Seth MacFarlane: ‘The Orville’ VS ‘Star Trek’

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John J. Falco
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Let the games begin! Seth MacFarlane suggests Star Trek is going in the wrong direction. He might be right. Discuss...

“I miss the…aspirational place Star Trekused to occupy,” MacFarlane said. “They’ve chosen to go in a different direction,” he said, describing that direction as dystopian. The space Star Trek, MacFarlane maintained, now is “unoccupied.”

“They can’t all be Hunger Games,” he said. “There is some space for aspirational.” The Orville, he said is “an attempt to fill that void.”
Seth MacFarlane: ‘The Orville’ Occupies Sci-Fi Space ‘Star Trek’ Left Behind En Route To Dystopia
 

BAYLOR

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I so like this comment however: "One critic said the show does not feel like “today’s science fiction,” wondering why he made a show that looks and feels like the 90’s. “Because I miss the optimism,” MacFarlane responded. “I’m tired of being told everything is going to be grim and dystopian…I miss the hopeful side of science fiction.” " I also miss optimism in S.F. There is enough pessimism in the news for anyone to digest.
 

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I so like this comment however: "One critic said the show does not feel like “today’s science fiction,” wondering why he made a show that looks and feels like the 90’s. “Because I miss the optimism,” MacFarlane responded. “I’m tired of being told everything is going to be grim and dystopian…I miss the hopeful side of science fiction.” " I also miss optimism in S.F. There is enough pessimism in the news for anyone to digest.
Yeah it's one of the few reasons why I am having such a hard time with some of these new shows lately. There's realism (the expanse) and unexpected black comedy and then there's just plain grit, blood and guts. I like the black comedy dramas to a point. But if they crank out breaking bads after breaking bads, I won't be able to take all that. There's some shows like Dexter or Game of Thrones I just couldn't get into and I barely am enjoying the Handmaid's Tale. (though it is great!) I'm not sure I want Star Trek to become like a game of thrones. That isn't the point of ST. ST is supposed to be uplifting, diplomatic, and optimistic. So I think it's great that Seth is trying to fill that void. Because he's right. That's not on TV at the moment.

Even the uplifting and optimistic shows always look backwards.
 

J-Sun

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These critics and reporters seem kinda challenged. If Star Trek tried to sue Orville, then every magazine and TV show from the 30s to the 60s could just as easily sue Star Trek. Besides, the people who see it as closer to a Galaxyquest-like parody of ST are correct. It looks closer to GQ than ST. However, the FOX CEO isn't doing anyone any favors. We're "not really" concerned? We have "a big legal team"? So, "We're a little concerned and we may have done stuff wrong but we don't think we'll suffer any consequences"? I don't think that's what she meant to say. She should have just said, "No concern at all. Frankly, your question is silly."

Anyway, I would prefer a (lightly) serious spaceship show but I'll take any kind I can get. A comedy may be an extreme antidote but I do agree that there's way too much grimness and darkness and I look forward to something a little more fun. I hope it is like Galaxyquest in that the story may be self-referential and primed for comedy but is still something that has some sort of dramatic engagement. I wasn't interested in this at all (never have cared to watch any of MacFarlane's stuff), but watched the trailer recently and the concept and tone kind of clicked. I love the bit at around 1:45.

So it's FOX and it's SF and I'm going to watch it which means it will almost certainly be cancelled before the first season's over[1] but maybe MacFarlane has his hooks deep enough into FOX that it'll survive if it deserves to. And I think this should really work for Adrianne Palicki (although it's odd that this will be the second show in close proximity where it's had a speculative premise and she's playing a fiery ex-wife). If it's really successful, maybe we'll get a spinoff called The Wilbur. Or The Redenbacher.

[1] I really have to question FOX's judgment in airing two episodes way before Premiere Week and having that follow FOX's NFL Game of the Week (meaning it's opposite Sunday Night Football) and then moving it to its regular spot (opposite Thursday Night Football). So few people will be looking for it or anything like it at the time, those who are in the lead-in audience will change to SNF and those who don't get lost in the schedule change will still not watch it opposite TNF. And those who do come in on Thursday for the first time will likely not know what's going on, having missed the first two, so will turn it off. Typical FOX. But who knows, maybe it'll work somehow.
 

BAYLOR

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Yeah it's one of the few reasons why I am having such a hard time with some of these new shows lately. There's realism (the expanse) and unexpected black comedy and then there's just plain grit, blood and guts. I like the black comedy dramas to a point. But if they crank out breaking bads after breaking bads, I won't be able to take all that. There's some shows like Dexter or Game of Thrones I just couldn't get into and I barely am enjoying the Handmaid's Tale. (though it is great!) I'm not sure I want Star Trek to become like a game of thrones. That isn't the point of ST. ST is supposed to be uplifting, diplomatic, and optimistic. So I think it's great that Seth is trying to fill that void. Because he's right. That's not on TV at the moment.

Even the uplifting and optimistic shows always look backwards.
It's on Fox which is network not known for its patience with science fiction shows that fail to deliver them big ratings numbers.
 

Brian G Turner

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I remember Tim Allen expected a TV series of Galaxy Quest to appear at some point - I'm presuming this show is the compromise for that, not least seeing as Alan Rickman is no longer with us.
 

MWagner

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The Orville feels a lot more like Star Trek to me than Discovery does.
 

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Look what Black Mirror thought up:


So now we have a Star Trek parody on TV, an actual Star Trek show on Streaming, and a Star Trek parody in an episode of Black Mirror!!!
 

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I don't think I would be enjoying The Orville quite as much if it was a complete parody.
Star Trek, especially the original, has frequently and successfully been parodied over the decades -- perhaps deservedly so. Lampooning it weekly would quickly become tedious, even sacrilegious.
All hail ST: TOS! :D
 

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I don't think I would be enjoying The Orville quite as much if it was a complete parody.
Star Trek, especially the original, has frequently and successfully been parodied over the decades -- perhaps deservedly so. Lampooning it weekly would quickly become tedious, even sacrilegious.
All hail ST: TOS! :D
The Black Mirror one automatically made me think of TOS. The Orville is TNG
 

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For the most part, maybe. Capt. Mercer, though, seems more like a Kirk than a Picard.
I don't see Mercer as a ladies man though, he did get Kelly! Maybe a mix of Kirk and Sisko but I don't know enough about his personality yet. Is Mercer going to get more eccentric like Sisko was or is he just going to remain diplomatically goofy?
 

MWagner

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I found the Orville far more entertaining than Discovery. And it's more than just a comedy - it genuinely captures the optimistic spirit of exploration of TNG. It also features more genuine science-fiction than Discovery. For its part, Discovery feels like a grimdark YA melodrama with a patina of Star Trek. Watched four episodes and dropped it.

Oh, and I can watch the Orville with my kids. Not so with Discovery.
 

BAYLOR

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If they concentrate on telling good stories and can the unfunny sophomoric humor. Then the show will have a long run.

I don’t care for. Seth MacFarlane the comedian. But as serious actor, he’s quite good . I like Captain Ed Mercer and and the rest of the cast.(y):cool:
 

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