“The Orville” has been talked about for a while now, since the first few trailers were released. It seemed like a parody of Star Trek, which sounded like a fun idea. The wait is finally over, as the pilot episode, “Old Wounds,” finally aired. The concept was an idea I liked, and I’ve been a fan of Adrianne Palicki since she was Mockingbird on Agents of SHIELD. So, I was curious to see what they ended up with. I saw the initial reviews were uniformly bad, or at least all the ones I saw were, but I figured I’d wait to see for myself.
In the year 2418, “The Union” stands in for Starfleet in this not-quite Star Trek world. We get some background for the main characters, as we see the relationship between Ed Mercer (Seth Macfarlane) and Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki) spectacularly fail. Fast forwarding a year, Mercer gets command of a new ship, after damaging his own reputation in the aftermath of the first scene. He’s given his command by guest star Victor Garber, better known as Martin Stein, half of Firestorm on Legends of Tomorrow.
The rest of the episode is devoted to the band of odd misfits that make up the crew and introducing the major alien threat, the Krill. Disapointingly, they don’t look at all like shrimp. The threat of the week comes up and they solve it with a really clever idea, I’ll give them that. The final scene drops a secret I’m sure will become a big drama flake down the road.
My take on the show is that it didn’t live up to the trailers that hinted at a sci fi comedy. It also wasn’t as bad as a lot of the reviews made it sound. It was kind of solidly average. It wasn’t really a comedy, and it wasn’t s straight drama. It was like they couldn’t quite decide what they wanted to do, and veered back and forth from comedy to adventure as if the different scenes were written by wholly different staffs of writers. Even some of the characters almost felt like they were on different shows.
What I liked: The few comedy scenes were kind of funny, I’ll give them that. Mercer and Grayson had a few scenes where they riffed off each other, and those were good (anti-banana ray). The effects were decent, if occasionally inconsistent.
What I didn’t: As I said, the show was inconsistent. Even the two main characters were by turns sniping at each other and weirdly friendly. Mercer gets shot in the shoulder at one point, which somehow injures him but doesn’t do anything to the uniform. They need to figure out if they’re going for laughs or playing it straight, or at least get a better balance if they’re trying to be both.
The show wasn’t bad, but it really wasn’t all that great. I’ll give it a 2 out of 5. It has potential, but it hasn’t realized it. They might save it, but they have some work to do if they’re going to.