The Orville: meh

A couple weeks back, Brickmuppet mentioned the new Trek-ish series The Orville, “tentatively optimistic” after watching the first two episodes.

I was… less enthusiastic, and the only thing I really liked was seeing Adrianne Palicki out of uniform. Still, not every SF show can hit the ground running like SG-1, so I set my DVR to record it, which it promptly failed to do.

Fortunately, Hulu has it, so I was able to watch episode 3. Well, about half of it, until the stupid was too thick to scrape off the screen. There was one honest-to-gosh funny line out of the captain’s mouth, but I’ve already forgotten what it was about.

Fundamentally, the problem was that I had no investment in the setup (I hesitate to call it a “plot”) or the characters, and it was written like a bad ABC Afterschool Special.

Bortus was introduced as a member of a single-gender species, but this episode changes that to “all-male species capable of sexual reproduction without the help of females, who are quite rare but play no part in reproduction since they’re given sex-change operations at birth, because females are smaller and weaker, exactly like humans.” (which raises the question of how precisely they’re “female” to begin with…)

So, first they created a species that’s Not Like Us (which has all sorts of story potential), and then immediately made them Exactly Like Us But Gendercidal (which is a Women’s Studies dissertation). I stopped watching when Kelly tried to make her case in court based on applying a universal concept of “female” across species in a way that doesn’t even make sense for Earth, much less an SFnal universe.

Also, Alara Kitan is a terrible character, mostly because the concept is so poorly thought out that Halston Sage could be a terrific actress and still end up buried to her neck in manure. They might as well have named her One Trick Pony.

So, it’s not good SF, and it’s not good comedy. I don’t see any reason to watch the rest of the season.

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