• Network: FOX
  • Series Premiere Date: Sep 10, 2017
Metascore
36

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 21
  2. Negative: 10 out of 21

Where To Watch

Stream On

Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Terry Terrones
    Sep 11, 2017
    58
    While the series is initially disjointed, by episode three I had gained some insight into what MacFarlane was striving for with The Orville.
  2. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Sep 8, 2017
    57
    It mostly plays like an unproduced early 1990s “Star Trek” spinoff, complete with holodecks, replicators, alien crew members and missions of the week. It’s also pretty dull.
  3. Reviewed by: Michael Starr
    Sep 21, 2017
    50
    It’s got top-notch special effects and terrific makeup (for its space-alien characters). But it just doesn’t quite gel. At least not yet, anyway.
  4. TV Guide Magazine
    Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Sep 14, 2017
    50
    The show's smirky tone, embodied in MacFarlane's smug frat-boy demeanor as the captain, never quite gels with the universal humanism the episode is aiming for. [18 Sep - 1 Oct 2017, p.27]
  5. Reviewed by: Rob Lowman
    Sep 7, 2017
    50
    The humor is more throwaway and often falls flat while a lot of the drama can become stiffly serious. It’s not that the series is badly made. The action and effects are decent. The cast is fine, though the characters are still mostly unformed. ... Viewers may find the tone of series perplexing.
  6. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Sep 7, 2017
    50
    The Orville needs considerable work to accomplish whatever it wants to be--assuming that MacFarlane and company even have that answer. For now it’s boldly but very unsteadily going forth, with its jokes working here and there while the action and “messages” bump along at best.
  7. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    Sep 7, 2017
    50
    The outcome is an ersatz facsimile of the original “Trek” and a couple of spinoffs. Their heart and overall spirit are present, along with some decent special effects. The dumb jokes and ham-fisted setup lines just tend to diminish them.
  8. Reviewed by: Dan Fienberg
    Sep 6, 2017
    50
    The retro-futuristic effects in The Orville work well, and the show looks like it cost Fox a fair amount of money. Whether viewers will respond to sincerity and professionalism, but limited mirth and very few thrills, when they've been promised Seth MacFarlane hilarity remains to be seen.
  9. Reviewed by: Erik Adams
    Sep 7, 2017
    42
    What results is a show that isn’t so much daring in its flexibility as it is exhausting in its lack of cohesion. The pilot trudges through scene after scene of setup, and subsequent episodes don’t get much peppier.
  10. Reviewed by: Mike Hale
    Sep 8, 2017
    40
    The Orville seems to be less about comedy or science-fiction than about Ed Mercer’s middle-age angst, expressed primarily through his peevish anger toward his ex-wife.
  11. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Sep 8, 2017
    40
    While The Orville clearly demonstrates its fondness for a show that promised to boldly go where others hadn't, it feels like MacFarlane and his crew are taking a sizable step backwards.
  12. Reviewed by: Ken Tucker
    Sep 11, 2017
    30
    Except for Norm Macdonald as the voice of an alien made of what looked like quivering gelatin, I didn’t find much that was amusing about The Orville’s space odyssey. ... From its opening scene with Victor Garber assigning Ed his ship to the final, unsuspenseful shootout with alien enemies, The Orville moved from one lull to another.
  13. Reviewed by: Caroline Framke
    Sep 8, 2017
    30
    It’s almost impossible to know whether there are too many jokes in The Orville or too few, both because the show doesn’t seem at all confident in whether it should even be making jokes at all, and because the jokes that are in the show are bad.
  14. Reviewed by: Liz Shannon Miller
    Sep 8, 2017
    25
    The lack of creativity is clear, given how it takes the basic framework of a “Trek” series and files off the serial numbers. But morally, it’s hard to imagine how anyone involved with this project could be comfortable with walking onto that set, watching those episodes, and seeing how blatant the imitation is.
  15. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Sep 5, 2017
    25
    At times, Orville feels like an uncomplicated paean to the original “Star Trek.” There are a few moments of humor, but they feel half-hearted, almost as though someone said, “Hey, you created ‘Family Guy.’ Write something funny.” At other times, the show wants to make social commentary.
  16. Reviewed by: Dave Nemetz
    Sep 5, 2017
    25
    The Orville feels like a vanity project, plain and simple, and while it might be fun for MacFarlane to run around shooting phasers and playing Captain Kirk, it’s not much fun to watch. Because it doesn’t work as comedy. It doesn’t work as sci-fi. It just doesn’t work at all.
  17. Reviewed by: Chris Cabin
    Sep 6, 2017
    20
    By playing it safe and showing a truly breathtaking lack of creativity, The Orville can’t even claim to be better than the myriad of Star Trek fan films that can currently be found on YouTube.
  18. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Sep 6, 2017
    20
    Virtually every joke in The Orville is out on an island. At times, it’s not even clear what the joke is meant to be, but simply that there is one. And while it’s a relief that Palicki isn’t playing the disapproving woman who rolls her eyes at the naughty dude at the center of the story, none of the writers seem to know what to do with her, either.
  19. Reviewed by: Kelly Lawler
    Sep 6, 2017
    20
    There are too few jokes for it to truly feel like a comedy (despite appearing that way in early promos), but attempts at humor muddy the series' ambitions as a pure sci-fi adventure. By flirting with two genres, MacFarlane has created a messy series that lacks focus.
  20. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Sep 8, 2017
    10
    The show is an airless vacuum, with only a few nominal attempts at ironic wit.
  21. Reviewed by: Maureen Ryan
    Sep 6, 2017
    10
    An air of self-congratulation hangs over the entire hour, as if MacFarlane, who wrote it, couldn’t get over his awe at his own bravery in engaging with a difficult, complex topic.
User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 814 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 84 out of 814
  1. Sep 11, 2017
    10
    This show did its intended job ... it was funny & entertaining. The cast, set, and story line were spot on. The "pro critics" should eitherThis show did its intended job ... it was funny & entertaining. The cast, set, and story line were spot on. The "pro critics" should either get new jobs or stop reviewing shows of the genre. Generally speaking, pro critics know nothing about entertainment. Fire them all. Full Review »
  2. Sep 10, 2017
    9
    From my impressions of the first episode, and the previews of episodes to come, I'm seeing a fairly bright future in this. And it's a shame,From my impressions of the first episode, and the previews of episodes to come, I'm seeing a fairly bright future in this. And it's a shame, really, to see the critical misunderstanding most reviewers have had about the show. This is *not* a straight comedy show. It is, at its core, a spiritual successor to Star Trek, while at the same time poking fun at the series, as well as sci fi in general. Many critics seem to be complaining that the show was not consistently funny. This would be a fair complaint if the show had many jokes, most of which fell flat. However, the fact is that the show has a handfull of jokes sprinkled throughout the episode, most of which are chuckle-worthy throwaway lines, and character-building moments.

    However, misunderstandings don't warrant a 9/10 on metacritic. What is actually worth watching about this show?

    The Characters:
    Each character presented in this is fairly well defined and has remarkably interesting synergy with each other. The writing is snappy enough to be interesting while distinct between characters as to not seem as if it's grasping for quotable lines. While the writing is nowhere near on-par with the likes of Xavier, it helps carry the story along fairly nicely, and retains that genuine charm which Star Trek performed so distinctly and prominently in its formative years.

    The Production:
    The show, simply put, looks like Star Trek. It is clear that the editors and effects artists put great thought into making it look authentically like a Star Trek show. Everything from the shots to the lighting evokes the classic style of Star Trek to a tee (though perhaps more DS9 than TNG). While by no means do visuals save or doom a show, the effort put into the aesthetics of the show demonstrate the care which went into it. This work is all in service of portraying a familiar, yet distinct and genuine science fiction world, with meshes of old and new imagery.

    The Plot:
    Though little has been shown as to the overarching narrative, and whether or not the show is serialized, episodic, or a mix of the two, the pacing and content of the plot in this show is strangely compelling. You'd think from what is ostensibly a parody show that the writing plays the whole thing fairly loosey goosey, but in practice, the narrative actually has some stakes. The characters are likeable enough as to where you want to see them make it through to the end, and it is made clear from the offset that characters can and will die if something goes wrong. The only issue I found in the story was that the enemy alien race, The Krill (?), seemed a bit too grunt-y to be considered an actual threat. They're quickly dispatched by the main cast, which is by no means filled with combatants. However, given the glimpses we've seen of the future episodes, this is by no means the biggest threat planned for the cast.

    Overall, I'd say the show is enjoyable so far. I may amend the score in future if the quality declines. However, in a time where we haven't seen anything really interesting come of Star Trek in decades, seeing something like this which tastefully and respectfully evokes the charm of the old show is, perplexingly, a breath of fresh air. Definitely give it a go for yourself.
    Full Review »
  3. Sep 11, 2017
    9
    This show is bright, optimistic and a real breath of fresh air in a genre that has gone dark, serious and gritty - whether we wanted it to orThis show is bright, optimistic and a real breath of fresh air in a genre that has gone dark, serious and gritty - whether we wanted it to or not. If it cuts back on the forced gags, let's the humour flow more naturally and concentrates on sci-fi, it could become a real gem. Good luck Seth. I applaud the vision and critics be damned. Full Review »