A modest proposal for ‘Discovery’ and ‘The Orville’
Before the month is over, we’ll have two new shows set on starships, and I might even be reviewing them both. (CBS/Fox)
A mere 24 hours ago, I didn’t even know what the plan was, or if there would be one. Now I think I might have a plan. Whether I can stick to the plan is another question entirely. Whether the plan will make sense in even a few weeks I can’t even begin to guess. But I am going to press ahead with this plan, perhaps foolishly.
Here is the plan: I will attempt to review both Star Trek: Discovery and The Orville beginning this fall (starting this Sunday or shortly thereafter with The Orville, and Sept. 24 with Discovery). In my circles, there seems to be a good deal of interest in both.
This plan might very well be completely stupid and quickly abandoned. My wife, kids, and desire for sleep will help me decide that.
You all might help me decide that as well, by confirming whether my gauge of your interest in Discovery and The Orville (and my reviews for them) has been right or wrong.
Some background into my thinking here: It has become clear to me the reviewing game has changed in the several years since I last attempted to regularly do it with newly airing shows. TV episode reviews are everywhere, and people expect reviews to be posted within hours, not days, of an episode airing. The days of yore when I would go days or even weeks (hell, even months) before posting my take on an aired episode don’t make sense anymore. That’s because the discussion happens — on my own site — whether I weigh in or not.
In many cases in the past few years, I’ve found the discussion starts before I even have a post in place for where that discussion should actually happen. People start posting on whatever conveniently adjacent post is nearby. (So I’d get posts about the latest Discovery news happening in the Star Trek Beyond comments, for example.) This is confusing and annoying, but I understand why it happens. I also know that this is the chaotic future I’m in for in a few weeks if I don’t have a better plan for opening up a new discussion thread for when weekly episodes are being dropped.
Hence the plan: I will do my best to weigh in as quickly as possible, but before that even happens, I will try to post empty placeholders for each episode, hopefully on the day it airs. This will allow you to discuss it in the proper place in lieu of my own pending review.
As for what the actual reviews will look like: Shorter. Much shorter. I can’t do long-winded essays anymore with any hope to keep up. It’s just not gonna happen. So I won’t cover as much ground, I’ll scale way back on the synopsis and I will not be nearly as detailed or comprehensive. At best, you can hope for a latter-season TNG-length review. That would be ideal. But it honestly may not even be that long. We’ll see what I am able to churn out and how quickly it happens. It might end up as bullet points. I make zero promises here. Only tentative plans. I hate to sacrifice quality for the sake of feeding the assembly line, but this is what this experiment must be if it’s to happen at all. And I would like it to happen, if for no other reason than so I can participate with y’all.
In terms of priority, it goes Discovery first, and then The Orville a distant second. If push comes to shove, The Orville will get de-prioritized and possibly dropped from the site. Official Trek still remains my priority.
But I’m looking forward to watching both shows. Both boast veterans of the Trek franchise even as they, in some ways, appear to offer dueling philosophies. Discovery seems to be going all-in on the 21st-century streaming video serialized approach with a more modern and darker take. Meanwhile, Seth MacFarlane is doing his shameless homage and nostalgia thing to the 1980s and 1990s which he holds dear. But we’ll see how it turns out after the shows actually start airing.
I’ve added links to both new site sections (Star Trek: Discovery and The Orville) on my site’s home page, as well as in the main navigation. Within each new section I’ll add links to individual new episodes as they air, and then add my reviews to those posts after I’ve written them. Until then, there’s a general discussion thread where you can talk about the series at large.
Because all of this exists in my review site using all that infrastructure — very little of which is automated and must be individually updated by hand — there may or may not be weekly updates of the home page’s main photo, article links, or any cross-posts to the blog to invoke the RSS feed update. You’ll have to come back and visit the new Discovery and Orville pages each week to see if they’ve been updated. That’s the price I (and you) must pay in order to be able to manage this without a huge ordeal.
(It’s true I could do this much more quickly and efficiently if I posted all these new reviews in my blog here via WordPress. You may recall I actually tried that approach with Caprica seven years ago. But doing so creates its own host of problems since the blog does not connect directly back to the other site’s infrastructure, and all the comments would exist outside the integrated Comment Stream, which is clearly not what we want here.)
But I’m digressing into technical matters you don’t care about, so I’ll stop now. I’ll talk again soon when we have new shows to discuss.