Wizpop: Who'd Have Thunk The Orville Takes the Lead on Thoughtful Sci-Fi
Galaxy Quest was a surprising revelation when fans first encountered it on Christmas Day in 1999. Making a play on the existing fan culture of Star Trek and spinning it into a fun homage, yet solid sci-fi film of its own right. This past weekend, we may have gotten another solid entry into the exploratory space odyssey genre that is equally reverent, while going off on its merry own way with the premiere of The Orville.
Seth MacFarlane has done nothing to keep his love of Star Trek a secret over the years. He's even taken his case to Paramount directly, but with the franchise going in a direction of discovery, MacFarlane partnered with Jon Favreau to bring his idyllic envisioning of our space based future to Fox.
While MacFarlane's humor has at times leaned to the caustic and absurd, The Orville is a surprisingly safe bet for the showrunner. MacFarlane has taken great care to balance out his cast, develop the rich world the crew is operating in and, for possibly the first time in a show about an interstellar space vessel, show the characters as functional beings in a workplace. That is the only conceit about the show that's a little jarring, but has potential for hilarity, so many of the jokes come from being working class on a spaceship that it's hard to gauge how "The Office in space" it will all feel after several eps.
At the moment, The Orville is a bright spot in the otherwise heavy handed sci-fi of the current era. Getting back to the idea of these beings from across the galaxy uniting in exploration is where many had hoped Star Trek Discovery had been heading, but with a Klingon holy war storyline we're unsure Roddenberry would have ever approved, the show could alienate as many fans as new ones it brings in. So it looks like the truest vision of what Star Trek was to become is legitimately in the hands of the man who brought us A Million Ways to Die in the West. We're good.
The Orville Airs Sundays on Fox.