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The Orville 'Old Wounds' [Season 1 Episode 1] Review


***Spoilers Ahead***

Old Wounds

Fox Broadcasting Co.

A show or film with the Seth MacFarlane label usually contains an excessive amount of offensive, polarizing, and crude jokes. Because of this, it makes perfect sense why I enjoy his animated and live-action comedies. But, I can also understand why some steer clear of his work, his style definitely isn't for everyone. With that said, The Orville is a much different beast compared to Family Guy or Ted. While the sci-fi series still exhibits the comedy style of MacFarlane's other works, it tones down the comedy in favor of action and drama. That's certainly not a bad thing and it generally works in the show's favor.

The plot of 'Old Wounds' is relatively straightforward. Ed (MacFarlane) is chosen to be the captain of The Orville. The only problem is, he has to work with his ex-wife Kelly (Adrianne Palicki). The bittersweet relationship between these two is easily the weakest aspect of an entertaining pilot. While watching, it was obvious that Ed would want Kelly to stay on the ship by the end of the episode. Outside of those two, there are a variety of interesting and creative characters onboard. I mainly enjoyed the non-human cast members, Bortus and Issac, they really helped strengthened the sci-fi vibe and easily stole the show in the episode. Since they are both stern and straightforward, they play off of the enthusiastic LaMarr and Malloy incredibly well. The other main members of the crew, Dr. Finn & Alara, don't get too much to do in the pilot, but I did enjoy Alara's super strength gimmick and Finn's amusing introduction.

The first quarter of the episode is expectedly uneventful, but the episode really shines once plot exposition is out of the way and the antagonist is established. Once it is revealed that there is a traitor in the midst, the installment turns into a fun-filled, action-packed ride. It was really enjoyable seeing the Orville crew face off against the Krill and ultimately prevail in their mission. While most reviewers will compare it to Star Trek, I felt that it also gave off a vibe reminiscent of 80's Saturday morning cartoons like He-Man.

As stated earlier, most MacFarlane shows are filled to the brim with crude jokes, but 'Old Wounds' doesn't seem to have any. The humor in the show is more observational and occasionally bathroom-oriented instead of being offensive. But, despite being a little different from past MacFarlane shows, a good majority of the comedy still came from the least edgy gags found in an episode of Family Guy. Ultimately, I felt that the comedy was very hit-and-miss, but there were still some solid jokes (I particularly liked the one with MacFarlane telling the Krill to move to the center of the screen). Because of the absence of off-putting jokes, this show is a lot more universal and will likely appeal to people outside of the MacFarlane fandom.

In the end, 'Old Wounds' was a solid pilot. There are still kinks that need to be worked out, but for the most part, it was a pleasant surprise. The action was on-point and the soundtrack gave it a cinematic feel. It should appeal to both Star Trek and Family Guy fans.


Stray Thoughts
  • Loved Brian George's role. You may remember him from that one episode of 'Seinfeld'.
  • MacFarlane wanting to command his own ship probably connects to how he's wanted to bring back a 'Star Trek'-esque show to television for a long time.
  • For some reason, I cracked up when MacFarlane ran into that 'blob guy'.
  • Happy Arbor Day!

Pros
Cons
Great Soundtrack 
Drama between Ed & Kelly
Engaging Action Scenes 
Bathroom jokes
Interesting cast of characters

Grade: B+


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