Season 3 of The Orville has been streaming recently on Hulu with “New Horizons” as its sub-title, for some reason. Regular visitors to PoP will be aware that we found that most of the two seasons of The Orville were very pale imitations of Star Trek and had no justification for its existence. However, it appears that the first episode of season 3 had received critical praise and thus we thought it appropriate to share what we think of the return of The Orville.
S P O I L E R S
The most obvious criticism of The Orville is that it is plagiarism – a blatant unoriginal ripoff of Star Trek. In its first season, The Orville seemed to present itself as a space opera satire thereby hoping to justify its existence. This made sense as Seth (Family Guy) MacFarlane was at the helm. But there were jarring shift of tones between comic farce and serious drama, that it was difficult to appreciate its intention and simply came across as bad writing. Thus, that first season was heavily panned.
The series obviously took the criticism to heart and attempted to reinvent itself in the second season as a more serious scifi space opera series. While there were definite improvements, the main flaw would re-surface again. At its core, the series is a ripoff of all the key elements of Star Trek, especially The Next Generation (TNG). It had no reason to exist as it was creatively hollow.
This problem continues in the third season. The first episode has Isaac – the ship’s android – commit suicide as a response to the hatred ‘he’ receives from the crew due to the recent battle with the Kaylon species, Issac’s android race (a poor ripoff of the Borg from TNG). While initially betraying his crew mates, the Orville is saved in the end thanks to Issac’s intervention. At the end of the last season, Captain Ed Mercer forgave Issac and reinstated him as part of the Orville’s crew.
Sure, up to this point, it appears that The Orville is exploring a couple of intriguing themes – artificial intelligence, suicide and racial hatred. But all these themes have been examined – and in a superior manner – in Star Trek, especially TNG. Issac is an inferior copy of Data, the android in TNG. Issac’s look is ridiculously unrealistic as well – a low rent Data ripoff. Worse still, the episode is titled “Electric Sheep”, an obvious nod to Philip K. Dick but there are none of the iconoclastic writer’s nuances whatsoever. Lame.
Not only that but in the episode, after a memorial service and various dramatic scenes with Issac’s friends, all is for nought as ultimately Issac is revived! What was the point of this exercise, if in the end, there were zero consequences of Issac’s act? Now, in real life, NOBODY comes back from suicide. We found this to be terribly tone deaf once more from the writers of this lame excuse of a scifi space opera.
So, enough of The Orville, we hope that this season 3 is indeed the final one, and we can then wipe this risible series from our collective memories. Avoid.
Now streaming on Hulu.
… still there’s more …