The third season finally popped up on HULU, then I learned that all the episodes of The Orville hit Disney Plus and I could see it now. I decided I would re-watch the first 2 seasona since they were so long ago and I hadn’t watched them since they first aired (I missed the era of summer reruns).
When I reached season 3, I noticed they changed the title to The Orville: New Horizons. Don’t know why. They may be new horizons but it was the same old plot lines. They only thing I can figure is they may be doing that new streaming/cable thing where each season is like about one main story arc and next season they’ll do another story arc. But this new season was built around multiple call backs to the first 2 seasons all dovetailing into one big conclusion.
The special effects are pretty amazing. Seth MacFarlane loves his jump scares, hauling that out several times. The show follows in the tradition of Star Trek and taking current “hot topics” and dealing with them on a sci-fi platform, tackling everything from “cancel culture,” sexual identity, and MAGA to authoritarianism, religion and robot love. Some come off as clever satire, some fall flat as preachy. They even managed to work in a sit-com standard; the practical joke episode. When the war and battle scenes take over, however, it flattens the humor completely, the stakes are raised so high, an off-beat, wacky solution won’t suffice and we have to settle for an anachronistic quip.
In a lot of ways, The Orville reminds me of those 1940s Warner Brothers’ movies where the plot was serious but the cast was made up of all their best character actors cracking wise and making with the banter. Considering MacFarlane’s love for the standards, I can’t believe it’s an accident. Oh, and has there ever been a futuristic space crew that has such an affinity for 20th century pop-culture? Entire episodes are built around old songs, movies and TV shows. And the guest stars they grab for this are remarkable; Liam Neeson, Charlize Theron, Ted Danson, several Star Trek actors and Dolly Parton. Yes, that Dolly Parton. They have a whole laser battle to “9 to 5.”
Apparently season 4 is in doubt. I hope it gets renewed. May it live long and prosper.