The Orville: Season 1 (DVD) – Series Review
Follow Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Drama
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Episodes: 12
Duration: 42 minutes (per episode)

The Orville: Season 1 (DVD) – Series Review

Site Score
Good: Decent topics, Characters
Bad: Not as funny as you'd think
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(3 votes)
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Rating: 9.7/10 (3 votes cast)

Seth MacFarlane is a name that will probably ring many bells if you’re into comedy shows. The man is the face behind Family Guy, American Dad and The Cleveland Show and his writing experience already dates back to children’s programs such as Dexter’s Laboratory and Johnny Bravo. With this much experience under his belt, it was time to try something new, namely a Sci-Fi series with some comedy mixed in-between. This idea spawned The Orville, a Star Trek-like series, where Seth MacFarlane stars as the captain of the ship, with many likeable underlings. If you’re expecting comedy along the lines of Family Guy and such, you’ll be disappointed, if you’re looking for a Star Trek series with some lighter dialogues thrown in the mix, you might be pleasantly surprised.

The Orville starts off in the 25th century, where Ed Mercer (Seth MacFarlane) returns home after a stressful day at work. Little did he know his wife, Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki) would be in bed with an alien, cheating on Ed. From this point on, Ed’s otherwise great track record is slowly going down the drain, with tardy attendances, an overall lack of motivation and so on. Even though it seems that it will be hard for Ed to put his life back on track, out of the blue the Union offers him the command of a mid-level exploratory vessel, the U.S.S. Orville, which is quite uncommon for a man under his forties. Ed immediately accepts and is quite stoked, but he has one condition, namely that he is able to choose his own pilot, Gordon Malloy (Scott Grimes), a man that doesn’t have the best reputation. Things seem to be going quite swimmingly, and Ed slowly gets to know his crew, safe for his second in command, as the Union is still looking for someone to fill that space. During the ship’s maiden voyage under Ed’s command, a first officer becomes available, and the ship is scheduled to rendezvous with the shuttle of said person, who is none other than Ed’s ex-wife, Kelly. From here on out they’ll have to work together to solve numerous deep space encounters and combat situations.

The flow is a bit like the older Star Trek series, where one new encounter, problem situation or event occurs per episode. There is hardly a bigger picture to explore, safe for some character evolution, and the bond between captain Ed Mercer and commander Kelly Grayson. It’s also safe to say that the series isn’t a full-blown comedy series, but it actually handles a lot of topics in a serious fashion, with some humorous events or dialogues in-between to keep certain aspects a little bit lighter. Overall it feels like a series that could fit in the Star Trek universe, albeit with different alien races and the overhead organization called The Union, instead of the Federation. In some ways it feels like the series is building on something that already exists, while also giving it its own touch and spin to create something original in the process.

While it took us a while to adjust to seeing Seth MacFarlane at the helm of a spaceship, the acting performances of the first season were actually all very pleasant and convincing. The atmosphere between Seth and Adrianne’s characters was spot on, and those having to play different races all did their job outstandingly. The series uses a lot of practical effects in terms of make-up and facial masks, which makes certain performances even harder, for example Peter Macon, had to work with such a facial mask plus make-up and he is probably one of the most convincing characters the series has. Mark Jackson who plays Isaac, an artificial intelligence who deems organic lifeforms as somewhat inferior, does so in a way that you still like his character, even though he lacks any feelings whatsoever.

The DVD edition of the first season of The Orville comes with a reasonable amount of extras, ranging from a panel with the producers and the cast, to insights about the series, how certain aspects came to life and so on. While some of the featurettes are extremely short, they do add some value to the complete package.


The Orville: Season 1 is a surprisingly amusing series, and while it tries to be a bit different by adding some comedy to the mix, it’s still a serious series that handles a lot of different topical issues. While it was certainly a mystery if the series would actually turn out to be a proper Sci-Fi series, the creators did a great job in mimicking a Star Trek-like experience, while also creating something original in the process. If you love Sci-Fi series, and you want to add a bit of cussing, lollygagging, slapstick humor and silly dialogues to the mix, then this series will certainly make your day.

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Rating: 9.7/10 (3 votes cast)
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The Orville: Season 1 (DVD) - Series Review, 9.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

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