The Orville: This generations answer to Star Trek?
Warning, spoilers ahead…
The latest creation from Seth MacFarlane The Orville, aired its third episode of the season Thursday evening and much to I think everyone’s surprise, it was very thought-provoking with its social themes about “human” rights and the role of gender. In this case it would be the rights of a newborn baby.
Ever since promotional material aired throughout the summer, The Orville was compared as a cross between the original 60’s Star Trek and Star Trek: TNG of the late 80’s. MacFarlane’s creation is completely inspired by Trek with its look and feel. However that inspiration will come full circle with the airing of “About a Girl”.
The premise was quite simple yet the solution was anything but. The ships second officer, Bortas (Peter Macon) had just given birth to a healthy baby girl. Where’s the problem? Bortas is a Moclan. Moclan’s are an all-male society. Faced with the “shame” of having a daughter, Bortas and his partner Klyden (Chad Coleman) ask that the ship’s doctor (Penny Johnson Jerald) perform a sex change operation. When she refuses, Bortas seeks help from the Captain Mercer to order the sex change procedure. Mercer also refuses. This is where it gets dicey and the usual comedic nature of the show gets very serious and you know what, it works. It works brilliantly.
What I appreciate most is that arguments are being made on both sides but it never gets preachy and it never forces one stance over another. Instead, it leaves the debate for us viewers to discuss and dissect the moral implications of such personal decisions. Throw in that the debate revolves around an alien (read foreign) race and what you have here is classic Trek. Star Trek was built on such debates where the answer was seldom black and white. In the end, it was decided through a tribunal that the rights of the parents and the rights of the society in which they are a part of outweigh everything. Because there was no clear right or wrong answer, it makes the final decision both poignant and tragic. Again, very Trek like. Who knew?
The Orville airs Thursday nights on FOX.
May the Dork be with you,
The Dork Knight