Hulu’s Star Trek-Like Sci-Fi Gem Is Now Streaming on Disney Plus
The Orville is must-see television for science fiction fans.
Aug. 10, 2022 6:00 a.m. PT
More people need to watch The Orville. Hulu
The Orville: New Horizons, the third season of Seth MacFarlane’s sci-fi series, concluded last week on Hulu and makes its way to Disney Plus on Wednesday. What began life as a parody of Star Trek has evolved into a show that expands on the ethical dilemmas and social commentary the iconic sci-fi series was known for.
Plus, it has the kind of laughs expected from the creator of Family Guy and American Dad. There’s still that love of Star Trek in every episode, but The Orville’s maturation makes me enjoy it more than the series that inspired it. Both Hulu and Disney Plus subscribers can watch all three seasons to see the evolution of the show.
The series is set in the 25th century and follows the adventures of the starship USS Orville, which gets its name from Orville Wright of the Wright brothers.
MacFarlane plays Capt. Ed Mercer, who leads the ship with his second-in-command and ex-wife, Commander Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki). Like Star Trek, the crew is made up of humans and aliens exploring the far reaches of the galaxy, but its characters are more modern, with plenty of human (or alien) flaws and behaviors. They straddle the line between the almost flawless, erudite crew of the Enterprise in the original Star Trek series and The Next Generation, and the more gritty and foul-mouthed characters of Picard and Star Trek: Discovery.
Episodes focused on ethical dilemmas and commentary about modern issues are what made me a Star Trek fan, and they are what’s won me over as a fan of The Orville. There’s a sentiment about The Orville that fans put this way: “The Orville out Star Treks Star Trek.”
This third season really exemplifies the saying, with episodes focused on ethical problems that aren’t so easy to answer, in contrast to the original Star Trek and TNG, which often trod more lightly or tied up episodes with a clear decision. Like the Federation’s Prime Directive in Star Trek, The Orville’s Planetary Union has its own rules to not interfere with the customs of other civilizations, and those regulations are put to the test constantly.
A perfect example of this is the penultimate episode, Domino, where crew members develop a weapon that can easily annihilate an entire race that’s been hostile to members of the Planetary Union. This leads to the question of how to use such a device and, as expected, there’s turmoil over the ethics of the weapon, leading to another dilemma.