2418: Slowly-rising Planetary Union officer Commander Ed Mercer arrives home to find his wife in bed with a blue-skinned alien. Not interested in talking the situation out, he leaves to seek refuge in his career in the stars.
2419: What a difference a year makes – Ed Mercer is still a commander, albeit one whose career has become even more aimless, punctuated by a few incidents of reporting for duty while hung over. (Not all differences are good ones.) Still, to his surprise, and despite his spotty career record, Mercer is offered a promotion to captain and command of the medium exploratory vessel U.S.S. Orville. He raises eyebrows at Planetary Union Central by hand-picking his somewhat uncouth old buddy Gordon Malloy to be the Orville‘s helmsman, but he has no say in the filling of the vacant first officer position, a candidate for which will be selected by the admiralty. But not in his worst nightmares does Mercer expect his new XO to also be his ex-wife.
There’s barely time for a reunion through clenched teeth before the Orville is dispatched to answer a call for aid from a scientific colony. The chief scientist there, Dr. Aronov, introduces them to a device capable of accelerating time; while he’s rattling off a litany of potentially beneficial uses, Mercer’s new security officer, Lt. Alara Kitan, wisely deduces ways it could be weaponized – and that’s why Aronov issued the vague call for help. He believes that if the warlike Krill learn of the time accelerator, they’ll descend upon the colony like a plague of locusts.
But the warlike Krill are already there, planting the seed for Mercer’s first true test as a commander.
Cast: Seth McFarlane (Captain Ed Mercer), Adrianne Palicki (Commander Kelly Grayson), Penny Johnson Jerald (Dr. Claire Finn), Scott Grimes (Lt. Gordon Malloy), Peter Macon (Lt. Commander Bortus), Halston Sage (Lt. Alara Kitan), J Lee (Lt. John LaMarr), Mark Jackson (Isaac), Victor Garber (Admiral Halsey), Brian George (Dr. Aronov), Joel Swetow (Krill Captain), Patrick Cox (Ogre), Norm MacDonald (voice of Yaphit), Christine Corpuz (Janice Lee), Sean Cook (Derek), Dylan Kenin (Krill Soldier), Dee Bradley Baker (Dr. Jorvik)
Notes: With a writing staff loaded down with veterans of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Voyager (Brannon Braga, Andre Bormanis, David A. Goodman), and Star Trek veterans aplenty among the cast (Penny Johnson Jerald played Kasidy Yates, Captain Sisko’s love interest on Deep Space Nine, while Brian George guest starred as Dr. Bashir’s estranged father on the same series), a ship – with physical filming models no less! – designed by Andrew Probert, and diehard TNG fan Seth McFarlane creating and starring, it can’t possibly be a secret to anyone at the end of the first hour that The Orville is both an homage and spoof of Star Trek: TNG. McFarlane, Braga and Goodman also collaborated on the 21st century relaunch of Cosmos, while Bormanis worked on National Geographic’s Mars series. Brian George and Dee Bradley Baker are also voice actors with many a role in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
LogBook entry by Earl Green