Space lovers, unite. There are now not one, but two TV shows about crews in space. The first is, of course, CBS' Star Trek: Discovery. It's all well and good for Trekkies across the globe: after all, they've been waiting for a revival for years. While it is touted as an amazing show, the one downside to it is that it is only available through CBS All Access , a premium service that comes at a substantial price of about $6-10. But those who forked over the money to watch Star Trek may be disappointed, as there were many who still wanted to watch the series but not pay for the premium service. As a result, Star Trek: Discovery became one of the most pirated TV shows in quite a long time.
For those who aren't part of the fandom (nor wish to pay to become a part of it), there's Seth McFarlane's The Orville. McFarlane himself stars in the self-touted comedy about a premise identical to that Star Trek: Discovery - a band of cadets exploring space, encountering countless adventures along the way.
The cast includes several television veterans, such as 24 and Castle's Penny Johnson Jerald, Friday Night Light's Adrianne Palicki, and American Dad!'s Scott Grimes. It also promises to have several well-known guest stars, the show's fourth episode bringing on Charlize Theron.
Marketed as a more of a comedy than a light sitcom, The Orville originally fell flat to audiences, most of them claiming that the show wasn't as funny as it had been marketed to be. But soon, the show found its ground, balancing its humor with situations that more often than not echoed themselves to the current situation in society.
At the helm of the USS Orville is Captain Ed Mercer (McFarlane). His company includes Chief Alara Kitan (Halston Sage), Lieutenant Gordon Malloy (Scott Grimes), Lieutenant Commander Bortus (Peter Macon), Lieutenant John LaMarr (J. Lee), Dr. Claire Finn (Penny Johnson) and an robot named Isaac (Mark Jackson). Ed's world gets turned upside down when they're joined by a first officer - a first officer who so happens to be his ex-wife, Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki).
The relationships between the characters show much promise - Kelly and Alara have a friendship that begs to be explored, LaMarr and Malloy are still trying to figure each other out while pushing each others' buttons, and Isaac is really just trying to learn about the human race. All the while, Ed and Kelly are trying to figure out what went wrong in their marriage while performing intergalactic rescue missions.
The other promising thing about the show is the parallels it draws to society's issues. For example, in episode three, Bortus, a member of an all-male society, gives birth to a female with his partner. Arguments and even a showdown in court ensue over whether the girl's gender should be surgically reassigned to a boy, with many ethical points being thrown around. The parallels get even closer when, during the next episode, the crew of the Orville encounters a society in which one ruler controls the entire flow of information, and any dissenters are automatically executed.
If anything, The Orville promises to hit home on several societal issues - in space! - while at the same time delivering an hour of lighthearted television.