In Review: The Orville – Old Wounds

'The Orville' really needs to figure out what it is and go with that. At present, it's a very strange brew

Synopsis: In 2417, Ed Mercer is promoted to Captain of the U.S.S. Orville, but his enthusiasm is dampened when his ex-wife is assigned as his First Officer.

Review: When the trailer for ‘The Orville’ dropped a few months back, which was roughly the same time as the trailer for ‘Star Trek: Discovery’. I saw comments by ‘Star Trek’ fans who said that this show would be their go to instead of Discovery.

Based on what I saw. I suspect many of those fans will think twice.

Upon my first viewing of this series, which comes from the pen of Seth McFarlane. I wasn’t sure of what to make of it. I quite liked it but didn’t particularly love it. Which I think is the general consensus among those that would like to give this series a fair go.

It’s a strange brew of a playful ‘Star Trek’ homage and sitcom but doesn’t really succeed in either department.

Admittedly the uniforms that the crew wear and the settings have a striking similarity to ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’. So a lot is familiar for ‘Star Trek’ fans, but that’s where the similarities end.

The story picks up with Ed Mercer (Seth McFarlane) getting a promotion to Captain. He is assigned a mid level vessel called The Orville, which is a beautiful design. We get introduced to his crew, which is made up of his best mate and helmsman Gordon Malloy who attempts to bring meaning to the words man-child but falls flat.

The rest of the crew is made up of ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s’ Penny Johnson Jerald as Doctor Claire Finn their CMO, J. Lee as laid back helmsman John LaMarr, Peter Macon as Second Officer Bortus and Halston Sage as Alara Kitan, their Chief of Security.

Things take a turn for the worst when Ed learns that his first Officer is his Ex Wife Kelly Grayson, who cheated on him with an Alien. This role is taken on by the fantastically talented Adrianne Palicki who puts in a solid performance when she is not caught up in arguing with her Ex.

When the episode works. It is usually when it is following the main storyline, which while not the best. It does just about enough to get them from point A to B.

Unfortunately, the cheap gags and the Captain having an ongoing domestic with his second in command slows the plot down. In fact when they argue. Everything stops. It was somewhat like watching one of those old terrible 70’s half hour comedies with middle aged married couples. It just didn’t work.

Yet when they were focused on the mission at hand. The Captain and Kelly worked out pretty well.

The cheap gags in the show fell flat. They just were not all that funny. Perhaps they would be to a 12 – year old, but not for the more mature audience.

In the first few minutes alone. Ed Mercer pretty much insults every single one of his female crew mates, which just mean spirited and not all that clever.

The only times that I got a laugh out of this was when it was unintentionally funny.

As far as paying homage goes. It works for a little while, but there are a fair few occasions when it is too much on the nose. The music, which was really nice to listen to. Could have been lifted from any number of episodes from the 1990’s. Also, the villains of the piece looked a little too much like the Jem Hadar from DS9, but with a less harsh look to them.

I’m prepared to give this show a little time to grow into itself. But as far as being the alternative to ‘Star Trek: Discovery’. I doubt it. If so. ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ would have to totally suck and ‘The Orville’ would have to improve immensely for that to be the case.

‘The Orville’ really needs to figure out what it is and go with that. At present, it’s a very strange brew and one of the weirdest television pilots I’ve ever seen.

The Orville - Old Wounds
  • Story
  • Acting
  • CGI
  • Incidental Music

Ian Cullen is the founder of and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: When he is not writing for Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of You can contact ian at:
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