Reviews Science Fiction Television

The Orville: A review at three episodes in

I’m not all that sure how I feel about The Orville, three episodes into its first season. It’s a fun—and funny—show, and I’ve enjoyed the first three episodes quite a lot. I’ve also spent a little too much time wondering at the derivative nature of the show. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t quite what I got.

Here’s the thing. I adored Galaxy Quest, probably because it managed to skewer Star Trek: The Original Series in a way that felt like love and yet still retain its individuality and bring plenty of original and unique content to the screen. In other words, it had something all its own, outside of the show it was parodying.

The Orville hasn’t done that. There’s nothing really original about The Orville and sometimes the show feels like it actually belongs in the universe it’s trying so hard to spoof. I can’t actually tell, because although it’s funny in places, it doesn’t really feel like parody.

On the other hand, I’m still watching, and I plan to keep watching, because there’s promise there. I like it. But my favorite episodes of Star Trek (any incarnation you want to imagine) have always tended to be the humorous ones, and the same goes for most of my other science fiction favorites like Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis. Humor gets me almost every time.

That’s what The Orville feels like, instead of a straight up parody. It feels like a humorous episode of a Star Trek series that hasn’t yet been added to the universe but is coming soon. In other words, a little too close to the source material to really let me love it.

If you want to watch (and I recommend you do give it a try).

Other: FOX’s website for The Orville. (Might be free viewing available.)

Science Fiction Television

Defiance season one is on Amazon Prime Instant Video

I had avoided watching Defiance, because I’d seen some photos prior to the airing of the show, and frankly, I wasn’t impressed. I also didn’t know if the show would make it past a first season, and over the last few years, I’ve gotten extremely leery of Syfy and their ability to stand behind a promising series. So, long story short, I chose to wait and see.


Then I forgot about the show.


Last weekend, however, I saw it pop up on Amazon Prime Instant Video and was like, wow, totally missed that one. I watched the Pilot and then more than half the season, and although it’s not the best thing ever, there are definitely aspects of the series that I enjoy and certain themes I’d like to see explored in the rest of the first season and in season 2 when it comes (season 2 of Defiance premieres June 19, 2014).

The most underdeveloped part of the series, in my opinion?

Christie and Alak. Their interspecies relationship has a ton of  conflict and while the show touches on that story every so often in the first season, it hasn’t really broken out. (I’m not quite finished with the season, so if there’s something I’m missing here, I’ll update later.)

The most overdeveloped parts of the series, in my opinion?

Kenya. This is really the most glaring, uninteresting part of the show. I can’t even really think of how this could have played out better, although I’m sure someone could have figured it out. I’d accept this a lot better if the prostitute angle had played some kind of integral role so far, but it hasn’t. It’s mostly been set dressing, and bland at that.

Irisa’s badassery. She kind of annoys me. I mean, horrible childhood = bitch with issues. I want to like her and I think I could if she softened up a bit. She could give some of her bitchery to Amanda. That’s one I’d like to see toughen up. I find her mommy vibe as annoying as I find Irisa’s bitchiness.

And that’s the thing. The female characters on the show, with the exception of Stahma, all seem to be a tad too cliche for me. The men? Not bad at all, well rounded and interesting. The women? Not so much.

All that said, though, I’m enjoying the show, and I’m willing to overlook the trite and cliché for the good stuff.

Science Fiction Television

The 100 hasn’t been cancelled

The 100The 100 is about “100 young exiles from a dying space station [that] are sent to the planet Earth 97 years after a nuclear apocalypse to see if it’s habitable.”

The premise intrigues me, and since the show hasn’t been cancelled, I think I’ll give it a try. I love post-apocalyptic settings and this sounds like it’s going to have that in abundance (a supposition based on having read some of the descriptions for episodes beyond the Pilot).

I feel kind of lost sometimes about what to post here, because I don’t like writing reviews of single episodes of a show, because I’m just not sure how helpful those kinds of reviews are. I do enjoy writing (and reading) commentary, just not the kind that spans an entire showing of an episode, so maybe I’ll do more of that.

Anyway! I’m just happy to have found another sci-fi show to try that hasn’t been cancelled already.