TV Review: The Orville 1×06

And now I am caught up.  Since the episode airs on Thursday on FOX, I hope that it will be up on Hulu (where I can watch it) Friday morning, so with all luck Friday’s post will be the 7th episode that airs this week.  but first, the sixth episode:

Episode:  Krill (1×06)

(Original Airdate: October 12, 2007)

Notable Guest Stars:

Michaela McManus (Teleya) -She’s been in a couple big shows, but I know her mostly as Lindsey from One Tree Hill.

James Horan (Sazeron) – Star Trek Alum who also does alot of voice work for video games. He appeared in The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise.

~*~

This episode was a wonderfully written episode.  Ed and Gordon are sent undercover (using Holographic technology so no physical alterations) to obtain the Krill holybook so that the Union can better understand the people they are fighting.  The Krill believe their god has made them the supreme species in the universe, and therefore they are mission bound to take over.

THis episode does a good job in giving us a look at how the Krill operate.  I was a little uncomfortable with the theme that belief in god makes you less advanced or more inclined to be terrorists, however.  It seemed pretenious and a bit preachy.

I have to admit that in previous scifi ship shows you don’t often find the main crew come across another ship with children on it. I didn’t realise that till I saw this episode and realised it seemed odd that there was this idea that Humans would be the only ones to make long term exploratory vessels with families on board.

I have to admit that in this episode, Gordon reminded me a lot of Scott Grimes’ other known character Archie Morris from ER.  Except perhaps more inclined to do adult humor.

Notable Quotes:

Gordon:  Dude!  We are Vampire Hunters!

~*~

Gordon:  AH!  That;’s a new leg!

~*~

Ed: They aren’t my enemy.

Teleya:  After seeing what you did, they will be.

Pros:

More back story about the Krill

Cons:

I was a little disappointed in the heavy Anti-religon of this episode.  Like somehow believing in a deity makes you less advanced.  While I get that the Krill are set up as fundamentalists, that still doesn’t mean that belief in god is somehow wrong.

Final Grade: A-

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TV Review: The Orville 1×05

Episode: Pria (1×05)

Notable Guest Stars:

Charlize Theron (Pria) – I don’t really think I need to explain why Charlize is a notable guest star.  I first saw her in That Thing You Do but that is far from the most famous film she’s been in.

Jonathan Frakes (Director) – Star Trek Alum.  He played Will & Thomas Riker in TNG and several spinoffs.

Rachel MacFarlane (Computer Voice) – Seth MacFarlane’s sister.

This episode’s A plot starts with the crew coming across a distress signal coming from a comet.  They rescue a mining pilot named Captain Pria Lavesque.  Pria explains she works for a mining consortium and was investigating the comet when she ran into trouble.  Kelly’s instincts are telling her something is wrong, helped no doubt by her jealousy, so she starts to investigate, pulling Alara in with her.  Ed isn’t happy that they are treating a guest this way.  He is also biased, because he is interested in Pria, and its mutual.

However, just as Ed thinks he might have a chance to finally move on, strange things keep happening.  Turns out Pria is a future traveler from the 29th century who goes back in time to grab ships and artifacts to sell on the antiquities market back home looking like they are in prime condition.  Ed gets his heart-broken, and I think everyone is taken aback when she tells them they were meant to be dead so why does it matter.

The question remains though…does anyone remember this after the end of the episode?  Erasing the wormhole and Pria’s existence in the past so she has no need to come back seems like it might change their reality but I don’t know if everyone forgets her or if this buys into the new timeline theory.

The B plot is Issac learning about Human humor, which doesn’t turn out that greatly for Gordon who ends up losing a leg, literally, and having to regrow it because Isaac hid it.  The b plot filters in and out of the A plot, and ends up connecting to how Issac lets the crew know he’s still around.

This episode, plot wise, probably won’t be my favorite, but it wasn’t a bad episode.

Notable Quotes:

Ed: Kelly! Kelly, wait! Hey, listen – I don’t want to play the blame game here.
Kelly: That’s because you’re the one to blame.
Ed : Look, we all made mistakes.
Kelly : Nobody made mistakes but you.
Ed : Let’s not do the “I told you so” thing.
Kelly : I told you so numerous times.

Pros:

  • Charlize Theron
  • Female friendship

Cons:

  • Once again they were overhanded with the hints that Ed and Kelly aren’t as indifferent towards each other as they appear
  • Do we remember or not remember?  I’m a tad bit confused here.
  • Charlize’s outfits all make me think of bugs.

Final Grade: B

TV Review: The Orville 1×04

Episode: 1×04 The Stars Before Us

Notable Guest Stars:
Liam Neeson (Doral) –  Its Qui-Gon. Liam Neeson is a pretty big deal to get in the first season of a show, even if its only for about 5 seconds.

In this episode, we have a more generic space mission.  They come across a ship that seems to be drifting in space.  They find out its a biodome full of people who have lived there so long they have forgotten that they are on a ship.  They have developed into a community that worships a man named Doval, thinking of him as the creator though he turns out to be the Ship’s captian when the ship was just starting out.

This episode actually makes good use of the field team.  Alara gets some character development beyond opening doors, Claire gets to use her medical skills, Issac gets to be an active participant, and Kelly has her own action scene.  Ed does first contact.  I liked that it was a team episode, but I wish there had been more world building and less discussion over the Mercer-Grayson marriage.

It also makes interesting commentary on the idea of how long memory of things last.

Notable Quotes

None stand out this time, though there were some funny comments.

Pros:

  • The entire away team is put to use.  Ed gets to make first contact.  Kelly faces torture.  Alara gets to open doors.  Issac gets to fix things by using his technological updates, and Dr. Claire helps heal Alara
  • Alara’s uniform doesn’t magically repair itself.  She puts it back on at the end of the episode with the marks still there.

Cons:

  • Not enough Liam Neeson
  • Can we go an episode without referencing Ed/Kelly overtly?  Like that look that Kelly and Ed share when he comes to untie her from the chair was a good thing, but the actually talking about it really isn’t necessarily.  Again, show it, don’t tell it.  The little things matter.

Final Grade: A

TV Review: The Orville 1×03

Regularly scheduled posts that are not tv episode reviews will happen for those of you who are interested in my writing and/or reading posts.  As I said previously, I am trying to catch up with the “live” episode, which airs on Thursday.

Episode:  1×03 About a Girl

Notable Guest Stars:

Lamount Thompson (Kaybrak) – He’s been on various programs I’ve seen, including several daytime soaps, but he is notable because he was credited with a role on Star Trek Enterprise (my favorite Trek show!).  He also may be known from The O.C.

This episode focuses on Moclan society; in particular gender politics.  The species, though primarily male, does once and awhile have female offspring.  However, this is considered a genetic defect and is often the child is given a sex-change operation as an infant to make them male.  Claire refuses to do the procedure, believing it to be something that is unnecessary to the health of the child and something the child should decide for themselves.  Ed and Kelly agree, although Ed manages to make himself double-check to make sure he’s not policing another culture’s practices by his own.

I’m not sure if theme of this episode is misogyny or gender identity, but I’m leaning towards misogyny because of the rest of the episode.  It seems a heavy subject to barge into 3 episodes in, but Star Trek (which inspired this show) has been known to do this. I don’t think episode really stands up against Star Trek’s The Measure of a Man but it has a similar style and theme to it.  Instead of saying how a AI can be a being, they are trying to prove to a society that prides maleness that being Female is not a bad thing.  Although I think they kind of messed up with some of the issues…like if Klyton was a female, obviously it happens more often than the 75 years it is supposed to be, and the older woman doesn’t look like she’s in her seventies too.  But then they don’t really explain the life expectancy of the Moclans.

Notable Quotes:

Gordon:  I would like a pair of pants to be waiting at the landing pad
Moclan Flight: A pair of pants will be waiting.
Kelly:  He was kidding
Gordon:  No I wasn’t

Pros:

  • Seeing the various characters work together to help their friend
  • Alara being so confident in her abilities and differences
  • Seeing Kelly being proficient at her job that is in no way related to interacting with Ed

Cons:

  • I feel that the Moclan society should have been developed a bit more before they got into such a heavy subject.
  • The random Thought lighting of Ed to search for female Moclans.  It just seemed really sudden a bit like “We need to move this plot along, we only have 10 minutes left.”

Final Grade: B-

TV Review: The Orville 1×02

I’m going to be posting these over the next few days as I’ve caught up with the series, but I want to post the reviews as the episodes come, so I have to catch up post wise.  So expect the first six-seven episodes in succession then it will be weekly.

Episode:  1×02 Command Performance

Notable Guest Stars:

Jeffrey Tambor  (Ben Mercer) – Best known from Arrested Development, though if anyone reading this has toddlers around, they’ve probably heard his voice once or twice on children’s shows.

Holland Taylor (Jeanne Mercer) – She shows up randomly everywhere.  Probably known most recently as the mom in 2 and a Half Men.

Robert Duncan McNeill (Director) – Trek Alum; He portrayed Lt. Tom Paris on Voyager, and has a long list of episodic directing.

Ron Canada  (Admiral Tucker) – Had a recurring role of West Wing (one of my favorite TV shows)

This episode starts off with learning more about Moclan physiology.  They lay eggs.  Which is a subplot of this episode, and from the looks of it a major plot point in the next episode.  However, as Bortus is brooding his egg, this leaves Alara in charge.  She tries to get out of it several times, because she doesn’t think she’s ready for it, but the senior officers all consider her able and ready.

I really liked the fact that it showed that not everyone came out of a bubble primed and ready to be commanders.  While I adore Star Trek, one of the elements that kind of bothered me that outside a few characters, most of the characters were simply naturals at command, and did extremely well.  Alara does well, but the show also shows her going through various emotions like fear, anxiety, annoyance and other feelings that might come with command.

The b plot with Kelly & Ed was interesting, but kind of worked in forcing us into shipping them.  The two actors have chemistry (this whole cast does, good work casting director) but I think they went a bit overhanded with directing us to it in this episode.

Notable Quotes:

Dr. Finn: “I won’t whisper the right answers into your ear, but I’ll try to be your Obi-wan whenever I can.”
Alara: “What?”
Finn: “Nevermind.”

Pros:
Good acting chemistry, relatable responses by characters, and overall character development is done well.

Cons:
While I enjoy the dynamic of Kelly & Ed, I really think that they pushed them too hard in this episode.  Maybe if this episode had happened halfway into the season where we have had time to get to know them first, it wouldn’t seem so awkwardly forced.  The two actors have chemistry, let us grow to love them together.  Show, don’t tell.

Final Grade: B

TV Review: The Orville 1×01

So, I decided to actually watch and review a TV series that is ongoing.  Usually my TV reviews end up being long franchise shows, or cult favorites.  This time however, its a new show, less then a season (currently at 6 episodes).  I will do a post for each episode, which will be frequent till I catch up to the airing.  I may schedule these once a week and then use by weeks to catch up.

For those wondering: SPOILERS BE HERE

Episode Title: Old Wounds (1×01)

Notable Guest Stars: 

Victor Garber – Admiral Halsey.  I can’t remember if he was on Trek or not, but to be fair, He appears in alot of good shows.  This makes me want to watch Alias now
Penny Johnson Jerald – Not a guest star, but she is notable as Trek Alum (She played Kassidy Yates on DS9).
Brian George – As Dr. Aronov  Also a Trek Alum.  He played Julian Bashir’s father Richard Bashir.

This show of course brings back memories of Star Trek but I love how right off the bat they point themselves in their own direction with making the seat of Operations in New York.  Also pretty sure Trek never had infidelity as a major plot point.  Except in Will/Deanna’s weird relationship over the years when they were on-and-off.  Which doesn’t’ really count.  This seems to be more grounded in the reality.  While I hate JJ Abrams commentary on Star Trek, I will admit they were a tad idealistic at times.  Which is probably why Enterprise remains my favorite. Less idealistic, a bit rougher around the edges.

The characters have good chemistry in this first episode, which is good.  Some of the dialogue is a bit stiff, but its the first episode, so I think I can give them that.  It should be interesting how this continues.

I have to admit I was surprised at how much I liked this.  I was not a big fan of Seth MacFarlane, finding his humor not to my tastes.  But so far its been super toned down, though I hope the penis jokery will not be their only jokes.   This being said, you should probably not let your toddlers watch this.

Pros:
Funny, good chemistry between the characters.  Realistic reactions to stuff that they do at the science lab.  Multitude of species, not all humanoid in appearance.

Cons:

If a species has no gender, how can they be male.  Or is this just assuming that their entire species is like the male species of most humanoid species??
The Krill make me think of small marine life.  I would have laughed my butt off if they really did end up being these tiny creatures, but instead they kind of look like various other villains I have seen on Trek shows.

Notable Quotes:

“Can I have one of these mints?”

“Those are marbles.”

~*~

“Happy Arbor Day”.  (I liked that one better than Kelly’s suggestion, but then maybe I just like the fact it wasn’t obvious)

Final Grade:  A-.  Not bad for a pilot episode.

Writing Resources

October has become “Nano Prep” month for me for many years.  I’ve been participating since I graduated from high school (which is longer then I remember, surprising myself each time I actually do figure out how long its been).  So I’ve decided to make a post for some of the places I get help in my writing endeavours for anyone participating in Nano.

I’m including various websites and tools, some of which I use frequently, and some of which I have used in the past and no longer do for one reason or another (in the case of one, I forgot my password).

NanoWrimo.Org

We should always start with the Nano page.  The Original NanoWrimo occurs every November, and its goal is 50k in a month.  NanoWrimo.org also offers helpful links, a forum, as well as offline events as well such as write-ins and community meet-ups.  It also does a yearly fundraiser for Libraries in areas that are too poor to fund one.

(there are also some great coupons if you win for writing services and programs).

Writing Sites:

750words.com

This website gives you online space to help keep up sprints, and daily writing.  The goal is to write 750 words daily.  The longer you go, the more points you get.  You get target rewards each time you meet the criteria.  It also gives stats on word usage and tone which can be useful.

4thewords.com

This is another example of a writing habit creator.  In this particular one, its a subscription service, but only four dollars for what accounts for a month.  You can pay by month, or pay ahead if you want to.  However, it is very fun and so far worth it in my opinon.  However, it doesn’t work for everyone, so the month trial should give you some time to find out.

The basics of it is that you are playing a game.  To fight the monsters that come across your path, you write.  Each monster has a word count goal and a time limit.  You can choose which monster you want to fight.  When you complete the battle successfully you get rewards which go towards accomplishing the Quest goals.  Then you can move on to another part of the valley where there are new monsters to fight against.  It also does periodic special runs of events (particularly during Nano events).

Hemingway Editor

THis is a online editing software (although it does have a desktop app) that allows you to check your grammar and writing as you write, helping you improve as you go along.  I like to sometimes copy/paste my writing into it to see what it says and strengthen the weak spots, but you can just get typing in there.  It has some basic formatting features as well, and a readability monitor to tell you if you are writing for the right age level.  (this is especially important if you are writing for kids. ).

Writer

This is for those who don’t need anything to distract them.  All they need is a plan screen.  If you need the least amount of distractions and just want to write, this may be good for you.

CharaHub

This website is designed to help you with your character building, keeping an online character report for you instead of half a dozen tabs or folders on your computer.  I haven’t used this, but I have been told its quite helpful.  (If you have used this, let me know what you think.)  Its been sitting in my “Writing – Tools” bookmark folder for awhile now.

Word Counter

DOn’t have a word counter built into your word processor?  This site is helpful in that it allows you to check your word count.  Also pretty good for challenges where you have a word goal and/or limit.

I have a whole folder for writing resources, but not all of them are useful as broad tools, and I limited mine to what appeared to at least give a free preview of the service.  I have a selection of generators that are sometimes fun to play around with when you have writers block, and there are millions out there that can partition to your chosen topic/genre.  Also, don’t be afraid to use the same resources you may have used in school to write those papers.  Some of them can be quite helpful when writing fiction (and really helpful if you are writing non-fiction).

If you have any websites/tools you would like to suggest, feel free to mention them in the comments.  I’m always open to finding new things.