Two Captains Log – Weekly Review of Strange New Worlds and Orville – SNW Ep. 7 & Orville Ep. 3

Here we are again with another week of sci-fi exploration with Mr. DAPs and Murray. This week saw Strange New Worlds (SNW) facing pirates in “The Serene Squall,” while The Orville: New Horizons (OR) faced the “Mortality Paradox.” Without further ado, here are the thoughts on this week’s episodes.

Music

Mr. DAPs: This week had definitely differences between the two shows in terms of soundtracks. Orville had a soundtrack that was very adventurous and full of spirit. It definitely added to the episode and was very reminiscent of sci-fi series and movies of the 90s. It was definitely enjoyable. For the most part, Strange New Worlds had a soundtrack that, while worked, wasn’t necessarily memorable. It did what it needed to do but it wasn’t a home run.

Murray: “SNW this week had a subtle, but effective soundtrack. It wasn’t very obvious, but that is a good thing where it can enhance scenes without stealing the show. OR did have unique music, but it was rather noticeable for me throughout. The tone was constant, which could have been a very stylistic choice. However, it made it too punctuated in some scenes because nothing was broken up musically.”

Special Effects, Makeup, Etc.

Mr. DAPs: This week’s episodes of Orville and Strange New Worlds definitely were quite different in terms of their special effects, makeup, and more. Where the music for Orville was far superior this week, Strange New Worlds took the cake for its special effects and makeup. To me, Orville felt like a lot of the old Twilight Zone episodes in terms of quality. Decades ago, this was great. In 2022, it missed the mark. On the flipside, Strange New Worlds had visual effects that were beautiful to look at. The makeup was great this week as well, especially with some of the guest stars. Star Trek was definitely the better-looking show this week.

Murray: “OR didn’t have a lot of visuals in this week’s episode. Much of the scenes took place in modern-day settings, and that made it a nice feature to have some great set design. But, there were a couple of cgi effects that looked…well…cheap. It didn’t come across as realistic. And I’m a bit concerned with the animation of cgi creatures that it isn’t too fluid which might keep happening in later episodes.

For Star Trek, there was some great makeup, costumes, and even effects happening for SNW this week. From asteroid dodging to an Orion captain, they were on their game for everything looking great and seamless.”

Story

Mr. DAPs: It was surprising this week to see how different the stories were. Orville had an episode that seemed to be a highlight reel that was a mix of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Twilight Zone. While there were some clever ideas with this and overall it could have been a fun idea, it just didn’t engage in a way that it could have.

Strange New Worlds this week was a pleasantly enjoyable episode that had some fun twists and turns throughout the course of the show. There were some good relational dynamics and some fun plot surprises. It was also nice to get to see some more depth of the different characters in the show. This was particularly true to see more of Captain Pike, Spock, and also Nurse Chapel. I’m looking forward to seeing where things go this season with all three of them.

Murray: “Orville’s episode seemed to be a rehashing of similar plots in Star Trek episodes. But, there were two big twists at the end that really changed it up. At the same time ‘Mortality Paradox’ felt like a Twilight Zone episode. The crew seemed stuck in the fifth dimension, and there was a heightened tension to go with it. The ending, though advancing much of the expanded universe of the show, was a little anti-climactic. The crew seemed fine with the outcome, but it was a very terrible circumstance. It seemed like more was needed to be addressed.

‘The Serene Squall’ was a fun and adventurous episode for SNW. I very much liked how they brought T’Pring back in and explored the dynamics between Spock and Nurse Chapel. All of this was in the middle of a space pirate fight! Though I found the episode predictable in ways (for me it was obvious who the villain was), it had a very Guardians of the Galaxy feel for me, which is just plain fun. This episode expanded on the Star Trek mythos as well, and pulled from a movie! It could have been a full movie in ways, but they did a great job at making it an episode format.”

This Week’s Winner

Mr. DAPs: This week had a clear winner for me. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds was the winner on most categories, other than the music. It moved the story forward in terms of the over-arching plot, and character development, it also had better makeup/visual effects. While both shows were enjoyable to watch this week, Orville just simply felt a bit tired. I hope that next week it has its usual energy again. I’m looking forward to seeing where both of these shows continue to go in their respective seasons!

Murray: “This week was hard for me. Both shows had episodes that advanced the mythos for their respective franchises. Both had some tense plots, though approached it differently. But, I have to give the win to Strange New Worlds. It had some light-hearted fun to it, and did well at showing the relationships between characters more. The surprise at the end that connected to Star Trek 5 was great and put it over the top. Orville’s music and effects took away from the plot for me too, which didn’t help make it the clear winner. So, this week it goes to Trek!”

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