One of my favourite films is Galaxy Quest. If you haven’t seen it, the plot is very simple: there is a group of, let’s say “has been” actors who once starred in a moderately successful TV sci-fi series. Think Star Trek, the original series. Despite a loyal fan following, the series has been scrapped and they make their money at conventions and opening stores. Real genuine aliens have intercepted the tv transmissions, assume it is real and kidnap the actors to help them save the remains of their civilisation.
There’s a strong cast, including Tim Allen, Alan Rickman and Sigourney Weaver, who play it straight. The plot is strong, the effects are great, it’s funny and affectionate in a knowing kind of way.
So, The Orville looked just like that, but on tv. We were promised adult humour. We were promised famous guest stars, including Charlize Theron and Liam Neeson.
But, for me, series one was a damp squib. It had its moments, for sure, especially the robot telling the little kids they were too feeble, small and unintelligent to help. And the credits included people who had worked on other sci-fi series, including Voyager, and lots of it, the music, the credits, were clearly in that chain.
But it wasn’t funny. None of the characters was likeable (maybe that was just the bad acting), the effects were poor, not in a deliberate way as a parody, just cheap, and it was a mostly laugh free zone of obvious plots. Towards the end of series one there were some better episodes (the one where the security officer had a nightmare of a day), so it was worth sticking with, I suppose, but series two needs an injection of real humour or better plots for us to continue watching. And we need to ditch the stupid American buddy practical joke stuff.