Star Trek and Orville just hit mid-season, which seems like the perfect time to discuss the merits of these shows. The Orville on Fox, which is meant to parody Star Trek, Vs the newest iteration of Star Trek on CBS.
This comparison has to happen, because in Seth Macfarlane’s desire to make a comedy set in space with the looks of Star Trek, he accidentally made a really good Star Trek. And Star Trek discovery has an interesting, but somewhat non-canon universe.
Star Trek Disco: It’s not yo’ daddy’s Star Trek
I started watching Star Trek at TNG. This show is a far cry from the nostalgia of yesteryear, which has many fanboi’s criticizing of the show itself. As one of these fanboi’s it is also a criticism of mine too, but I’ll take an objective approach to how I view the show.
The plot line for STD, season 1: Klingon Empire and Federation are at war, Fed’s are losing. The only weapon they have at their disposal is the spore drive, which is basically a biological zero point engine drive (it instantly teleports the ship through time and space for the beginner sci-fi fans). This all takes place 10 years before Kirk. the show itself is semi-episodic, leaving room for new characters, creatures, and planets to explore.
The Orville – Boldly goes where TNG has gone before
the Orville mission is identical to TNG. find new aliens, anomalies, and other weird stuff in space. Pretty cut and dry. Episodic.
STD and Orville are Two Halves of a Whole Trek
Here’s where things get dicey in terms of how the shows differ from each other. If you look at Star Trek from the fanboi approach. Star Trek Disco is only Star Trek in name only. Very rarely do we see callbacks to former series. We see technology that shouldn’t exist at the time. We have ships designs that make no sense to the era. So how exactly is this a prequel? If this were a stand alone series, this would be seen as a great series, but placing this in the O.G. timeline is killing a lot of Trekkie love.
here’s where the hang up is though…
This is not a series for O.G. Trekkies, it’s for the next generation
And if you ask a Trekkie, many will say the visual aspect is good, but it’s missing the “heart” of Trek. “to boldly go…” seems like barely an afterthought in the show itself.; Nothing feels like canon. You can see that with a complete remake of the Klingon look and language barrier( To be fair, I have grown to like the Klingon look here, though I know I’m in the minority of voices). The dialogue however, remains classic Trek for the most part, sans Tilly, whom is the equivalent voice of a millennial voice upon the ship, and is a pretty awesome person in the sometimes oppressive atmosphere of the show.
That’s not to say of course that there isn’t great things about the show. The characters are well developed, we still get some very human moments in the show. The ship designs are awesome, and the fights in space are the best we have seen in any Star Trek. And Mudd is the best of classic villains. Everything feels somewhat over-dramatic, but not to Kirk levels of absurdity.
Trek is a good, unbalanced show. They are sacrificing one audience for another. Whether or not it will pan out remains uncertain.
Visuals: Unparalleled. 10/10
Characters: Interesting and well developed 8/10
Storyline: Could be better, and alienates a whole audience 6/10
Ships: THE KLINGONS HAVE A DEAD BODY SHIP 20/10
CBS Subscription required 0/10
The Orville: The space opera Comedy that isn’t actually a comedy
The Orville struggled for a few episodes, with audiences trying to decide if this is a comedy or not. After about the 4th episode, It’s generally agreed upon that Orville is TNG peppered with classic Macfarlane humor. In many ways, he gets so many things right about the show:
The music: The nostalgic factor is huge, and make me feel actual wonderment every time they say something meaningful or find something interesting. The Macfarlane orchestra we’ve come to know and love from other series kills it in this show.
The Situations: From a planet sized ship with religious conservatives heading into the sun (global warming and religion issues at the same time. Solid choices), to dealing with Transgender issues, to viewing the follies of a systemic voting majority, The Orville takes a look at many of the issues we deal with in our era. Some cry out SJW PROBS!, but that’s literally what Star Trek (and now the Orville) is all about.
The ship: Is pretty nifty. 10/10 would love to see more designs and spaces in the ship in season 2.
Things that can be improved:
The Aliens: Are affected by budget, but they are working on about a tenth of what STD budget is (unfortunate initials for star trek)
The Characters: need to be a bit more developed. There are a few good moments here and there between the captain and his number one, but everyone just feels like a punchline at the moment.
Trekkies old and new dig this show. Its a prefect blend in terms of philosophy and story line. It lacks a proper budget. That will hopefully be fixed in the next season.
Visuals: barely decent 5/10
Music: perfect: 10/10
storyline: top notch 10/10
Characters: need more fleshing out 6/10
ships/aliens: ok, needs more to work with 4/10
Verdict: Orville is the heart, Trek is the legs
The Star Trek name will always have an audience. Even with the snubbing of long time fans, the show keeps me coming back to watch To see What Capt Lorca does next to ensure victory. It’s not the Star Trek I know, but it is the Sci-Fi show I like to watch. So what if it’s not conventional Star Trek? it’s still entertaining T.V.
Now if CBS can get it off their subscription only BS, it will probably get an extra season or two.
The Orville is a love letter to the Trek of old, and that’s totally awesome. Almost as if it’s a Trek parallel universe. Orville is a solid compromise for those audience who feel left out of Disco. I will continue watching it because it scratches that Trekkie itch.
Watch both, and be happy we have two new Trek shows in existence.
I hope to see a better half from Disco, and a better season 2 for Orville.