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Thread: The Orville vs. Star Trek: Discovery

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    Hellmouth Tourist Nebula1400's Avatar
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    Default The Orville vs. Star Trek: Discovery

    Is anyone watching both of these shows (or either)? What do you think about each?

    As a fan of Star Trek since 1966, I find that The Orville is much more like Star Trek (TOS or TNG) than STD. In fact, I intensely dislike STD for too many reasons, including poor writing, wooden acting (with a couple of exceptions), blatant violation of Star Trek canon (now Spock has an adopted sister, and Sarek can brain communicate with her from light years away); and the Klingons are awful from the bad makeup, to the bad dialogue, to the horrible acting (all the actors speaking Klingon phonetically, without feeling). Maybe Doug Jone;s character has some interesting qualities, but none of the characters are likeable, and they have no rapport with each other.

    The Orville, on the other hand, has chemistry between all the characters in spades. While it has some puerile humor in it, it's mostly pretty serious, thought-provoking Star Trek. It's what Star Trek was before less cerebral writers and directors made it into Star Wars. The Orville also has Star Trek (TNG and DS9) alumni both behind and in front of the cameras. STD does not.

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    Well, I haven't seen The Orville, so I have no idea how much it is or isn't like Star Trek. I don't really want to see it, since the name Seth MacFarlaine is enough to put me off big time. Brannon Braga being involved creatively is hardly a recommendation either - in fact, it's another thing that puts me off, since he and Berman were directly responsible for most of Voyager and the first 2 seasons of Enterprise plus its series finale being so safe, uninteresting, stale and generally bad. What other Trek writers/producers from Trek are involved? I only see the names of some of the Trek cast members/directors who are directing some episodes (Frakes and Robert Duncan McNeill), but Frakes is also supposed to be directing some episode(s) of Discovery, and he's directed episodes of a whole bunch of shows, from Dollhouse and AoS to Castle and Leverage.

    I have seen the first 2 episodes of Discovery, and loved them. It has the things that Trek has at its best (as in DS9, my favourite Trek show): conflict between the good guys, Federation values being tested and challenged rather than preached, considerable screentime and attention given to alien cultures including non-Federation cultures, especially the antagonists. I enjoyed the fact that we got so much of the Klingon POV. Their anti-Federation attitude and arguments reminded me a lot of the real life attitudes and arguments against EU in many European countries, including mine. Sonequa Martin and Michelle Yeoh were really good, and James Frain is a great choice for Sarek (he had to be cast as a Vulcan at some point). And if we're talking about names behind the show giving me hope and fear, if anything, Bryan Fuller's involvement makes me hopeful, though the fact he left over creative differences is worrying.

    The only thing I disliked is Saru's awful makeup - and I'm still not sure how I feel about the new Klingon makeup. Bit it's not like their appearance hadn't been much more drastically changed before (ST6:UC and TNG vs TOS). And it's not like the Trek canon hadn't been retconned a bunch of times before. So Spock had an adoptive sister he never mentioned. Remember how ST5:FF gave him a half-brother we had also never heard of? Or how they came up with the whole katra thing in ST3 to justify Spock being resurrected? And I don't speak Klingon and I couldn't care less about how the actors were speaking it (I reserve that for actors speaking actual real life languages).
    You keep waiting for the dust to settle and then you realize it; the dust is your life going on. If happy comes along - that weird unbearable delight that's actual happy - I think you have to grab it while you can. You take what you can get, 'cause it's here, and then...gone.

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    I hesitated, too, because it was Seth MacFarlane, but so many people said it was more like Star Trek than STD, that I had to check it out. It's imperfect, for sure, but the closest thing I can compare it to is Star Trek: TNG meets Galaxy Quest. It's not really that, either, and I don't think most of the humor (which is doled out sparingly) is particularly funny, but I do like the way various social issues are dealt with in the series.

    Still unsure about STD, but the third episode was a bit better than the first two. The series would have worked better if it took place in the Kelvin timeline, so that issues with canon would not be a thing, but it still has significant flaws. The dialogue is pretty bad. The characters still make some pretty stupid moves. I don't care for the Klingon makeup - not so much because it is different than in the other versions of Star Trek, but because it looks sub par. It looks like something I could make, myself, which would be an accomplishment for an amateur, but pretty crappy for professionals. It doesn't really move realistically on the actors' face, and it muffles their diction. I don't care about whether it's real Klingon (the idea makes me laugh) or not, but compare the way the gibberish lines are spoken on STD vs. Game of Thrones. The latter sounds genuine, with feeling, and emphasis in appropriate places. On STD, it sound like the actors are simply uttering syllables. Those scenes take me out of the story altogether, because they were so bad.

    The third episode was narratively a little better than the first two, but still suffered from some bad dialogue, issues with canon, and uneven acting.

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    I'm watching both shows and I like them both for different reasons. Don't look at it as an "either/or" or "versus" situation. Both are worth watching in my opinion.

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