My thoughts on Orville, Young Sheldon, and Star Trek: Discovery

A lot of trailers for upcoming TV shows have come in. Here is my take on them because I know everyone is waiting for my input.

Orville.

Everyone is comparing this to Galaxy Quest and I haven’t a clue why. Galaxy Quest took a group of actors who played space-faring heroes on a TV show and forced them to make the characters they played become actual heroes. Along the way it showed us what life was like for those actors after cancellation like appearances on the convention circuit, type casting so that you can’t find other work, and the notorious infighting. It was brilliant, funny, and heartbreaking and everyone who was a fan of Star Trek and all that followed understood the jokes.

From what I’ve seen, Orville looks like a combination of Quark and Macfarlane’s movie, A Million Ways to Die in the West. Quark was about a space garbage man and as a spoof of science fiction shows, had its moments, but on the whole it was just a bunch of bad jokes. Orville looks about the same. When the jokes are Trek-centric, sure everyone gets it, but if the opening relies on a cheap gag like mistaking a marble for a mint…well, if I wanted to see that I would watch sitcoms on the Disney Channel.

I give it five weeks before it gets cancelled, and that’s being generous.

Young Sheldon.

Just watched the new trailer for Young Sheldon and was pleasantly surprised. Sheldon is going to be the spin-off of The Big Bang Theory with Sheldon Cooper as a young child and narrated by Jim Parsons as the older Sheldon. Unlike the sitcom format of TBBT, Sheldon is more like, dare I say, Community meets The Wonder Years.

I do have my reservations. I think the casting of the young Sheldon could have been better. There are thousands of young actors in Hollywood. One of them must have looked more like a young Sheldon than this kid. Nor does he ‘act’ like Sheldon which in this case I think is important. In Star Gate: SG1, Michael Shanks chose to play the Dr. Daniel Jackson character much like James Spader had, and this gave the series a unique connection to the movie. Other than Parsons’ narration, I just don’t feel the same connection. This could be any family in Texas dealing with a child gifted with a high IQ.

My prediction, the show will likely follow TBBT on the fall schedule which should guarantee a success. If not, the studio will dole out extra shows if they sense an audience building, but I think the kid is going to make or break this show, and it feels broken.

Star Trek: Discovery.

A lot of people have been waiting for this. From what I’ve seen the Special Effects are Big Screen quality…and will likely kill the show on budget alone. If you go big you have to stay big. You can’t give an audience the spectacle of the galaxy then follow up with a Styrofoam rock dangling from a wire. Being a Trek set in JJ Abrams universe is not going to make TOS fans happy, but then nothing ever makes them happy…for long. (See, that’s satire.)

Of course, what will really make ST:D is what made all the previous Treks special in their own way. (Yes, even Enterprise). Story. Star Trek has always been more than just aliens and the Federation pew-pewing throughout space. Star Trek has always tried to have something to say about our present world. Sometimes the message is clumsy, but more often than not they were spot on and even the worst of the Star Trek episodes made us think.

That said, it is Star Trek. If they go the same route as ST:TNG and go straight to syndication it will likely get a 5 year mission, even if every planet they away team visits looks a lot like British Columbia. (More satire, but not really.)

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