Seth MacFarlane’s ensemble sci-fi comedy, The Orville, came back on Sunday night for the premiere of its second season on FOX.
Billed as a comedy, the MacFarlane-created comedy-drama series is arguably in the same vein as Star Trek. By airing on FOX, the series is certainly more accessible to fans wishing to watch the series. It’s no U.S.S. Enterprise as this crew travels by way a mid-levell exploratory spaceship, The U.S.S. Orville, across the galaxy. This is a series that takes place some 400 years in the future so if you’re looking to make Star Trek comparisons, it’s closer in time to that of Star Trek Voyager.
Tonight’s episode is titled “Ja’Loja” and named for the Moclan ceremony that takes place once a year for members of this alien race. In this instance, the time has come for Bortus (Peter Macon) to travel back to his home planet of Moclus for the ceremony. We learned something new about Bortus tonight and Moclans, for that matter. They only pee one time a year. Most of us wouldn’t make such a big deal about having to pee but it’s a very big deal for Moclans.
Meanwhile, things aren’t quite the same between Capt. Ed Mercer (Seth MacFarlane) and Cmdr. Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki). While Ed still has feelings for Kelly, the same can not be said about her. Whether or not she has feelings, she chooses to be professional about it. The new season starts with Kelly revealing that she’s now dating a teacher, Cassius (Chris Johnson). Given Ed and Kelly’s past, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the two end up together by the end of the second season.
Meanwhile, the crew brings a new dark matter cartographer, Lt. Tyler (Michaela McManus), aboard that they picked up at Outpost 58. Lo and behold, Lt. Gordon Malloy (Scott Grimes) falls for Lt. Tyler. Of course, Gordon has no game so naturally, he turns to Lt. Cmdr. John LaMarr (J. Lee) for advice.
Finally, Dr. Claire Finn (Penny Johnson Jerald) finds herself dealing with a parenting crisis with teenage son, Marcus (BJ Tanner). Parental advice comes in the unlikeliest place from science and engineering officer Isaac (Mark Jackson).
There may have been a few things going on in the story but for a series that is likely to comment on social commentary, nothing seemed to be outlandish. Granted that we are only one episode into the new season but I wouldn’t put it past Seth MacFarlane to deliver some edgier episodes later this season. Even though the comedy was rather safe tonight, the second season appears to be promising.
Last season featured tried to offer commentary by way of the Moclan race and traditions. This drew a lot of controversy with regards to the intersex and transgender community. The series might mean well in some aspect but that particular episode could have used another round of notes or two on the script. Outside of this, I’m expecting them to play to the usual sci-fi tropes that we’ve come to expect from the genre.
The Orville decided to play it safe rather than deliver some edgy material in its second season premiere.
CREATED BY: Seth MacFarlane
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Seth MacFarlane, Brannon Braga, David A. Goodman, Jason Clark and Jon Cassar
CAST: Seth MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, Penny Johnson Jerald, Scott Grimes, Peter Macon, Halston Sage, J. Lee, Mark Jackson, Chad L. Coleman, and Jessica Szohr