Seth MacFarlane says The Orville's second season will be longer, more heavily sci-fi

From the jump, Seth MacFarlane’s new hour-long Fox series, The Orville, has been a beast serving two masters, as the urge to fill its scripts with Family Guy-esque sex jokes and asides warred with what seemed like a pretty sincere attempt to recreate the basic beats of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Now, MacFarlane…

The Orville’s season finale goes out without a single bang

B

In anticipation of tonight’s season finale, I wondered last week who was going to get punched in what would surely be a wiz-bang send-off. No one got punched. In fact, tonight’s episode was surprisingly anti-climactic. And I mean that in a good way. It’s a satisfying defiance of convention that the central problem of…

We meet John LaMarr again for the first time on a solid Orville

B+

Every time the Orville had a really good show this season, I found myself wondering, “Is this it? Has the show finally found its stride?” Only for the following week to be a letdown. But not only was “New Dimensions” another enjoyable episode after last week’s parade of horrors, it offered a second, much better…

The Orville gets spooky in an enjoyable episode

B

After last week’s gross episode, The Orville rebounds with a solidly enjoyable adventure. Tonight’s episode, “Firestorm,” is essentially a redux of the season’s second episode, “Command Performance,” that once again places Alara at the center in order to address her lack of self-confidence and anxiety in response to…

In an excellent episode, Dr. Finn emerges as The Orville's best character

B+

Tonight we learned nothing comes in the way of a mother’s love; not even a war-torn moon festering with alien plague cannibals. With “Into the Fold,” The Orville continues to build up its first season with episodes focusing on individual crew members. It’s a smart approach, since it gives us a chance to deepen our…

In a weak episode, The Orville tackles social media for no good reason  

C-

Even if you haven’t already seen the Black Mirror episode “Nosedive” (or really any episode of Black Mirror), or the Community episode, “App Development and Condiments,” or had a passing, idle conversation with a friend or relative about how folks really have their noses buried in their phones these days, it’s…

The Orville explores a stock villain in an episode that's strong on story, but weak on jokes

B-

The Orville’s best humor comes from playing off of the unlimited possibilities of a sci-fi setting. The funniest part of this week’s episode happened in the cold open, when the crew discovers Bortus’ race adapted to consume almost anything for nourishment. Naturally, this leads to an enjoyable bit where everyone…

After a promising episode, The Orville slips back into mediocrity

C

It’s really difficult to avoid viewing every episode of The Orville against Star Trek: The Next Generation (as an aside, why not celebrate the show’s 30th anniversary premiere by checking out Zack Handlen’s excellent series reviews). They’re not identical, of course, but it’s obvious how much The Orville cherishes TNG…

In its best episode yet, The Orville goes to trial for a baby's happiness 

B-

Seth MacFarlane has been cagey about defining his show; unwilling to call it a comedy, he instead emphasizes The Orville’s dramatic foundation. Tonight’s episode, “About A Girl,” is the first episode to offer some legitimacy to his claim. The show is dedicated solely to the ramifications of the previous episode’s…

A trip to the zoo helps elevate an otherwise average Orville

C+

The Orville’s second episode, “Command Performance” returns with a more inventive plot, but still struggles with the same problems that afflicted the series premiere. Much of the positive feedback for the show highlights its optimism; after a surprisingly long-lived “dark and gritty” era in entertainment, seeing…

The Orville fails to make a strong case for its existence in a tepid series premiere 

C

Being familiar with Seth MacFarlane’s body of work, the question I was asking myself going into The Orville was not if, but how long before the show took advantage of its sci-fi trappings to make an alien dick joke. Like a phallus of Damocles hanging over the pilot, MacFarlane’s long and dedicated history of easy…

Advertisement