1 (edited by Slider_Quinn21 2017-10-30 15:25:15)

Topic: Has Fox found the spiritual sequel to Sliders?

My subject is clickbaity.  I don't really think that they have, but something really struck me about a show I watched on Fox this last week.

"The Orville"

This is a show that's hard for me to really sell to anyone because it's a big of a convoluted mess of a concept.  It's Seth MacFarlane doing a Star Trek cosplay that takes itself seriously.  None of that seems to click - when I first saw the trailers, I thought it was supposed to be a 30-minute comedy.  Seth MacFarlane does Galaxy Quest.

What I found, instead, is that it's MacFarlane doing TNG.  There are moments of comedy and ridiculousness (because that's what MacFarlane knows), but the show takes itself far more seriously than I would've ever thought.  The show has tackled a handful of social issues, and MacFarlane's character has ended up much more like Picard than the comedic "in over his head" character I was led to believe he'd be by watching the promos.

The most recent episode was about a small team of four scientists being sent to a world that was a true democracy.  The entire system of government is voted on by the people, including the legal system.  One of the scientists, unsure of the society's rules, gets caught up in the legal system and must work within the world's system to save himself.

Change a couple of words, and that could easily be an episode of Sliders.  And that's really what it felt like to me.  The four people on the planet are essentially stranded - the Orville is unable to help because of their version of the Prime Directive.  They learn about the system, deal with some of the native people, and they (sort of?) try to understand the world they're on.

This is the first episode of the show that's felt that way - most of the show is, like I said, a modern version of TNG.  But I was a bit surprised at how much it felt like Sliders as I was watching it.  I could easily see Rembrandt getting in over his head on a world like this one, and Arturo/Quinn/Wade having to figure out how to get him out of it.

(Granted, Rembrandt probably would've been arrested for something different than what happens on the Orville but my point remains).

I don't know how many are watching this show, but it's way better than I imagined.  And like I said in the Star Trek post, it's kinda cool that there's a show doing very Trek-like things while Discovery is doing un-Trek-like (but still good) things on its side of the universe.

Re: Has Fox found the spiritual sequel to Sliders?

I saw this episode and thought the same thing. It was like an episode of Sliders, and surprisngly, didn't feel that different despite the 2017 production and higher budget.

Re: Has Fox found the spiritual sequel to Sliders?

Just watched it.

That was such a Sliders episode.

—Chaser9

Re: Has Fox found the spiritual sequel to Sliders?

I see that. It had similarities to Black Mirror's themes as well, which is a show that could take entirely on one Sliders Earth.

The Orville is interesting. MacFarlane is probably the weak point of the cast. He just strikes me as a LARPer in the role, moreso than anyone else. That said, they've explored some interesting topics, and in ways that we don't normally see on TV today (OMG, their main villain isn't based on Trump! They're based on the actual bad guys in the world!).

I resent the show, because I feel like they're taking the wind out of the sails of the Galaxy Quest series that has been discussed. At the same time, I can't deny that they've done some interesting things. The humor isn't 100% my taste, but the show still holds my interest more than a lot of what's on today. They definitely put more care into it than shows like Supergirl (did they really make a Trump reference despite having a totally different President established in their reality?) or Legends.

Re: Has Fox found the spiritual sequel to Sliders?

Informant wrote:

The humor isn't 100% my taste, but the show still holds my interest more than a lot of what's on today.

It reminds me a lot of Brooklyn Nine-Nine.  I actually like some of MacFarlane's dry humor, and I like a lot of Andy Samburg's humor.  But they're both mostly good at one very specific thing, and when they try to branch out, it tends to fail.  Both MacFarlane and Samburg have failed when they starred in their own movies.

So when I heard that Samburg was getting a 30-minute comedy and that MacFarlane was getting a full hour, I thought it was going to be too much.

At times, Samburg's Jake Peralta character is too much.  At times, the comedy in The Orville is bizarre (they make current-day pop culture references way too much).  But the show works because the other characters work on their own, and the show takes itself more seriously than the characters do at times.  Brooklyn Nine-Nine has one of the more heart-warming and successful romantic couples on TV today, and the Orville has done some really good Sci-Fi so far this year.

It isn't for everyone, but it works so much more than I thought it would.

Re: Has Fox found the spiritual sequel to Sliders?

I had to jump in here because I love the Orville! Yeah that episode was definitely possible in a Sliders-verse. I could actually see Clevant in my head playing the scientist part and trying to get out of the mess he got into.

When I first saw the promos for the show, I too thought, oh it's Galaxy Quest from Seth. That's how they cut those promos. When I watched the first episode though, I was blown away.

First, I thought it was only going to be a half hour. The trailers made me think it was another McFarlane romp into goofiness and toilet humor.

Second, it felt like in sooooo many ways, as you said, The Next Generation. Although the ship designs and uniforms were different, the world itself feels like TNG, which is on purpose of course seeing as Seth is a huge Trek fan himself.

Third, the humor, while referencing OUR society so much, felt natural to me. It makes me think back to TNG and how in so many situations, every crew member acted like a perfect example of humanity in the future. They all did their duty, never complained about their shifts or officers, always had a complete understanding of the technical puzzles or problems that cropped up, etc. the Orville gang feel like people I could know right now.

For example, I thought about it. If I was on a ship, responsible for flying through space, for an 8 hour shift, I would defiantly want a soda. Maybe a bag of jerky too. And why NOT do some bingeing of a favorite sitcom or show as well? The little things they throw in like that make me feel like it's TNG with a group of people plucked from our present. I love that!

Fourth, they aren't afraid to do real sci fi type topics, just like TNG would. They do shows that metaphorically comment on current issues in our world. It makes for an enjoyable hour of TV. Much more than if it had been all dick and fart jokes and fourth wall breaking jokes.

From what I understand the ratings for it have been good for fox, especially once they count the delayed viewings in. It has been consistently at the top of their lists, hovering around the second position, so I'm hopeful it will be renewed. It really deserves it.

Re: Has Fox found the spiritual sequel to Sliders?

I agree.  I hope it sticks around.

What's funny is that, if they toned down the humor just a bit, I think they could bring this show into the Trek universe.  Throw on some Starfleet uniforms and change "Union" to "Starfleet" and they really don't even have to change that much.

Re: Has Fox found the spiritual sequel to Sliders?

The Orville has been renewed for Season 2.

Re: Has Fox found the spiritual sequel to Sliders?

Slider_Quinn21 wrote:

The Orville has been renewed for Season 2.

yep!

Re: Has Fox found the spiritual sequel to Sliders?

Interesting episode this week, which was a weird combination of After Earth and 10 Cloverfield Lane?

(It's better than it sounds).

Re: Has Fox found the spiritual sequel to Sliders?

One thing I noticed about the Orville....Brannon Braga is involved.  He wrote the episode where Isaac and the kids are stranded on the planet, and he directed the most recent episode focusing on Alara.

The one he wrote, as I said above, was a weird episode that was sorta derivative.  The one he directed was really well done and legitimately terrifying a couple times.  There have been a few Star Trek connections, including an appearance by Robert Picardo in this last episode.  This show, being so much like TNG, seems right up Braga's alley, and he's doing pretty okay with it from what he's done so far.