Last week’s episode of The Orville left a sour taste in my mouth. I was expecting a comedy spoof of Star Trek with a style of its own but what resulted was a surprisingly dramatic show set in space. I was a bit taken aback by The Orville after Seth MacFarlane’s previously directed movie Ted mixed a talking teddy bear with a deep relationship between that bear and Mark Wahlberg. Even A Million Ways to Die in the West had some depth to it at times. So, I was a surprised with Seth MacFarlane’s take on a space adventure when it seemed to focus on storytelling with little to no humor.
The previous episode of The Orville enlisted Ed Mercer as the Captain of the ship, The U.S.S Orville. Mercer quickly assembled his own team but was lacking a First Officer until his ex-wife, Kelly, fills the role despite Mercer’s protests. They set out for a routine drop-off of materials that quickly turns out to be a rescue mission for a species that is being threatened by a villainous group seeking a device that could be dangerous in the wrong hands.
Going into the second episode, I was hoping for a little more comedy but seeing it quickly categorized as a drama by fans and critics alike, I wasn’t expecting much. The second episode of the new record breaking show centers on Alara, played by Halston Sage, who must act as temporary captain of The Orville while Mercer and his ex-wife are imprisoned in a replica of their old home for local species to view like a zoo.
One thing I appreciated about the pilot episode of The Orville was the costume designs and how each different species set in this futuristic world felt different than other creatures. This episode builds upon that as we explore a ship that holds rare species for customers to gawk at. From the zookeeper to the species in their exhibits, the amount of effort put into the costume designs is really impressive.
Alara was put in command while Ed and Kelly were on display for all to see and I appreciated seeing a new character put in the spotlight. She was an interesting character as she believed in helping the crew despite commands coming from her superiors. She is an intriguing character that I would love to see more of in upcoming episodes.
We are also introduced to Mercer’s parents early in the episode played by Jeffery Tambor and Holland Taylor who are hilarious and relatable as two parents who are concerned for the son’s colon. I laughed quite often in the first few minutes of the show and I was pleased that the humor kept up throughout the episode. One of the funniest moments in both episodes so far came at the tail end of the show when Alara makes a trade with the zookeeper who was keeping Ed and Kelly hostage. Her trade to retrieve Ed and Kelly was to give the zookeeper a file of reality television shows like The Bachelor and Real Housewives of New Jersey.
The second episode of The Orville balanced drama and comedy really well while the first episode seemed to only focus on dramatic moments and sprinkled some humor throughout. The second episode amped up the humor and made this feel like the comedy that was promised in the trailers.
The dramatic moments come in full force when Ed and Kelly are trapped in a replica of their old home and as viewers, we get a glimpse of why this couple inevitably decided to divorce. We learn about little things that both find annoying about each other like eating cereal loudly and drinking beer at 9 in the morning.
I was very happy with the second episode, which is a big plus as I almost didn’t want to continue the show after the less than impressive first episode. If Seth MacFarlane can continue to balance drama and comedy in the upcoming episodes, this will be an entertaining and fun show to watch.
What do you think of the show so far? Is the balance of drama and comedy better? Sound off in the comments below!