Monday, September 25, 2017

Orville: First impressions

Well, it has now been a little over three weeks since Orville came out and I finally got around to watching it. It wasn't that I was hesitant to watch the show but rather that I desired to see more of the show before I made my first opinion. I like the show, honestly more than I expected to (ever the pessimist), but it might not be exactly what I was expecting. And that's alright. The unexpected is good.

The first two episodes were just about what I expected the show to be, a semi-serious spoof of Star Trek and other science fiction shows filled with fun aliens and weird relations. It was enjoyable enough to bring me back for more, although it will never be a show that I can binge (it just doesn't take itself seriously enough for that), it is one that I will be able to enjoy after a stressful day when I just need to watch something good.

The third episode is where the show really got me. I went into it expecting good fun and a bit of science fiction. Instead I got inter-species politics, life-correlations, gender-commentary, and philosophy/politics/life. I had to pause several times in the episode to express my opinions on the politics and my opinions of inter-species relations and its correlations to reality (many of which were echoed later nearly verbatim in the episode itself). Now, anyone who has read my other posts knows that I love correlations between my media and life (generally) so I actually enjoyed these arguments. The big twist about the writer was predictable (still want to see an entire community of secret Moclan females) but that didn't detract from my enjoyment of the character reactions. The ending was, after the trial, also predictable but that didn't detract from the emotional unjust-ness that I felt.

To be honest, that is when I knew the show had me. (Even if it had been a reality before, this was when I realized it.)

Critical reviews, I noticed, have sightly bashed the show as being off-target or heavy-handed in the approach to the third episode (and some even say the second) or just disapprove of it in general and I strongly disagree with their assessments. Yes, the ideas and allegories were heavy-handed but that doesn't make them, or the show as a whole, bad. The show never claimed it was going to be subtle (quite the opposite actually). Besides, it was nice to have something that had such obvious overtones that I could point to and say, "This is their point, there is no hidden meaning." It is honestly a refreshing feeling.

Basically, I have learned, once more, that critics rarely know what I will or will not like and enjoy and, more importantly, that even fun-stupid semi-serious science fiction can make me sit down, think, and cry.

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