gotten used to the humor. Either way it's no longer distracting, and the whole practical joke B plot was amusing (taking the Isaac/Data thing to a level Data would never consider).

    Around the middle of the episode, I became concerned that the episode was going to turn into one of those lame "romance of the week" stories, which have almost always been bad in Trek history. Thankfully, it went in another direction entirely by the end.

    I appreciated very much that there was an antagonist for the episode who was in no way evil - and who honestly thought she was helping the crew. I also appreciated the attempt to have a deeper discussion about causality at the end of the show. Although I'm not sure why destroying the wormhole erased Pria's visit, but didn't cause The Orville to be destroyed. It probably had to do with the technobabble that Mercer said about destroying the wormhole.

    Charlize Theron was actually surprisingly wooden however. I felt like the main cast outshone her in this episode by quite a bit.

    Three stars.

    Again, not terrible but like almost every episode of this show so far, this was a B-level Star Trek story executed with little flair or originality. Of course Charlize Theron (phoning it in) wasn't what she appeared to be. Of course Mercer falls in love with her (in the blink of an eye). Of course they have sex. Of course they rehash the Mercer/Grayson breakup (FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, LET IT GO). And like most Star Trek "romance of the week" episodes, there isn't nearly enough time to set up the relationship here so Mercer's final decision carried little weight.

    On the plus side, the action scenes in this were a notable improvement from before, aided by nice visuals and a bombastic John Debney score. And I'll admit to liking the amusing practical joke B-story. When the humor isn't forced into more serious scenes, it can work.

    Also, Seth... The sexual harassment jokes aren't funny. Stop it. The early engineering scene with Theron made me cringe throughout. And the Norm Mcdonald blob needs to go.

    Whoa! Trek is back (by any other name). The Orville gets beard with Frakes.

    That ending. It was drastic. Not in the strained, juvenile, dark'n'gritty Discovery manner, but really drastic.

    Don't fuck up with captain Mercer!

    I thought this episode was pretty alright. It continues to be glued right there on the line that legally separates trek from not-trek, but that isn't in itself such a bad thing. I'm still not convinced splicing in humor into a tng style show is the best approach, but it is what we've got, and it probably is better than no trek at all. At least with this episode it didn't get that much in the way.

    I particularly liked the bit with the leg....more in that it actually happened than anything else. Minus some justified freaking out, it was pretty casually handled. This sort of medical regeneration of limbs is exactly the sort of thing one might expect a ship of this time to handle, and with all the kerfuffles all the ships in star trek endured, it is a wonder we didn't see much like it.

    Honestly, my secret hope was that the limb removal would have been a ruse and that Issac would secretly have been the mastermind behind the plot with a 'hahaha, gotcha' as the ship enters the 'wormhole'. Because the last place I would surely expect a practical joke is after I thought the practical joke was over. Alas, it would have likely required even more complicated time-travel shenanigans or the like to pull off, and probably be antithetical to Issac's character, but one can dream...

    Still, the show manages to be watchable, I'll continue to keep pace with it and Discovery, wishing the best for both shows, because when it comes to sci-fi on TV, the more competition, the better!

    OK here's what happened...
    Charleize vanishes because without the wormhole Orville obliterated at the end of the episode, she never would have been able to travel back to their time.
    The reason the Orville is unaffected is that they already cleared the dark bubble field (though only thanks to Charlieze , who now was never there in the first place.....ALTHOUGH, what's to say that her not being able to ever use the wormhole now hasn't had some effect that prevents the Orville from being destroyed)

    The most logical explanation of why they have not ceased to exist was pointed out to me late last night - Pria lied, and the ship was only in danger from the dark matter patch due to her intervention to begin with. Hence there is no paradox, and the ship doesn't get destroyed.

    Honestly if this is the show being "pretty alright" let alone the "best" so far, then it's in big trouble. As I said, I don't get what this is supposed to be. And I thought the whole "practical joke" of amputating a leg was too over-the-top to be funny. It doesn't get any less memorable or original than this.

    For those interested, here are Jammer's ratings for the first five episodes of every Trek show (not including Discovery) plus The Orville:

    TOS: 2.5, 3.5, 3, 3, 3.5 = 3.1/4
    DS9: 3.5, 3, 2, 2.5, 3 = 2.8/4
    VOY: 3, 2.5, 2, 3, 3 = 2.7/4
    ENT: 3, 2.5, 3, 1.5, 2 = 2.4/4
    ORV: 1.5, 2, 3, 2, 2.5 = 2.2/4
    TNG: 2, 2.5, 0.5, 2, 2.5 = 1.9/4

    How relentlessly pedestrian. Even if the plot weren't a rehash, its execution left me disengaged.

    Should we like these characters or derive humor from their being contemptible, like in Seinfeld or It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia? At this point, the clash between drama and humor isn't just a question of tone, but of what emotions, if any, bond the viewers to the characters.

    The amputated leg evidently made some people here laugh, whereas for me it simply happened. I've been laughing more at Discovery, which for all its darkness does intersperse a few moments of humor. Burnham's, "Shit, that worked!" at attracting the creature's aggression got a chuckle out of me because I was invested in the reality of the characters. The sudden alarm at a plan working all too well was (slightly) funny. Here, the characters respond with one-liners to everything, so all of it just induces eye-rolls.

    Oh look, more normalization of sexual harassment in the workplace. It must be Thursday.

    I'm not trying to be down on the Orville; really, I'm not. I enjoyed the previous episode more than this one, perhaps because it allowed for mentally deleting the arbitrarily inserted humor. Jammer's right that the humor's more integrated this time around, but if neither the humor nor the drama work for me, the show is simply boring.

    Thank you. I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed the comedy this time Jammer.

    I even commented to my wife that it was the first episode so far that had the comedy well integrated into the episode. The humor arose naturally from the characters and situations so in that respect the episode immediately makes it the most enjoyable so far.

    I too noticed the passing resemblance to A Matter Of Time. Both Berlinghoff Rasmussen and Pria were time travelers trying to steal tech from another time to take back, but at least Pria was actually from the future in this one and not the past.

    And I agree that this episode did enough to not just make it a rehash. Pria wasn't annoying, unlike Rasmussen, so there's that too.

    I felt like McFarlane was trying to channel Patrick Stewart with his pensive stare at the end of the episode. It didn't resonate. Everyone else on the show already acts circles around McFarlane, it's made much worse when he's paired with an Academy Award winning actress like Charlize Theron.

    The b plot was the best part about the episode. The dramatic ending didn't work for me. It wasn't explained well and doesn't make sense. Why would destroying the wormhole mean she never went back in time? Just because they destroyed the wormhole then doesn't mean it erases it from all existence through all time. That was weird.

    I get that they were trying to go for an emotional punch with Mercer choosing his shop and crew over himself and his emotional well being, but it just didn't work.

    Also, I'm more than tired of the sexual harassment jokes and casual suicide jokes. They're not funny. Though this is the first episode where a mention of Mercer's divorce didn't make me cringe. He actually felt like a real person with real emotions when he was talking to Pria about how it affected him.

    If they leave heavier into the natural humor, this show can start setting itself apart from Star Trek.

    Out of curiosity, I checked out the ratings for this episode and the previous one. Yikes. I feel bad for the people who are big fans of this show, because it's currently on a severe downward trend in terms of ratings. Almost Human (another expensive sci-fi show) had better ratings than Orville and it was cancelled by FOX.

    It's a real bummer, because I feel like Orville has been getting better since it's terrible premiere episode. It still shamelessly reuses storylines and concepts from Trek, but I'll gladly take those efforts over what we saw in the pilot.

    Someone in this episode mentioned the planet Pollux V. That's where Apollo lived in TOS "Who Mourns for Adonais?"

    I liked this episode because I think the actors are starting to get more comfortable with each other. I sense that the show is going to get VERY funny later on. Also, we get to see a lot more of the ship. It's the first time we've seen the engine room (I think). Some of the actors needs a lot more work though, including Seth and the Doctor.

    This show is awful. I’m appalled that studios would waste good money better spent on crap like this. I’m done! One of ENT’s biggest faults in its first two seasons was recycling Trek stories that had been done before and done better and ENT wasn’t saddled with the kind of lowbrow humor that constantly sinks this series

    Seth McFarlane has to be one of the most overpaid people in Hollywood based on the garbage he churns out and FOX keeps greenlighting

    This was decent but probably my least favorite episode yet. Three stars.

    Am I the only one who really liked Kirk's romances of the week? He always fell in so deep, I felt for the guy. He really wore his heart on his sleeve.

    @John Harmon: "Why would destroying the wormhole mean she never went back in time? Just because they destroyed the wormhole then doesn't mean it erases it from all existence through all time. That was weird."

    That was initially my exact reaction. But upon mulling it a bit more, I think it actually might make sense. Not sure why it wouldn't also mean they become destroyed by the storm though.

    @Cosmic: It's still got a decent shot at renewal, because (a) Everything on FOX gets crappy ratings; and (b) they have a relationship with McFarlane they don't want to jeopardize.

    I feel bad for the helmsman, who hasn't had any notable character moments since the pilot. Is this Seth's homage to Enterprise?

    From the review: "Maybe I just need to let it go already."

    I would. Originality is overrated anyway. TOS wasn't original. TNG wasn't. Everything is based on something else, and that's nothing new - it's how it's always been. Everything is recycled.

    Add to that the fact that I forget plots quickly (I couldn't remember the TNG equivalent for this or the previous episode despite having seen them multiple times) and I'm finding the show enjoyable enough. 15-20 years ago I probably would have been horrified at myself, the Trek puritan that I was. I guess I just analyze things less these days.

    I never thought I'd enjoy this show - I can't stand Family Guy or its comedic siblings.

    PS -- I forgot to give a star rating to my review, but I agree with Jammer: 2 1/2 stars or maybe (I'll probably never rewatch to be sure) a low 3. I enjoyed this one and found it pleasant enough, but it didn't really do much for me in terms of character building (generally the best excuse for a formulaic plot) or deep thought, and the ending was too pat after the story teased me out to the end. But the humor on this one was stronger -- more situational and character-related than penis-based -- and felt less jarring than past episodes. It's also interesting to me how thoroughly episodic "Orville" has become after an early continuity involving Bortus' child and mate that seems to have become semi-recurring ala TNG's character threads. We'll see where all of this goes.

    This show is absolutely amazing. It is the best thing since TNG by far. The direction and style is stellar and even the writing makes Discovery look like the work of a pimply adolescent child.

    I've watched THE ORVILLE from the first episode and I was definitely expecting (and more in the mood for) a flat out TREK based comedy series. That being said I think this show will only ever be OK in my book, but I'll continue to watch it as it's not the worst way to spend an hour. In regards to "Pria", just a couple of comments I wanted to share.

    1) At first, I was thinking this episode would follow along the lines of VOY: "Alice." When Pria began talking about the wormhole (and once the Orville got there) I totally expected her to call it "home."

    2) When Pria revealed she was time traveler from hundreds of years in the future I was also expecting all the characters to burst out laughing at how ridiculous it all sounded. It made me think of the seemingly endless time travel shows on TREK (and ENT's Temporal Cold War, specifically). I thought this would be Pria's last attempt at lying about who she really was and to just go for the BIG LIE. But no, this is where it was going all the time.

    3) The ending, when Pria vanishes from Mercer's office, confused me a little. With the destruction of the wormhole obviously Pria has no way of returning to her own time. But I fail to understand how it causes her to vanish into thin air. I thought she would be stuck in the Orville's century and probably be sent to prison or something.

    4) Knowing that Jonathan Frakes directed this episode (and that Andre Bormanis and Brannon Braga are producers and that Penny Johnson is in the main cast) I'd be really curious to hear their thoughts about THE ORVILLE in relation to their STAR TREK work.

    1 star, I thought it was the worst so far. I do agree that the comedy plot was the most audacious comedy they've attempted so far, it just wasn't well-executed. Nothing in this show has any consequences (with the exception of episode 3). As to the main "story", we've seen the hoary old "conwoman fools the crew/seduces the male lead" plot hauled out on all kinds of shows before - there were echoes of Vash and the terrible Mrs Reynolds episodes of Firefly here, as well as A Matter Of Time (which, while a bad TNG episode, was still better than this). Did Macfarlane just write it so he could kiss Charlize Theron (again, apparently)? We're almost halfway through the series now, I'd love for there to be some scripts by other writers. I was just bored throughout, there was nothing new or entertaining - the show's beats are so obvious. The plots are rehashed from old Trek (dumbed-down in the process) and the "comedy" is rehashed from every Seth Macfarlane show ever. The special effects look cartoonish and cheap. The talking blob is more irritating and superfluous than any comic relief character on Trek. The "stable wormhole" was a copy from DS9 and there was even a backhanded reference to The 37's. It's just bad fan fiction with a budget.

    "I feel bad for the helmsman, who hasn't had any notable character moments since the pilot. Is this Seth's homage to Enterprise?" - as my friend put it, he's the diversity hire. Stick a black guy on the bridge for window dressing but never give him anything to do. Both ENT and now Orville are doing it; TOS/TNG/DS9/VOY never did. (Uhura played more of a meaningful role in TOS fifty years ago than either Mayweather in ENT or LaMarr in Orville.) Reminds me of a company I used to temp at where all 30+ employees were white but they'd always hire a non-white secretary as front of house (different one every year) to give the appearance of diversity. At least Orville also has Penny Johnson, but they're giving her hardly anything to do, barely more than J Lee. In DS9 she got to act off Avery Brooks, here she gets to act off a CGI blob that makes sexual wisecracks at her.

    The classic Rob Grant/ Doug Naylor years of Red Dwarf (the first 6 seasons) could school The Orville on how to successfully mix comedy and drama without them counteracting each other. Episodes like "Holoship" and "Out of Time" are prime examples of this. The other major difference between Red Dwarf and The Orville was that Red Dwarf took the science fiction seriously and came up with original ideas for its episodes.

    By the way: Red Dwarf returns this week with its 12th season!

    @SlackerInc: "Am I the only one who really liked Kirk's romances of the week? He always fell in so deep, I felt for the guy. He really wore his heart on his sleeve."

    Oh, I agree. He fell reluctantly, then deeply - whole heartedly. And he knew his job would take him away in just a little while and break everyone's heart. So he tried to stay away, and often, very often, they did not make it easy.

    The "After Trek" abomination pops up after Discovery when you watch the show. Anyway, it all left such a terrible taste in my mouth, that I hunted around Netflix for a palette cleanser, and found "The Captains (2011)" a documentary with The Shat, Sir Patrick, Avery Scatman, Kate Singlemom, and Scott Singer. They even threw in a few minutes with Chris Pine. At one point in the documentary, Shatner asks each actor who played the lead on a Star Trek show about how the work (14 hours a day, 40 weeks a year) killed their marriages (except Avery Brooks, because that man seems like he could handle anything, as long as he has a piano!). It was a heartbreaking moment.

    Kate Mulgrew talks about how theirs is the “second oldest profession in the world,” and leaves unsaid the kinds of Harvey Weinstein like crap she must have faced to get to where she is. And Sir Patrick is just stunned into silence by the question. He doesn’t say anything for a long while, and then stumbles through prepared lines on guilt and regret and his two failed marriages (this was before he got married a third time). Who knew the actor behind Picard was as bad at relationships as the Picard himself!?

    But it got me thinking: who from STD would be the lead actor from the show and be able to sit with Shatner or Mulgrew or Patrick Stewart or Avery Brooks (holy crap!) and have a deep discussion about what happens to you when you die? Not Sonequa Martin-Green. Even Chris Pine, as delightful as he is, didn’t really have much he could contribute, so the documentary showed him and Shatner arm wrestling. Which was not unentertaining.

    And that brings me to Pria, and the point I wanted to make. Seth McFarlan’s lines after he sleeps with Charlize Theron is something right out of the lives of any of the great actors behind the great Starfleet captains. They all have fucked up personal lives (except Brooks), and they all must have the same trust issues as Captain Ed Mercer, who was cheated on while he was away at his 14-hour a day job. Captain Mercer has been hurt, and hurt badly, but unlike Kirk (as @SlackerInc described him), Mercer plays things close to the chest. The more I watch Orville, the more I think it’s basically Voyager + The Office, but toned down, because McFarlan is not Michael Scott. And from The Captains documentary, it is clear that Mulgrew knows what it is to be hurt. And Mulgrew knows what it is to be alone. And that came out with Janeway.

    I’d take Seth sitting down to chat with The Captains over Sonequa any day.


    If only the classic Rob Grant/Doug Naylor years of Red Dwarf could school every series of Red Dwarf since in how to successfully mix comedy and drama without them counteracting each other.

    @SlackerInc, I found the part from The Captains (2011) with Kate Mulgrew talking to William Shatner about her kids and her personal life:

    Let me know what you think.

    This seemed like the first episode to focus on the "wrong" parts ... to me at least. (I know some people felt that "About a Girl" was a bit unfocused.) Imagine if the Orville had been taken to the 29th century early on. Then, the crew would've had the chance to experience what the 29th century was really like; the argument that having originally died, they should stay could've been given more attention; and their decisions to flee and return to their own time would've been that much more dramatic. Plus (and these are probably the reasons I felt something was off to begin with):

    1) We wouldn't just *hear* about the wonders of the 29th century; we'd actually get to *see* them (it was a disappointment to go there, only to see nothing but a ship--even if a cool one);


    2) The whole "can we trust her?" plot was pretty weak. I mean, that she wasn't a total villain was certainly nice and perhaps even unexpected, but then again, going to the 29th century early on would've made this aspect much stronger.

    Still though, as always, this was enjoyable to watch. The leg bit was kind of shocking, and while the whole "main character dies" thing was done way too many times on Voyager (but look--no shuttles lost yet, right?!) I still felt concern when Issac died. (Though how, exactly, did he end up in the main computer, with so little time and preparation in accessing the device? It was like his katra was placed there ....)

    Also, it was realistic that they relied on a wormhole to time travel--this has been proposed and seriously discussed by physicists and such as a way to travel back-and-forth, presuming that time travel is possible at all. Though I'm not clear either on exactly what went on at the end. It seems as though anyone or anything from the 29th century vanished upon the destruction of the wormhole, but that actions taken by said individuals or devices remained as they were. (It definitely left me perplexed upon my first viewing, which in turn undermined the drama somewhat, with Ed making Pria go away and all.)

    "Out of curiosity, I checked out the ratings for this episode and the previous one. Yikes. I feel bad for the people who are big fans of this show, because it's currently on a severe downward trend in terms of ratings."

    It's not a "severe downward trend"... yet. Going from 4.0 to 3.7 to 3.4 is not what I'd call a free fall, and three episodes are hardly enough to establish "a trend".

    The question is what will happen now. The next few episodes, I think, will be the point were the Orville sinks or swims. If the ratings for episode six are at 3.1 or lower, *then* we should start to get worried.

    "It's not a "severe downward trend"... yet. Going from 4.0 to 3.7 to 3.4 is not what I'd call a free fall, and three episodes are hardly enough to establish "a trend"."

    Hmm maybe, however: 8.56 -> 6.63 -> 4.05 -> 3.7 ->3.43. Not rising or stabilizing at all, they've only been going down. Losing more than half of the people who saw the premiere is a bad sign. Low ratings for an expensive Sci-Fi show (with expensive guest stars) that airs on FOX... going by this network's track record, Orville fans should be getting a little bit worried.

    FOX's profitable relationship with Seth will be the one thing that saves this show if the numbers continue to drop like this. I hope it gets better numbers soon, because I would like to see this show continue to grow/improve.

    You guys keep referencing the total audience (which is actually the average number of viewers over the hour and not the total number who watched any or all of it). But that number really doesn't matter much to a program's chances of renewal. It's all about the 18-49 demo:

    For a great example of how total viewership doesn't matter (sadly, as someone who doesn't have long to go before I age out of the "demo"), look at what happened to the NBC show "Harry's Law". TV By the Numbers predicted they would be cancelled, because the show was the lowest rated in the demo of any show on NBC. People from the show, including Kathy Bates, raged against this, pointing out that they actually had the most total viewers of any show on NBC. This was also true (they just had a very older-skewing audience).

    But TVBTN was right: that same season, "Harry's Law" was cancelled.

    So the number to watch is that demo number (something McFarlane shows have traditionally excelled at, skewing super young). It's not so great itself, at 0.9 last I checked; but if it stays about there, the show will probably be okay--both because of McFarlane's relationship with FOX and because FOX overall is the least watched network other than the CW. They can't keep shows on the air with CW numbers, but they will renew stuff with numbers that would get stuff cancelled at other networks.


    That was heartbreaking, to hear what happened to Mulgrew. I know, she probably made a lot of money and so on...but for her kids to still not have watched? Ouch.

    (I don't understand why you and the YouTube link refer to that as a "Netflix documentary", but I can't find it on Netflix.)


    Here's the direct Netflix link:

    "Hmm maybe, however: 8.56 -> 6.63 -> 4.05 -> 3.7 ->3.43. Not rising or stabilizing at all, they've only been going down. Losing more than half of the people who saw the premiere is a bad sign."

    It's a sign that the show was moved (as planned) from a "golden slot" on Sunday to Thursday. Also, pilots in general tend to have high ratings. The percentage of loss from episode #1 to episode #2 (both aired on Sunday) tells you how many people gave the show a chance and then decided it was not for them. Most shows experience a sharp drop there (TNG went down from 16 to 12, DS9's drop was even steeper) and it doesn't say a thing about long range trends.

    At any rate, I find the absolute numbers to be more worrysome than any "downward trend". 3.4 million/0.9/3 is already too close to the cancellation red line.

    Anyone else glad Bortis got his obligatory contract-required lines scripted in? Seriously. If this is the type of thing we will have to deal with for the rest of the run, it’s not going to make it regardless if the episodes are already shot.

    I’m still cycling Voyager each night to creme freche my palate and bleach my eyeballs and brain each night. I’ll fall asleep to Janeway any night.


    Are you in the U.S.? I am, and it still doesn't let me stream the documentary. When I search for it, it labels it "DVD Only".

    @SlackerInc, oh crap, yes I'm travelling. I plan to get back in a few weeks - and along with Discovery disappearing from my Netflix, now I guess The Captains will too...

    How did being in America become worse than being overseas? Make Netflix great again :)

    Does anyone else think Isaac's voice sounds like Brent Spiner? I know it's not him, but it sure sounds like him.


    Wait what? I just assumed it was him this whole time! Haha

    I like Charlize Theron, but in this episode she sort of annoyed me.

    2 stars.

    The should really should just embrace the comedy. Except for Adrianne the rest of the actor excel at comedy not at drama. The drama is subpar and cringe worthy while the comedy comes natural to Seth and Grimes. Adrianne is awesome either way (and in every way - better call HR).


    "Also, Seth... The sexual harassment jokes aren't funny."

    They aren't supposed to be funny. They are supposed to be poke the absurdity of being called to HR because you say someone is beautiful. Newsflash, that's not sexual harassment, except in the crazy culture nowadays where it seems a man can't look at a woman. This is anti PC idiocy, and I applaud that.

    Yes, there is sexual harassment out there, yes it's bad, no it should be allowed, but labelling everything as sexual harassment must stop.


    I think that every episode. I also get a weird vibe of the voicebox/character Tiki wore around its neck on Buck Rogers from the late 70's.

    I have not bothered to look at the voice credits, or if the person in the suit does the voice, but I've wondered every time if that isn't Mr. Spiner using an alias. :)

    Regards... RT

    By destroying the wormhole in the twenty-fifth century, the Orville caused it to not exist in the twenty-ninth century, meaning Pria could not have used it to travel back in time. I think it also meant that the crews that Pria "saved" (by taking their ships and depositing them in the future) died anyway.

    I want to like this show soooooo much. But that little clip from "Friends" did me in.

    There's just too much current pop culture in this show. It's ruining it for me.

    - In "the office" Michael Scott got punished for watching TV with his employees. Nice to see that in the future people are more evolved and can enjoy an episode of Seinfeld on the screen on the bridge during their shift.

    - Man, the show has no real understanding of gravity, does it? The whole scene where they try to get away from the star. At first it works but then the gravity for some reason becomes to strong because exciting scene must happen.

    - Seth is not wasting time. Theron is still in medbay just saved from certain death and he is already hitting on her.

    - The whole Mr. Robot/Potato head scene feels like a rejected SNL sketch. Even though I laughed about redbeards funny little leg.

    -The XO said to the secuirty chief: Can you not make up some bogus reason to search her quarters? And the security chief then does just that. To top it all of they don't even check if Charlize is in her quarters or near her quarters. WTF

    - I was a little relieved that it was a time travel plot. They never make sense. This is no exception. Even though the implications are mindboggling. In the 29th century time travel is apparently no problem.

    I do not care one bit for the whole Seth XO will they, won't they story.

    Rating: 2 useless arguments between divorcees.

    I think this one evokes, among other things, Firefly's "Our Mrs. Reynolds" (which, unlike wolfstar above, I like); anyway, the Isaac practical joke is great, Theron is fine, the question of whether we are seeing Kelly's jealousy or Commander Grayson's prudence is fairly well teased out, and the sci-fi notion of the time-wormhole people poaching those who should have died for antique dealers is interesting, though not that much is done with it. The weakness here is that there's not that much there there -- it's nice that Pria isn't a monster but a professional (who isn't going to kill the crew), but there's not much arc there in terms of the reveal that she's their enemy, and her deception doesn't really mean anything, including for Mercer. And yeah MacFarlane isn't great as a romantic lead so far. The opening runs into the problem that it might be more entertaining to just watch Seinfeld instead. 2 stars or so.

    @Tranparently So

    I know it's 5 years later and we're talking Red Dwarf on an Orville episode blog but...

    I'm a huge Dwarfer. I even like Series 8. (I also think Series 10+ are quite good, just not as good as earlier series)

    It is the SciFi thing I have watched the most and Series 1 and Series 2 are some of my favorite TV of all time but...

    I don't think Red Dwarf walks a fine line between comedy and drama _at all_. It's The Odd Couple in space. They actually do the drama well when they do it but I'd say, by far, most episodes are not about the drama. Marooned is, of course, the gold standard for Dwarf drama.

    Spicy opinion: I think The Orville actually matures to the point where the drama and the humor are very well done earlier into its run than Red Dwarf. At this point in the airings we're not *quite* there but it's getting a ton better than The Orville's pilot episode where Malloy is saying dick and balls to Isaac.

    Whoa! Wasn't expecting that. The Orville got serious.
    Hilarious practical jokes aside, the Orville dips its big toe in one of my two favorite sci-fi tropes, time travel. And they did a great job. They literally changed the future. I find that fascinating. Though all we got was a glīmpse, some far out spaçeship, a weird tentacled critter and a gorgeous time traveler, the idea that her future will never exist because of her own actions is intriguing.

    Orville surprises me more and more but on the same way I'm a little bit embarrased because it is still quite silly and to much slapstick.

    This plot was accepable (compared with many trek episodes even good) and had a decent twist at the end.

    Regarding the romantic scene with Pria.
    Well, if I was producer and had the main role, why not getting a kiss scene with Charlize?

    Seth MacFarlane is either well-loved, or has some serious clout, or both, but he got Liam Neeson to provide that cameo video appearance in "If the Stars Should Appear" and now he once again gets to act with (and kiss) the smoking hot Charlize Theron. Points to him. And what a trooper Theron is. Lest we forget, she was in on the joke when MacFarlane gave her that shout-out in his "Boobs" song while he was hosting the Oscars several years ago.

    Really, when the episode you are going to talk about stars Charlize Goddamn Theron, why waste your time talking about anything else? She slays this role as an Oscar pro should, conveying complex emotions through her piercing eyes and creating a dynamic, scene-stealing character in Pria.

    "Better call HR" indeed! And may I say, Pria handled that situation with the engineer, and the talking vomit voiced by Norm MacDonald, with aplomb. She's more than capable of defending herself and thankfully has a healthy sense of humor.

    Theron even forces out a considerably better performance (haha, get it?) from Seth MacFarlane than what he usually delivers, because she is one of those actresses whose magnetism causes those around her to up their game through her sheer presence alone. Jesus H. God, I could *not* pry my eyes away from Pria if you paid me.

    Sure, Pria's the femme fatale of the piece in Mercer's eyes, but look at it from her perspective. Apparently she'll only fuck with you if you were going to die anyway (unless she's lying). She's presenting the Orville crew with the reality that she just offered them a presumably cushy life in the 29th Century future instead of a *fiery death.* Perhaps Mercer, Grayson, Alara and the others are so cold to her because, assuming she's telling the truth, they'd rather have died indeed than been saved because of time travel? In a way that's deep and deserving of more exploration (which we don't get here, alas).

    Mercer is able to destroy the wormhole, erasing Pria's time-traveling history, *and* the Orville is able to continue in its present without any scratches. The only consequence of all this is losing Pria, and she reminds him of this with her final quiet, chiding line to him. As others have pointed out above, since the Orville now couldn't have been saved from destruction by Pria because she never traveled back in time to save them, perhaps Pria *was* lying about their doom, or maybe her presence on the ship is what let them to that dark matter miasma in the first place. Spooky. We don't get any hints about this from Charlize Freaking Theron's portrayal, as she's a true smokeshow-and-mirrors thespian whose canny performance leaves this open to interpretation. But what we get from all this is, yes, she was neither a clear hero nor a flat-out villain in the first place, more like an amoral Ebay trader (which, as you might guess from my username, I can appreciate).

    I mentioned above that it's senseless to talk about anything else when your show has Charlize Utter Theron starring in it, but I guess I'll bring up the comedy subplot with Malloy and Isaac. I thought Malloy's joke of putting Mr. Potato Head pieces onto Isaac was stupidly ingenious and perfect for him. But Isaac's answer to that practical joke of severing Malloy's leg after drugging him was even better, and even more perfect for an extraterrestrial AI that sees organic life as inferior. Practical joke wars have been done in "House M.D.," "The Office," "Criminal Minds" and other shows, but it's never been as deliciously, evilly funny as it was here. Malloy even admits his grudging approval to Isaac at the end. The whole plot was hilarious, particularly the moment when the severed leg crashes through the ceiling during that decidedly tense scene where Mercer, Grayson and Alara are confronting Pria.

    "Pria" has beautifully rendered action shots, lively dialogue, CHARLIZE THERON and a solid science-fiction take on the "Guy Meets Girl, Girl Screws Guy" trope. Everything is nice without being particularly thought-provoking or groundbreaking, but I must add that the performances of Adrianne Palicki and Charlize Fucking Theron at least elevate the presentation beyond its rudimentary roots.

    Best Line:
    Mercer -- "I never do it near the food. You know that."

    My Grade: B

    I was looking forward to this episode, i just now watch it the second time and i still wonder, is Charlize Theron even acting?
    If she wasn't extremely famous...

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