is a new sci-fi show on Fox that was created by Seth MacFarlane. Yes, the same guy behind Family Guy and American Dad as well other works that are usually considered adult oriented comedy.
MacFarlane has openly talked about being a Star Trek fan in the past and even made an appearance in a Star Trek: Enterprise
episode. In recent years, well before Star Trek: Discovery
got off the ground, he had expressed wanting to reboot Trek for TV. The Orville
is clearly aimed as his take on the Next Generation
era of Star Trek.
The pilot episode set the premise for the show. Captain Ed Mercer, a dedicated
Union captain, comes home to find his wife in bed with an alien. They divorce and for the next year Mercer's career is in a downward spiral until he is given the command of an exploratory vessel, the Orville. The first officer assigned to him is his ex-wife.
The Orville has many of the amenities that were introduced in ST:TNG such a holodeck, a bar, families, and food replicators. Oh, the producer? Brannon Braga
(a name well known to Trek fans for his work on multiple Trek shows and movies). The ship designs and sets are all reminiscent of ST:TNG but just different enough to avoid being called "Star Trek".
So far the episodes, three aired so far, have been mixed. They all have that dry humor that is present in all of MacFarlane's shows but the show isn't a comedy. There are some dramatic moments but it isn't a drama. I wouldn't call it a parody either as it seems to be trying
to present itself as more of a homage to Trek versus mocking it. Maybe the "dramedy" label would best apply. The second episode was a bit predictable with an ending that shows MacFarlane can't get away from his roots. The third episode though, dealing with gender identification, could have easily had it's dialog reworked up a bit to have been a ST:TNG episode. The Mexican Standoff scene in the holodeck was amusing -- if you aren't familiar with MacFarlane's works this scene serves a nice way of showing that you just never know what direction the dialog is going in.
If you're looking for a pure sci-fi show you'll be disappointed. If you don't like MacFarlane's other works you'll be disappointed. If you like some light sci-fi though that combines a bit of comedy with a bit of low-brow comedy then you'll like it. It'll be interesting to see how the show progresses during the rest of the season, whether it keeps the same tone or whether it embraces the comedy or drama sides of itself.
Speaking of the second episode, without cheating what are your guesses on who made cameos as these two aliens uncredited? While the show they are most known for has been busted they are still easily recognizable out of makeup by fans.