David A. Goodman, who was the former writer and producer for Enterprise, recently talked about the similarities between The Orville and Star Trek.
For many Star Trek fans, Star Trek: Discovery will never be their cup of tea. Whether it be the serialized storytelling approach or the fact the show is only available on the CBS All Access streaming service, some fans will just never be Discovery fans.
Then of course there are the so called gatekeepers who feel the show is too diverse for them or that it is shoving political correctness down their throats. For those “fans” there will be no pleasing them because their entire argument is absurd. Best to just move on and shake your head at them sadly.
Anyway, most of the people who don’t enjoy Discovery have found a show they can enjoy in The Orville. The show, created by and starring Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy) features a setup very similar to Star Trek: The Next Generation in that it follows the USS Orville as it explores the galaxy and tells the stories of its crew in an episodic manner.
Of course, given The Orville was created by the same mind that gave us Family Guy, there is more humor and the show takes itself just a bit less seriously. But McFarlane has said the show is his love letter to Star Trek and a show he has wanted to do since he was a child.
That Trek feeling The Orville has is also helped by the presence of David A. Goodman on the production staff. Goodman previously worked on Star Trek: Enterprise as a writer and producer and is an executive producer on The Orville.
In a recent interview with Trek Movie.com, Goodman talked about the second season finale of The Orville and the obvious similarities the show has to Next Generation. One point he made clear however, was that while the premises are analogous, he feels the characters on The Orville are much more real.
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I think our characters are more flawed than the Next Generation characters. We embrace that society has become much better, but people haven’t necessarily. They are still jealous; they still get pissed off. One of my favorite scenes is in the season premiere where Ed steals a shuttle and spies on Kelly with her new boyfriend, which was Seth’s idea. To me, that is great. This captain on this ship borrowing a shuttlecraft to spy on his ex-wife while she is making out with her boyfriend. That is not something you would ever see Captain Picard do.
In addition, Goodman talked about canon and that the writers of The Orville are aware of it and are using Star Trek and other popular franchises as their model.
With Star Trek, I feel the reason it survived and had such an attraction to fans, is that even though the episodes were standalone, it was clear whoever was making sure of this – whether it was de Forest Research or Gene Coon or Gene Roddenberry himself – they were making sure each episode fit in the universe. Warp speed was consistent in every episode. The Federation and Starfleet Command were consistent. There was a way in which this world exists. That is the same thing in Buffy and Firefly and Game of Thrones and any of the shows with huge fanbases in a fantasy world is the way that feels like this world exists and that the creators are respecting the audience’s memory.
While I don’t necessarily agree that The Orville is more Star Trek than Discovery, it is a great show that any fan of Kirk or Picard would enjoy. And thankfully there is more than enough room in the galaxy for several science-fiction franchises to live peacefully together.