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“The Orville” First Look: Will the “Star Trek” Parody Work?

The trailer for the upcoming Fox series The Orville is making the rounds this morning. It debuted yesterday and now everyone is all kinds of excited to see Seth MacFarlane’s Star Trek parody or Star Trek-inspired comedy or whatever the heck you want to call this sci-fi tidbit. I loved the trailer for about 15 seconds, but then I got nervous.

I’m a big Star Trek fan. Live long and prosper. Engage. Boldly go. I get the shtick. It does a good job of playing on the franchise, but I wonder if this has the legs to make it as a series. Here’s the official scoop from Fox.

The Orville is a one-hour science fiction series set 400 years in the future that follows the adventures of the U.S.S. Orville, a mid-level exploratory vessel. Its crew, both human and alien, faces the wonders and dangers of outer space, while also dealing with the familiar, often humorous problems of regular people in a workplace…even though some of those people are from other planets, and the workplace is a faster-than-light spaceship.

Down on his luck after a bitter divorce, Planetary Union officer Ed Mercer (Seth MacFarlane) finally gets his chance to command one of these ships: the U.S.S. Orville. Determined to prove his worth and write a new chapter in his life, Ed finds that task all the more difficult when the First Officer assigned to his ship is his ex-wife, Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki).

Somehow, Ed and Kelly must put the past behind them and, with the help of the crew, navigate fascinating and sometimes dangerous adventures in outer space, as well as the tumultuous and captivating day-to-day personal relationships with their colleagues.

Remember Galaxy Quest? It was a hilarious movie and I loved every minute, but the entire movie was 102 minutes long.

As a movie, The Orville could play in the same space as Galaxy Quest. That’s a fun idea. As a television series, well, that seems like it might be a stretch.

A movie parody is like a fun size Snickers. It’s not too much. It’s not too little. It’s just right and satisfies your need to laugh and catch all the clever references only a real fan will notice.

As a television series, it’s more like a king size Snickers. That’s way too much and although you’ll enjoy it at first, eventually you get sick of it and toss it in the trash.

The trailer is fantastic, to a point. I laughed out loud at certain parts. For some reason, the bit about not fearing bananas anymore was particularly amusing. But, watching this week after week? I’m not so sure it will hold up.

I hope I’m wrong, because this looks genuinely funny. The first few episodes will surely keep me entertained, but I fear it will quickly go the way of that king size Snickers and end up cast aside before the first season is finished.

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4 Responses to ““The Orville” First Look: Will the “Star Trek” Parody Work?”

  1. Trent Baker says:

    Well Red Dwarf worked for a while, though after so many seasons it kinda dragged a bit. If the writing is strong it will hold up, but the same could be said for just about any series. Just from the trailer alone it seems a bit confused about the direction, at first I was thinking Seth will play the straight man to which amusing situations happen, but then he takes the wind out of the bad guys monologue by asking him to center himself in the view screen.

  2. Nicole says:

    Yes, Red Dwarf did have a good run and I liked that one, too. Maybe it’s the confusion in the trailer, like you mentioned. It almost feels like it’s trying too hard to find a joke constantly. It could be great, but it’s not hitting me quite right.

  3. John says:

    I’m definitely intrigued. Plus, Adrienne Palicki was great in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

  4. Robert Oswald says:

    Anyone remember Quark? No, not the DS9 character, the Captain of the space garbage scow played by Richard Benjamin. 1 season, 8 episodes, 30 min. each. 1977. I figured they’ve had time to tweak the funny. I’m optimistic.

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