It’s that wonderful time of year when all the new shows start popping up and for Fox, there’s a fresh live action sci-fi comedy by the one and only Seth MacFarlane. The Orville is a series that can be best described as Star Trek with Family Guy humor, now that sounds like a winning combination but there are missteps. Overall though the world presented in this hour long premiere feels like one worth exploring.
With select moments that really sell what it could be, “Old Wounds” wastes no time introducing us to the cast and their version of the future circa 2418. The premise is simple enough, a marriage ends then one bad decision leads to another until a lifeline for Captain Ed Mercer (Seth MacFarlane), the opportunity to command his own mid-level exploratory vessel. With his best bud Gordon Malloy (Scott Grimes) along for the ride it just feels like things are looking up. That is until his ex-wife, Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki), gets assigned as his First Officer.
What works is that there are a lot of promising players in the crew like Commander Bortus (Peter Macon), John Lamarr (J. Lee) and Chief Security Officer Alara Kitan (Halston Sage). But they’re not given enough room to move, save for Alara, beyond their initial interactions. I also hated how they wasted Dr. Clarie Finn (Penny Johnson Jerald) especially after a perfect first meeting with her new captain. Truth be told these are things that can improve given time but right now they’re spots for the writers to work on for future installments.
Now the good is the back and forth chemistry between Ed and Kelly. It fits perfectly on The Orville and as soon as Adiranne Palicki comes aboard the show starts to find itself. There’s comedy and heart at play with a solid performance from Seth MacFarlane in this Star Trek spoof. You buy him in the role and the ending scene between the two perfectly frames how good the franchise could be going forward. Their first mission was fine, odd and certainly in line with what you might expect, but it did feel a bit underwhelming to me. And I’m not sure about The Krill, their version of a bad empire, but with these two front and center I got my money on the adventures only getting better from here.
The Orville “Old Wounds” just wasn’t the strongest introduction imaginable but with a sturdy cast at its back, some solid humor to boot and a little bit of heart there might be hope for this sci-fi comedy yarn yet. And for the record I lost it with the whole “happy Arbor Day” line!
(6.5 / 10)