This could've been a premise on any episode of Star Trek. The Orville meets up with a fellow Union ship broadcasting a distress signal and carrying Ed Mercer's parents. When Mercer (MacFarlane) and ex-wife/first officer Kelly (Adrianne Pallicki from Agents of SHIELD and Friday Night Lights) take a shuttle over to help out, the fellow ship turns out to be a hologram. They are whisked off to the zoo of a "higher level species" while Lt. Alara is left in command all by herself despite her inexperience. While Mercer and Kelly figure out the hopelessness of their imprisonment, Alara has the classic character arc of coming to terms with the responsibilities of leadership. Eventually she learns not only confidence in asserting herself but the confidence necessary for breaking the rules to go rescue their captain and first officer. They succeed, she gets a medal, and Bortus lays an egg. No really.
Remember when Star Trek was good?
Back before special effects and "mainstream" influences took over the franchise and slowly bled the heart out? When they could launch a fourth spin-off and propel a second TV cast to the big screen based solely on themes of humanity and it's betterment? You know, twenty to thirty years ago when you had to sit through commercial breaks and listen to five minute long opening credit themesongs in order to see the latest breakthroughs in forehead prosthetics? Remember, "Make it so," and "Number One" and "Shields up! Red Alert!"? (Bonus if you remember which crew member is "fully functional")
Well, so does Seth MacFarlane, creator of Family Guy (and various other shows and films), and he just happens to feel like going down Nostalgia Lane with us to reminisce about the good old days of television sci-fi. He's clearly a Trekkie at heart and he's filled his crew behind the scenes with much of the same talent that brought us the old Trek. So is this some kind of a joke? Or is he trolling CBS/Paramount for a copywrite lawsuit? Just what the heck is The Orville supposed to be?
These are my favorite comics. Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Iron Fist (and Luke Cage appears in each of them). These aren't just comics that I like a lot, in a subjective sense. These are among my best comics, objectively. The writing, the artwork, the social commentary, character building, all of it comes together with a degree of literary cohesion and sophistication that most comic books only dream of.
The Brubaker/Fraction/Aja run on Iron Fist. The Bendis/Gaydos run on Jessica Jones. Countless Daredevil runs by way more than just Frank Miller.
These are the jewels in my collection. And Netflix has made them into four shows. And now they put those shows together.
Make no mistake, Wonder Woman hangs on one thing: the performance of Gal Gadot and the expressions of her dark, aquiline, Israeli eyes. If you are not entranced with her intense innocence, her fierce resilience, or her empathetic grace, than you will undoubtedly shrug at this otherwise overly conventional and old-fashioned style superhero/fantasy flick. However, you will also be a weird outlier with no heart or soul. So... Good luck with that, you contrarian Philistine.
Wonder Woman proves that if you can do one right thing really well, you can get away with mediocrity everywhere else and audiences will adore it. Heck, they may not even notice in the first place. And Wonder Woman does that thing every time Diana Prince, played by Gal Gadot, takes center frame and unleashes the power of her fierce feminine gaze.
Star Trek Beyond came out almost a year ago and I liked it quite well. It was no Undiscovered Country or Wrath of Khan, but it was fun and enjoyable and sometimes that's all you can hope for with Star Trek. I never wrote a review because, quite frankly, there wasn't all that much to say. Fast and Furious director Justin Lin did a fine job remaining faithful to both the aesthetic established by JJ Abrams when he rebooted it a few years ago, as well as the characters themselves. But a few cleverly framed visual sequences aside, he didn't exactly push the story in any new directions or expand the mythology much.
I finally got around to watching it again and this time I think I can put my finger on why this passable installment that had quite favorable reviews (in a summer movie schedule otherwise rife with disappointing duds) still somehow managed to be... only okay?
It let spectacle and plot overwhelm the themes and characters. And this can kill your story too and leave it merely okay when it otherwise had the potential to be resonant.