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

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  

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

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

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…

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

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…

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

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…