Fox, inept as ever when it comes to SF, has been pushing The Orville as some kind of boffo-laughs sci-fi comedy. It isn't.
It is, however, pretty good for what it is: a kind of cousin to the original Star Trek with a thin "fourth wall:" The Orville is self-aware SF adventure with some humor. The writers, director and actors know when they're wading through familiar tropes, and they know you know -- and they're not averse to throwing the audience a quick wink over it.
Despite that, the world-building holds up far better than you might expect, helped along by slightly rumpled uniforms and a future universe that isn't quite as slick as it aspires to be. If the writers can continue to walk the tightrope -- especially in dialog -- between stereotype and satire, between too real and too cute, it's going to be great fun. And if they fall short, it will still be fun.
Rolling-on-the-floor, bigtime laugh riot? Nope. This show is too fond of its source material to go for the easy laugh, at least in the pilot. Instead, it delivered a fun drama -- verging on melodrama -- with a couple of narrative threads and clever solutions to familiar problems.
Watch it while you can. There are 13 episodes ready to roll and from there.... I have no faith in Fox not meddling with or cancelling the series and that's too bad; it deserves a good run.
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