The Orville: Pria
October 5, 2017 9:19 PM - Season 1, Episode 5 - Subscribe

The Orville responds to a distress call from a ship crashed on a comet which about to plunge into a star. Captain Mercer is smitten by Captain Pria, who they rescue from the ship, but Commander Grayson does not trust her. Grayson launches an investigation into the Pria with the help of Lt. Kitan. Meanwhile, an attempt by Lt. Malloy to explain humour to Isaac results in them playing pranks on each other.
posted by fimbulvetr (33 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Does anyone watch and enjoy this without previous positive experience of Trek?

Also: I'm not sure I can watch this anymore. Sorry, Seth; I think you really really need an emotionally intelligent, and possibly older, and possibly female, collaborator.
posted by amtho at 6:59 AM on October 6 [6 favorites]

I watched it, but I really am not sure if I enjoyed it.
There were cringe-worthy moments and there were moments where it was like I was watching a ST show. I ain't ponying up for the real ST show, so I imagine I will give this a little time to prove itself.

Totally agree, amtho.
posted by Seamus at 12:32 PM on October 6

I felt like I had seen or read this same story before. John Varley perhaps?
posted by cazoo at 12:32 PM on October 6

I watched it, and, in truth, it was my favorite episode. The leg gag was the most surprising thing to happen on the show so far (revolting, but novel). I laughed! The Mr. Potato Head gag was also hilarious! The villain of the week was played masterfully by her actress. The first officer got some tiny chances to shine and did excellently.

Also, the implications of having a gelatinous engineer who can fit in tight spaces = much more innovative than the rest of this show so far. Clever! I liked it, even if the character is a bit thin.

So, progress. Now I want to watch the next one.
posted by amtho at 1:57 PM on October 6 [1 favorite]

The peurile humour was purile, but I lol-ed at Isaac lifting Malloy's leg as a counter-prank.

cazoo, the plot was super familiar to me, too. It's similar to the "Collector" TNG episode where Data's vapourization was staged so he could be abducted by a collector, remixed with a little time travel.

It was a coup casting Theron, and she looked like she had a ton of fun.
posted by porpoise at 4:39 PM on October 6

cazoo: The theme of time travellers showing up at events where there are no survivors was what the movie "Millennium" was about; and checking wiki: Yep based on a story by John Varley.

Just from what I've read the "getting antiques via time travel" theme shows up in Doctor Who's "City of Death"; the second Dirk Gently novel, one of Spider Robinson's "Callahan's Crosstime Saloon" stories; and stretching a point: Harry Harrison's Technicolor Time Machine. Though in that one a movie company is using time travel to make location shooting, costuming, and casting cheaper. So yeah, "exploiting time travel for commercial purposes" is pretty well trod sci-fi ground.

As for the show itself, I've just caught up on it and aside from the Chief engineer making me think Rob Ford somehow faked his death, it's been consistently better than my expectations. Not wildly so, mind, but better enough if that doesn't sound clunky?
posted by Grimgrin at 5:00 PM on October 6 [3 favorites]

Did anyone else notice it was directed by Jonathan Frakes?

It also reminded me a bit of Picard's on again off again girlfriend Vash (?) who stole archeological artifacts if I remember correctly. I still enjoyed the episode. I like this much more than I thought I would.
posted by wittgenstein at 5:23 PM on October 6 [5 favorites]

"It's the gravity from the star—it's pulling us in!"

Gravity does not work like that.
posted by sonascope at 10:24 PM on October 6 [2 favorites]

Haha I thought that this was about the episode of TNG where the guy shows up claiming to be a professor from the future but the twist was he was actually a huckster from the past looking to collect and sell future tech. In this one she wasn't wasn't a huckster but was looking to collect and sell past tech.

Anyway this is not the best but I think it's the kind of watchable pablum that we've been sitting in front of for generations so why stop now. At least it manages to not be wildly offensive.
posted by bleep at 11:19 PM on October 6 [2 favorites]

Oh I got that wrong she was literally a huckster. I was just thinking about how her story turned out to be true when I wasn't expecting it to.
posted by bleep at 11:22 PM on October 6

The villain of the week was played masterfully by her actress.

That... that... was Oscar-winning, $10+million a picture, A++ list actress Charlize Theron.

I don't understand this show. That doesn't mean I dislike it. I don't know whether I like it. I just can't get my head around it.

It's Star Trek. But with Seth McFarlane starring in it and a bunch of Seth McFarlane humor. But it's not a comedy. It's Star Trek. Without the budget. But with Liam Neeson and Charlize Theron in the first few episodes. What even is this?

I just don't understand.
posted by Justinian at 1:39 AM on October 7 [19 favorites]

Like if all of a sudden George Clooney and Scarlett Johannson showed up and did a song and dance number I'd just go with it at this point.
posted by Justinian at 1:46 AM on October 7 [5 favorites]

I am at a loss as well to grok this. Maybe it'll even out, provided that McFarlane has that ability in him. ST:OS had humor but it was dished out with a more nimble touch and definitely more character driven. I did have a hearty guffaw when the leg came through ceiling.
posted by Ber at 1:48 PM on October 7 [1 favorite]

Seth has a habit of getting his showbiz buddies to show up in things. Charlize & Liam were both in his other cosplay vehicle "A Million Ways to Die in the West". I will not be surprised when Patrick Stewart actually appears. I mean, if Seth just wants to do earnest cosplay with a couple non-offensive gags thrown in, that's not unwatchable, who is anyone to stop him?
posted by bleep at 1:53 PM on October 7 [2 favorites]

"Earnest cosplay" is a great way to describe how this feels. It's like someone filmed fan fiction written by a talented 14 year old Trek fan.
posted by Justinian at 2:35 PM on October 7 [7 favorites]

When I first read the reviews of the show I thought it was going to be a complete disaster. I have to admit that despite a few rough edges, I wholeheartedly enjoy it. Yeah it has a few flaws, yeah it is unlike most other shows in trying to blend honest SciFi with dick jokes, but honestly I think it works.

It probably doesn't hurt that I tend to like Seth, and it really reminds me of "what if I and my coworkers we're suddenly working on a Starship?"

The one complaint I had with this episode, is the third appearance of the quote about do you want to open this jar of pickles. The leg gag had me rolling.
posted by jzb at 8:38 PM on October 8 [1 favorite]

Comment 1, by amtho: "Also: I'm not sure I can watch this anymore."
Comment 4, by amtho: "I watched it, and, in truth, it was my favorite episode… Now I want to watch the next one."

posted by danny the boy at 8:45 PM on October 8 [1 favorite]

Comment 1 was before I watched this episode. I saw this thread, thought about watching, and just felt...not positive about it. Then I read that Charlize Theron was in it, and that people who liked previous episodes thought this one was _the_ _worst_, so I had to know.
posted by amtho at 11:12 PM on October 8 [1 favorite]

At this point, it's clear what this show is. If TNG is Coca-Cola, then The Orville is RC Cola. (Plus dick jokes.)

I've been so thirsty for Coke, for so long, that I didn't mind too much (at first) that the RC tasted kinda flat and watered-down. (And I was willing to ignore the dick jokes.)

But now that the novelty has worn off...I dunno. The warmed-over TNG plots were familiar and comforting, at first – but as the show gets settled in, they're mainly just reminding me that TNG did them so much better. (And didn't subject me to fourth-grade toilet humor and threadbare take-my-wife-please bad-sitcom jokes.)

It just feels like the efforts toward earnest drama get hamstrung by the dumb jokes and the overall campy feel.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 5:28 AM on October 9 [3 favorites]

I'm still so confused over Charlize Theron's appearance in the film. I don't do doubletakes often, but boy, I got whiplash when she popped up on the screen. I found her performance a little underwhelming, to be honest, but to also be honest, the script and the episode really didn't give her much to do until the final act or so. The actual episode was fine, and the leg thing, okay, that got me.

Also, the jar of pickles thing, didn't Alara basically call that out earlier? It's as if now it's just a residual laugh at Seth/Mercer joke for being repetitive.
posted by Atreides at 9:00 AM on October 9

Also, the jar of pickles thing, didn't Alara basically call that out earlier?

Maybe? Possible I missed it.
posted by jzb at 9:17 AM on October 9

Hey Alara, perhaps as the super strong Chief of Security, you should assist a fellow officer fighting the villain, instead of standing back like you're watching a schoolyard tussle. Thematically, this fight is an extension of their rivalry over MacFarlane, so by getting involved you'd admit to wanting to sleep with MacFarlane too. And I understand if that's a bridge too far for you. Still, you're a Union officer and have your duty. If you keep this up, you are going to become as useless as Worf.
posted by riruro at 1:33 PM on October 9 [1 favorite]

Also, the jar of pickles thing, didn't Alara basically call that out earlier?

Yes, it's a joke that has been in every single episode so far, and I dearly hope it is in every single episode that will ever be made. I can't wait for the a-very-special-episode where Mercer, teary eyed, says it one last time to Alara when she nobly sacrifices herself for the sake of the crew.

There are so many people on the internet who want this show to be a different show. (Same with Discovery.) But it's not, and never will be, no matter how hard you try.

PS, re: the nostalgic comparisons to TNG... I do not feel the bulk of it would hold up to a contemporary, non-sentiment tinged viewing. You guys, TNG had some real bad episodes. Like REAL bad. I'm not even talking about the racist one, or the sexist one(s), or the space jellyfish one. There was so much room temperature schlock on a weekly basis, but no one remembers that, they remember Best of Both Worlds.
posted by danny the boy at 5:22 PM on October 9 [3 favorites]

Did you notice that the prop for the leg was wrong. Malloy's leg was cut just above the knee. The prop was the full leg. That bugged me.
posted by McSly at 6:31 PM on October 9 [4 favorites]

And what sort of half-arsed spaceship ceiling can't hold the weight of a leg without collapsing in a shower of... plaster?

Not that it matters. The joke had the legs to carry it off. However, I'll bet all the quatloos in my pocket against all the quatloos in your pocket that the rinky-dink future tech transporter (sorry, CBS lawyers, teleport) puck in Mercer's desk drawer did not timeline-vanish as it should.

(I'm constantly reminded while watching this series of an interview that Clarkson, May and Hammond did after they moved from Top Gear to Grand Tour, in which they detailed the line-by-line negotiations with the BBC's lawyers over what elements of the old show they could transpose to the new, and how. Things like being allowed top ten lists, but not being allowed to handwrite them. There must be a $500/hr lawyerly list like that for this show...)
posted by Devonian at 5:25 AM on October 10

re: the nostalgic comparisons to TNG... I do not feel the bulk of it would hold up to a contemporary, non-sentiment tinged viewing. You guys, TNG had some real bad episodes. Like REAL bad...There was so much room temperature schlock on a weekly basis, but no one remembers that, they remember Best of Both Worlds.

I recently (two or three years ago) re-watched TNG in its entirety with someone who was watching it for the first time, and, respectfully, I whole-heartedly and fully-throatedly disagree. Most of it holds up well. A lot of it does not, either on an episode-to-episode basis -- TNG is old enough that they had a non-ironic clips show, for budget reasons -- or on a consistent basis of Things That Wouldn't Happen Today (ie, however many seasons it takes Troi to be recognized as a real bridge officer). Sure: it's really from another era of TV, with different standards.

Which is why judging it by its worst episodes is a bad idea: it was an inconsistent series, particularly early on. The average episodes remain non-sentimentally enjoyable. The best episodes remain really good. There's a big jump in quality between seasons one and two, but even in season one, where the writing lacks the togetherness of later seasons, you can see the show dancing around interesting ideas -- for all the campiness inherent in Q, for example, the underlying framing of a bigger-than-the-Federation entity with its own set of values and its own approach to ethics is bold and (broadly) well-executed over the run of the show, and pays off in the finale. The specifics of, say, how Q gets introduced have not stood the test of time (particularly in re: graphics), but I don't see that as a reason to criticize it any more than I'd critique Casablanca for not having a well-developed color palette.

The problem I have with The Orville, so far, is that it's...fine? It hasn't had a Best of Both Worlds; and I don't think that the show is tonally capable of producing an Inner Light. It's consistently hitting a bunch of familiar notes that fall towards the lower half of the TNG spectrum, without ever being particularly bold or exciting or particularly risk-taking. It's comfortable, it's competent, it's consistent...but that doesn't make for compelling. Maybe that will change in future seasons, but so far the show has done nothing to suggest that it will.
posted by cjelli at 8:26 AM on October 10 [3 favorites]

It hasn't had a Best of Both Worlds; and I don't think that the show is tonally capable of producing an Inner Light.

It would have to be overhauled quite a bit to pull off an "Inner Light." Agreed.
posted by Atreides at 11:10 AM on October 10

Best of Both Worlds happened at the end of the third year of TNG. It was the 75th episode to be made. We're on the 5th episode of Orville. I think it's totally fair to compare the 1st seasons of each series, but most people are cherry picking the best parts of 7 years of TNG and comparing it to a show that's only getting off the ground. That's the apples to oranges here.

Most of it holds up well

I have a deep and abiding love for TNG but... the one where Crusher gets seduced by a Scottish ghost/alien?? That was season SEVEN.
posted by danny the boy at 12:10 PM on October 10 [3 favorites]

I think it's totally fair to compare the 1st seasons of each series, but most people are cherry picking the best parts of 7 years of TNG and comparing it to a show that's only getting off the ground. That's the apples to oranges here.

TNG debuted in the '80s. The Orville aired in 2017, after all of TNG, DS9, VOY, and ENT aired, with a decent decade after the last. I think it's actually more unfair -- unfair to TNG -- to compare Season 1 to Season 1 and ignore the fact that The Orville has a lot more to build off of (and copy from), including sharing production crews and actors with earlier productions. That we're substantially getting baked over plots that could have been TNG plots, despite seven years of TNG, is exactly why it's fair to compare TNG writ large to Orville Season 1: if you draw from the whole of TNG's run, it's reasonable to compare the show to the whole of TNG's run.
posted by cjelli at 12:31 PM on October 10 [1 favorite]

Yeah, comparing it to every episode of all those shows is unfair. More shows than not take time to find their legs. I think the Orville is doing pretty well five episodes in. I watched TNG every week when it first aired, and although it was new and exciting at the time, even then I recoginised that there were loads of stinker episodes, and many of those that weren't outright stinkers were just earnestly corny or overtly ridiculous. Loudly making fun of TNG while watching it was a weekly Fimbulvetr Family Tradition back in the 80's' and 90's. Lately, I've been re-watching Everything Star Trek thanks to Netflix. I guess each to their own, but I don't think TNG has held up all that well. Even the "good" series DS9 has more than its fair share of stinkers. Don't even talk to me about VOY.
posted by fimbulvetr at 1:51 PM on October 10

I really liked the 3rd episode, thought the 4th was overwarmed TNG but passable but this was just . . . confusingly bad.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:44 PM on October 10

Just got an email from my Dad who says there is a reference to Giles Corey / Salem Witch Museum in this ep? Can someone tell me when/where or even what?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:07 PM on October 13

Charlize Theron & Seth McFarlane's characters bond over both being from the same town in Massachusetts & going to that museum. It's towards the beginning/middle.
posted by bleep at 8:19 PM on October 13

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