Or Nah? is a feature where we watch and review the first episode of a new TV show. We’ll let you know if it’s worth checking out. As always, these reviews are the opinion of the reviewer, but we’ll try to adequately explain why you should or shouldn’t give the show a chance and provide shows for comparison.
We are first introduced to Ed Mercer (Seth MacFarlane/Family Guy; American Dad!; Ted) when he discovers his wife Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki/Agents of Shield; Robot Chicken; About a Boy) is cheating on him. A year later during a meeting with Admiral Halsey (Victor Garber/Legends of Tomorrow; The Flash; Alias) Ed is promoted to captain his own starship. Halsey makes it clear that this promotion is by necessity, not due to Ed’s recently troubled record. The Planetary Union (think federation similarly to Star Trek) has an abundance of ships, but not enough captains. And this is Ed’s welcome to his new position as captain of The Orville.
Captain Ed assigns his pal Lieutenant Gordon Malloy (Scott Grimes/Family Guy; Justified; Party of Five) as his helmsman. Gordon is a bit of drunk frat boy, but he has skills. Ed meets his diverse senior crew members and the jokes don’t quite hit the target. The senior crew includes Issac (Mark Jackson/ The Royal Today; That Peter Kay Things) a racist robot (android), Alara Kitan (Halston Sage/ Neighbors/Crisis) the head of security who is her early 20s, and Dr. Claire Finn (Penny Johnson Jerald/Castle; 24; Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) the ship’s doctor who specifically requested to serve on the ship because she knew Ed would need the help.
After being tasked with a seemingly rudimentary mission to take supplies to a scientific outpost on Epsilon II, Ed is ordered to pick up his second in command. Ed is surprised to find out that said second in command is his now ex-wife Kelly, who requested the assignment. After the former couple argues the crew arrives at Epsilon II and makes contact with the head of the scientific team, Dr. Aronov (Brian George/ Once Upon a Time in Wonderland; The Expanse; The Big Bang Theory). Aronov claims that they don’t need any supplies, but invites the captain and a landing party to the outpost.
In person Aronov explains that The Orville was called because one of his crew has created a temporal device that can accelerate time. While the device clearly has the potential to end famines and aid in healing from illnesses, it could be used as a weapon by the Krill- a known enemy of The Planetary Union. A Krill spy happens to be undercover at the outpost and attacks the landing parties meeting with Aronov and another scientist. During the melee, the scientist that discovered the temporal device is pushed into a temporal by the Krill spy. Krill forces attack and the usual action scenes occur.
The landing party is able to evade the Krill and take the temporal device back to the ship via a shuttlecraft that has a Krill intruder. After receiving a little pep talk from his crewmates Gordon, helps him maneuver the ship so that the shuttlecraft can enter the docking bay.
Once back aboard Ed and Kelly try to stall the Krill captain’s video conference by discussing the demise of their marriage. When that doesn’t work, Kelly creates a plan to send over the device to The Krill by remote shuttle. When the Krill activate the temporal device, 100 years pass and a tree grows, which destroys the shuttle.
Kelly offers to pass her position on to a friend, but Ed tells her that she can stay. At the end of the episode during a meeting between Admiral Halsey and Kelly, it is revealed that Kelly lobbied for Ed to receive a captainship.
After conducting a completely unscientific and informal survey, I found that three out of the ten people (including me) enjoy it. That’s a shame, because despite the bad rap it’s receiving, The Orville is fun. There’s room for the show to grow and subvert the tropes of starship-based shows.
Another treat is the strong cast; it’s nice to see the comedic side of actors like Penny Johnson Jerald and Victor Garber. Additionally, the show doesn’t take itself too seriously and runs with the parody of Star Trek: The Next Generation and other space dramas.
Some of the jokes are lame and don’t stick. The mixture between comedy and drama doesn’t always balance out.
Watch This if You Like: Star Trek: The Next Generation; Star Trek: Deep Space Nine; Blackadder; SpaceBalls
The Orville Premiere Review Score
The Orville – S1E1 Starring: Seth MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, Penny Johnson Jerald, Scott Grimes, Peter Macon, Halston Sage, J. Lee, and Mark Jackson.