Let us consider “The Orville,” Seth MacFarlane ’s latest demonstration of his pull within the Fox empire as well as the entertainment industry at large, debuting Sunday at 8 p.m. Set 400 years in the future but intentionally loaded with colloquialisms from the present, “The Orville” is an obvious homage to “ Star Trek ,” specifically “The Next Generation,” and stars MacFarlane, creator of “Family Guy,” “American Dad!” and other series that you have already forgotten about, as Starship Captain Ed Mercer.
Ed’s leadership skills are nowhere near the caliber of those of Jean-Luc Picard or Kathryn Janeway or James T. Kirk or Benjamin Sisko or Peter Quincy Taggart or Captain Lone Starr.
Part of the reason Ed’s abilities aren’t top-notch is because he experiences a terrible blow to his ego in the opening moments of the series premiere that compromises the quality of his work, leading him to shirk his duties.
Within its first three episodes are subplots patterned after the types of moral and philosophical quandaries that inspired parables within “Star Trek,” but these are surrounded by punchlines and rambling dialogue that, at worst, distracts.
It’s impossible to answer this question without engaging in speculation, albeit of the informed variety, but in case you haven’t noticed, MacFarlane makes mountain ranges of cash for Fox with “Family Guy” and other animated series.
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