"Paul Levinson's It's Real Life is a page-turning exploration into that multiverse known as rock and roll. But it is much more than a marvelous adventure narrated by a master storyteller...it is also an exquisite meditation on the very nature of alternate history." -- Jack Dann, The Fiction Writer's Guide to Alternate History

Friday, July 29, 2022

The Orville 3.9: Why It's Become Better than any Current Star Trek

Having just watched The Orville 3.9, let me explain why I think The Orville is better than any current Star Trek series, as well as in the same league with The Original Series and The Next Generation.

It's because The Orville is not beholden to any prior or current Star Trek, not burdened with being true to all that was Star Trek before, and is Star Trek now.  The Orville can plot its own course, take its own chances.   And now that it's on Hulu not Fox, The Orville is also free fromall the network constraints, including length of episode and language.

Spoilers ahead ... ]

Episode 3.9 makes use of, and epitomizes all of those advantages.  It was unafraid to kill off a semi-major character, Admiral Perry (played by Ted Danson) and a major, vibrant new character introduced just this season, Ensign Charly (played by Anne Winters).  Charly was so impressive, she even sang some great harmony and lead when she and Gordon performed Simon and Garfunkel's "Flowers Never Bend with the Rainfall" in Grayson's family cabin.  And the lyrics of this song -- "I'll continue to pretend, my life will never end" -- have a special, pang-in-your-heart significance, given Charly's extraordinary sacrifice at the end of the episode.  This accentuates the ethical incandescence of Charly doing this to save the Kaylon, whom she understandably hated up until the episode before last.

The story line was also top-notch, for a bunch of interlocking reasons.  "The Orville" has increasingly become a continuing story this season.  Episode 3.9 picks up on the Moclans leaving the Union, and they form an alliance with the Krill against the Kaylon.  And by the end of the episode, the Kaylon (impressed by Charly's sacrifice) are aligned with the Union.  These seismic shifts are conducted with subtlety and apt motive.  For example, the Moclan at first balk at giving the Krill co-command of their military, because the Krill leader is a woman.   And we see the Kaylon leader very aware of the enormity of Charly's sacrifice.

The battle scenes were also outstanding, especially the spaceship dogfights between the Union and the Kaylon vs. the Moclan and the Krill.  All of this was reminiscent of an extended scene from a movie like Star Wars, and was possible because "The Orville" as been given room to the breathe on Hulu, in this case, an hour and nineteen minutes.

Next week is the season 3 finale.  I'm very much looking forward to that, and to many seasons to come.

See also The Orville 3.1: Life and Death ... 3.2: "Come and Get Me ..." ... 3.3: What Do Bill Barr and Ed Mercer Have in Common? ... 3.4: The Captain's Daughter ... 3.5: Topa ... 3.6: Masterpiece of Time Travel with a Missed Opportunity ... 3.7: Seconding that Emotion ... 3.8: Dolly Parton and Topa

And see also The Orville 2.1: Relief and Romance ... The Orville 2.2: Porn Addiction and Planetary Disintegration ... The Orville 2.3: Alara ... The Orville 2.4: Billy Joel ... The Orville 2.5: Escape at Regor 2 ... The Orville 2.6: "Singin' in the Rain" ... The Orville 2.7: Love and Death ...  The Orville 2.8: Recalling Čapek, Part 1  ... The Orville 2.9: Recalling Čapek, Part 2 ... The Orville: 2.10: Exploding Blood ... The Orville 2.11: Time Capsule, Space Station, and Harmony ... The Orville 2.12: Hello Dolly! ... The Orville 2.13: Time Travel! ... The Orville Season 2 Finale: Alternate History!

And see also The Orville 1.1-1.5: Star Trek's Back ... The Orville 1.6-9: Masterful ... The Orville 1.10: Bring in the Clowns ... The Orville 1.11: Eating Yaphit ... The Orville 1.12: Faith in Reason and the Prime Directive

Joel McKinnon and I discuss Star Trek, The Orville and much more

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