London Travel Log Day One + “The Orville” Review

“Woah, I’m finally going to London!”, was the first thought that popped into my mind on the morning of the 25th of September. I’ve been a big fan of the British science-fiction television show, Doctor Who, since 2012 (before its 50th Anniversary in 2013 and later, Netflix, made it more popular in Singapore, if I might add). Going to the UK, especially to get Doctor Who souvenirs, has thus been on my bucket list since then.

However, to tick that off the list, I had to first survive the nearly 14-hour flight between Singapore and London. Seeing that my longest flight before this was a comparatively short 8 flight to Sydney, boarding SQ308 was definitely going to be a challenge.

Fortunately, I found a show in the KrisWorld catalogue which I have been wanting to watch for a while, the Orville, but couldn’t, because it was only available on pricey FOX (cable TV), legally anyways. I was pleasantly surprised by the how good the show was, given that I thought it was going to be a sub-par comedic spoof/parody on Star Trek. (I’ve included a short review of the first few episodes at the end of this post!)

A couple episodes of that, an assortment of movies and many Singapore Slings later, we touched down at Heathrow.

We took the Heathrow Express to central London, which was expensive, but got us there in a quarter of the time it would normally take. We stayed at a hotel near High Street Kensington, which I was surprised to discover to be a pretty “high-SES” neighbourhood.

Jet-lag, sadly, took its toll on us, as we fell straight to sleep the moment we laid on our beds. Thus, our first “day” in London ended anti-climactically.

Watch this space, because I’ll be uploading more about my trip to London/Europe! 

Review of the first four episodes of “The Orville”

“The Orville” was created by Seth MacFarlane, the same producer who worked on shows like Family Guy. Set in the early 25th Century, it centres around a Planetary Union officer, Ed Mercer (played by Seth MacFarlane) who is picking up the pieces from a recent divorce. Despite recent sub-par performance, Mercer gets offered the opportunity to captain an exploratory vessel, The U.S.S. Orville. Superficially, it seemed like this would mean smooth-sailing and tranquil and peaceful operations for Mercer; but this is where the fun merely begins as the crew of the Orville are thrust into unexpected and sticky situations.

Given its premise, costume design and fleeting trailer, I was expecting a sub-par comedic spoof/parody on Star Trek (not unlike elements of that one Black Mirror episode; “U.S.S. Callister”). However, I found it to be well-crafted, both narratively and stylistically. I was pleasantly surprised to find the show tackling the ethical and related implications surrounding some issues, such as animal and human/gender rights, but with a twist. In one episode, the crew try to convince their mono-gender alien crewmate (his whole species are male) to consider the ramifications of forcing a controversial gender-change operation on their new-born girl. (Their race view females as weak and likely to be ostracised amongst the sea of males) Instead of merely flooding one with quick-fire arguments, the episode slowly builds up the tension, which gets resolved in an unexpected ending. Each self-contained episode mainly deals with one issue. At the same time, “The Orville” also communicates the debate surrounding the issues through smart, witty and sometimes tongue-in-cheek manner. It makes them much more easily digestible than if it was in a purely written form. I am definitely going to continue watching this show when I get back! I might even consider subscribing to a streaming service that has “The Orville” in its catalogue (as long as it’s not too exorbitant)!

 

 

 

 

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