The Orville Series Premiere “Old Wounds” Review


THE ORVILLE: L-R: Seth MacFarlane, Penny Johnson Jerald, Scott Grimes, Peter Macon, Halston Sage and Mark Jackson in THE ORVILLE premiering this fall on FOX. ©2017 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: FOX

It’s not very often that you will find me anticipating a comedy series like The Orville. Impressive that they could do so having Seth MacFarlane as the main character. Some have their opinions about him, but you really have to try before you turn your nose. Some might be awaiting that high-budget Star Trek show upcoming, but if you are simply looking for something in the middle of adventurous and fun then this is where you want to be.

I say they played it smart with this premiere. When you have viewers who look for that first impression, you want to play it safe and not give them a reason to write the show off immediately. The tone was light, but nothing too humorous or ridiculous as some might fear just for the fact that this is starring McFarlane. There were some genuine moments here and not once did they undersell it with jokes. When things kicked off, I’m certain that people might see a Trek vibe somewhere there, but I do believe they have made this their own. They were pretty quick to the point of the Planetary Union promoting Ed Mercer (Seth MacFarlane) to Captain of the exploratory vessel, The U.S.S. Orville. Not only this, but the what you could come to expect from this specific vessel and crew. It goes without saying that part of the appeal of The Orville is Adrianne Palicki also starring in it. Her character does shake things up when we understand why Ed’s enthusiasm for his new position is diminished when his ex-wife, Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki), is assigned to be his First Officer.

Ed Mercer I do like since it felt like a different character. There was only one fear for McFarlane here and that was that he would simply seem like he was playing as himself. Luckily that wasn’t the case as Mercer off the bat establishes himself as this guy who tries to hold on to the dream he worked for. Kelly on the other hand you do find appealing considering this is an awkward position for her. Nothing ever goes right when you work with your ex. Well almost never goes right. She was a solid contrast to Mercer as well. It would only hurt this show if the characters were too much alike. Some have to be funny, some have to be in your face, and others have to be a little more grounded. Now with that said they do play off of each other excellently. Particularly when it comes to burst of sarcasm and wit.

Our introduction to the main crew was interesting to say the least. Nothing too standout at the start, though you did want to see what each of them have to offer. None of them stand out too much, but I think I liked more that they could blend in without creating too much of a distraction. For the first episode it would be risky to take that time to flesh out this big cast. you want to get to know them, but just get enough that will branch off into later episodes. That’s not to say some of them proved what made them special either. Alara quickly became a favorite for the strength she has for her size. Accomplishes a lot that you don’t normally see from crew members. Same can be said for Gordon and John who bring a lot of personality to the table. They have fun with their job which really balances out the drama.

THE ORVILLE: L-R: Seth MacFarlane, Penny Johnson Jerald, Adrianne Palicki, Halston Sage and guest star Brian George in THE ORVILLE premiering this fall on FOX. ©2017 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: FOX

Plot for this episode was key as setting the foundation for what we could look forward to from The Orville. I would say they nailed it for a first routine mission that wasn’t simple or too complex. This landed right in the middle where it challenged them to think and strategize rather than wing it like they could have done foolishly. The alien race known as the Krill did satisfy as the first of enemies they would stumble upon. For as vicious as they were, the response to them made all the difference. There was tension, aggression and that kept you engaged from start to finish even if it didn’t matter the fate of the Krill ultimately.

The only thing I couldn’t speak to for this series premiere was the visual effects for the show. This wasn’t the full cut, so there were things that weren’t fully rendered. Though what was at the very least did impress as not coming off as low-budget. Some characters and some settings grab your attention for the detail that go into them. If anything you pay attention to most, it would be the make-up of the other aliens. A great range from simple aesthetic to a full transformation. There was no slacking there in my opinion. Truthfully I wouldn’t even expect a show like The Orville to try to blow their budget on any given episode. The time period may be 2417, but that doesn’t mean they have to take every opportunity to show you that. That is always a mistake when taking a risk in the first place having a comedy.

The Orville Series Premiere “Old Wounds” proved to have potential for the balance they have struck between comedy and drama. It didn’t lean too hard in any direction or make you feel as though it would get stale too soon. By the end of the episode I can see how this might be a cross between Family Guy and Galaxy Quest, which can be a recipe for success as long as they keep making this their own vision.

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