As Strange New Worlds draws to its season close, it is getting harder and harder to choose between the weekly winners. Also, a category is getting renamed. The next Trek installment will be all animated, so a general ”Design” category seemed more appropriate than ”Special Effects, Makeup…” And with that, let’s get going with ”The Tale of Two Topas” for Orville and Strange New World’s ”All Those Who Wander.”
Mr. DAPs: “This week was a good week for music in episodes for both shows. First off, Orville had a fantastic score that honestly, I would listen to by itself. However, the score almost stood out too much and was almost bigger than the episode. I’m not sure if this was good or bad but I did find myself getting pulled into the music more than the episode at times so… perhaps not so good? Also, I am NOT a fan of When You Walk Alone! I don’t know why, that song just doesn’t connect with me. As for Strange New Worlds, I felt like it had quite a few great callbacks to older Star Trek and really accompanied the episode masterfully. It MIGHT be my favorite score for an episode yet for this season of Strange New Worlds.”
Murray: ”I really wanted to give it to Orville this week. It was a fairly good soundtrack. And there were even some lack of music in some scenes that made it more dramatic. That might seem contrary to having a music review, but it’s definitely how you use it. But, Strange New Worlds makes the music more of an emphasis, not a star. And it did a better job at emphasizing scenes and not overpowering ones. Plus the two song choices Bortus had to sing I did not find all that appealing.”
Mr. DAPs: “This week’s Strange New World was the easy win for me, in terms of design. I could leave it at that but I will elaborate. I loved all that happened with the away team down on the planet and with the Peregrine. It was a bit graphic at moments, which I wasn’t such a fan of, but overall, I liked the design for the planet, the ship, and most of the episode. I did think the Gorn wasn’t quite as good as it could have been. I also would like to see them connect with the Gorn seen in The Original Series a bit more naturally… perhaps they will evolve to that? I’m not sure.
As for the Orville, almost all of it was inside and I realized that I’m not a fan of the stairs on the Orville everywhere. It was the first time I found myself thinking about the logistics of living aboard and then also looking more in-depth at the set. As I did this, it pulled me out of the story (which was a really good story) as I started questioning if things were strong enough. On the flip side, I thought the makeup on this episode was really good. I also like the scene with the Moclan bridge that definitely seemed to connect the dots even more between the Moclans in this universe and Klingons in the Star Trek universe.
While both had good design this week, I’m going to give it to Strange New Worlds as I really liked that it seemed like they went to a real planet and on a real ship that had crashed there… instead of a soundstage where the walls can be seen as has often been the case through the years.”
Murray: ”It still bothers me how modern Strange New World’s ships look. The last shot with Uhura bothered me the most because it was supposed to show her TOS station, but with a very modern look instead. It didn’t resonate with me as well. The Gorn also weren’t rendered as well as they could have been, and I think was the first weakness in some really great cgi for the season. However, the lighting and cinematography throughout was excellent and made the episode stand out from others.
Orville didn’t feature a lot of non-ship shots. Most of it was taking place on the Orville ship. I liked the Moclan bridge at the beginning of the episode and it was a bit of an homage to Klingon ships. Makeup was excellent since it was full of various aliens. Overall the designs, makeup, and effects were some of the best of the season.”
Mr. DAPs: “This is where things get hard. Both Star Trek and The Orville delivered very well-written stories. Both of them had high emotional stakes. Both had moments that tugged at the heartstrings.
For The Orville, this week’s episode really dug into some deep issues and questions. I thought it was done in a very realistic and believable way. It definitely took the viewer on an emotional journey that surprised me as I watched it. It also set up some interesting future storylines. It was very easy to imagine this storyline happening aboard the Enterprise-D as I was watching it, which isn’t a bad thing.
Strange New Worlds had a completely different type of story. Where Orville’s stakes were more focused on people and their identities, thoughts, feelings, and emotions, and motivations, Strange New World was a fight for survival in a way that felt very much like a horror flick. In some ways, I wasn’t a fan of this just because of how graphic and dark it was at a couple of points. Those moments almost didn’t feel like Star Trek. However, I liked the resolution, sacrifice, and heart that came out of this episode. It also sets up some storylines that I presume we’ll see continue into the next season. This episode took some risks that I’m not necessarily used to seeing in a Star Trek episode and I thought they paid off. I also liked the reference to Deep Space Station K-7. I wonder if we’ll get any more of those.
I’m going it to Star Trek this week. While I think Orville had higher emotional stakes, Star Trek was a tighter story that felt more polished. I also felt that the pacing on Orville at times was drawn out and slow, especially the incredibly long walk to Bortus’ concert. While Star Trek did have its share of flaws, I felt myself totally engaged throughout the episode. I can’t wait to see what comes next week!”
Murray: ”This was a really hard week…again. And mostly because the tone between the two were so different. ‘All Those Who Wander’ was basically a horror film. ‘The Tale of Two Topas’ was a family drama. And both did well at conveying those. But, I found the Orville episode to be more emotionally gripping and contain some great resolutions to long hanging questions in the show. It really showed the maturity of characters, and it brought back some humor that has been missing this season. I really enjoyed ‘All Those Who Wander’ and thought they did a very excellent job. There was one aspect of the whole mission and plot that bothered me: If the mission is compromised you need to leave the ship! And I know the Gorn were chasing them, but you come together and travel watching each other’s backs to take them out. Then you blow up the ship. That’s just my take, but I feel like I’ve seen protocol like that in so many other Trek episodes and films. It bothered me enough to say that the winner this week, for me, was Orville.”