Re: Star Trek in Film and TV (and The Orville, too!)

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“Mortality Paradox” seemed to be built on the premise of “We need to get our own Q in Orville”.  The story didn’t seem to be developed much beyond that idea.

Re: Star Trek in Film and TV (and The Orville, too!)

So the orville just came out with a book / audio book (narrated by an actor) based on one of the scripts of a popular episode.

Re: Star Trek in Film and TV (and The Orville, too!)

RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan wrote:

So the orville just came out with a book / audio book (narrated by an actor) based on one of the scripts of a popular episode.

That is... less than accurate.

The novella SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL is written by Seth MacFarlane and the audiobook version will be read by noted actor Bruce Boxleitner (BABYLON 5). The story was originally a script for Season 3 that could not be filmed due to pandemic restrictions. (I don't think you can describe it as a "popular episode" if it was never actually filmed.)

"Just came out" is also... less than correct. It's coming out July 19.

https://orville.fandom.com/wiki/Sympathy_for_the_Devil

484 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2022-06-27 18:51:27)

Re: Star Trek in Film and TV (and The Orville, too!)

ireactions wrote:
RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan wrote:

So the orville just came out with a book / audio book (narrated by an actor) based on one of the scripts of a popular episode.

That is... less than accurate.

The novella SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL is written by Seth MacFarlane and the audiobook version will be read by noted actor Bruce Boxleitner (BABYLON 5). The story was originally a script for Season 3 that could not be filmed due to pandemic restrictions. (I don't think you can describe it as a "popular episode" if it was never actually filmed.)

"Just came out" is also... less than correct. It's coming out July 19.

https://orville.fandom.com/wiki/Sympathy_for_the_Devil

Thank you for the corrections.  My details were fuzzy as I had just heard the news.  Exciting nonetheless.  I think it represents a model that could be applied to SLIDERS.  More importantly, I like that MacFarlane has thought outside the box to get the franchise out there in various ways.

Re: Star Trek in Film and TV (and The Orville, too!)

I assume it's because I have young daughters, but the newest Strange New Worlds made me cry like a baby.  I don't remember being that emotionally attached to a plotline in a long time.

I've also noticed that the comedy in the Orville is all but gone.  I know they're handling heavier topics, but I liked that the Orville felt like a real place with real people.  Real people make jokes, are late to work, tease each other.  I know the Enterprise would be a great place to work full of very nice, hard-working people.  But the Orville (and the Cerritos) feel like real places.  You can be a hard worker and a goofball.  You can crack jokes even when your life is in danger (tons of people use humor to cope).

I agree that MacFarlane doesn't just want to be known for his comedy, and I think the Orville is really good even without it.  But I do miss that part, which separated his show from others.  I've also noticed that shows like Strange New Worlds are adding more humor and more "real people" to their shows.  Ortegas on SNW feels like someone who would fit in on the Orville.

Re: Star Trek in Film and TV (and The Orville, too!)

Spoilers










The week's episode had a scene where Topa, an adolescent, decides to ask someone out on a date. She asks Gordon Malloy, chronologically a grown-ass man, to dinner. Malloy tells her that he sees her as family, as a sister, and she can talk to him any time she wants about anything and reinforces that he's happy to be her older brother. Malloy then tells his friends not to make fun of Topa.

I know Gordon is an arrested adolescent (and obviously, that's why Topa related to him), but he handled that really well, exactly as he should have. Gordon turned Topa down while making sure not to embarrass her or insult her.

Seth MacFarlane has this joke about how TNG had the most professional characters in the most professional workplace ever. No one was ever hungover, tired, bad-tempered, impatient; no one ever failed to do exactly the right thing, but more critically (and at times unbelievably), the characters always did the right thing in the right way.

This is in contrast to real life where most of us here do the right thing too -- but because we aren't TV characters, we will often do the right thing clumsily and miss the mark. If in Gordon's position (Gordon being an adult man being asked out on a date by an inappropriately young girl), we might express aggravation where Gordon expressed appropriately familial affection. We might be caustically dismissive where Gordon was understanding but firm about the correct boundaries. We might be horrified where Gordon gently kept his cool.

Gordon didn't just do the right thing (which I'm sure all of us here would or have done in his situation); he did the right thing in the right way. Which has me wondering -- now that THE ORVILLE is no longer doing the comedy and no longer having its characters do the right things ineptly and incompetently... how is it different from STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION?

Re: Star Trek in Film and TV (and The Orville, too!)

I think the Orville is a modern version of Trek.  It's a society that is a lot like Roddenberry's vision - free of prejudice and fear and focused toward a better tomorrow.  But unlike the TNG crew, they're flawed and silly and human.

I think it's so much fun.  I do think Strange New Worlds is fantastic, but other than that, I think Orville is better than every other modern Trek show.  And I'm not terribly sure it's close.

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Just a couple episodes ago, the Union was aggressively trying to pursue an alliance with a species that didn't value men.  This week, they kicked out a species that didn't value women.  Is the Moclan's crime that they're actively destroying and hunting females?  I don't want to evoke a former member here, but are those two situations all that different?

Re: Star Trek in Film and TV (and The Orville, too!)

I think the difference is that the matriarchal society still wanted their men; they had just reduced them to second class status like many cultures on earth have done to women for centuries.

On the Moclan side, they are committing what could be called gendercide - the complete eradication of a people just because they hold different beliefs.

There are mirrors there of things we’ve accepted as a culture and things we have not.  Oppression vs extinction.

I do agree, though - Orville has walked a tightrope in many ways of presenting material with hooks for both sides to grab onto (similar to classic Trek).  That’s how you open the door to discussion; you have to get people to the table first

Re: Star Trek in Film and TV (and The Orville, too!)

I just found that a bit wild.  I think they could've told some interesting stories about the compromises we make in the name of safety.  That the Union disapproves of both cultures, but that they need to overlook that in the name of protecting against the Kaylon.  The Janisi and the Moclans seem like such clean parallels, but I can certainly see that the Moclans are much worse.

But I'm still surprised the Union and the Moclans decided to end their partnership.  I assume if the Orville goes long enough, the Moclans would come back to the Union with news that they've allowed females in their culture to live.

Re: Star Trek in Film and TV (and The Orville, too!)

I think I've figured out THE ORVILLE in Season 3. It is no longer a workplace comedy set aboard a starship. It is no longer STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION with normal people who have lapses of competence and ability and good judgement. THE ORVILLE is TNG but with heartfelt and warm and stirring character arcs and emotional quandaries whereas THE NEXT GENERATION was an emotionally cold series with muted emotions and little to no character progression. If THE NEXT GENERATION were made today, it would be THE ORVILLE.

Still miss all the jokes.

Re: Star Trek in Film and TV (and The Orville, too!)

Michelle Nichols, most known for her role as Lt. Nyota Uhura on Star Trek, has passed away at 89.

Nooooooooooooooo!!!

https://www.cnn.com/2022/07/31/entertai … index.html

Re: Star Trek in Film and TV (and The Orville, too!)

Spoilers for the full season of the Orville

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Man, I loved season 3 of the Orville.  It was probably a bit bloated - some of the episodes could've been a bit tighter, but it was so strong.  I think they probably crammed in a little too much suspecting that they didn't have much more leeway.  Especially towards the end, they covered a lot of material and skipped over quite a bit. 

I would think if this was a 7-season show, they probably would've developed the Kaylon weapon over the course of the whole season instead of it sorta showing up all of the sudden.  The collapse of the Moclan alliance would've probably fallen apart over the course of a few episodes and not all in one.  I mean, heck, they glossed over what seemed to be the storyline for the whole season (going into unexplored Krill space) in just a couple of episodes.

But if this is the last season we get, I'm glad they did that.  Even though they covered so much material (and burned through a lot of storylines), I think there's still plenty of stuff they could do.  Kaylon/Union vs Moclus/Krill could still be a multi-season affair.  The Isaac/Finn marriage could have a lot of strong storytelling.  Not to mention the handful of other potential relationships in the crew.

I do wish they would've left some items a little less.  Gordon's time travel episode gutted me, and it was a little annoying that it was wrapped up so easily.  The Kaylon alliance probably shouldn't have been so easy, even with the sacrifice made.  Bortus and Klyden reconciled a bit too easily.

But all in all, I loved it.  I hope it gets renewed, and if it doesn't, I hope MacFarlane tries to go the movie route.

Re: Star Trek in Film and TV (and The Orville, too!)

Spoilers
















Season 3 of THE ORVILLE was very good. The "crew becomes monsters" and "crew encounter deadly fantasy scenarios" episodes were misfires. But the other eight episodes went from strength to strength. The Charly character was very well-handled. Given that the actress, Anne Winters, is reportedly dating showrunner Seth MacFarlane, some eyebrows were raised, but the optics seem okay given that Charly was meant to be a one season role with a clear conclusion and exit no matter how her relationship went. And given that THE ORVILLE brought Alara back again for a brief cameo when the actress (an ex of MacFarlane's) had no contractual obligation or financial need to return, it seems likely that, as Temporal Flux said years ago, MacFarlane's conduct is professional and appropriate.

Season 3 did a good job using its extended-length episodes to sell developments that most shows would force like the Krill and Moclan alliances with the Union falling apart and the Kaylon peace accord. Season 3 did a great job of making seven out of ten episodes focused on important social issues from DeepFake and politics to transphobia to intergenerational trauma to bigotry and then doing a sequel to "Majority Rule" for the season finale.

I felt like Season 3's last episode was a series finale. It ends with a gathering and almost all loose ends resolved and Alara returning so that all original cast members are present. It ends with a guardedly hopeful note for our own present day climate emergency and global war. It ends with nuance, both allowing Lysella to 'escape' from a troubled planet but carry the wounds of her world with her. It ends with warning that ORVILLE can't save us, only inspire us to save ourselves. It ends.

I hope there's a Season 4, but there are difficulties. Season 3 took so long to make that all cast and crew contracts have expired. If Disney+ renews the show, not everyone may be available. Most cast members, Seth MacFarlane included, finished working on THE ORVILLE and have found other jobs. There is no contractual agreement to bring them back if they won't or simply can't leave their current jobs. Even MacFarlane is busy running his new TED series. A Season 4 could conceivably have a very different if not completely new cast with a new writing team and MacFarlane only consulting if he isn't free to return fully. I think MacFarlane knew this and therefore wrote and filmed Season 3's finale as the last ORVILLE story ever.

Re: Star Trek in Film and TV (and The Orville, too!)

In other news, "Sympathy for the Devil" was to be Episode 9 of ORVILLE (or it is at least meant to take place after Episode 8). Due to budgeting issues, it was released as a novel instead. It's also an audiobook. Please note that you do not have to buy the product off Amazon; I bought my copy from Kobo.

https://www.amazon.com/Orville-Sympathy … 09Z76NZRH/

I haven't finished it yet, but the critical question for Slider_Quinn21: is "Sympathy for the Devil" canon? I understand that to the world at large, TV has a much bigger audience than a novel and TV generally won't accept a novel as canon. But this novel was written by Seth MacFarlane. Does the fact that series creator and showrunner Seth MacFarlane wrote the novel elevate it to canonicity whereas it wouldn't have the same weight if it were written by a STAR TREK freelancer?

Re: Star Trek in Film and TV (and The Orville, too!)

"Sympathy for the Devil". Holy S-word, this book is amazing. Drop whatever you're doing and go buy and read or listen to this incredible ORVILLE story right now. It's stirring, powerful, disturbing and highly relevant to our world. It's too bad they couldn't film this story for Season 3. This was Seth MacFarlane doing the ORVILLE version of SCHINDLER'S LIST. I accept it as canonical and as Episode 8-B of Season 3.

Re: Star Trek in Film and TV (and The Orville, too!)

ireactions wrote:

In other news, "Sympathy for the Devil" was to be Episode 9 of ORVILLE (or it is at least meant to take place after Episode 8). Due to budgeting issues, it was released as a novel instead. It's also an audiobook. Please note that you do not have to buy the product off Amazon; I bought my copy from Kobo.

Interesting.,  I knew that the season was supposed to have 11 episodes so I was surprised last week to find that the season was ending with episode 10. 

The notion of canon is complicated to me.  I'm more open to the idea that non-screen items can be canon.  I think Star Wars is a good example.  I would think a character like Doctor Aphra would be canon, even though I don't think she's ever been referenced in any on-screen Star Wars.  But I think that the further you get from the Star Wars movies, the weaker the canon gets.

Movies
Live-Action TV
Animated TV
Comics/Books/Video Games

So Doctor Aphra's adventures are canon because they exist in this hierarchy.  However, just like Kanan's origin from his own comic was overridden by The Bad Batch (one level up), I think the Mandalorian could completely rewrite and overwrite anything from Doctor Aphra comics.  So it isn't that Doctor Aphra isn't canon.  It just isn't strong canon because it can be easily overwritten.  The same thing happened with Ahsoka and her novel, I believe.

So is Sympathy for the Devil canon?  Sure.  But if there's a season 4 of the Orville that wants to undo or rewrite any portion of that, it can.  And then it's not canon anymore.

Re: Star Trek in Film and TV (and The Orville, too!)

I think that is a fair take on canon.

I'd like to say that all STAR TREK novels exist in a side-universe adjacent to the TV shows and movies... but then the novels went and blew up their continuity in the three volume CODA series.

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Slider_Quinn21 said he'd heard that actor Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher) had a certain "dickishness" to people in his private life and at conventions. I finished reading STILL JUST A GEEK, the new edition of some of Wheaton's blog entries with new content. Wheaton was at the center of a seriously messed up situation from ages 7 to 30.

Wheaton annotates his original 2004 writings where he calls out a lot of his 1980s to early 2000s behaviour. He says that in the 2000s, he would blog about auditions and name the specific projects for which he auditioned before casting decisions had been made.

Speaking now in 2022, Wheaton says that it was grossly inappropriate for him to name the projects as it was putting pressure on casting directors. He also regretted taking each rejection at each audition so personally.

Wheaton also notes in 2022 that his 1995 - 2004 audition performances were probably not good; he'd been auditioning for roles where the character was "dangerous", where the character didn't care about other people's opinions.

Wheaton said he had played each (potential) character as unthreatening and insecure. It was perfectly understandable if people didn't hire him to perform as hyperconfident, reckless characters.

He observed: his best performances came from playing characters who didn't have a father. Who were trying to fill that hole with friendship, submachine guns, piloting a starship, or tormenting Sheldon Cooper. It was completely mismatched to the roles Wheaton was pursuing in the 2000s.

Wheaton in 2022 also apologized for the published 2000 - 2004 diary entries where he objectified women, saying it was crude to talk about female fans that way and disrespectful to his wife.

In the annotations, Wheaton describes himself as "an asshole" in his teen years and twenties, finally elaborating. He says that he was frequently moody, withdrawn and rude on the TNG set. He also looked down on the ORIGINAL SERIES actors for doing convention appearances and making a living off of decades-old work instead of doing anything new.

He was uncomfortable with fans talking to him because each interaction made him think he'd end up mining only his STAR TREK work like the TOS actors (and he notes the irony he ended up doing exactly that). He didn't want fans touching him; no hugs, no handshakes.

Wheaton explains: his mother forced him into child acting work when he was 7 years old. From that moment forward, Wheaton's life was going to sets to perform mostly among adults, doing photoshoots for teen magazines, and acting as a monetizable asset to support his parents' lifestyles.

He was repeatedly told by his mother that he'd wanted this career; he was repeatedly disparaged by his father if he didn't get a job. Wheaton felt under pressure (at age 7) to support his family as the only person working. His father mocked him when he felt tired from working so much. His mother told him he wasn't tired or upset about working so much. Wheaton barely spent time with friends his own age: his circle was the TNG cast (adults), and his manipulative mother and degrading father.

Reading between the lines, I'd guess Mr. Wheaton was insecure that his little boy was the family breadwinner; hating Wil allowed Mr. Wheaton to avoid any guilt for wringing all the money he could from the boy and working Wil until Wil cracked under the pressure and quit STAR TREK.

With all his film and TV work, young Wheaton had been too isolated to develop age appropriate social skills. His parents didn't love him, only the money he brought in. Interacting with fans or normal human beings felt like another form of being squeezed for profit. He became hyperaverse to physical contact and an anxious wreck of a human being.

Wheaton seemed to have a guardedly civil relationship with his parents from 1999 to 2009. Starting in 2009, before doing THE BIG BANG THEORY and getting a decent payday out of it, Wheaton decided to take over his finances as a grown-ass 30 year old man. He told his mother and father to hand over the financial details of the Wil Wheaton corporation (the registered business that received and processed all of his acting earnings and paid the taxes and union fees).

Wheaton's parents refused. Wheaton took action (or threatened legal action) and got all the banking information and receipts. Wheaton discovered that from 1986 to 1994, his parents had taken 85 percent of his earnings from his STAND BY ME and TNG performances and transferred that money into their own accounts. No savings, no investments. His parents took it and spent it.

Wheaton's parents had also taken 100 percent of Wheaton's residual payments from TNG from 1994 to 2009. These residuals for syndicated reruns and DVD releases had been hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, all of it going into Mr. and Mrs. Wheaton's pockets even as they watched their son -- whose work had earned all of this money -- facing crippling debt, foreclosure and potential homelessness, and starvation from 1999 to 2005.

Wheaton had borrowed money in 1999 from his parents for his wedding and house and frequently had to borrow additional amounts to buy food for his wife and adopted children (his wife's kids from a previous marriage). Wheaton discovered that the loans had come from his own corporation. Out of his residuals. His parents had lent Wheaton his own money and made him repay with interest.

Wheaton had spent 1999 to 2009 thinking all his STAR TREK money was gone (spent on a house for his new wife and her kids). Feeling stupid for leaving STAR TREK and its regular pay and savings. Ashamed for condemning his wife and children to life on the poverty line. But STAR TREK had never stopped paying Wheaton.

Paramount had been sending Wheaton six figure residuals every year since the mid-90s -- and his parents had intercepted the money for 15 years even as they saw Wheaton struggling to feed himself and his wife and his sons.

Wheaton demanded repayment, but his parents had spent all of the purloined funds, thinking they could appropriate Wheaton's annual STAR TREK payments indefinitely. Mr. and Mrs. Wheaton declared that as they had managed Wil's acting career on TNG, they were entitled to all of his residuals.

Wheaton promptly removed them from his corporation; his parents were enraged but had no legal recourse (it's the Wil Wheaton Corporation) and presumably didn't want their child labour exploitation in the press. Wheaton cut off any further contact and seethed for 10 years before making an angry 2020 Father's Day blog post where he raged about his father and mother (who, I assume, are still fuming that their abuse-fueled free ride is over).

When parents exploit their children this way, the children grow up believing that everyone on Earth will treat them the same way much as the Kaylon believed that any biological lifeform would be a threat. I can see why Wil Wheaton has a reputation for "dickishness". It could be well-earned, but he deserves pity. He is really screwed up.

I can see why Wheaton might be socially deficient, troubled, anxious, and suspicious of anyone and everyone after going through all of the above. The only winner here is Wheaton's psychotherapist; Wheaton is going to be attending sessions forever.

Re: Star Trek in Film and TV (and The Orville, too!)

ireactions wrote:

"Sympathy for the Devil". Holy S-word, this book is amazing. Drop whatever you're doing and go buy and read or listen to this incredible ORVILLE story right now. It's stirring, powerful, disturbing and highly relevant to our world. It's too bad they couldn't film this story for Season 3. This was Seth MacFarlane doing the ORVILLE version of SCHINDLER'S LIST. I accept it as canonical and as Episode 8-B of Season 3.

I took a road trip with the family over the weekend, and I bought this as an audiobook to listen to during the long drive.  I know MacFarlane referred to it as an experimental way of storytelling, and I'm not 100% sure it would've been well-received by the audience the way it's written as a book...but I agree.  What a cool, unique story.  Really well done - really effective. 

I wish they'd been able to film this - I think it could've been one of their best episodes in an already-strong season.

Spoilers below:

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It takes almost 8 chapters to see anyone in the main cast and I think another full chapter before we have any idea how any of this relates to anything.  Is it time-travel?  Is it past lives?  I did think that maybe it was the "holodeck" but that someone in the crew was trying to understand human history?  Around chapter 5 or 6, I started wondering if I had the wrong book, or if the crew was just going to appear at the very end.

I'm glad I waited because, while I felt we were spending too much time on Otto, by the end I knew it was the right call.  We needed to get to know Otto the way we did, and every scene we spent with him was effective.  The whole thing was great.

It was my first audiobook so I half-expected to hear some of the cast in the production.  But I thought Bruce Boxleitner did a great job.

Thanks for the recommendation!