Is Season 3 of The Orville on a crash course?

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Source: IMDB.com

Over the last 2 years (seasons), science fiction fans have been treated to the start of a fun, new show by Seth MacFarlane called, “The Orville“. Originally airing on Fox network television (standard cable), The Orville is a mix of science fiction space dramas combined with the situational comedy and one-line zingers that are standard with MacFarlane’s work. The cast, crew, model and costume designers, and special effects teams have all put in the extra work and effort to help get the show off to a great start. Unlike the bygone days of Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Orville was meant to be a more “down-to-Earth” style show that imagined a future with people that act much in the same way they do as in the 20th and 21st centuries (a comparison by Starloggers is available here). While the show is not exactly a new or innovative concept, MacFarlane drew on his years of writing, along with an all-star cast and crew of creators to make sure this show was a hit with fans.

That is, until you begin to try and watch the show with more “meaning”.

Let me be clear: I am a fan, I love the show, but it doesn’t mean that I have not recognized that the series is devoid of quality (and recognizing that one of the reasons I watched it was a lack of options). I am also a fan of a lot of Seth Macfarlane’s in “general”, given his vast array of talents and skills, (but there are problems with that, too). That said, here is why I believe that Season 3 may be a crash course for the show that brings it to an end:

A Lack of Competition:

While The Orville drew in a huge crowd right away, it was literally facing no competition. Star Trek had been off the air (from cable television) for years, and the attempted reboots and had been “hijacked” by CBS: All Access (that placed it behind a pay-wall), extorting loyal Star Trek fans. Needless to say, but the fans were not all, too happy about being taken advantage of (whereas many claimed that they only kept CBS: All Access subscriptions long enough to see their favorite show continue, then got out). The BBC had “seemingly” intentionally collapsed the Dr. Who franchise to make a clean, 1-year break with the ongoing series (of which there are dozens of theories and I can only speculate as to “why”). The Syfy network had stopped showing anymore of its “space”-based shows and the few competitors in the science fiction realm of standard cable included low-budget knock-off shows like DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (which were seriously lacking in quality and story). And, as for movies, J.J. Abrams and Disney had jointly begun the slow, brutal death of the Star Wars franchise by butchering any quality it had remaining. So, part of the audience drawn in by The Orville was a hungry, starved group of science fiction buffs. This is NOT “necessarily” a bad thing (as timing is sometimes crucial to the success of a show), but being as controversial as it was (as a supposed “paradoy”), there were clearly some advantages that went beyond The Orville drawing in fans for its high quality story-telling.

Great Casting (Amid a heavy Social Media campaign):

The Orville also drew in its audience with some very popular cast members like Adrianne Palicki (Lt. Kelly Grayson), Penny Jerald (Dr. Finn; and from the Star Trek franchise), Halston Sage (Lt. Alara Kitan), and others. In addition to this, MacFarlane (Captain Mercer; and also a yellow-shirt from ST:TNG) cast some additional actors with incredibly likeable skills and personalities in perfectly fitting roles such as Scott Grimes (Lt. Gordon Malloy, also ST:TNG), J. Lee (Lt. John LaMarr), and Mark Jackson (Isaac). It did not hurt that MacFarlane also cast very big names such as Charlize Theron, Rob Lowe, and Jason Alexander, not to mention drawing in the Star Trek crowd with the likes of Robert Picardo, Ron Canada, and others. With these names in the credits, attracting die-hard space science fiction fans was a no-brainer. MacFarlane went one step further and recruited incredibly talented directors such as Jon Favreau, Jon Cassar, Jonathan Frakes and James Conway. Once again, MacFarlane went for the best-of-the-best and the audience knew it. The directors did not fail to provide quality entertainment, either, providing a “Galaxy Quest” sense of humanity aboard a “Star Trek” Federation style ship.

To top it all off, Tom Constantino was cast as one of the shows associate producers and editors (and he has a pretty incredible resume).

Not surprisingly, Scott Grimes has risen to the top of the ranks as a beloved character on the show simply because he is playing himself, and as far as sincerity goes, Grimes has a lot – and gives a lot. Casting the right people is a skill and requires a lot of hard work. Especially when you bring cast members from other franchises that are incredibly similar, or have no experience in the science fiction field, and have to make it all mesh. So, MacFarlane deserves recognition for his ability to reign in this kind of talent to help get the show off to a good start. Of course, when ST:TNG and the original Star Trek, and some other space shows took off – they didn’t have “as many” of the luxuries that MacFarlane seems to have access to which means that it wasn’t necessarily as “hard work” getting off the ground as it may seem. Plus, fans showing up just for their favorite character does not make a show “good”. The heavy-handed social media campaign being run on Twitter and other platforms hasn’t hurt, either:

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Is there anything wrong with cast and crew using social media to communicate to fans? Of course, not! In fact, it’s rather refreshing for a lot of fans. However, to be clear – there is a non-stop barrage of this, and while it may be too young in the social media era to determine the full impact of the social media marketing (and popularity of actors vs. story line that keeps people drawn in), it would be naive to not recognize that this type of branding could be substituting for some of the lack of quality. Another example is when Jon Cassar (pictured above), tweeted about whether or not he had “accomplished” the most comprehensive space battle in history. Well, no, he had not, on television or the big screen. But, after the amazing job of the CGI crew (at Cassar’s direction) to make a very comprehensive and fun space battle – nobody really wanted to say, “no”. But, when you go back and watch, although the music was epic and the graphics were great … it lacked a lot of ‘umph’ that would have made it “thrilling” like a space battle should be. I don’t fault Cassar for this: he had limited time to do a lot of work … but a longer season by “1” whopping whole episode could have resolved this. So, no matter how you slice it: a lot of great names behind a show only goes “so far”.

Writing:

While I will touch on the negative further on, first I want to mention that the topics for this show have struck a solid chord with the science fiction community. Science fiction is popular because of its incredible stories, but even more so, those stories that address modern day problems in a future setting. This is why science fiction gives people hope. Audiences can see struggles with slavery, social media, and conflict being resolved and believe that humanity can do better. The Orville addressed many of these topics in its first 2 seasons. Even if your actors were not top notch or the show is new and there are problems to be resolved: tackling these issues has been a winning formula for all “future-esque” science fiction shows since day one. That also doesn’t make for a show “great”, but it sure gets it started on the right foot! That said, the work is not entirely unique or original and it may be the “familiarity” that has kept the audience. Other folks have also seen just how much MacFarlane has “borrowed” from other shows (article: here).

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Source: Imdb.com

Bringing it all together:

So, there are several positive factors working for the Orville, but, what happens when you peel back the “void-filler” space science fiction show, easy-self-writing scripts, and the flashy cast and crew? Well, instead of a show that is as down-to-Earth-fun as Galaxy Quest, as relatable as Firefly, or as thrilling as The Next Generation, you get the Seth MacFarlane brand humor stamped onto a very one-dimensional series that looks more like the original Star Trek, but with even more problems hidden behind flashy visuals. In every episode, it “feels” like Captain Mercer is at the heart of the story as much as Captain Kirk dominated the original Star Trek. While MacFarlane has worked to incorporate some more “character developing” episodes in Season 2 like Dr. Finn and Isaac (for example): the lead-ins were inadequate, the so-called relationship was rushed and shallow, and the climax was bland and pointless. Oh sure, fans filled in the gaps themselves, forgave the empty bits, and just accepted the work as it was because this was the only space science fiction show they had access to,  but this is how a poorly invested audience is made (which is how you kill a show with a large multitude of centralized cast members that do not get better development).

Even the casting choices had problems from the very beginning as Halson Sage left the series after the first season and was replaced with Jessica Szohr (Lt. Talla Keyali; albeit, Szohr is an incredibly talented actress and good addition to the series). In fact, I would be surprised if there aren’t already some other replacements being planned. Another example of some very poor character development was the writing for Kelly Grayson. From the start of the series, she was the “whorish” ex who cheated the poor, bumbling Captain Mercer (buying him a sympathy vote from the audience), but by the end of Season 2, her character was transformed into this flop of a human being whose selfishness undermined the safety of the entire Universe. In the end, we saw her make the transition to the self-sacrificial Kelly Grayson (although, this is not made clear as to whether she was strong enough to sacrifice her choices for the Universe or still left to the whims of her younger self), but it was so poorly edited and rushed, giving little time for really understanding her, that it, too, was emotionless. Overall, the most fun times with Grayson are when she interacts with Mercer in the lounge, getting drunk. That’s not exactly a good use of her acting skills or good character development.

Now – I know what the fans of the show who read this are already thinking: “This is cr@p”, “This fool doesn’t know what he’s talking about”, blah, blah, blah. And, of course you’ll think that because the Orville has run a very strong social media campaign, has filled a void, and you’ve already come “prepared” into the series having Star Trek as the background (and Hollywood has been training you with increasingly bad story lines to keep lowering the bar to the point that drivel, sells). I am also not the only one to have seen these problems. Liz Miller at Indie Wire wrote about some of the derivative content: here. The fact is: the honeymoon is over and now, it’s time for substance or a doomed future.

MacFarlane said in an interview that by Season 2, he wanted to move away from the Star Trek franchise that he had relied upon for his framework (and acceptably so) and really develop his own brand of show … but then went so far as to recruit Jonathan Frakes (William Riker from ST:TNG), albeit I am glad he did since Frakes is such an amazingly good writer and director. So, although The Orville is a show with great opportunity, at its heart is a very disingenuous creator: Seth MacFarlane, and this is where the “real” problems begin.

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Source: Imdb.com

Is re-programming behind a pay wall and having an ego-centric creator at the heart of a show enough to kill it?

It was for Star Trek. The death of Star Trek came from two sources: losing its prime-time slot due to the popularity of Jerry Lewis comedy and from some very poor director-producer-writer-network decision making / getting along (and everyone knows, the “mouse” does not give in to the demands of anyone). Charlie Anders from Gizmodo writes about the crash of Star Trek very well in his article, here. One difference that MacFarlane has over the original series is the ability to handle a wider variety of topics and better special effects, but how far that goes is yet to be seen behind the mouse house paywall – and the paywall itself is going to cut out a lot of fans who will simply abandon following the series any longer. I would conjecture that many of the fans, if they were to really look closely, are excited by the idea of what “could be” and not by what “is” happening.

The Descent:

Warning – this is going to get political …

I first began to see what was happening (taking a deeper look at the series / taking off the rose-colored glasses), when Disney stepped in to buy Fox studios (and the FTC literally turned a blind eye to anti-trust violations). Suddenly, Fox, who had wanted to carry The Orville for another season and reduce the commercial time to give it more airtime, was no longer going to be the Network of choice. The show was being moved to Hulu … behind a paywall (like … CBS: All Access did, remember?). Well – that was a slap in the face to the many fans who had become dedicated viewers. While a large portion of the audience seemed to be accepting this decision, the outcries against this on Twitter and other social media platforms did not go unheard.

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So – thousands and thousands of people posted just like this. They had given up their time to become Orville fans, funding the show through the advertising and cable subscription costs – only to be told the show was going behind a paywall. But, the “mouse” doesn’t care about people or fans – and clearly, neither does MacFarlane. He was willing to pull his shows off of Fox for political reasons but had zero regard for the fans he was ostracizing when Disney wrote him a new $$”caching”$$ contract. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to do this math and see what is happening.

From out of nowhere, a massive social media campaign burst forward telling people (what had somehow conveniently “failed” to be mentioned before), that The Orville needed more air time and could only get that on Hulu. Deleted scenes were shown on Twitter with the explanation that on Hulu, they could keep those scenes. Is any of that true? Perhaps, some of it is …

So, should we just forget that Fox was going to restructure its framework for this very purpose? Furthermore, Disney now owned Fox and could just as easily change the framework and allow The Orville more airtime. In fact, The Orville could have more episodes in a season keeping the show free for the public, going from the current “12 – 13” season episodes that Hollywood has done to all shows (because syndication is big money), to the traditional 22 episode season, adding in 22 hours of content, not 6 hours (which I’ve calculated based on the 30 minutes or so extra “per show” in a 12-13 show season). But, none of that happened. The fans were told that it was for the good of the show and to like it – or too bad. Hollywood’s arrogance never ceases to amaze me – or cause its fans to pull away.

Additionally, we already know that, MacFarlane, had been protesting the Fox network because of Fox News and Trump’s election, since 2016, (with Fox being one of the few cable networks not to have excessively Democrat partisan biased coverage, fake or not), and had been threatening to pull his shows and drop Fox networks:

“MacFarlane says he’s “embarrassed” to work for Fox” – Variety, 2018

“…had joined Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane and Ghostbusters director Paul Feig in publicly denouncing Fox News’s cheerleading of Trump’s immigration policies” – Vanity Fair, 2019

“‘Family Guy’ creator Seth MacFarlane says Hollywood hates Donald Trump because they deal with ‘lying con men’ like him every day” – NY Daily News, 2016

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MacFarlane, whose cartoon Family Guy has berated and belittled a teenage girl as ugly, including beating her, torturing her, and other unpleasant acts, shows his “holier than thou” attitude in his reaction to the News Media’s negative feedback about the 16-year old Greta Thunberg’s unfounded claims as a “mandate” for society. Apparently, it’s okay when he does it for a laugh, but when real life people don’t appreciate the mass-media attention given to claims which have not been substantiated and legal policies are made based upon it, that’s “deplorable”?

And, now, it looks like MacFarlane has been given some very serious clout over at Fox studios’. Tom Constantino, an editor and associate producer on The Orville, responded to my simple “concern” about the public not having been told the whole story about this transition and The Orville going to Hulu by saying, “Forgive my cheekiness, but everything you just said is wrong,” (paraphrased). Of course, I am not surprised. Constantino’s job is to protect the show (and I didn’t take his response personally or offensively as Constantino tends to be a generally nice person), but it would be incredibly naive to read through MacFarlane’s background, see his career in Hollywood, understand the value of his show to the Network’s success, and not pick on the dark, profit making egos that drove the move to Hulu. After all, if MacFarlane was supposedly prepared to pull his shows from Fox, he could have just as easily stood his ground and not given in to the mouse-house demands.

“Family Guy is a multi-billion franchise on its own, and MacFarlane has been a vocal critic of the Rupert Murdoch-owned Fox, making a transition to Disney possible if the two sides can figure out a way to house his non-family-friendly content. Nine-figures should be the starting point for any negotiation.” – Brandon Katz, the Observer

A Flaw in the Creator:

While there is clearly misdirection with the transition to Hulu and the show getting more “air-time”, Season 3 will provide some evidentiary truth as to whether or not MacFarlane uses that additional air-time for more meaningful episodes. However, from my perspective, it’s not the hijacking of another space science fiction franchise behind a pay-wall that will “necessarily” be the demise of this show (given the intense social media campaign that will continue on): the primary problem is with MacFarlane at the center of every episode in a very “Captain Kirk” style (the same “center of attention” megalomania that Galaxy Quest used to mock Tim Allen’s character). MacFarlane is good as a voice persona, but as an on-screen actor, MacFarlane is still very one dimensional (when he’s not cracking a joke). So far, the Orville has been an okay fit for him since Captain Mercer is a goofball with some neurotic tendencies (that mirrors the real-life Seth MacFarlane).

To better illustrate this, just see his performance and the reviews on the movie, “A Million Ways to Die in the West.” MacFarlane’s ego-centric tendencies to put himself as the lead man and most important person in a show don’t always go well (review). MacFarlane is not as funny as he sometimes thinks and it seems like it could only be a matter of time before he either retracts himself for some other big adventure (leaving an irreparable void) or he starts upstaging others to make sure he doesn’t lose those mouse dollars. How long will the Captain Kirk of Star Trek (aka Captain Mercer) be able to garner the sympathy plea? How long will fans request more of the other characters and finally lose interest when those requests are not met? Only time will answer that question – but the fact that it can even be asked means there are already serious problems with the show’s format. So, while the Orville has had ample opportunity to become something “more”, with a virtual Captain Kirk at the center of every episode, the limitations of growth are starting to show.

It is also ridiculous to have MacFarlane as the heart of every episode since the Captain, does not leave the ship, except under extremely important circumstances. Captain Mercer’s going down to a planet surface alone to bring back Alara, for example, was just egocentric writing and poorly done. The point of all this is that MacFarlane is trying to cover too much ground too quickly and is writing himself into a wall. So, keeping the fans that do follow while trying to attract new fans may be too much. In the episode Sanctuary (S2 E012), during a Union meeting of planets (where they failed the opportunity to do a much wider array of alien species and expand the Union presence), MacFarlane gets to be present at a Union hearing. This is utterly ridiculous. The Captain of a star ship would not sit among planetary ambassadors, especially a Captain of such low-level respect as Mercer. And, before you assume I am just “geeking out”, MacFarlane couldn’t help but be “smarter” than everyone else in the Union and the hero of the entire Universe (ie. his commentary on not putting all their eggs in one basket when relying on the Moclans for their weapons), and had to be the voice of “reason”. After all, what would the Union do without the proverbial Captain Kirk at the helm?

The Dark Side:

Seth MacFarlane has odd, eccentric tendencies and what he sometimes thinks passes for funny, is anything but humorous. He has a long history of being scorned and disliked for his raunchy sense of humor (Rolling Stones article). What makes his shows like The Family Guy funny for a lot of audiences is his one-line “zingers”, whereby the situational comedy itself is long, drawn out and boring, and one can only hope that it ends with a “funny”.

And, let’s not forget that MacFarlane’s writing has included some intensively abusive, racist and misogynous scenes (repeatedly). I’m not talking about needing to be a “snowflake” with comedy, but glorifying the sex trade of Vietnamese girls as funny, glorifying the oedipal complex, and some other very depraved topics (making fun of homosexuality, other cultures, aids, etc.). MacFarlane has crossed the line too many times, taking extended scenes of abuse and assuming that it would make audiences laugh. For example, in The Family Guy episode “Patriot Games”, it featured an extensively long drawn out beating of the family dog, Brian. Aired right about the time of the Super Bowl (featuring Tom Brady, which is another “celebrity” move by MacFarlane to draw in fans), several websites seemingly herald it as one of the best episodes ever, watching a child brutally beat a dog in every possible, horrible, and torturous way, including shooting it. But, in reality, outside of the social media campaigning, the reviews have not gone well:

“… sometimes the creators do seem to cross – or perhaps, eagerly race past – the line of indecency … nor do I find it particularly funny when Stewie physically abuses Brian in a bloody fight … Thus, while Family Guy can provide a sort of relief by breaking down taboos … an excess of offensive jokes … can seem to grant tacit permission to think offensively if it’s done for comedy – and laughing at others’ expense can be cruel … these are the ones [jokes] that let out our animalistic and aggressive impulses surface from the unconscious. – Antonia Peacocke, “Family Guy and Freud: Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious”.

“Brain getting his ass kicked by Stewie was not funny at all. Cartoon violence is good when it is not realistic. this violence was realistic and horrible to Brian. Last time we saw them fight was in “Lethal Weapons” I [believe], and Brian stood a chance and was not taking it like a b*tch. Stewie was way too gruesome in this episode. All we got from Season 4 is “Stewie and Brian are best buds now” cr*p, and they do this! Holding Brian’s head down on the toilet while he was bleeding and begging for it to stop was when it crossed the line.” – NoHomers forum

While there has been little sign of this grotesque extremism from MacFarlane thus far, don’t forget that The Orville just started and that it has had a myriad of other writers working on the show. Yet, we have already seen Dr. Finn having an “accidentally” drugged, non consensual, sexual experience with the show’s green blob alien, Lt. Yaphit. We’ve already had longer-than-needed drawn out scenes of Bortis having a mass orgy in the holodeck (the kind of cr@p that MacFarlane thinks is funny). Maybe it’s not extreme, but there are clear “MacFarlane brand writing samples” beginning to emerge. Even his callous treatment of characters is starting to show. In the episode, “Identity” (S2 E08),  Kaylons taking over The Orville is another, prime example. Throughout the episode, multitudes of crew members were shot / executed. However, this was glossed over with barely a word said, something ST:TNG would not have done – nor would a real Captain aboard a real space ship. The trade-off was a less than rewarding conclusion and a bunch of dead people who must have been packed in crates and forgotten about?!? Whether it was lazy / inexperienced writing or a lack of interest in their own show, it was not well handled. It doesn’t mean that MacFarlane will go “all the way” down the rabbit hole (as he’s done with his other shows), but it’s impossible not to see a connection between his eccentric oddity and the direction being taken throughout the first, two seasons.

(Why does this matter / am I nitpicking about the dead people? It matters because Isaac is put back in his regular position and duty and everyone else just goes about their merry business as if Isaac is not a killer AI from a genocidal race of machines. And, even though their “buddies” were killed … it’s no big “thang”. WTF?? The zero transition was … awkward at best.)

Family Friendly:

A show doesn’t have to be written for the entire “family” to be enjoyable, although most shows written this way, tend to see more success. The problem is that MacFarlane has written The Orville with just enough crude humor and darkness that it’s not for kids under 16, and even then, some of it is questionable. Again – no – not snowflake. Given what I’ve allowed my own son to watch, my expectations for ‘family’ friendly were not huge. But, those were one-time instances, not a constant, weekly barrage of raunchy, teenage humor. Even that type of funny wears on adults (real adults … not the idiotic children in adult bodies). Limiting the audience of the Orville, with such good themes that could have a real positive impact on the younger generation, is a waste of time and energy. And, eventually, the fans will see that. Eventually, fans will want to share this show with others … but its limited, target audience may prevent that. Just another obstacle in the way of The Orville becoming anything “great”.

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Source: Imdb.com

Lazy Writing:

The next, biggest failure (first in my personal book), is that ongoing story arcs are incomplete (such as the Isaac-home world dilemma) almost as if they never happened in a very lazy, unprepared fashion that is indicative of a writer like MacFarlane who does not have a long-term plan and is used to short, situational comedy. Now, the show may come back to certain story arcs, but unlike ST:TNG’s “Q” for example, while a recurring character, each appearance had a theme, each appearance was sufficiently concluded, and the overall arc continued from beginning to end. (Mind you, ST:TNG has had its fair share of bad episodes, especially toward the end, so I am not heralding it as gospel, but it is a good reference).

On the positive side, the friendship between Lt. Malloy and Isaac is a slow-building partnership that has real potential (although I doubt MacFarlane and crew has any intention to use it as anything else except comic relief). Unfortunately, the relationship between Mercer and Grayson is too confusing to bother caring about while the relationship between Bortus and Klyden (played by Chad Coleman) is funny, but even less developed than Quark and Rom from ST: Deep Space Nine. While entertaining, it is the only “developed” character relationship on the series and yet, the on-again, off-again nature of the relationship has no continuity and feel disingenuous.

Even with the ability to do cover more complex topics and address more challenging single-story shows, in episodes like “Majority Rule” (S1 E07), there was something missing from the intensity that became a regular part of the The Next Generation, Firefly, and Farscape. The episode at the end of Orville’s Season 2, “The Road Not Taken” was a huge opportunity for a multi-part series with a long-lasting effect on the characters’ timeline – but if it has one – no one is going to feel it.

Even the discovery that Isaac’s race of AI’s were also genocidal murderers in “Identity”, was … “ehh…”. Yet, the episode didn’t fail to get in MacFarlane’s one-line zinger when addressing the fact that Lt. Malloy had dressed up Isaac as Mr. Potato Head and MacFarlane says, “We’re so fired.” It was funny, but – it was placed in the middle of ineffective drama and the entire scene was a wash. It is not only story arcs that are incomplete, rushed, and not well done, but many of the individual story lines are lacking. Another example is Dr. Finn’s son, Isaac (played by Kai Wener) running away. It felt … stupid more than anything (as the child is not so naive to think he could have found Isaac on an entire planet, alone, or that the entire Kaylon species (and the Orville for that mater), were both running detailed scans but neither one noticed a human just wandering around on the surface of their planet). Even MacFarlane was too interested to get to his one-line zinger jokes before the end of the episode “Primal Urges”, that they just glossed over having a crew member inject a potentially deadly computer virus into the holographic generator (although they took the time to chastise Bortus for having a porn addiction).

Another problem with The Orville is that it has employed a myriad of writers and directors. While this works in some cases, long-term, it is not a path toward a successful show. Syfy Network’s “The Magicians”, used this model and it has lead to some problems. Although guest stars, directors, and writers have enough common sense to stay “cannon”, each brings with them their own flavor and if done too frequently or spread too fr out, continuity can become a serious problem. Furthermore, while some creators tend to be over-protective, MacFarlane fails in this capacity, as per “The Patriot” episode previously mentioned when MacFarlane, loving the eccentric “shock” value, has been known to let writers get out of hand.

Politics:

Seth MacFarlane is a political humorist. I don’t know if MacFarlane has the capacity to write without interjecting his personal flavor of politics. And, while extremely liberal, MacFarlane interjects what he (ignorantly) believes is conservative humor, and oft times makes a counter point to his point (trying to “mock” conservative humor). For example:

The single-mother Dr. Finn is a strong, admirable woman who inspires greatness and whether or not she is married is unimportant. Bortus’ and Klydens’ relationship (and the entire Moclan way of life) does not contradict a dual gender species choosing same-gender relations as the Moclans are a single gender (and some in the LGBTQ community saw it as a failure (article: here), even though they blindly forgive MacFarlane simply because it’s him). Even Captain Mercer’s needlessly long, drawn-out gay relationship (with the alien that caused his ex-wife to cheat on him), in “Cupid’s Dagger” (S1 E09) was only done under the influence of pheromone-drugs and as “revenge sex” against his former wife. This doesn’t exactly “represent” anything and it fell short of having any meaning, working only a painfully long running gag that hijacked an episode. But, here we are again, with Mercer at the center of every episode, more important than everyone else, and not working through issues, but just sort of coasting along.

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Source: Imdb.com

Conclusion:

I know that this article will NOT be popular with Orville fans. I’m not even sure if I got my point across correctly (as I am not a good or well organized writer). While I want this show to succeed for the next 8 – 20 seasons, I don’t think its future looks so good. Having been sold out to the mouse house (Disney), going behind a paywall to extort science fiction fans (treating the viewers like dirt behind a weak lie), and a plethora of writing problems, it feels like the Orville is on a crash course. However, there is still time for course corrections to be made. Maybe MacFarlane will grow up? (nope). Maybe the other crew will call him out and help him make this show great? (possibly). Maybe they’ll show some respect and treat fans with dignity by putting the show back on public cable? (hahahahaha … yeah right).

The opportunities are still huge for this series. There are countless characters (already introduced, and yet to be introduced) that can bring a lot of story line. The technology is untouched as of yet. And, the characters, even though some have been written against a wall with no easy way out, can be progressed and built up the way that a quality, well-written series would do.

The game was fun, the comic con appearance was fun, and the social media outlets are fun. But, outside of the sheeple, there are still people who look for substance – and it’s not here. Eventually, the sheep that watched without care over quality and content (and thus, were never really science fiction fans), will grow weary. And, I’m not sure Seth MacFarlane is mature enough or skilled enough to give this show the quality it deserves, leaving behind his childish, raunchy eccentricities and ego and taking the time to really “build” the Orville and ALL its crew. Maybe I’m just being another naive, idealistic fan who really doesn’t want to be treated like cr@p, extorted for money, and wants a quality show to enjoy?

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Thanks for reading.

(agree? disagree? Please, share why, but be respectful of others)


It was always inevitable that Fate would beckon us from the shadows. Every revolution begins with a single act of defiance.” – Heveena

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