I like “The Orville.”
There, I said it. It’s all typed out and I’m not taking it back. And yes, I’m talking about that new sci-fi-Star-Trek-rip-off-whathaveyou from Seth MacFarlane.
Ich mag die Orville!
Me gusta el Orville!
No matter how you say it, I like the stupidass show, The Orville.
Alright, if you clicked onward, you deserve an explanation.
FUCK YOU I LIKE THE ORVILLE. There, that good enough for ya?
Okay, seriously. Seriously now. Look, I swear I’m done being dumb. But all the aforementioned semantical madness represents how I feel when the year’s biggest “controversy” in TV comes up in conversation.
That “controversy” being: “do you like Star Trek: Discovery or The Orville?”
Now, the first problem there is the “or,” because damn if this isn’t Murica and you can like whatever you damn well please. But fine, we’ll play it your way. And my answer is, summarily, “I like The Orville.” And that’s when some people lose it. That’s when kind and caring individuals lose their shit and think I’ve grown a third head with tapioca for brains.
The Orville is the WORST show on TV! Seth MacFarlane is the devil! He’s not funny, the show’s not good, it’s nothing. It’s a NOTHING TV show!!! How in the name of holy shitsticks can you like it more than an ACTUAL Star Trek show??!!??
That’s the gist of the what has come at me from the other side. And the other side hasn’t necessarily watched Star Trek: Discovery religiously, it simply doesn’t believe that anything by Seth MacFarlane could be any good.
And y’know what? The dirty little secret here is that The Orville isn’t the best show on TV. And I’m pretty sure that everyone who works on the show knows that, to some degree. But. But, the show doesn’t have to be the best thing on TV in order for it to be liked. By me, anyway.
And y’know what else? Liking The Orville is not the opposite of not liking Star Trek: Discovery. I’ve only seen the first two episodes it, and it was great. If it was on regular TV like most shows, I’d probably be watching it every week. But it isn’t. It’s behind the “CBS All Access” wall, which is something I don’t want to invest in. Hence, I’m regularly watching The Orville, and it’s giving me the space-show fix I need.
And folks are right, the show isn’t perfect. I’ve seen many comparisons of it to the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, which is downright unwatchable at times. If The Orville has been wildly uneven in its first season – and oh, it has – then Star Trek: TNG was rocky at best. It faced a monumental task of bringing Star Trek back to the masses in a digestible way, and it took a couple seasons for it to succeed in that. The Orville’s following the same path, only its challenge seems even more insurmountable in this day and age: can someone make a blithe show about future space travelers that’s like Star Trek but isn’t Star Trek? Honestly, the fact that MacFarlane opted to take on the challenge in the first place says something.
While the Star Trek comparisons are inevitable (though, to be fair, Star Trek: TNG set the groundwork for themes that would appear again and again in later Star Trek TV series), I see The Orville in much that say way as Gotham. Because Gotham is a fucking mess of a show. But, I’ve been tuning into it regularly since it first aired, and here we are four seasons later. I didn’t know what Gotham was when it started — Gritty? Campy? Parody? Fucking pick one! — and I still don’t know what it is. But I’m still watching. I’m still watching it’s good episodes, its bad episodes, and it’s ugly episodes. The show makes no sense, and I’m still watching.
It’s fitting that The Orville follows Gotham in the TV schedule, because The Orville doesn’t make much sense either. It’s not a comedy. It’s not drama. Shit, it’s not even melodrama. It’s had good episodes, middling episodes, and fucking awful episodes. But I’m still watching. Because…because, like with Gotham, there’s something human in its fuckery. I like its imperfections, its missteps, its attempt at being something other than a sitcom; other than another gritty drama; other than a slick and sleazy, humorless and human-less hour on TV. I like that’s it’s trying to find its way and that it hasn’t found its place immediately. There’s something purely humane in almost-failing, which, yes, The Orville has been on the brink of with several of it’s bad, bad, so very bad episodes.
And yet, the ship still sails. And I plan to man the forward deck until the ship sinks. It might happen a year from now, it might happen in ten. Who the hell knows with the way TV is these days? But I’ll keep watching.
Because I like The Orville.