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September 9, 2017 10:24 PM   Subscribe

Seth MacFarlane’s The Orville isn't the spoof Fox advertised. It’s much weirder — and worse.

Seth MacFarlane Discusses "The Orville," Star Trek, and the Struggle to Make Science Fiction Funny

‘The Orville’ Review: Seth MacFarlane’s ‘Star Trek’ Rip-Off is Creatively, Morally, and Ethically Bankrupt
But the most shocking fact about “The Orville for most people is that it’s an hour long, and fundamentally uninterested in being a comedy. So many “Orville” scenes just die in the moment, because MacFarlane’s comedy instincts as a writer (he wrote the pilot, at the least) means that he can’t avoid writing in jokes. But this show does genuinely want to be a sci-fi adventure, so the comedy is either played completely deadpan, or not played at all. After watching the actual show, its intentions became clear: Seth wanted to cosplay being captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise. And Fox let him do it.
posted by the man of twists and turns (209 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
I sort of feel bad for him that the end result sucks? I mean, kicking of a Star Trek-alike is exactly the kind of thing I'd do if offered a ridiculous amount of money to make a show and no oversight, especially given the gap in the schedules for solid spaceship shows compared with 10-15 years ago, so I can't really fault him for trying that - just a pity that the end result is not good.
posted by Artw at 10:35 PM on September 9 [7 favorites]


It's telling that out of all the Star Trek alums they could have brought in, the person who ended up working on The Orville was the man who brought us Voyager and Enterprise - Brannon Braga. One review I read suggested that at it's core The Orville is based on the dusty old unused ST scripts that Braga had lying around.

What we really need is a celeb with a lot of pull to convince someone to pay for their own vanity Star Trek pastiche and have them hire Ronald Moore instead.

OR SOMEONE WHO IS TALENTED AND LOVES TREK LIKE I DUNNO BRYAN FULLER - oh wait.... how did this manage to appear out of nowhere and make it to air and we still don't have any episodes of Star Trek Discovery?
posted by thecjm at 10:36 PM on September 9 [19 favorites]


One review I read suggested that at it's core The Orville is based on the dusty old unused ST scripts that Braga had lying around.

I mean, you know he must have some, and you know he would.
posted by Artw at 10:37 PM on September 9 [8 favorites]


STAR TREK DISCOVERY DEBUTS 9/24! in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard.
posted by Artw at 10:38 PM on September 9 [94 favorites]


HAH! I'm so pleased. I've known Liz Shannon Miller since the late 90s, and it's awesome to see her make an FPP.

Also: Adrianne Palicki deserves better, damnit.
posted by suelac at 10:43 PM on September 9 [13 favorites]


With a few exceptions, sci-fi seems to be pretty devoid of humor, unless the audience is laughing at campy set design or bad alien prosthetics. Why do you think that is?

Get to fuck, interviewer person.

(In fairness the answer is stupid also)
posted by Artw at 10:46 PM on September 9 [6 favorites]


It is really interesting how it's pretty much impossible to make a space show without someone involved who worked on Star Trek. The Expanse, which is even less Trek-y than BSG, has a showrunner who got his start scripting TNG episodes.

Is Firefly the only outlier to the rule that Trek writers are the only people allowed to run a sci-fi show?
posted by thecjm at 10:47 PM on September 9 [4 favorites]


I'm up for another mad German/Canadian coproduction.
posted by Artw at 10:49 PM on September 9 [12 favorites]


Or Australian. The space-Australians did good.
posted by Artw at 10:50 PM on September 9 [20 favorites]


Liz Miller (third link) says episode 3 is "one of the most tone-deaf and offensive discussions of gender ever seen on screen." If you watched Seth MacFarlane host the Academy Awards, you aren't allowed to be surprised by that. I don't know what the guy is like in his personal life, but he's made clear that as a professional comedian, he dislikes women and thinks they're for sex.

I'm a Trek fan but I have no intention of watching any of this series. I hope it's cancelled quickly.
posted by cribcage at 10:50 PM on September 9 [53 favorites]


You mean Angel One gets to relinquish it's crown?
posted by Artw at 10:53 PM on September 9 [2 favorites]


On the other hand, I heard yesterday that Paul Sheer is working on a script for a TV series version of Galaxy Quest, so there's some hope there. I originally thought The Orville was it, but apparently not.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 11:05 PM on September 9 [11 favorites]


The new Black Mirror appears to have some kind of something also.
posted by Artw at 11:10 PM on September 9 [5 favorites]


Is Firefly the only outlier to the rule that Trek writers are the only people allowed to run a sci-fi show?

TV and movie execs rely heavily on past "success" to determine future investment and since Trek shows make up the bulk of of a very small group of reasonably successful TV space dramas, they keep going back to the same people a lot. I also presume those people have shown strong interest in the genre as well, so there is a fit that studios like, even as it leads to lots of repetition in tropes and concept.

I never liked Family Guy or MacFarlane's concepts of "funny" in general, so I will shed no tears if this tanks. Braga does write some wacky scripts though, so once he gets through his backlog of rejected Trek stuff he might have something interesting to offer. Though I suspect he'd really shine more in a "anything goes" sci-fi series where he could really cut loose with the weirdness.

As an aside, I'd personally be a bit cautious about too much Fuller love. There is, to me, something hollow at the core of some of the stuff of his I've seen that seems suspicious and a bit familiar to other white guy writers who've claimed to be all about diversity. I'm no expert on his whole body of work and make no claims about him or his beliefs, just that some of the stuff I've seen doesn't feel as fully realized as it should be.
posted by gusottertrout at 11:21 PM on September 9 [3 favorites]


I'm gonna go watch some Red Dwarf.
posted by smcameron at 11:39 PM on September 9 [35 favorites]


Not the American one tho.
posted by Artw at 11:43 PM on September 9 [9 favorites]


Adrianne Palicki as his second-in-command and ex-wife

UH-oh, that sounds like trouble! I wonder if she's a

some variation on “what a bitch my ex-wife is, amirite?”

[Slow clap]
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:59 PM on September 9 [7 favorites]


Fuller is hands down my favorite TV-maker but he certainly has limitations, most notably that he'll always go for spectacle and emotional vibes over tight plotting and realism and, well, occasionally logic. I don't think it's fair to call that hollow, though- it's just his style.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:15 AM on September 10 [4 favorites]


It is clearly incumbent upon me to point out that not only is Red Dwarf still a current series now premiering episodes of its' twelfth season, but that s11 and 12 are really not bad at all, certainly better than the current Trek films, Enterprise, and what I have seen of Voyager.
posted by mwhybark at 12:22 AM on September 10 [11 favorites]


Man, the things that could have been done with that money, instead of that crap. Like say, a "Stainless Steel Rat" series, or "Star Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers", or "The Rook", or "Retief", or "Murderbot Chronicles", or...or...

...come to think of it, this is pretty similar to my list whenever someone pipes up with "We need another Dune movie!"

Anyway, what a waste of money that could have gone to better things.
posted by happyroach at 12:24 AM on September 10 [24 favorites]


Come come, as far as I have been able to parse the rumors emanating from the Street of Loose Tongues, surely we'll get a Mike Mignola art-directed Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser project. I mean, it might be deeply terrible and campy, but at least *something*.
posted by mwhybark at 12:28 AM on September 10 [9 favorites]


When news of this show first came out there was no small contingent of the internet that praised it as the real Star Trek compared to the horrible SJW-driven Discovery, and predicted Discovery would die in flames as the brilliance of McFarlane overtook it. Because surely a black woman captain could not possibly hold a candle to Captain Broseph and His White Crew featuring The Token Minorities.

It was even more fucking annoying to hear McFarlane talk about The Orville like he was taking up the real mantle of Star Trek. You know, as opposed to that fakey-fake Discovery show and its women leaders who were obviously going to hamstring the whole thing with their woman hormones and non-white skin.

So when I say that I'm currently rolling around naked in a giant pit of schadenfreude like a pig rolls in shit, glopping it all over me with the intensity of the Little Baby's Ice Cream Man, know that my description is an understatement.
posted by schroedinger at 12:35 AM on September 10 [82 favorites]


The original Star Trek television series had a strong streak of intentional humor running through it - something the recent reboot movies entirely failed to grasp.
posted by fairmettle at 12:47 AM on September 10 [34 favorites]


Discovery has largely been a slow-motion disappointment, so kudos for disappointing much quicker, I guess.
posted by ckape at 1:14 AM on September 10 [3 favorites]


Farscape was funny well before Firefly.
posted by Brocktoon at 1:21 AM on September 10 [35 favorites]


Yeah, anyone who thinks Star Trek can’t be funny has never watched DS9.
posted by DoctorFedora at 1:27 AM on September 10 [32 favorites]


Is Firefly the only outlier to the rule that Trek writers are the only people allowed to run a sci-fi show?

Babylon 5 is also one of the few sci-fi shows run by non-Trek writers.
posted by JDC8 at 1:33 AM on September 10 [19 favorites]


I feel like Seth McFarlane's inexplicably robust career has shot well past white male privilege. The only reason I can think of that he's continued to waste everyone's time at this point is blackmail.
posted by Merus at 2:01 AM on September 10 [28 favorites]


I don't know what the guy is like in his personal life, but he's made clear that as a professional comedian, he dislikes women and thinks they're for sex.

I have neither forgotten nor forgiven the fact that what he thought was "the most sympathetic portrayal of a transexual character that has ever been on television" included a gag where a guy vomits for 30 seconds straight after learning he had sex with a trans woman. Seth MacFarlane produces garbage and thinks he's done something revolutionary.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 2:24 AM on September 10 [46 favorites]


Yeah, anyone who thinks Star Trek can’t be funny has never watched DS9.

From the sounds of it, the problem is this show did, but only that episode where Quark becomes a woman.
posted by dng at 2:25 AM on September 10 [2 favorites]


What about Lexx?

And Seth McFarlane can go auto-fellate himself in a house fire.
posted by loquacious at 2:27 AM on September 10 [10 favorites]


I heard yesterday that Paul Sheer is working on a script for a TV series version of Galaxy Quest

*Sits in front of TV set, waits*
posted by Room 641-A at 2:44 AM on September 10 [20 favorites]


I'm not sure it ever made it very far out of the UK, but if people want a good, genuinely funny Trek-a-like spoof, they should be watching Hyperdrive.
posted by auntie-matter at 2:45 AM on September 10 [18 favorites]


So, what everyone is saying is The Orville needs to die in a space fire?

(Seriously, had just about enough interest to watch the first episode just to revel in the plastic-faced McFarlane's inane, retreaded incompetency. Now I don't even need to do that, it seems, as he is no longer just incompetent, but outright bad.)
posted by Samizdata at 2:58 AM on September 10


Stargate: SG1 had quite a lot of humor. Richard Dean Anderson was the fulcrum for it & then Ben Browder coming off his own lead/humor fulcrum role in Farscape. The rest of the Stargate franchise was a lot more serious though.
posted by scalefree at 3:00 AM on September 10 [11 favorites]


I'm not sure it ever made it very far out of the UK, but if people want a good, genuinely funny Trek-a-like spoof, they should be watching Hyperdrive.
posted by auntie-matter at 4:45 AM on September 10 [+] [!]


Eponysterical?

(Also, you had me at Nick Frost.)
posted by Samizdata at 3:07 AM on September 10 [4 favorites]


McFarlane is now literally a waste of space.
posted by fleacircus at 3:39 AM on September 10 [41 favorites]


Is Firefly the only outlier to the rule that Trek writers are the only people allowed to run a sci-fi show?

Maybe, only just... Jane Espenson who wrote one ep of Firefly also wrote one of DS9 a few years earlier (having started out submitting spec scripts for TNG).
posted by opsin at 3:55 AM on September 10 [2 favorites]


The only reason I can think of that he's continued to waste everyone's time at this point is blackmail.

Is this the thread where I can gripe that, although my favorite film of the summer, the one thing that jarred badly in Logan Lucky was Seth's over-the-top and just plain unfunny appearances. The only positive of his (thankfully brief) appearances in the movie was that it showed the great acting, in comparison, of several of the other people in it.
posted by Wordshore at 4:54 AM on September 10 [2 favorites]


Well it you're going to do a vanity project do a huge heroic hilarious vanity project of Spruce Goose proportions.

Obviously as it's sf I'll give it look... I was expecting an excruciatingly bad comedy from the trailer but the linked articles and others indicated it's gonna be even worse. RED ALERT! RED ALERT!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:55 AM on September 10 [3 favorites]


It's telling that out of all the Star Trek alums they could have brought in, the person who ended up working on The Orville was the man who brought us Voyager and Enterprise - Brannon Braga . (emphasis mine)

Whelp, that's the end of the failure-mode analysis report. We can all leave early. I'm buying the first pitcher of Margaritas.
posted by mikelieman at 4:55 AM on September 10 [7 favorites]


Not to abuse the edit window, but Not ALL of Voyager and Enterprise sucked. Just the parts "Brannon Fucking Braga" was involved in.

I have a copy of the The original 1993 edition of The Official Star Trek Chronology and I will fight the "Zefram Cochrane is human from Earth" retcon until my dying day.

I REMEMBER THE ORIGINAL TIMELINE!
posted by mikelieman at 5:05 AM on September 10 [13 favorites]


So this gets a prime time network slot while the real Star Trek gets shuffled off to some streaming service with about a hundred subscribers?
posted by octothorpe at 5:12 AM on September 10 [16 favorites]


So this gets a prime time network slot while the real Star Trek gets shuffled off to some streaming service with about a hundred subscribers?

Yeah. If this is a success and Discovery fails to draw enough eyes to sustain it, I will bitterly and simultaneously laugh and weep, yet not be completely surprised.

I bet the Germans have a word for "bitterly and simultaneously laughing and weeping."
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 5:17 AM on September 10 [3 favorites]


And this the week they cancel "Dark Matter"
.
posted by stevil at 6:00 AM on September 10 [5 favorites]


My only reason to wish this some success is it this is finally what makes FOX cancel the rotting corpse of Family Guy (that has been giving around a episode worth of decent-to-good gags every 20-episode season for most of this decade, and even MacFarlane seems to be tired of it and surprised why it's not cancelled yet), and if that leads to the Simpsons also being cancelled, leaving just Bob's Burgers hanging in balance until it hits a wall in 1-2 years.

But it's sci-fi on Fox. It's already dead.
posted by lmfsilva at 6:03 AM on September 10 [4 favorites]


The one thing that jarred badly in Logan Lucky was Seth's over-the-top and just plain unfunny appearances.

Even the special singing lessons he took to sound like Frank Sinatra weren't enough to justify his awful mouse character in Sing. I know, it's a cartoon movie for children, but I was 100% hoping that mouse would fall off a building the entire time. I also wondered if they made the character so nasty and devoid of sympathy before MacFarlane was cast, or after.
posted by 41swans at 6:07 AM on September 10 [7 favorites]


I don't find anything MacFarlane does funny at all. It simply astounds me how he is able to get financing for the drek he is so famous for. Someone, someday needs to say "No" to him but I doubt that will happen anytime soon.
posted by tommasz at 6:38 AM on September 10 [6 favorites]


So, it's the Castalia House Star Trek?
posted by acb at 6:44 AM on September 10 [2 favorites]


What about Lexx?

Lexx is the Prairie Home Companion of SF: some people like it, everyone else can't understand why those people don't hate it like they should.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:46 AM on September 10 [27 favorites]


I know, it's a cartoon movie for children

It's a cartoon movie for children in which every single dude is a massive douche rocket of one sort or another. I put it on Netflix one night when I was feeling down and just wanted something cute and funny and holy shit, it's like Toxic Masculinity: The Movie. I'm pretty sure the moral of the story was "Men are trash, collapse a theater on them immediately, save yourself."
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:10 AM on September 10 [24 favorites]


I don't find anything MacFarlane does funny at all.

Yep yep yepser, same here, but I sure would like to be that one quiet non-comic-insider back in the corner no one notices after an event with a bunch of veterans and sharp up and comers all loosened up where he lets loose and does his own personal rendition of the "The Aristocrats".
posted by sammyo at 7:46 AM on September 10


Cosmos was great, but I could smell Orville coming from a ways off.
posted by wormwood23 at 8:00 AM on September 10 [1 favorite]


I'm not going to watch The Orville. Seth McFarlane might have the best of intentions, but based on his other output that I've seen, whatever he gets right, ten other things will be horribly wrong, at all times. I don't like watching shows that make me cringe every ten seconds.

I'm not going to watch Star Trek Discovery. From what I've read, the main reason this show exists is so interested parties can retain certain IP rights of the Kelvin timeline version of Trek, and to launch yet another streaming service. I don't like watching shows that are considered tertiary afterthoughts of amoral Hollywood deal-making, either.

It's hard, really hard, to be a Trekkie in the twenty-first century.
posted by KHAAAN! at 8:02 AM on September 10 [9 favorites]


I enjoyed Family Guy for a while early on—I can be a sucker for referential humor, and some of the sharper bits of MacFarlane's crudity schtick worked for me when it was still relatively novel and I wasn't putting it in any kind of context—but boy has that motherfucker dried up for me basically in tandem with his ballooning footprint and with it the greater exposure of his smug, unjustifiably self-satisfied edgy white-dudeness. He was somehow less bad when he was behind the writing direction and not putting himself blandly on camera.

So Orville was basically a pitch directly to my nope bucket. I have friends who are trying, with what they know is a kind of doomed hope, to think it might turn out to not be bad, but they don't like MacFarlane much if any more than I do, they just have more Trekkian belief in reserve than I do, that somehow the format and context will win out over Capt. Lookatme's bad instincts.
posted by cortex at 8:07 AM on September 10 [14 favorites]


The thing I most strongly associate Family Guy with at this point is the dig in one of the Futurama movies where Fry has a Family Guy 12 Laughs a Year calendar.
posted by Merus at 8:16 AM on September 10 [30 favorites]


suelac: "Also: Adrianne Palicki deserves better, damnit."

This.
posted by signal at 8:20 AM on September 10 [3 favorites]


Everyone basically expected Family Guy Futurama out of this, didn't they?
posted by Artw at 8:30 AM on September 10 [3 favorites]


the one thing that jarred badly in Logan Lucky was Seth's over-the-top and just plain unfunny appearances. The only positive of his (thankfully brief) appearances in the movie

I saw Logan Lucky a couple of weeks ago and afterwards was consistently baffled by references to MacFarlane's grating presence. Then I recalled that at one point I had left for two minutes to visit the washroom and in doing so, blessedly missed his entire contribution. Glory be! I delight in the knowledge that I (totally inadvertently) saw a better version of the movie than almost anyone else. Yay me.

In fact, I sampled a couple of Family Guy episodes when it first appeared and found the show to be simultaneously tedious while being satisfied with its own cleverness. A quick review of IMDB suggests that except for a couple of Enterprise episodes where he has a small role, I have actually experienced a MacFarlane-free world. I know peripherally who he is, of course, but the main time he comes up in my life is in that he looks eerily like a friend of mine whom I have known since the first day of kindergarten.

Apart from that, though, I am from a timeline where he is a fourth-rung actor whose biggest web presence is a two-paragraph entry at Memory Alpha. I will see if I can get you guys in there. It is great.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:39 AM on September 10 [15 favorites]


Everyone basically expected Family Guy Futurama out of this, didn't they?

Seems like a pretty good guess just based on the principle bro's past work. Sounds like the promo didn't push hard away from that assumption.

The funny thing is I didn't pay enough attention to the promo stuff to get whatever false vibes it was throwing around, and so pretty much assumed it was gonna be a mostly-straight-faced Trek-alike that just inexplicably featured Seth front-and-center pretending to be an actor and feeling really impressed with himself the entiiiiire time.
posted by cortex at 8:40 AM on September 10 [3 favorites]


he dislikes women and thinks they're for sex.

He also doesn't think too much of nine-year old girls given the joke he made at the Oscars about Quvenzhané Wallis and George Clooney.

I'm going to hold my nose and watch the first episode at least. If odds are good that Fox will cancel it then I won't need to waste any more time on it.
posted by fuse theorem at 8:45 AM on September 10 [2 favorites]


The only reason I can think of that he's continued to waste everyone's time at this point is blackmail.

Ted made half a billion-with-a-B dollars worldwide. He's a horrible human being who makes shit I hate, but it makes other people money.
posted by Etrigan at 9:29 AM on September 10 [5 favorites]


I will say the very nicest thing that I can about Seth McFarlane, in the manner of someone really putting his back into squeezing the very last drop of juice out of a small and pithy lemon to produce an exceedingly modest glass of lemonade: I think that he really loves Star Trek, given the number of references he's made to it in his cartoons and also his giving Patrick Stewart recurring roles in American Dad and that other thing that seemingly no one talks about. (It grieves me that SirPatStew goes along with this, but that's his business.) And I know some Trekkies who were actually looking forward to this thing, not because of sexism (at least not obviously) but because they wanted a brighter, more optimistic Trek, and the reboot movies and Disco Trek weren't promising that. And, of course, he's hiring former Trek people (including two actors from DS9), and it's always nice to see them getting work.

That having been said, nothing about these reviews surprises me, especially after learning that he brought on Brannon Braga as exec producer. Braga is probably the best example of the Peter Principle in the Trek franchise, a decent scriptwriter whose reign as producer on Voyager and Enterprise helped drive the franchise into, if not the grave, at least a premature dormancy. Most of the Trek series took a few seasons to find their footings, but I doubt that Fox will give this that long.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:31 AM on September 10 [8 favorites]


certainly better than the current Trek films

Someday we are going to have to fight about Beyond.
posted by Artw at 9:33 AM on September 10 [3 favorites]


I could smell Orville coming from a ways off.

I would've laid odds that anything that combined "Seth McFarlane" and "animated Star Trek pastiche" was going to be a black hole of suck. I mean, the whole idea is just a very expensive effort to troll nerds.

(OTOH, I always had a soft spot for Lexx. Much of it was silly; much of it made no damn sense at all, but it had style and that puts it squarely in my "beautiful mess" category. McFarlane should aspire to as much.)
posted by octobersurprise at 9:36 AM on September 10 [1 favorite]


Artw: "certainly better than the current Trek films

Someday we are going to have to fight about Beyond.
"

I still haven't even brought myself to watch that one after the trainwreck that was "...into Darkness".
posted by octothorpe at 9:43 AM on September 10 [2 favorites]


Entirely different beast and vastly better.
posted by Artw at 9:44 AM on September 10 [8 favorites]


You know, reading this thread just solidified something for me-- the only new Star Trek-like thing that I want is more Larptrek. It's a webcomic that postulates that all of DS9 was really just a pen-and-paper RPG game run by the TNG crew during season three. But I guess the guy that wrote it is busy with other stuff now.

I'm sorry I was trying to be polite and reasonable but I have to shout now CORTEX MAKE MORE LARPTREK!!!!
posted by seasparrow at 9:44 AM on September 10 [30 favorites]


What's really odd is that Seth MacFarlane was actually involved in producing decent, funny cartoons once-upon-a-time. He wrote for Dexter's Laboratory, Johnny Bravo, and Cow and Chicken back before Family Guy became a thing. I'm guessing since, because he was on a staff of writers, his worst tendencies were watered down.

I seem to recall "Larry & Steve" (which was essentially a short, one-off prototype for Family Guy that aired on Cartoon Network) being moderately funny. However, this bit on Wikipedia about the previous short cartoon he made tells me that his misogynistic shtick was there from the start:
The film also features live-action segments shot at MacFarlane's home in Kent, Connecticut where he describes the film and its characters in the form of a pitch to a television network. During the live action segments, MacFarlane is being served cheesecake by his Asian servant, Wang, played by fellow student Chang S. Han.
Yikes. Just... yikes. And 20+ years later, he's still doing the exact same garbage kind of comedy.
posted by SansPoint at 9:45 AM on September 10 [3 favorites]


Artw: STAR TREK DISCOVERY DEBUTS 9/24! in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard.

When I saw this comment, I wanted to favorite it, but I couldn't, because it had 42 favorites already. Then, I reloaded, and someone had ruined it, so I was free to favorite. Just feel you should know that, for a moment, you had the perfect favorites number on your comment.
posted by SansPoint at 9:46 AM on September 10 [16 favorites]


I'm sorry I was trying to be polite and reasonable but I have to shout now CORTEX MAKE MORE LARPTREK!!!!

This x a jillion.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:50 AM on September 10 [4 favorites]


Seconding JDC8's mention of Babylon-5.

Which was also missing in the first linked article, when it does this:
“DS9” was even an early and impactful example of how well serialized storytelling might work in genre programming, which led to “Battlestar Galactica,” “Lost,” and many other great shows.
posted by doctornemo at 9:53 AM on September 10 [4 favorites]


I noped out at "Seth McFarlane's" and do not understand why anyone would have allowed this to happen or would plan to watch it.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:54 AM on September 10 [18 favorites]


What's really odd is that Seth MacFarlane was actually involved in producing decent, funny cartoons once-upon-a-time.

Chuck Lorre worked on Roseanne and I will swordfight anyone who disputes that Roseanne was one of the best television shows ever. But like MacFarlane, Lorre's fame comes from subsequent work that, in my subjective opinion and also in objective good taste, is shit.

I don't like watching shows that are considered tertiary afterthoughts of amoral Hollywood deal-making, either.

I hear you, and I also hate those deals...but let's remember that just because some Hollywood honcho had a callous reason for greenlighting the project, doesn't mean the studio didn't hand off the project to a bunch of sincere, hardworking fans who were jazzed about the opportunity to carry an important torch forward. I have my reservations about Discovery but I figure assuming good faith is part of the Trek ethos.
posted by cribcage at 10:03 AM on September 10 [8 favorites]


“DS9” was even an early and impactful example ...
Even worse is the word "impactful." I recommend more prunes.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:03 AM on September 10 [5 favorites]


he dislikes women and thinks they're for sex.

He also doesn't think too much of nine-year old girls given the joke he made at the Oscars about Quvenzhané Wallis and George Clooney.

I'm going to hold my nose and watch the first episode at least. If odds are good that Fox will cancel it then I won't need to waste any more time on it.


Nah, I haven't even seen it and don't like it, so Fox will keep it.

I still weep for Almost Human.
posted by Samizdata at 10:28 AM on September 10 [8 favorites]


I liked the headline on Eric Deggan's review at NPR: Make It So-So:
What it feels like, to this viewer, is a failure of tone. The Orville is trying to walk a fine line – funny enough to poke fun at Trek-style shows, but not an all-out satire like Galaxy Quest. It calls back to Next Generation as a loving homage that even mimics the Trek show's music cues, while tweaking enough details that Fox doesn't get sued. In short, The Orville is trying so hard not to be so many things, it isn't fully any one thing. Which makes it, officially, the strangest misfire of the fall TV season.
One review I read suggested that at it's core The Orville is based on the dusty old unused ST scripts that Braga had lying around.

Maybe Alan Sepinwall's review? Seth MacFarlane’s ‘The Orville’ Isn’t A ‘Star Trek’ Spoof. It’s Just Bad ‘Star Trek’:
Long stretches play out like Braga had a lot of unused Next Generation scripts in a drawer and just changed the names, and while very little of it’s good — it’s the concepts without the humanity behind them that power the best of all Trek incarnations, and this brand of exploratory sci-fi in general — there’s at least a consistent vision to it. It’s a borrowed vision, but one that makes sense together.
[...]

Why exactly does this show exist? Well, when you’ve made as much money for your bosses as MacFarlane has for the executives at Fox, if you want to act out your dream to be the captain of a very thinly-disguised Star Trek spinoff, you get to. But MacFarlane’s very presence all but demands a certain style and amount of comedy that runs counter to everything else, even as the more overtly Jean-Luc Picard moments undermine the jokes.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:30 AM on September 10 [5 favorites]


Seth Macfarlane could only ever be lead actor in his own project. Not only can he not act, he's got that weird Uncanny Valley face, kind of good looking but repulsive, like a sexbot with the "Sexy" dialled down to -11
posted by KateViolet at 11:25 AM on September 10 [24 favorites]


Some writers really need an editor to work against to do their best.
posted by Artw at 11:29 AM on September 10 [3 favorites]


Man, the things that could have been done with that money, instead of that crap. Like say, a "Stainless Steel Rat" series

Let's be clear that the only way that would be good is if Paul Verhoeven were allowed to write/produce/direct to ensure the source material was satirizied for being utterly morally bankrupt ala Starship Troopers.
posted by combinatorial explosion at 12:23 PM on September 10 [9 favorites]


I can only come to the conclusion that TV Hollywood/NYC is run by stupid people, and Seth (and Chuck Lorre) have mastered them such that they can get anything they want made.
posted by rhizome at 12:29 PM on September 10 [2 favorites]


If the Prophets do exist, then Fox will show the episodes out of order, then move it from Sunday, to like, Tuesday halfway through the season before shitcanning it.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:34 PM on September 10 [11 favorites]


Pretty sure the Stsinless Steel Rat is *supposed* to be morally bankrupt.

Admission: I only know it from the 2000AD comic, so when I picture it I picture James Coburn as drawn by Carlos Ezquera.
posted by Artw at 12:38 PM on September 10 [2 favorites]


My adolescent self dreaded seeing Brannon Braga's name as the writer on Star Trek episodes she had been hoping would be good. I could see his fingerprints across story arcs that I had hated, obliterating potential I had glimpsed.

Any old scripts he had lying around fill my little heart with sadness.
posted by RainyJay at 1:00 PM on September 10 [2 favorites]


Boy, would I love a Star Trek-like comedy with Penny Johnson Jerald!

*The monkey's paw curls a finger*

I'm sorry everyone, I think I may be to blame for this.

(I was so relieved when I found out Victor Garber was only a guest star.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:07 PM on September 10 [5 favorites]


I can only come to the conclusion that TV Hollywood/NYC is run by stupid people

I don't think either the movie or the TV industry is run by stupid people. But I think there's a fair bit of evidence to suggest that they are run by people who want to make the largest amount of money with the smallest amount of effort and that the resulting products are often hard to distinguish from something made by idiots.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:08 PM on September 10 [5 favorites]


I'll probably watch the pilot - but based on MacFarlane's track record, and the universally negative early reviews, I don't have my hopes up.

I'm cautiously hopeful for Discovery. Judging from the trailers, it'll strike a different tone from any Trek we've seen before. That's fine - TNG is my ur-Trek, but I'm no purist. I just hope it has some spiritual connection to the humanist, optimist Trek I loved back in the day - unlike the brotastic Abrams reboot.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 1:10 PM on September 10


I can only come to the conclusion that TV Hollywood/NYC is run by stupid people

I don't think there's any secret formula to how network TV operates. If a show brings a lot more potential advertiser cash than it costs to produce, it stays. If it doesn't but the financials are workable and critics hint at award potential, it stays. If there's no viable replacement, it stays. If they owe the people running it, it stays.

I'd argue any network show that is renewed or greenlit falls under any of these conditions. When they don't, it's when things start to get shaky.
posted by lmfsilva at 1:36 PM on September 10


Pretty sure the Stainless Steel Rat is *supposed* to be morally bankrupt.

Well, yeah. that should be obvious from his self-serving justification for robbing banks.

I basically regard it as "Lupin III in Space", so I say give it to TMS Entertanment and Sayo Yamamoto and let them go to town with it as an anime.
posted by happyroach at 1:42 PM on September 10 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't be surprised if MacFarlane pitched The Orville specifically as "a politically incorrect Trek" and some of the FOX execs reacted "Give him an hour on Sundays!!!"

The saddest thing for me is how it kinda besmirches the name of Orrville, Ohio, which was close to my uncle's egg ranch that I'd visit when I was growing up. And as awful as the smell inside the big metal barns full of laying hens was, if the winds were just right, outside you caught a whiff of the original Smuckers Jelly factory there which was delightfully berry-scented (some days more strawberry, some days more blackberry)
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:45 PM on September 10 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't be surprised if MacFarlane pitched The Orville specifically as "a politically incorrect Trek"

Absolutely Seth is a master of palatable SouthParkism for the mainstream.
posted by rhizome at 1:49 PM on September 10 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't be surprised if MacFarlane pitched The Orville specifically as "a politically incorrect Trek"

There was that period just after the election, before people had really figured out what a scam it was, and TV execs were scrambling to commission redder shows for what they perceived as a suddenly more right wing audience. There's going to be some misbegotten crap turning up in the wake of that.
posted by Artw at 1:49 PM on September 10 [12 favorites]


I just got a chance to watch the trailer and ugh. If that's the best bits that they could find for the trailer then this is going to be pretty grim watching. Jokes about leaving the toilet seat up? Bleh.
posted by octothorpe at 1:56 PM on September 10


The saddest thing for me is how it kinda besmirches the name of Orrville, Ohio

Not to mention the names of Orville Wright and Orville Redenbacher.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:57 PM on September 10 [2 favorites]


I just got a chance to watch the trailer and ugh. If that's the best bits that they could find for the trailer then this is going to be pretty grim watching


Unfortunately, having watched the trailer myself, I think it may play very well with the Big Bang Theory crowd.

Nevertheless, in the spirit of ecumenism and interfaith outreach, I shall offer a prayer to the Blessed Exchequer:

O Blessed Exchequer,
May this venture fail
May it receive poor ratings among its key demographics
And may it frequently be preempted by football
Or a Presidential address
May the network be forced to provide "make goods" to its advertisers
And may its profits shrivel like a tube grub in the sun

Blessed Exchequer,
Let the careers of all those involved be ruined
And may they never work in this town again
As the people of Ferenginar wandered in ignorance
Before you brought them the Rules of Acquisition
So shall they be lost in darkness
Forever

May their assets be liquidated
And may they be forced to sell their property, and their clothes
And their close relations
May they be flung from the Tower of Commerce
And may the gates of your Divine Treasury ever be closed to them

Amen
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:22 PM on September 10 [18 favorites]


Not to mention the names of Orville Wright and Orville Redenbacher.

And Orville The Duck
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:27 PM on September 10 [2 favorites]


I will say the very nicest thing that I can about Seth McFarlane, in the manner of someone really putting his back into squeezing the very last drop of juice out of a small and pithy lemon to produce an exceedingly modest glass of lemonade: I think that he really loves Star Trek, given the number of references he's made to it in his cartoons and also his giving Patrick Stewart recurring roles in American Dad and that other thing that seemingly no one talks about.

Not just Trek, he's actually got surprisingly good taste and enthusiasm for very good things: musical theater especially, he's spent a whooole lot of airtime on his awful shows trying to get a love of musical theater across to an audience that doesn't care.

Unfortunately his tastes are far far far better than his talents, he's like someone who tried to shortcut that phenomenon from that Ira Glass essay about creatives measuring their work by the quality of their tastes when starting out and always feeling like they come up short, where MacFarlane was like, "screw feeling inadequate, I've got good taste, I'll just reference the things I like and I'll be just as good as them!"
posted by jason_steakums at 2:33 PM on September 10 [11 favorites]


kind of good looking but repulsive, like a sexbot with the "Sexy" dialled down to -11

HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO SLEEP TONIGHT? HOW??!!
posted by datawrangler at 2:38 PM on September 10 [3 favorites]


I don't think either the movie or the TV industry is run by stupid people. But I think there's a fair bit of evidence to suggest that they are run by people who want to make the largest amount of money with the smallest amount of effort and that the resulting products are often hard to distinguish from something made by idiots.

In other words, it's run by people who think their customers are idiots.
posted by kewb at 2:47 PM on September 10 [3 favorites]


That is absolutely true. Mostly they are right, of course.
posted by Artw at 2:49 PM on September 10 [1 favorite]


If Seth MacFarlane has the sense to step back into a purely EP role and let someone else do the writing, it could course-correct into something more or less alright. American Dad and The Cleveland Show both started out as half-baked Family Guy clones before quickly shifting into their own thing, and I see no reason this couldn't do that too.

Also, hey, maybe animate it? It's not just that Seth MacFarlane has the most punchable face in the world, but also, y'know...it's science fiction? Why limit the possibilities with live action? Granted, comparisons to Rick and Morty would be inevitable, but other than being science fiction, it's not like that show bears any resemblance to a cheap and obvious Trek parody. Might even dodge some of the inevitable HHGTTG, Red Dwarf, and Other Space (RIP) comparisons by making it a cartoon.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:53 PM on September 10


So I take it there isn't going to be a FanFare post for this?


(Mostly kidding, but I'd look forward to reading the scathing commentary.)
posted by sardonyx at 2:53 PM on September 10


In other words, it's run by people who think their customers are idiots.
But remember, it's "free" TV so the audience isn't the customers, it's the product being sold. And it's being sold to advertisers who, mostly, assume their customers are idiots (or have you seen 99% of TV commercials?)

AV Club quoted: "The Orville is to Star Trek: The Next Generation what Family Guy is to The Simpsons and A Million Ways To Die In The West was to Blazing Saddles: Not the genuine article, and not even an incredible simulation, but something with the same look and some of the same feel but with a distinctly different soul."
At least he's consistent.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:02 PM on September 10 [2 favorites]


Imagine if Orville does mediocre to well financially, that puts MacFarlane in the leading spot to write and direct the next nuTrek film. Because, really, that's where that franchise seems to be headed anyhow.
posted by peeedro at 3:22 PM on September 10


And, FYI, at last night's Sub-Emmys ceremony for Tech/Daytime/Animation/etc., Bob's Burgers won Best Animated Series (with the quarter-hour segments of Adventure Time taking Best Short Form Animated), but Seth took home an Emmy for his voice performances on Family Guy.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:29 PM on September 10


In the "better alternatives" category, Other Space is available online free and legally. It stars Karan Soni, who is thoroughly underrated. (He had a small but memorable role in Ghostbusters last year.) Actually, the whole cast is pretty great, and you'll see faces that you know from The Good Place and other quality stuff.
posted by wintersweet at 3:31 PM on September 10 [17 favorites]


but Seth took home an Emmy for his voice performances on Family Guy.

He is a genuinely talented voice artist with a good range and a gift for impressions that would have made Hanna-Barbera happy to have him in the 60s. In some alternate universe, he's not writing, but he is working and still fairly widely known to animation aficionados.
posted by kewb at 3:59 PM on September 10 [11 favorites]


Imagine if Orville does mediocre to well financially, that puts MacFarlane in the leading spot to write and direct the next nuTrek film. Because, really, that's where that franchise seems to be headed anyhow.

I really liked Star Trek Beyond and fully advocate all future Trek movies be directed by Fast & Furious alums
posted by thecjm at 4:10 PM on September 10 [6 favorites]


Pegg did a blinding job on the writing too, so keep him.

Edgar Wright space movie?
posted by Artw at 4:11 PM on September 10


Edgar Wright space movie?

Do you really want Zoe Saldana to have an even smaller role?
posted by thecjm at 4:34 PM on September 10 [3 favorites]


Disappointing but not surprising. A small part of me was afraid that Orville was going to be better than Discovery proving all those people crying out about how Discovery must be terrible because it has a woman of colour as lead! That's not to say that Discovery won't still fail, but at the very least it will only be as equally bad as Orville not worse! The best I can say about Seth McFarlane is that he seems to really love Star Trek.

The reality is as well that Star Trek has never been consistently great. Some of the shows had stretches of great seasons but I wouldn't say any of the shows are amazing and each of them have a pile of awful episodes.

All of which is to say, I hope people give Discovery a chance without making a snap judgment based on the pilot episode alone (who am I kidding, this is the internet). I think back and wonder if everyone had turned off from The Next Generation based on the first season and what we would have missed out on had it have been canceled. I realise the television landscape is a lot different now than it was 30 years ago but I am always here for someone doing inventive and interesting things within the Star Trek universe.
posted by liquorice at 4:35 PM on September 10 [5 favorites]


The thing that really grinds my gears is that there is loads of untapped potential in a comedic star trek-y universe. I just know for a fact that while this might have a couple of funny gags, on the whole it's going to suck at warp speed.
posted by Sphinx at 4:42 PM on September 10


Many some kind of metafiction based around the propensity of secondary and tertiary characters to die?
posted by Artw at 4:52 PM on September 10 [4 favorites]


MeFi's Own JScalzi's been there, done that. And "Redshirts" was optioned as a "limited series" to FX and has been languishing in Development Hell for over 2 years...
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:09 PM on September 10 [3 favorites]


Okay I'm watching and the ex-wife role is super-painful, she cheated on him with an alien because he was WORKING TOO HARD for THEM. But even though she was also in starfleet (/whatever starfleet is called here) she was slacking off or whatever and NOT working so hard? He wasn't a bad husband who did anything wrong, he just WORKED TOO HARD guy!

It has some funny bits in treating a starship like a 21st century workplace, but yeah the ex-wife part is super-painful and the pacing is SO, SO, SO bad, I cannot even with this pacing.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:28 PM on September 10 [2 favorites]


In some alternate universe, he's not writing, but he is working and still fairly widely known to animation aficionados.

Where have you gone, Frank Welker? A network turns its lonely eyes to you.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:45 PM on September 10 [2 favorites]


There was one talented guy who was able to be a Producer and a Writer and do great voices: Bill Scott, best known as "the name that came after Jay Ward on the Producer credits", and because of some weird agreement between them, only once on the credits in spite of his many other contributions. But it was said that every time he approached Ward with a series idea and acted out the main characters for him, Ward would say "Great! And the voice is perfect you did for Bullwinkle/Mr. Peabody/Dudley DoRight/George of the Jungle/Superchicken/Tom Slick". And so he did. I saw him once acting in Live Action on the short-lived sitcom set at a cartoon studio "The Duck Factory" and he totally could've done a Star Trek spoof... in the 70s/80s.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:06 PM on September 10 [2 favorites]


oneswellfoop:

MeFi's Own JScalzi's been there, done that. And "Redshirts" was optioned as a "limited series" to FX and has been languishing in Development Hell for over 2 years...

Not entirely accurate. It was optioned as a miniseries with a script written but FX passed (they decided they needed more "dark" stuff like Fargo) and then the option lapsed. Then a while later FX came back and wanted to option it again, this time for a continuing half-hour series. Another script was written and again FX passed, this time I think in no small part because Orville was already in development. The option will return to me soon and we'll see what happens from here.

Just for the record I was not overly put out that Orville may have nixed Redshirts in the short run, although I'm sad for my development partners who put so much good work into it (I have four other properties in various stages of development at the moment, so I have nothing to complain about). I genuinely hoped Orville would be good. I'm sad the reviews so far have been generally less than kind.
posted by jscalzi at 6:09 PM on September 10 [27 favorites]


And sadly, the failure of The Orville won't help the chances for any future 'satiric space operas' on American TV.

At least British TV brings us more Red Dwarf every few years.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:18 PM on September 10 [2 favorites]


I watched it, and the only jokes my wife and I laughed at were the "on viewscreen" jokes which lampooned the idea that when making a video call people are always framed nicely and the background is clean and non-distracting (which humor was immediately dissolved by having the characters in the show talk about the funny thing on the viewscreen during the first joke, and the other was used in promos so I already knew it was coming). Oh, and I chuckled at the blob-creature in the hallway. We didn't really laugh at anything else. The tone was extremely uneven -- as reviewers have noted, it's not really a satire, it's not really good science fiction, it's not really an homage to former scifi...it is trying to not be Star Trek, and not be Galaxy Quest, so it's really...not anything worth watching. Are they supposed to be telling jokes, or is it just intentionally cringey? The plot wasn't really thoughtful or surprising, it was really like fanfic, point-a-to-point-c in three acts without much sense of concern or danger or not knowing what comes next.
posted by AzraelBrown at 6:40 PM on September 10


I'm a sucker for blind items on TVLINE and one of the going theories is that this story was about The Oroville. I think we're far enough into the season to know it's not Twin Peaks, The Mist, or Inhumans. Maybe it was Still Star Crossed?
posted by fiercekitten at 7:07 PM on September 10 [3 favorites]


I used to think being a sci-fi fan meant I had to consume every bit of science fiction foisted on me. This is why, while I still enjoy the occasional, but increasingly rare, pleasure of sci-fi, I've stopped thinking of myself as a sci-fi fan (see also: pornography, dashcam videos, chocolate).
posted by sonascope at 7:10 PM on September 10 [7 favorites]


I basically regard it as "Lupin III in Space",

Surely you mean "From Eroica With Love in Space."
posted by praemunire at 8:03 PM on September 10


I don't get why some of you who don't really like McFarlane and are put off by the reviews are even going to try watching the pilot? You could do anything else with that time - make a non-Trump thread here, re-watch your fave Trek episode, go for a walk...

Not that anyone has to justify their time to me, I just really fucking hate McFarlane and worry that even mediocre numbers for a pilot will encourage him and his enablers.
posted by harriet vane at 9:47 PM on September 10 [7 favorites]


I haven't watched, but I considered it because even though I hate mcfarlane a lot, I love star trek even more. It was clear he was trying to make some star trek, but it's now also clear that he failed.
posted by Jon_Evil at 9:53 PM on September 10


Been eating up that Other Space with a spoon! Thanks for the recco?

I don't get why some of you who don't really like McFarlane and are put off by the reviews are even going to try watching the pilot? You could do anything else with that time - make a non-Trump thread here, re-watch your fave Trek episode, go for a walk...

Not that anyone has to justify their time to me, I just really fucking hate McFarlane and worry that even mediocre numbers for a pilot will encourage him and his enablers.


Because I am not a reviewer and like to make my own decisions?
posted by Samizdata at 10:28 PM on September 10 [2 favorites]


I watched a Family Guy once so I guess I should probably hold that against him. It really is terrible.
posted by Artw at 10:30 PM on September 10 [1 favorite]


Well, the reviews aren't wrong. The Orville is one mixed up show. It's not all bad, but a lot of it ain't good and all of it is definitely derivative without clear purpose.

Some of the better elements really do give added hope for Discovery since Orville gives some indication of what good CGI and art direction could do for a new Trek, giving the show a chance to explore some areas of its universe that it hasn't really been able to do before. The opening shots of The Orville on a future Earth show something of the possibility for better grounding the Trek franchise and showing more of what it would be like and how it might work. Something Trek could use at this point. Of course it could also make alien worlds more alien as well and finally solve something of Trek's bizarre problems with scale in their visits to other planets and allow them them to have something other than the usual village agorae as civilization stand ins. (Hopefully that will mean they'll also find alien costumes that aren't galaxy standard tunics or quasi-military uniforms as well, but then again maybe that'd be pushing too far too fast.)

The Orville, on the other hand, reminds one of the equally long standing problem Trek had with using white guy liberalism as their moral base in how to relate to the shows. The Orville takes that same idea, seems to think it's "updating" it, but ends up making it worse than Trek did by placing it front and center rather than as a side effect of its general perspective. The introduction of the crew is particularly painful in that regard, worsened only by Palicki's Grayson being completely centered around her relationship with MacFarlance's Mercer.

The idea of having the two helmsman, Mercer's talented fuck up buddy, Malloy and the street talking LaMarr act as something vaguely akin to Yaphet Kotto and Harry Dean Stanton's union workering types in Alien wasn't bad on its face, but where they went with it, for "comedy" wasn't good, and the supposed thrill of Ed getting to show off his skills was completely flat. Even as it also gave some decent notion of using three dimensional space more in ways more complex than ship battles in Trek often allowed.

I won't bother going into all the troubling aspects of the seeming perspective of the show, other than to say it's less than promising, I'll just add the mix of comedy and seriousness is, as the reviews mentioned, weird. Neither works all that well overall, but the serious parts are more over-determined than the comedic elements suggesting to me that MacFarlane was more holding back because he really wanted to play a heroic Trek-like captain more than he wanted a comedy overall. It seems to be he got the train set he always wanted and no one would or could tell him how to play with it so others might enjoy it too.
posted by gusottertrout at 1:48 AM on September 11 [6 favorites]


Okay but is it as bad as J. J. Trek
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 5:08 AM on September 11 [3 favorites]


but Seth took home an Emmy for his voice performances on Family Guy.

Kristen Schaal was robbed !! That's too much man!!
posted by Pendragon at 5:10 AM on September 11 [8 favorites]


I don't get why some of you who don't really like McFarlane and are put off by the reviews are even going to try watching the pilot?

I haven't watched it but dvr-ed it for two basic reasons.

(1) Reviewers in nongenre outlets are deeply and radically untrustworthy about genre material, with the possible exception of police procedurals.

(2) It might be an interesting failure and not just cynical extruded-product shit.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:29 AM on September 11 [1 favorite]


My opinion after watching it: "heh"

I too think it fell completely between his love of Star Trek and having made a career out of writing comedies, but also didn't want jokes at the expense of ST. It has room for improvement, particularly if the writers are able to reign in Seth's worth tendencies and go for anti-banana rays jokes instead.
posted by lmfsilva at 6:14 AM on September 11 [2 favorites]


I basically regard it as "Lupin III in Space", so I say give it to TMS Entertanment and Sayo Yamamoto and let them go to town with it as an anime.

Which is to say, Cowboy Bebop?

(The judges would have also accepted Space Dandy.)
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:20 AM on September 11 [2 favorites]


Nobody is going to he upset at more Bebop.
posted by Artw at 6:27 AM on September 11 [2 favorites]


Yes Hyperdrive is terrific, although the premise is mainly "how would Star Trek be if everything was run very badly by the British?", rather than a pure Trek parody. Nick Frost and Miranda Hart are both as great as always.
posted by w0mbat at 8:07 AM on September 11 [1 favorite]


Kristen Schaal was robbed !! That's too much man!!

Ehh.

As much as I'm sympathetic to that position, that's really more of a judgment of the Bojack episode as a whole (the series' best, which is saying something) versus whatever the Family Guy writers pulled out of the dumpster fire that week. The fact is, though, that the voice acting on BoJack Horseman, while excellent, is with rare exception largely just regular acting. As in her other animated work, Kristen Schaal is essentially playing Kristen Schaal, voicewise. I think there's some cutesy Horsin' Around kid voice in the nominated episode, but that's about as far as the voice acting stretches, and from Kristen Schaal's natural voice, it's not exactly vocal gymnastics. It's a great acting performance, supported by great writing, but, well, try telling Sarah-Lynn's voice from Louise Belcher's or Mabel Pines'. There's certainly something to be said for the Schaal/Benjamin/etc. school of showing up with a naturally interesting voice, but Seth MacFarlane is another sort of beast entirely.

Say what you want about Family Guy, but it actually utilizes voice acting on a level that BoJack Horseman can't even dream of approaching. Seth MacFarlane plays roughly half the regular characters himself, and they all sound completely different -- to say nothing of his other characters on other shows. And they often sing, perfectly in character, and, well, perfectly perfectly. The guy is an incredibly talented voice actor. As long as he's working in animation, he deserves every voice acting Emmy he gets.

It'd be nice if he let Scott Grimes have one, though.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:29 AM on September 11 [6 favorites]


(1) Reviewers in nongenre outlets are deeply and radically untrustworthy about genre material, with the possible exception of police procedurals.

(2) It might be an interesting failure and not just cynical extruded-product shit.


Yeah, this. I've had a very hard time explaining to my wife - who is very much a non-genre person - why I will sit through a movie/show/book that is considered to be shit by many. And sometimes it's because the many don't know what they are talking about, and sometimes its because seeing why it fails is interesting, and sometimes it's because there's 2% of worthwhile in the shitpile that is worth finding. I've given up on hatewatching shows; when I start doing that, it's time to move on.
posted by nubs at 8:29 AM on September 11 [3 favorites]


If I'm honest, I can't watch the guy for one simple reason: his teeth seem large enough to consume the sun and as such he terrifies me. He's like a weird vampire who's teeth are all the length his canines should be. I'm concerned that he could bite his way through the hardest substances mankind has to restrain him.

All the other reasons pale into nothingness.
posted by rudhraigh at 8:58 AM on September 11 [1 favorite]


The fact is, though, that the voice acting on BoJack Horseman, while excellent, is with rare exception largely just regular acting.

I don't really have a dog in that particular Emmy race, but I think "just" is doing a lot of work in this sentence that suggests that what what makes voice acting voice acting is funny accents and impressions, rather than delivering dialogue in a way that lands convincingly stripped of an actor's usual context of visual/physical tools.

Makes me think of Ebert's old bit about better understanding the Oscars by replacing "best" with "most" in a lot of the categories. Reward for most acting. Reward for most costuming. Acknowledging that conspicuous acrobatics in one field or another are more attention-getting than very good but not-sufficiently-flashy work in those same fields goes a long way.

So in that sense, doing a bunch of different voices is a lot like doing a ton of costuming for a period piece. It makes sense to say "wow, that is a lot of elaborate costume work", but they don't give an award for Costumed Acting, and we don't look at people who do very good acting work in contemporary wardrobe and say "well, yes, it's good, but that's just regular-clothes acting."
posted by cortex at 9:08 AM on September 11 [15 favorites]


(1) Reviewers in nongenre outlets are deeply and radically untrustworthy about genre material, with the possible exception of police procedurals.

(2) It might be an interesting failure and not just cynical extruded-product shit.


I will add

(3) They premiered it so early there is literally nothing else on, so why not?

(4) Look, if someone invites you to a tire fire, are you NOT going to watch? After hearing what a train wreck it was, I wanted to see the disaster for myself! I mean I don't need to hang around until it burns out, but I was at least curious to see what the tire fire looks like.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:09 AM on September 11


Will Arnett, Season 2, "I'm tired of running around in circles." ACTING!
posted by whuppy at 9:36 AM on September 11 [1 favorite]


(But yeah MacFarlane is a prodigious voice talent. Gotta recognize.)
posted by whuppy at 9:37 AM on September 11


I really hate Seth McFarland.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 10:27 AM on September 11 [3 favorites]


(1) Reviewers in nongenre outlets are deeply and radically untrustworthy about genre material, with the possible exception of police procedurals.

I would have agreed with this a decade ago. The modern critic, however, grew up on Stars Wars and Trek, Buffy, etc. Yes, there are still a lot of old grumps who don't like it and never will, but it's not hard to avoid them, and there aren't enough of them to skew "The consensus among critics is that this sucks."
posted by Etrigan at 11:06 AM on September 11 [3 favorites]


I think "just" is doing a lot of work in this sentence that suggests that what what makes voice acting voice acting is funny accents and impressions, rather than delivering dialogue in a way that lands convincingly stripped of an actor's usual context of visual/physical tools.

A couple things:

1. It isn't stripped of visuals. They're added later, by other highly-skilled people. Even the flattest line reading can seem emotionally loaded just by drawing the eybrows differently or playing with the timing. Don't sell the animators short; they're doing a good deal of the acting, even when the vocal talent is top-notch.

2. An actor and a voice actor are two different jobs with two different (though not mutually exclusive) skillsets. Chief among the latter is the ability to develop a unique voice for a particular character. A well-cast screen actor showing up and acting into a mic can work perfectly fine, and there's nothing remotely wrong with it. But that's just the casting director choosing an established voice, often one that's been heard dozens of times before in both cartoons and live-action, to play essentially the same character they always play. In my opinion, awards celebrating the expertise of voice actors should go to people who have devoted their lives to developing the unique skills of a voice actor and being exceptionally good at it, not just any ol' character actor whose own voice slotted in nicely. But I'm weird like that.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:09 AM on September 11 [4 favorites]


(Which is to say, it's not about "most." If all Seth MacFarlane ever did was Stewie Griffin's voice, he'd still be doing the job of a voice actor. Heck, Seth Green mostly just does one voice on Family Guy, but even though he easily could have just shown up and done Todd Evil for the teenage son, he developed a unique character, Bobcat Goldthwait Chris Griffin.)
posted by Sys Rq at 11:17 AM on September 11 [1 favorite]


Reviewers in nongenre outlets are deeply and radically untrustworthy about genre material, with the possible exception of police procedurals

Liz Shannon Miller, at least, is a die-hard genre/S-F fan, and grew up obsessing about The X-Files. She is in no way untrustworthy about genre material.
posted by suelac at 11:22 AM on September 11


Isn't that most voice actors on most animated shows? I mean, props and all but hardly unique.
posted by Artw at 11:23 AM on September 11


I don't really have a dog in that particular Emmy race, but I think "just" is doing a lot of work in this sentence that suggests that what what makes voice acting voice acting is funny accents and impressions, rather than delivering dialogue in a way that lands convincingly stripped of an actor's usual context of visual/physical tools.

Ditto the lack of dogs over here, and I agree 100% with what you wrote. That said, in a voice-actor-to-live-actor analogy, I think comparing Kristen Schaal's performance to Seth Macfarlane's is akin to comparing, say, Keri Russel or Viola Davis to Tatiana Maslaney in Orphan Black. Maslaney is doing "more" acting, to be sure, but also "great" acting, carrying the show and nailing every character (and even character-pretending-to-be-other-character). Macfarlane may be doing crazy voices, but he's also nailing them and carrying the show in a way that someone who is "just" acting (even great acting) isn't. Both aspects are factors, and all things (arguably) being more or less equal I'm hard pressed to say the one who isn't carrying the greater load is "robbed" when they lose the award. (In Maslaney's case, quite the opposite - it's criminal it took as long as it did to give her the Emmy)
posted by Roommate at 11:27 AM on September 11 [1 favorite]




Of course that's from the author of "GamerGate Is Not A Hate Group, It's A Consumer Movement".
posted by Artw at 11:41 AM on September 11 [14 favorites]


I'm not sure it ever made it very far out of the UK, but if people want a good, genuinely funny Trek-a-like spoof, they should be watching Hyperdrive.

I've watched this. It's a bog-standard UK sitcom with a budget for modern effects and set design. And it's somehow less than the sum of its very talented parts.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:41 AM on September 11 [1 favorite]


There's a documentary called "I Know That Voice" about voice actors, what the job is, and what it takes to be a good one. Highly recommended for anyone curious about what's involved. (It used to be on Netflix, and may still be in your country or region.)
posted by soren_lorensen at 11:45 AM on September 11 [1 favorite]




Oh FFS...

'The Orville' Producers Break Down Series Premiere: "This Is a New Genre"

Brannon Braga: It's a tricky answer. One might say, well, some people could be coming into this thinking it's an out-and-out comedy. While it is very funny and oftentimes hilarious in my opinion, it's also kind of a drama at its core. When you're doing an hourlong, hopefully for a long time, the stakes have got to be real. One thing I was thinking about a lot lately... and I don't know about you David, but as we were working on it, I just thought to myself, "This is a new genre." I've never seen this. The balance of drama and comedy is unlike anything I've seen in a science fiction show. Hopefully people going in will have an open mind to what it is, because it's its own thing.

NO IT IS NOT. It just isn't. SF with jokes in is A0 still SF, and B) has been done many times. You tilt the balance between comedy and drama in it any direction you like and it is not a new thing. Are you even vaguely aware of the field you work in?
posted by Artw at 12:25 PM on September 11 [10 favorites]


I loathe Family Guy, and pretty much the rest of his work, but some days I *almost* feel bad for Seth MacFarlane: The guy seems to be a genuinely talented voice actor / singer with genuine passion for musical theatre, science, animation, etc, but his claim to fame is bottom of the barrel dick jokes.

Now in the last decade or so it's like, he's trying to come out from behind that shadow and do something with that talent and passion, but every time he does, it falls flat: Fans of his dick joke work want him to keep doing dick jokes, and everyone else doesn't take him seriously because he's the "dick joke" guy. That, and it seems like the dick joke stuff is so ingrained into his id that he doesn't know how to do comedy or even drama without going back to that well. Like that movie "S1M0NE", only Family Guy is the CGI model, and MacFarlane is Al Pacino.

I say I "Almost" feel sorry for him, because he's made billions of those dick jokes, and if he's not actually a misogynist tool, he's steady cashing them misogynist tool checks, so fuck him and his plastic face and his whack-ass vanity projects.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 12:34 PM on September 11 [3 favorites]


Hey, cut Brannon some slack. He was busy polishing up Orville scripts when Guardians of the Galaxy was out. Just bad luck really, otherwise he would have totally not played dumb to try and make the show sound good.
posted by gusottertrout at 12:34 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]


The balance of drama and comedy is unlike anything I've seen in a science fiction show.

Emphasis added for clarity.
posted by Etrigan at 12:35 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]


Brannon Braga: It's a tricky answer. One might say, well, some people could be coming into this thinking it's an out-and-out comedy. While it is very funny and oftentimes hilarious in my opinion, it's also kind of a drama at its core.

It's like some kind of... "dramedy". TM 2017 Brannon Braga
posted by jason_steakums at 12:36 PM on September 11 [7 favorites]


I actually like Braga, but, dammit man, why didn't you save that Threshold script for this show?? It would have actually fit!
posted by gusottertrout at 12:37 PM on September 11 [2 favorites]


It's like some kind of... "dramedy". TM 2017 Brannon Braga

More like coma
posted by gusottertrout at 12:38 PM on September 11 [3 favorites]


At least Orville looks like it might only be the second worst show of the season, given the abysmal reviews of Inhumans.

Discovery looks interesting but I'm not sure interesting enough to sign up for yet another streaming service. If it was on Hulu or Netflix or Amazon I'd probably watch it.
posted by thefoxgod at 1:03 PM on September 11


Fine, I'll be the voice of dissent.

I liked it. I think there's a couple of things they could stand to polish up but I found it to be a respectful homage and MacFarlane managed to rein in his sense of humor so it wasn't the dominant flavor of the show.

I'd rather see Palicki back on SHIELD, but apart from that I have no truck with the casting, the writing, the visuals, or the flow of the show. I hope it manages to succeed in the FOX arena where sci-fi shows tend to have short lifespans.
posted by davelog at 1:24 PM on September 11 [2 favorites]


I watched it last night. It was okay. Not great, not terrible. Entertaining enough to kill some time on a quiet Sunday night. The worst thing about it is that it was predictable and not very exciting.
posted by fimbulvetr at 1:58 PM on September 11


> I don't get why some of you who don't really like McFarlane and are put off by the reviews are even going to try watching the pilot?

Desperation. I loved Star Trek when I was five and I love it now; no other TV show has kept my interest that way (admittedly I haven't given the Harlem Globetrotters cartoon a chance lately). I've been reduced to watching the DC superheroes shows in an attempt to find something that I'll like that much.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:26 PM on September 11


Have they done the episode where rapid evolution goes wrong yet?
posted by Artw at 2:35 PM on September 11 [2 favorites]


The balance of drama and comedy is unlike anything I've seen in a science fiction show.

That sounds like the sort of thing you say when you're afraid you have a stinker on your hands: No, no, it's not bad, it's new! New in a way that no one quite understands yet! New, get it!
posted by octobersurprise at 5:09 PM on September 11


Pretty sure the Stsinless Steel Rat is *supposed* to be morally bankrupt.

Admission: I only know it from the 2000AD comic, so when I picture it I picture James Coburn as drawn by Carlos Ezquera.


Yeah, no. James Bolivar "Slippery Jim" DiGriz never robs anyone that can't afford it, and only killed once and not even really that time. During his tenure with the Special Corps (a police agency based on "it takes a thief to catch a thief" he is on a planet with a monarchy. While attempting to foil an assassination, he gets attacked by an assassin with a poisoned blade. During the ensuing struggle, the assassin ends up getting nicked with the blade of his own knife and dying from the poison. This "no kill" rule does NOT, however, include police robots.)

Why, yes, I AM a Harry Harrison fan, and I HAVE had email addresses including the word "steelrat" in them for over 20 years, and, in fact, used "The Stainless Steel Rat" as an alias in the BBS days (to the point the local BBS community would address me as such IRL). Why do you ask?
posted by Samizdata at 6:55 PM on September 11 [4 favorites]


I am a huge Harrison fan ('Bill the Galactic Superhero' is another great spoofy romp in dark waters), and by coincidence re-reading the 5 volume edition, and considered it movie worthy at points during the re-read (the first time when I was very young, and I got that it was a spoof/larf)...

But the satire has to be slathered on it thicker than with the Starship Troopers movie (which a frightening number of people didn't parse as satire).

The sexism is dreadful, though, even/especially when he openly acknowledges his failures and tries to compensate for it. Or maybe the satire went that much further than I can parse?

As a cartoon/anime, I could see it being quite effective especially if they departed and wrote new stories that addresses contemporary issues, but that might require someone of Harrison's mettle, but alas, he passed in 2012. A lot of the plot points/spy stuff in the extant cannon have aged very very poorly. Any adaptation would also have to make it explicit that its set in an alternate universe of some sort.
posted by porpoise at 7:13 PM on September 11 [2 favorites]


The Orville:

The CGI/set budget is impressive, if a little too iFuture/TNG-callback-ey. Jebus, the TNG callbacks - so many and so weak. I'd be ashamed of being their (music) composer. Lots (and lots and lots) of "the same shot as in TNG" but they rarely ever added anything.

Can't make up for the film-school level acting, direction, or writing. The maturity level is on par with 18/19 year olds helming the writing and directing.

Jack of all trades and all that; if they stuck to the courage of their convictions and went full-on Galaxy Quest, this kind of budget might work; but then it'd be a straight up clone of Galaxy Quest. But there's nothing the other way (subversion of genre) that I could discern.

There were details that were fun/interesting/genre-eye-poking, but they aren't enough.

There's reasonable chemistry between the bridge crew, but the writing is so juvenile.

Gervais in jammies play-pretending starship captain with Ricky Stratton's toy budget running on fanfic written by gamergaters.

I feel sorry for Adrianne Palicki.
posted by porpoise at 7:56 PM on September 11 [5 favorites]


I think comparing Kristen Schaal's performance to Seth Macfarlane's is akin to comparing, say, Keri Russel or Viola Davis to Tatiana Maslaney in Orphan Black. Maslaney is doing "more" acting, to be sure, but also "great" acting . . . Macfarlane may be doing crazy voices, but he's also nailing them and carrying the show in a way that someone who is "just" acting (even great acting) isn't.

you did not just imply Maslaney is a more talented actor than Davis

you did not
posted by schroedinger at 8:18 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]


porpoise, samizdata: make with yez Harry Harrison megapost, please, stat. I just had ann FB convo the otherday with the most sterling nerdly younger cousin, and he knows who HH is... but hasn't read all of his stuff. Which is understandable, honestly. And why a survey appreciation out here, not in the media-feeder venues, is appropriate and needed.
posted by mwhybark at 8:29 PM on September 11 [3 favorites]


I just kept noticing all of the car barriers around the future science building.
posted by ckape at 8:31 PM on September 11


Make ROOM for it, even.
posted by Artw at 8:37 PM on September 11 [2 favorites]


I just watched the premiere after missing it last night (thanks, Hulu, although why are you listing it as a drama?). I'm a Star Trek fan from way back (first saw TOS in about 1972), and I've loved every incarnation of the TV series[1] and *almost* all the films[2].

The Orville was... better than I expected, to be honest. MacFarlane's comedy is often an awkward one. He likes to play in spaces that tend to bug me, like jokes that go on far longer than necessary. He's known for punching down, and has a mile-wide streak of misogyny in his oeuvre. There's a fair amount of the latter here, pointed at Captain Mercer's ex-wife / XO, but I'm not sure it's a thing that'll be endemic to the show.

In terms of the acting... MacFarlane emotes well with his voice, but he galumphs around the sets like it's a high-school play instead of an expensive TV series. Palicki, on the other hand, pulls things together very well. I really enjoyed seeing Penny Johnson Jerald in action again (I *love* Kasidy Yates), but a few times she seemed a little... confused. The only cast member I could completely do without is Scott Grimes, but I've hated him since the days of ER, so....

I'll probably watch a few more episodes. I found it more engaging and to my taste than some other recent Fox SF shows. And, hey, it was better than Quark.

[1] Even "Enterprise". EVEN "THE ANIMATED SERIES". My love runs deep.

[2] The only good TNG movie is First Contact. The rest are... better unspoken of.

posted by hanov3r at 9:29 PM on September 11 [2 favorites]


[2] The only good TNG movie is First Contact. The rest are... better unspoken of.

/Captain Picard rides into the thread in a beach buggy and does donuts.
posted by Artw at 9:39 PM on September 11 [3 favorites]


And, hey, it was better than Quark.

Which, in addition to BEING Quark, did NOT age well at all.
posted by mikelieman at 9:55 PM on September 11 [2 favorites]


thanks, Hulu, although why are you listing it as a drama?

Dramas are hour long, comedies are half-hour, actual content doesn't matter.
posted by ckape at 12:28 AM on September 12


FWIW, I enjoyed the premiere episode of The Orville. It is a remarkably faithful and respectful homage to Star Trek: The Next Generation. Sure, there's a few instances of McFarlane's overly juvenile humor, but overall The Orville was a refreshing throwback to the optimistic sci-fi of the 80's/90's. I will be continuing to watch this series.
posted by fairmettle at 12:57 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


It will be interesting to see where this goes post-pilot; from the reviews I've read that have seen future episodes, though, I'm not optimistic.

If I had to pick one complaint -- and I have more than one, but -- it would be that the Orville is beige because the TNG-era Enterprise was beige, rather than looking past TNG's outward beige-ness to imitate the thinking that led TNG to be beige. It's wedded to the outward aesthetic of Star Trek -- spaceships! uniforms! aliens! -- and, so far, ignores the spirit of discovery that drove all of the better Treks.

This quote from MacFarlane (from the New Yorker interview in the FPP) is telling:
What do you think we can discover about ourselves through science fiction today?

MacFarlane: Science fiction is the only genre that really allows you to explore issues with a point of view without seeming preachy. And, practically speaking, it is undeniable that shows like the original “Star Trek” begat a generation of scientists and engineers and astrophysicists. That spaceship looked like the crowning achievement of mankind. What kid is going to watch “The Hunger Games” and go, Man, I want to be a scientist? “The Orville” is part drama, part comedy, but we did go out of our way to make the ship real and to make it appealing and to make it look like a place you’d want to be. Even though there are jokes in the show, it was very important that the world of “The Orville” still be very real, that you could look at it and go, That seems like a fun future. I hope that’s where we wind up. That, to me, is the power of science fiction.
Star Trek, in its original formulation, was about going to the stars; it was about -- and remained about, in TNG and DS9, in different ways, through different lenses -- to boldy go. The Orville -- so far -- seems to treat becoming captain of a starship as being already there. Consider, too, how many of the crew's motivations are described as being centered on serving on a starship, particularly, rather than some broader end to which that service contributes; yes, it's the pilot, and yes, that means they don't have too much time to go into backstories -- but they had a lot of time for not-particularly-funny jokes, so...that gets into complaints two through eight, and I said I'd pick one. But if this is the show putting it's funniest foot forward, that, too, does not bode well.
posted by cjelli at 8:08 AM on September 12 [3 favorites]


People believed in a future where humans went to space back then, that's not really something people believe in anymore, both through knowing more about space and knowing more about humans. A future where we hang on to survival in any meaningful or dignified way seems a bit of a stretch at the moment TBH.
posted by Artw at 8:32 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


I don't really care about this show one way or another, but man, if he wants to praise and exalt SF that's great, but why do so at the expense of a series written by a woman and beloved by teen girls? Sigh. There's plenty of other non-aspirational SF to point to.
posted by wintersweet at 7:05 PM on September 12 [3 favorites]


I don't think it's trying to put it's best foot forward, it's just putting it's Seth foot forward. weent wah But seriously, Seth has had a charmed life, it comes as no surprise that he thinks the place where he is working from and The Place To Be are the same.
posted by rhizome at 10:29 PM on September 12


Sound the stinker alarm:

CBS Won't Allow Any Reviews of Star Trek: Discovery Before It Airs
posted by Artw at 9:03 AM on September 14


CBS Won't Allow Any Reviews of Star Trek: Discovery Before It Airs

Red Alert! Shields up!

Given that this is the show CBS wants to use to sell its streaming service, I would expect they would want to have reviews out so people could, you know, sign up.
posted by nubs at 9:14 AM on September 14 [4 favorites]


Maybe the next bit of news is that CBS rescinds its original plan to actually air the pilot so people can watch it for free, and instead cordons the pilot off behind All Access like the rest of the show.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 1:02 PM on September 14


CBS/Paramount/Viacom never knows what the heck to do with Star Trek. They want Star Wars level profits, but don't want to invest Star Wars levels of money, time, or resources make that happen.
posted by riruro at 3:14 PM on September 14 [3 favorites]


I thought it wasn't bad. B+. There were like 5 lines that could've/should've been edited from the script, mostly unfunny references to balls. It worked OK as a Star Trek with more of a jokey/casual vibe, but some of the more juvenile gags just didn't work.

It was OK. As a Trekkie, I liked it a fuckton better than that JJ Abrams crap. (And based on all the bad PR, I'm beginning to fear it may be better than Discovery.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 9:46 PM on September 14


Samuel R. Delany not a fan.
posted by Artw at 11:51 AM on September 15 [1 favorite]


Has Everyone Forgotten What Star Trek Is Supposed to Be?
Yet as much as the out-of-touch corporate monolith is to blame, it’s also contending with a very weird set of circumstances. For one, any mention of current events, politics, diversity, and even religion nowadays is almost guaranteed publicity and to make a vocal group of terrible people mad. The constant presentation of Discovery as if it is breaking new ground in these areas has caused controversy instead of building excitement. But it could possibly have avoided at least some of this bad press by presenting the show as continuing the franchise’s proud legacy, reminding everyone what Star Trek is and what makes it so important.

Unfortunately, the final nail in the coffin of the show’s multitude of bad press was delivered this morning, when it was revealed that CBS has blocked reviews of Discovery from running before it airs.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:48 PM on September 15 [1 favorite]




$6 a month, plus taxes, plus commercials. Trek is worth that to me in theory, but I'm so resentful about the setup that I'm reluctant to pay.
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:50 PM on September 19


I'll probably watch the premiere. Probably.
posted by Artw at 5:53 PM on September 19


Or you can move to Canada, where it will be broadcast on Space.
posted by fimbulvetr at 6:53 PM on September 19


That's a *little* extreme. Probably more likely than subscribing to CBS though.
posted by Artw at 6:58 PM on September 19 [2 favorites]


I'm in Canada, but I cut the cable years ago. This isn't enough for me to get it back and pay for whichever premium tier Space is part of, or to try "skinny basic" + the per speciality channel subscription model. Guess I'll have to read the reviews and then see if its worth hunting down somehow.
posted by nubs at 8:30 PM on September 19


Blargh, my housemate is watching this in the next room and the only thing that's saving my sanity is hate reading about it here with you.

It sucks so hard you guys.
posted by Space Kitty at 9:52 PM on September 19 [1 favorite]


Discovery may be... good?
posted by Artw at 3:26 PM on September 21


Discovery may be... good?

I am...not prepared for this.
posted by nubs at 4:04 PM on September 21 [1 favorite]


I know, right?
posted by Artw at 5:27 PM on September 21


Damn, if it's good then I'm going to have to figure out how to watch it without paying for CBS's stupid streaming service.
posted by octothorpe at 5:54 PM on September 21 [1 favorite]


While I can believe that the new series might not be as bad as expected, I don't believe The Nerdist, or other fans who were buttered up by CBS, are going to provide honest opinions.
posted by riruro at 6:33 PM on September 21


Well at least we can watch the first episode on broadcast CBS on Sunday.
posted by octothorpe at 7:24 PM on September 21


I'm just underwhelmed.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:48 AM on September 23


octothorpe: “Damn, if it's good then I'm going to have to figure out how to watch it without paying for CBS's stupid streaming service.”
Every episode could make the hair on the back of my neck stand up like that one scene in "Yesterday's Enterprise" and I still wouldn't subscribe to their stupid streaming service. I might have been convinced to resubscribe to Hulu, but there's no way I'm signing up for a CBS only service with their relentlessly terrible line-up of shows. Even if was only $24 a year, let alone a hundred bucks.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:07 AM on September 23


A network-only paid streaming service is spectacularly missing the point on why people are subscribing to services like Hulu and Netflix and cutting cords.
posted by lmfsilva at 9:52 AM on September 23 [4 favorites]


The thread about new Star Trek and the CBS streaming service is over here.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:04 PM on September 23 [1 favorite]


I can't believe I'm saying this, but the third episode of The Orville was actually thought-provoking and may hint at the possiblity it could be more a successor to TOS and TNG than expected. Whoa.
posted by linux at 8:26 PM on September 24 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure it's as actually "thought-provoking", given what others are saying?

Also, given both Brannon Braga's and Seth MacFarlane's pasts, I'm not sure those two white cis straight dudes are the people I'd trust with a topic like this.
posted by anem0ne at 10:10 PM on September 24


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