The Orville is a comedy drama science fiction television series created by Seth MacFarlane. The show stars Seth MacFarlane as Capt. Ed Mercer, Adrianne Palicki as Cmdr. Kelly Grayson, Penny Johnson Jerald as Dr. Claire Finn, Scott Grimes as Lt. Gordon Malloy, Peter Macon as Lt. Cmdr. Bortus, J. Lee as Lt. Cmdr. John LaMarr, Halston Sage as Lt. Alara Kitan, Jessica Szohr as Lt. Talla Keyali and Mark Jackson as Isaac.
The Orville is heavily inspired by and has a lot of similarities to Star Trek which has caused a lot of conflicting opinions among critics. Some have called the show 'A love letter to Star Trek' and others have called it 'A rip off' and 'morally bankrupt' and 'lacking creativity'. The first season of The Orville failed to win over critics. It was criticised for having too much humour and labelled 'confusing' because the show didn't seem to know whether it wanted to be satire or serious science fiction.
You will spot a lot of familiar faces from Star Trek in the Orville, like Robert Picardo from Star Trek Voyager, who appears in a season two episode of the Orville called 'Home' as Alara Kitan's Xelayan father Ildis Kitan.
The first season of The Orville scored a 31% approval rating on the website Rotten Tomatoes by critics but was a BIG hit with fans of science fiction and Star Trek. Fans embraced the show as an excellent example of throwback TV and gave it a 91% approval rating. The second season of The Orville was broadcast on Fox from 30 December 2019 to 25 April 2019.
In the episode 'A Happy Refrain' Lt. Cmdr. Bortus asks the ship's Chief Medical Officer, Dr Claire Finn, to help him grow a moustache after Lt. Gordon Malloy suggests it to him.
The show returned with more character-driven and drama focused episodes compared to the first season, but still had some fun splashes of humour. The second season of The Orville managed to win over the critics this time round. It scored a 100% approval rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes and a 94% approval rating from fans. The show has been praised for maturing into a comedy-drama show with critics noting that the show seems to have 'found its footing' and feels more like a traditional science fiction show now.
Halston Sage, who played the Orville's security chief Alara Kitan, left the show in the season two episode 'Home' and was replaced with Jessica Szohr (pictured), who joined the cast as Lt. Talla Keyali, the Orville's new Xeleyan security chief in the episode 'All the World is Birthday Cake'
The Orville is my favourite show on television. It is so enjoyable to watch. It makes me ridiculously happy. It reminds me so much of the Star Trek that I used to watch when I was growing up. I will always love Star Trek but one thing that has always bugged me about Trek is that it can be a little bit too serious and a little bit too family friendly sometimes. Star Trek is supposed to have humans living in a utopia but that's not realistic. Humans are flawed and The Orville shows that really, really well.
The Orville had some excellent writing, drama, comedy and character-driven stories this season. A number of storylines from the first season continue in the second season and develop over several episodes into interesting plots.
There is so much to love about season two of The Orville. One of the best parts of the season was Peter Macon's performance as Lt. Cmdr. Bortus. Bortus is quickly becoming one of my favourite characters of the show. Imagine if you take Worf and Tuvok from Star Trek and mix them together. That's Bortus.
In season two of The Orville the crew of the USS Orville make first contact with new alien races, old friendships are tested, new friendships are formed and they journey to the mysterious world of Kaylon 1 to meet Isaac's people, the robotic Kaylon.
There are several hilarious Bortus moments in season two. In the episode 'A Happy Refrain' he asks Dr Claire for a moustache after Lt. Gordon Malloy suggests to him that he would look good with one. Bortus loves his moustache and proudly shows it off to all of his friends and family. It's a fun subplot because Bortus is a character who rarely smiles or cracks a joke so seeing him wearing a very obvious fake moustache while also maintaining a serious expression is a delight.
In the episode 'Primal Urges' Bortus develops an addiction to using the ship's simulator (holodeck) to view porn. This was a controversial episode because it showed gay porn, but it was one of my favourites.
The plot with Bortus does a great job of developing his character more, and there is a great subplot involving the Orville rescuing some people stranded on a planet that is about to be consumed by a sun.
In the episode 'Lasting Impressions' Bortus and his partner Klyden develop an addiction to cigarettes. Bortus begins going to work with a cigarette perched on the edge of his lip, casual as anything, while the rest of the crew look on in bewilderment. It's a lot of fun.
After the crew of the USS Orville open a time capsule from 2015, Lt. Gordon Malloy discovers an old phone that used to belong to a woman called Laura Huggins. Gordon downloads the phone into the ship's simulator and creates a holographic version of Laura and her life to get to know her better.
Another character who stood out to me this season was Lt. Gordon Malloy. In the episode 'Lasting Impressions' the crew of the USS Orville open a time capsule and find a number of old artefacts inside from 2015. Gordon finds an old iPhone. They are able to get it working again and find out that it used to belong to a woman called Laura Huggins. Gordon downloads the phone into the simulator and creates a holographic representation of Laura and her life.
I loved 'Lasting Impressions' so much. It was a great Gordon episode that developed and matured his character. There isn't a lot of action but that's ok. It was just so sweet. Seth MacFarlane really understands Star Trek.Star Trek isn't always about action or high stakes. Sometimes it's just about regular people, relationships and day to day life on a starship.
Seth MacFarlane as Capt. Ed Mercer and Adrianne Palicki as Cmdr. Kelly Grayson.
My one complaint about season two of The Orville is the character of Capt. Ed Mercer (Seth MacFarlane). The whole premise of the first season of The Orville was Ed Mercer gets divorced, then gets given command of the Orville, and finds out that his second-in-command is going to be his ex-wife, Kelly. It's set up like a sit-com. Ed is aghast at working with Kelly at first, but in time falls back in love with her again.
Ed is a good captain but he can also be a real jerk to Kelly sometimes. In season two Kelly starts dating other people, so Ed spies on her. He constantly picks fights with her about their relationship, demanding to know if she still loves him. Kelly keeps pleading with him for them to just be friends, but he is stubborn and pigheaded and won't listen. I'm not sure where this show is planning on taking their relationship.
I am really hoping that they will not get back together. It would be such a cliché for Ed to slowly win Kelly back over and for them to hook up again and it would give such a bad message. Ed's behaviour toward Kelly in season two was toxic, controlling, and borderline sexual harassment in the workplace. He doesn't see Kelly as a friend or as a colleague first. She's still his ex-wife to him. He still loves her so he feels like he has a right to demand that she love him back. I am hoping that the plan for Ed's character is for him to become more mature and to slowly start treating Kelly as his equal and his comrade instead of just his ex. He needs to respect her wishes and let the past go and focus on building a friendship with her. Because their relationship in season two was not a romance. It was just screwed up.