Friday, December 1, 2017

The Orville--"New Dimensions"

     Here we are at the penultimate episode of The Orville's first season. If the time since the show's premiere seems short, hold on to the sensation. The show has been renewed, but it is not likely to return until fall 2018. We have a long wait ahead of us after next week's finale. It does not help one of the first season installments will be delayed until the second season.
     “New Dimensions” revisits the frequent theme of crew members struggling to believe in themselves. In this case, it is mercer and LaMarr facing self-reflection. Mercer is filled with self-doubt when he learns Grayson pulled strings for him to be awarded a command. He learns this while she is advocating for LaMarr, who is brilliant, but a goof off, to be promoted to chief engineer. LaMarr does not want the job because of the responsibility. Naturally, both Mercer and LaMarr face a crisis in which they both prove their capabilities to themselves.
     “New Dimensions” is not a bad episode, but it rehashes elements that have gone on before. A spacial anomaly causes yet another incident for the crew to overcome. Yet another crew member is torn up with self-doubt, but is proven worthy in the end. Mercer keeps flip flopping between a capable commander and a whiny, insecure teenager. Hopefully, the time until next season's premiere will give the writing staff a chance to develop some different character themes with which to work. The special effects were quite good. We got plenty of views of a 2-dimensional civilization and scenes of a shuttle towing the Orville to safety.
     The humor often falls flat here. I laughed out loud a couple times, but generally the humor was thin. For instance, Yafit excuses mercer of racism because laMarr is being considered for chief engineer even though he is next in line for the job. The plot line serves no other purpose that I can discern other than to be funny, but it really is not. Perhaps it is fluffy filler. Whatever the case, I did not see the point.
     Yes, I note the TNG homage. LaForge was promoted from the comm to chief engineering the same as LaMarr has been. It is a neat nod to one of The Orville's primary influences.
     Rating: *** (out of 5)

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