‘The Orville’ Season Two Postmortem: The Funny Little Show That Lost Its Way

A few days ago, I wrote about how The Orville was losing its identity. Namely, that it has lost almost all of its comedic edge and was trying desperately to be the show it emulates, that being Star Trek: The Next Generation. The parody, if you will, is trying to be the source material and, as a result, is turning into the worst Star Trek spinoff.

We saw it come full circle with the end of The Orville’s second season with “The Road Not Taken.” Following last week’s laughless but somewhat original tale of a younger version of Commander Grayson accidentally pulled seven years into the future where she interacts with her more mature older self and Captain Mercer, younger Kelly, when sent back to the past, made the shocking decision to deny the younger Mercer a second date to spare him and her from the relationship troubles they were destined to have.

This resulted in the second episode, “The Road Not Taken,” another laughless episode almost completely free of jokes and humor and derivative of a dozen different episodes of Star Trek from “Yesterday’s Enterprise” to “Shattered Mirror” where our heroes find themselves in a parallel reality where the Kaylon (who are definitely not dime-store Borg) have destroyed the Galactic Union, Earth, and her allies. The crew of the Orville are scattered around the galaxy trying to survive. Kelly, who still remembers the future, is gathering the crew together to enact an insane plan to set everything right by fixing the timeline.

A lot like a said a few days ago, this show has lost its identity as the less serious and more carefree alternative to Star Trek: Discovery to become something derivative and bland. By abandoning its own genre and premise, The Orville has become less like The Next Generation and more like Enterprise… we’ve seen it, it’s offering nothing new, and now it just feels dated.

It blows my mind that some people out there on the internet are actually claiming that this show is more Star Trek than Star Trek: Discovery because if Star Trek: Discovery was more like The Orville, they would be complaining about the predictable plots and the unoriginal themes and tropes.

It really stinks that it’s come to this because I was pulling for The Orville to succeed because, unlike the more narrow “chose one or the another” mindsets out there, I love that there are so many options: Star Trek, The Orville… who cares? As long as it’s good, just enjoy it.

The problem is, The Orville is not good anymore and I’m not sure why no one is willing to admit it. Star Trek: Discovery is a more inventive and more well-written show. Lately, even the humor on Discovery is surpassing The Orville.

If The Orville is granted another season, and I hope it is, it has to realize that its humor is its saving grace and it has to embrace it again.

1 comment

  1. Good take, although for me personally I have never been a fan of MacFarlands humor. So the comedy aspects of the show is it’s weakest part. That and him as Captain. By casting himself in the lead role I think he really weakened what is usually a fun and interesting political/social commentary.


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