Martin Carr reviews the eleventh episode of The Orville…
This could be the episode season one is remembered for. Discussions about quantum physics, landmark publications from the 1880s and dramatic tension mixed with measured humour define episode eleven. Bridge side banter and sight gags are present and correct but New Dimensions deals with more intellectual subject matter, given out in a digestible format. Character development is also mixed in alongside more traditional traits which The Orville has become known for.
John LaMarr is key to making this work while the ongoing relationship between Ed and Kelly takes another turn. More entertaining as the weeks go by The Orville again stretches the boundaries of expectation. There are no easy options being taken here as MacFarlane has pitched his show as something he would sit down and watch. These characters now feel like family and we are actively engaged in what happens week on week.
Alongside the more heavy topics and scientific jargon sits real human dilemma which everyone can identify with. Experiencing that crisis of confidence, being too scared to reveal your true potential and coming through adversity all sit at its centre. With New Dimensions he has really tapped into universal topics and explored them in an accessible way, without sounding preachy, condescending or simplistic. There is a great deal of care being lavished and all concerned seem to be having a great time.
There are hat tips to other science fiction shows which clearly had a big influence, while MacFarlane’s love of Next Generation also feeds into that. Critics might have pegged The Orville as a comedic sit com in space, but my contention is that this is simply a great show which happens to be in space. What has made and continues to make it consistently entertaining is the focus on character. Obviously they need to be tested in a variety of situations but this never detracts from the people themselves. MacFarlane’s investment in them has created a three-dimensional group who are defined as much by their failures as any success they might have.
New Dimensions is so full of topics worthy of discussion that to squeeze it into a review this size represents a travesty. Suffice to say that the balance that has been struck here will single this out as the best episode of the run so far. For anyone still foolish enough to have missed out on The Orville do yourself a favour and start watching it on catch up. You literally have no idea what you are missing.