The Orville is Awesome! WARNING: SPOILERS

The Orville

The Orville is Awesome!

I just had the pleasure of watching the first episode of Fox’s new show The Orville, starring Seth MacFarlane.


It was a great first episode and set up all the main characters quite well. The story slowed in places to allow for some humor to be injected but, even though this was not the laugh a minute style of Red Dwarf, or the dry black wit of Blake’s 7, there were definitely some LOL moments.

One joke that had me laughing out loud at was the ‘delay tactic’ of bringing the alien aggressor into a conversation about work / life balance.

I was also pleased to see a number of deliberate additions for fans of science fiction, from subtle musical scores from Star Trek: The Next Generation, to the addition of Brian George playing a one-off character!!! It was great to see Penny Johnson Jerald in a sassy role too as the ship’s Doctor.

The Orville

But what I particularly loved was that this was a fun science fiction series WITH ALIENS, that didn’t take itself too seriously. We need more of those. Something to chill with. Something that doesn’t require several days to get over the death of a character. (Warning, there is a death of a speaking character in this one, and I found it to be quite disturbing.)

From the cute idea that there were so many ships in the fleet that just about anyone could get one, (so being a captain isn’t really that important!) to other little homages to various space ship style TV shows in the past, The Orville was light SF entertainment at its best.

I’m very excited to see more of this series, and I’d be interested to know what you thought about it. Leave a comment below.

I’m really glad Fox has invested in this series, and look forward to the next episode.

Stellar Flash

I’ve taken some time off from Alien Dimensions to work on my new novel. It’s called Stellar Flash: Alien Frequency. I thought I’d mention it here as I was a bit sad to find that my story’s main character Captain Jonathan Hogart is very similar to Captain Ed Mercer (though, Hogart hasn’t just gone through a marriage breakup.) Even so, I was surprised to find I’d practically channeled Mercer for Hogart.

I was hoping to get the book out by the middle of September but I’m going to do a bit of rewriting first. Then again, Mercer is very similar to Kirk, Hunt, Sheridan and Solo, so I guess I’ve just been channeling the archetypal white male captain in his forties.

Still, like the first episode of The Orville, my story starts with the captain addressing the crew of the ship and introducing the senior crew members. I guess many of these first books automatically follow a set pattern. *Sigh*


While waiting for the long night of shows without aliens to be over, I’ve started watching the Andromeda series and am now up to series two. I had no idea that it was this good. The first episode for me was so bad that I didn’t get back to watching it until 16 years later. So, I just started with episode 2. Even so, it was a bit hard going as there weren’t that many likable things about the characters in the beginning, but eventually, about half way, things started to click and I could really get into the series.

I could see someone had been taking care of some of the finer points of the script too, with subtle touches that affected the psychology of anyone watching it. Robots walking in the background indicating the constant operation of the ship, actors pushed to their limits to give their best in quite difficult or unbelievable scenes, believable CGI and graphics, the alien antagonists – the Magog – being even more and more disturbing the further into the series I got, and then the final episode of series one leaving an indelible mark on my psyche. Those Magog beating the side of the Andromeda and singing their death song as they invaded, and inexorably made their way in to eat everyone alive, will be with me for quite some time. Amazing work.

To convince myself to watch I spent a while reading others’ reviews of the series that were made when it first aired. This was immensely helpful as by reading multiple viewpoints about every episode I could tell that they all had at least something that someone liked. Until series three, that is. Apparently things go downhill by the end of series two and most watchers wrote to give up at that point. Even though I gave up on this series at the beginning, I usually don’t until I get to around the 50th episode. If a series can get to 50 and continue to go from strength to strength, there is a good chance that it’ll make it to episode 150, (usually its 7th year in the USA, or its 25th year in the UK!) and I’d stick around to watch them all. (I’m hoping that the Orville has been set up for a long run like that, but I guess we’ll know for sure by episode 50.)

One thing that I was surprised about regarding Andromeda, considering this was my first time to watch the series, was discovering that there were elements similar to those in a lot of the stories I’d written since the 80s.

I guess we’d both read Olaf Stapledon’s Star Maker

-Neil A.


  • Writer and Editor, but not necessarily in that order.

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