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Galaxy Quest Review Part 2: The Show Goes On

The movie isn't perfect, but it's fun, and definitely better than The Orville Season Three...

Last time, we began our review of Galaxy Quest, a true parody of Star Trek. In the previous review, we’d ended with Jason Nesmith encountering a group of aliens which had mistaken the campy television show called Galaxy Quest for a record of Earth’s history, and therefore, had modeled their technology after the tv show. The cast found it impossible to explain to the aliens that they were actors and must now find a way to stop Sarris, the alien threatening to wipe out this race which has asked for their help called the Thermians. Jason and the rest of the cast are led to the bridge to negotiate with Sarris, who, of course, does not wish to surrender at Read More ›

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Abstract planets and space background

Galaxy Quest Review Part 1: Bumbling Actors in Space

The 1999 Tim Allen movie is a true Star Trek spoof. It's not perfect, but it is entertaining and agenda free

After spending an extended period of time reviewing an abysmal Star Trek parody, The Orville Season Three, I wanted to review a parody I actually remembered enjoying. Galaxy Quest, a movie starring Tim Allen, which came out in 1999, has been referred to as a true Star Trek spoof, and watching it again all these years later, I tend to agree. Now, I should preference this review by saying that this is not a perfect movie. It suffers from plot holes and one big trope I despise, The Liar Revealed. But what it lacks in continuity it makes up for through lack of pretension. There are no sneaky social commentaries, no grand themes the writers are trying to sell. It’s Read More ›

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3D rendered fantasy alien planet. Rocks and  moon

Final Thoughts on The Orville Season Three — What Went Wrong

Unlike Star Trek, which put conflicting opinions in the mouths of beloved characters, Orville 3 screams its opinions to the point of harming the story

What a terrible season! I remember watching the beginning episodes of The Orville and thinking the show wasn’t quite there yet but held promise. Sadly, things did not improve with time. I think part of the problem is that The Orville was taken over by Hulu which is now owned by Disney. This, likely, prompted a degree of studio involvement that dropped the show’s quality. The Orville tried to address controversial subjects, just as Star Trek did years before. But it did not understand or reproduce the most important ingredient of the way the classic sci-fi series dealt with such topics. Star Trek used its main characters as voices that represented various positions. This is not to say that Star Read More ›

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fantasy robot wedding couple

Orville Episode 10: You’ve Heard of Saving the Best for Last?

Well, decide for yourself if you think that’s what the writers did. Some of us would describe it in other terms

Episode 10 fails for many reasons, but it’s not the kind of terrible where the episode is so bad you can throw your head back and laugh. Not only is it bad; it’s boring. Mixed up scenes, clunky dialog, and pretentious diatribes spread through the story. The story opens with Moclans Bortus and Klyden renewing their vows. Apparently, the all-male Moclans have a ritual where they essentially run naked through the forest until the “dominate male” catches the “submissive male” and . . . I’ll let you use your imagination. This scene is painful to watch. Two overweight men shamble through the woods in G-strings and the viewer is subjected to every horrendous second. I’m sure you’re wondering, “what kind Read More ›

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Abstract apocalyptic background - burning and exploding planet . digital art style, illustration painting

Should a Woman Die in Order to Save a Race of Robots?

In The Orville, Episode 9, Charly is confronted with that very choice

In Part 1 of my review of Orville Season Three, Episode 9, Charly and Isaac had invented a doomsday EMP device that can annihilate the robotic Kaylon. Ed doesn’t want to use the device to wipe out the entire robotic species because he thinks they are alive, though why he thinks so is never made clear. But, oh well. The Union decides to offer the Kaylon a peace treaty, and the robots accept the deal. However, unbeknownst to our heroes — such as they are — one member of the Union decides it would be better to destroy the Kaylon, and hands the device over to the humanoid Moclans and the reptilian Krill, who have recently formed an alliance. The Read More ›

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Is It Technically Genocide If We Kill a Planetful of Robots?

Orville Season 3, Episode 9, features an EMP-like device that could wipe out the robotic Kaylon

This is the best episode of the third season, but there was still plenty to question about the ethical underpinnings. The first scene shows the Krill’s Supreme Chancellor, Teleya, forming an alliance with the Moclans, who have just been ousted from the Union. This doesn’t make any sense. The Moclans hate women. Teleya is a woman. Now, the writers do take the time to address this discrepancy, but it’s a superficial attempt, and therefore, not enough to convince the viewer that this alliance could really happen. Stop and consider who the Moclans are: They don’t just have a bias against women. They hate women. So much so that they turn every child on their planet into a man. There is Read More ›

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decisions

The Orville 3 8: The Writers Finally Figured Out Moral Ambiguity

Is it right to endanger the lives of many to save one? The Orville crew must confront that in the case of the Moclan girl Topa

Judging by my mixed emotions regarding the Episode 8 from Season 3, I’d say the writers did fairly well with tackling a morally ambiguous story. There are still problems, but nothing that damages the story. For once, the writers do not scream their opinions at the audience. They even chose two likable characters to act as surrogates for the opposing points of view. As the story opens, Topa wants to meet Heveena, the female Moclan who defended her in court when she was a baby and tried to prevent the all-male (by preference) race from turning her into a boy. Heveena was unable to convince the Moclans to spare Topa, but the young girl later learned the truth and was Read More ›

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Graphic abstract butterfly escapes opening heart background

Orville: Isaac Gets To Be a Real Boy … for 30 seconds

Should he be given the opportunity to feel the painful emotions associated with his tragic circumstances? It's a dilemma that Dr. Finn does not seem to recognize

This episode was nowhere near as abysmal as Episode Six. Granted not much happened, but it does offer one interesting idea. There are three main stories going on at the same time, and two of them intersect. First, the Orville is attempting to make peace with a race of aliens called the Janisi, who are a matriarchal society. In order to open negotiations with the Janisi, the crew decides to gender swap the staff on the ship. This is played for laughs, as a kind of a gotcha to all men, but for me, none of the jokes really landed. The bits are mostly just Seth MacFarlane stumbling around while carrying a bunch of suitcases for this alien race. It’s Read More ›

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Time concept. Hi-res digitally generated image.

The Orville, Season 3, Shows Its Authoritarian Side

This time travel episode is distinctly authoritarian in a way I’ve never seen before

Last time, we discussed how The Orville, Season 3, Episode 6, crossed into some truly disturbing territory, not just by showing a terrible event, but in a very subtle and manipulative way, advocating for it. This week, we’re going into the details. To recap, the Union sent the Orville to drop off a time travel device at a lab because they were worried that the Kaylon or Krill might try to use it to wipe out the Union in the distant past, something they consider a horrible crime. We discussed how the writers ignored a gigantic plot hole in order to contrive a tragedy for Gordon, who was sent into the past as a result of this attack. The Orville Read More ›

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Time concept. Hi-res digitally generated image.

The Orville: The Moral Conundrums of Time Travel, Part 1

What if killing a person’s past wipes out a whole family?

The last two episodes I’ve discussed of Orville, Season 3, have delved into popular political issues that allowed the writers’ bias to damage the plot. This episode, Part 6, does something worse. It may not seem like a big deal, at first. But let me explain why this episode is terrible from a standpoint that goes beyond the writing. Yes, the writing is bad but that’s par for the course with this show. However, it’s one thing to prattle on about political issues that are in vogue. But it’s another matter entirely to murder a family, and defend the decision, and in so doing, try to establish a set of priorities that are, to say the least, unwholesome. Writers describe Read More ›

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Beautiful little girl on nature with flowers

Orville Episode 5: Bad Allegory — But Competent Writing

Competent writing is some compensation for an otherwise tedious exposition of transgender ideology

Last time, we began discussing The Orville, Season Three, Episode 5, A Tale of Two Topas. I mentioned that the episode was an allegory for children undergoing gender reassignment surgery. I suspected that they were affirming this practice because of the political nomenclature they used. However, it’s possible they weren’t. The fact that Topa was transitioned from a female to a male as an infant and now wishes to return to her original state suggests the very opposite of what the transgender movement claims. In this article, I shall discuss the subsequent plot and let the reader decide. I want to start out by saying the writing of this episode is far superior to the preceding ones. I hesitate to Read More ›

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Young couple with eyeglasses pose outdoors

Orville Episode 5 Is an Allegory Done Right… Accidentally

I’ll say this for Episode 5 of The Orville Season Three: Regardless of my personal opinions about the show’s message, structurally speaking, this was the most solid story so far. Previous episodes have been plagued by random scenes that don’t seem to correlate with each other and pretentious diatribes that would surely turn off a viewer who did not agree with the writer’s opinions to begin with. In this episode, I felt like I was dealing with a writer who, at least, knew what he or she was doing. And the amazing thing about this is that the higher quality in the writing raised the quality of the actors’ performances as well. Cast members who were stale and boring through Read More ›

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Science fiction scene.

Episode 4: The Orville Writers Try Their Hand at Woke Messaging

No, it doesn’t work. In Season 3, the plot gently falls apart

Episode 4 of The Orville, Season 3, titled “Gently Falling Rain,” starts out strong and then gradually falls apart, in a way that is almost reminiscent of a frog slowly boiling in a pot of water. For most of the episode, there is only one really glaring plot hole and it’s easy enough to ignore. But then within the last quarter of the show, viewers are pounded with so much idiocy that we barely have time to realize what’s happened. As the episode opens, the hostile Krill are ready to sign a treaty with the Planetary Union. They’ve been taken to a futuristic Broadway production of Annie — it’s good to know that that little overplayed gem of a production Read More ›

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Man with conceptual spiritual body art

The Orville Crew Sails Into Hallucinations From Deathless Beings

The ETs’ Big Message is: Ignore such labels as man, husband, captain, explorer because they are all irrelevant. Embrace loss of individuality and sculpt the cosmos!

As with Episode 2, Episode 3 of The Orville, Season 3, starts out with a great deal of promise only to completely fall apart at the end. However, I will say that — of all the episodes so far — the beginning of this story felt the most like Star Trek, in the sense that an anomaly shows up on the scanners, followed by a quirky scenario which promises a great deal of mystery to come. The crew detects a civilization on a planet that was previously understood to be desolate. Ed, Kelly, Talla, Bortus, and Gordon all land on the planet to find a lush forest and a high school. They enter the high school and are immediately trapped Read More ›

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male in protective hazmat suit disinfect public isolated spaces, carrying barrels, pathogen respiratory quarantine coronavirus covid-19 concept

The Orville Episode 2: Bacterial Assimilation? — It Gets Messy

A ship that crew members investigate turns out to be a deadly mixture of mechanical — and organic — material

Episode 2 of Season 3 opens with the Orville crew beginning its negotiations with the Krill, an aggressive reptilian species that has joined a temporary alliance with the Planetary Union of flight-capable species to counter the new threat from the Kaylon, an artificially intelligent species. A Krill moment: The Orville group begin by discussing routes through the Krill territory, so the Union can explore the regions of space on the other side. The discussion grows tense when the admiral who has boarded the Orville for the negotiations, Admiral Paul Christie, mentions exploring the Kalarr Expanse (the “Shadow Realm”). The Krill become nervous about this request, telling Ed Mercer and Kelly Grayson, and Christie that demons dwell there. And that they Read More ›

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Lonely Human with water reflection, emotion, sadness  loneliness, depression, mental health, fantasy painting, surreal illustration

Huxley’s Brave New World and the Hard Work of Sadness

A society centered on pleasure has no place for mourning, and so has no room for love

Ninety years ago, Aldous Huxley published his prophetic and incisive Brave New World (1932), a dystopian novel that imagines a society of people intoxicated and controlled, not by state power, but by pleasure. Whereas George Orwell predicted an inevitable totalitarian world government in his novel 1984 (penned in 1949), Huxley proposed that human beings wouldn’t need to be coerced into submission but could be coaxed by the allure of pain-erasing drugs. Both nightmarish visions of the future have already somewhat played out today in American society. The government set up the Disinformation Governance Board in April of 2022, which sounds eerily like the “Ministry of Truth” in Orwell’s 1984. (The board has since disbanded.) Tech companies can track us more Read More ›

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Mechanized industry robot and human worker working together in future factory . Concept of artificial intelligence for industrial revolution and automation manufacturing process .

Orville Episode 1: We Witness — a Robotic Resurrection!

In this final look at Episode 1 of Season Three, we see how love for a robot, unexamined, entails a loss of sense and meaning

After I rolled my eyes for what felt like twenty minutes, waiting for the writers to quit wasting time with the whole “Isaac is really dead! We mean it!” routine, somebody finally realizes that there is a way to save the poor robot’s life. Apparently, the robot has a backup, of a backup, of a backup file buried deep inside his brain. The engineer, LaMarr, is fairly certain he can reconstruct Isaac’s programming using this secret backup file. If this sounds lazy and contrived to you, you’ll love this next part. Remember Charly, the girl who was super hateful to the robot at the beginning of the episode? Well, apparently, she is the newest high-ranking member in the crew, despite Read More ›

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White futuristic robot, crossed arms, unhappy face

When a Robot Commits Suicide — an Elegy for What?

What’s frustrating about Episode 1 of Orville, Season Three is that robot Isaac’s claim to personhood is not ambiguous so much as confused and contradictory

Last time, we began our review of The Orville, Season Three, by discussing the unorthodox relationship between Isaac, the ship’s token robot, and Dr. Claire Finn. The bottom line is that they were romantically involved until Isaac turned out to be a sleeper cell for his race of robots, the Kaylon, who controlled an entire planet. In a climactic moment, Isaac — because of his attachment to Dr. Finn’s son Ty — defeats his programming and saves the Orville. Unfortunately, however, in the battle between the Kaylon and the Union fleet, many Union soldiers were killed defeating the Kaylon — and most in the Orville’s crew have not forgotten it. Dr. Finn and Isaac’s relationship remains somewhat ambiguous. What feels Read More ›

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Abandoned railway tracks in the desert, Namibia

The MacGuffin: Big Fuss About Nothing Is Not Good Science Fiction

A MacGuffin creates a lot of action but doesn’t in any way advance the plot

As with Time Travel, the MacGuffin plot risk comes in a variety of flavors. People bicker about the term, but Alfred Hitchcock (1863–1942) summarized the gist of it: A MacGuffin is “the thing the characters on the screen worry about but the audience don’t care.” The MacGuffin creates a lot of action but doesn’t in any way advance the plot. The action is not the problem. If the item contributes to the plot in a significant way — the One Ring from Lord of the Rings or the Dragon Balls from the Dragon Ball Series, for example — then it isn’t a MacGuffin. But if the item is inert and chased mainly because the characters want it, then it is Read More ›

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The Butterfly Effect - Big Blue Butterfly appearing to create ripples in pink green water surface with plenty of copy space below

Science Fiction: Time Travel Can Work — If Clear Rules Are Chosen

I despise the Butterfly Effect in time travel stories because there is simply no way to establish what is at stake

Time travel is such a familiar story element (trope) in science fiction that it has a name, the Time Travel Trope. It annoys me — though much less than others — is the Time Travel trope. These story elements can drive classics such as The Terminator (1984) and utter garbage like A Sound of Thunder. (2005). Establishing the rules for time travel The main reason is that there are many different types of Time Travel stories as well as a variety of rules to go with them. The rules depend on which approach to time travel the writer chooses to take. The writer can chooses to go with the idea that the present and future are fixed, and regardless of Read More ›