Seth McFarlane’s passion project, The Orville aired last night, and we’ve got your recap and review of the premiere right here. There are SPOILERS AHEAD, so please watch the show first if you haven’t!
For fans of Seth McFarlane, this show has been a long time coming. More drama than comedy, The Orville opens with McFarlane’s character, Ed Mercer coming home only to find his wife cheating on him with a blue alien. He promptly walks out on her, and we cut to a year later. Mercer is offered command of a mid-level exploratory vessel named, The Orville by Admiral Halsey(played by Victor Garber), who tells Mercer he would have had a ship earlier, but he didn’t inspire confidence with the top command. He’s given one final chance to prove himself, and told that the ship nearly has a full complement of crew, except for a helmsman and first officer. Mercer tells the Admiral he knows of a first officer, and he goes to get him.
Mercer heads off to find his friend, and soon to be helmsman Gordon Malloy played by Scott Grimes, in what could only be described as a holodeck fighting a giant ogre in a special program he wrote, where he fights a killer creature in a samurai village, but he also gave him a great personality, so the ogre is very friendly. Mercer tells Malloy he’s got a ship, and he wants him to join the crew and off they go.
In a shuttle on their way to The Orville, Mercer starts to tell Malloy about the fleet, when Malloy cracks open a beer, telling Mercer he’s nervous about the new ship and wants to make a good first impression. The two begin to argue, and Malloy asks Mercer if he’s worried that one beer is going to make them crash, and starts to fly the shuttlecraft they’re in erratic. After a near miss, he takes things a little more seriously as they approach The Orville.
After addressing the crew, Mercer asks the senior staff to stay back so he could meet them all. First up is Chief of Security Alara Kitan, played by Halston Sage. Kitan’s species is a member of the Xelayan race, known for their super strength due to the difference in gravity between their planet and Earth. She is relatively young and inexperienced. Second up is John Lamarr played by J. Lee, a level 8 helmsman who has a laid back sense of humor. We then meet Lt. Commander Bortus played by Peter Macon, whos race, the Moclan, are all male. Chief Medical Officer Claire Finn, played by Penny Johnson Jerold is next up. She selected the assignment to The Orville after learning that it was Mercer’s first command and that he might need her help. Finally, there’s Issac, the Science and Engineering officer portrayed by Mark Jackson. Issac is an artifical life-form from the planet Kaylon, who thinks that all other life-forms are inferior. He was chosen to join the crew by his people as a way to bolster relations, as well as learn about human behavior.
Admiral Halsey gives Mercer his first assignment, delivering supplies to the science station on Epsilon 2, not the most exciting mission, but Mercer is thrilled nonetheless. The ship leaves Stardock, and heads off on its mission. A few minutes into their travels, a message comes through that a first officer has become available, and to Mercer’s surprise, it turns out to be his ex-wife. Played by Adrianne Palicki, Kelly Greyson comes aboard The Orville, and the two try and make things work.
As they arrive at Epislon 2, it turns out that the supply mission was a ruse. The head scientist of Epsilon 2, Dr. Aranov, played by Brian George tells Captain Mercer to come to the surface so that he can explain why they deceived his crew. It turns out that they have built a quantum field generator that can manipulate the speed of events into the future. Dr. Aranov tells them that he had to deceive the crew, so that the transmission wouldn’t be intercepted by the Krillians as the device could be used as a weapon.
It turns out that the Krill army had a spy among the scientists on Epsilon 2 and he relays information to a Krill ship. As the Krill enter the system, The Orville goes on the defensive while the crew on the surface attempt to escape with the device. As they battle their way back to the shuttle with the device, the crew head back to The Orville only to find that the ship has become mostly disabled. They come up with a plan to send the device to the Krill ship, and with a redwood seed Mercer obtained from Dr. Aranov earlier, use it to accelerate the growth of the redwood and destroy the Krill ship. The plan works, and The Orville lives to fight another day.
With the ship back in Spacedock being repaired, Greyson heads to Mercer’s office to let him know that she is going to transfer to another ship as a new first officer has been made available to The Orville. Mercer asks her to stay on as first officer, because he believes she’s a good addition to the crew despite their differences. We find out at the end that it was Greyson who suggested that Mercer be given a chance at command, as she felt guilty about cheating on him and knows that he’s the right man for the job.
The first thing you will notice about The Orville, is that it is heavily influenced by Star Trek. Everything from ship design, to the music, to the uniforms, Seth McFarlane took his love of the show, and put his own spin on it. The first episode gives us a good indication of what the show will be like in future episodes, which if they can keep on the track they are on, will work very well for them. I still have some reservations right now, but it looks like The Orville is what is needed right now on television, an uplifting light sci-fi dramedy.
The Orville’s next episode airs Sunday September 17, 2017 and then switches to it’s regular slot on Thursday nights on FOX.