It’s no secret that the creator of The Orville, SETH MacFARLANE, is a major Trekkie. He’s said as muchin interviews. But few fans realized that Seth’s preoccupation with our favorite sci-fi franchise went BEYOND simply watching it or collecting stuff or even doing Captain Kirk impressions. Yep, Seth MacFarlane actually made his own Star Trek fan film!
And no, I’m not talking about The Orville (although many have argued that he’s made a kind of Star Trek “fan film” in creating that show). I’m talking about an honest-to-goodness amateur Star Trek fan film…where a teenaged Seth sits in the center seat on a home-made bridge set, wearing a do-it-yourself command tunic, barking orders at a friend wearing pointed ears while an AMT model of the refit USS Enterprise—complete with a drooping left nacelle—speeds across a blue screen chroma-keyed with a cheesy black hole space effect.
Here, take a look…
But believe it or not, Seth MacFarlane would go on to have many MORE opportunities to publicly geek out as a Trekkie…from playing James T. Kirk on real TV to hiring Patrick Stewart and even appearing on two actual Star Trek episodes!
At first, I was thinking, “Yeesh! This is as bad as the critics were saying!” I thought of all the things I could say to try to sugarcoat my disappointment in this new series that I’d been looking forward to all summer. “Hey, the pilot episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation wasn’t much to write home about either.” (And it wasn’t!) “Come to think of it, the pilots for DS9 and especially Voyager kinda sucked, too.”
But hey, if you’re gonna try to prop up the pilot of a new series by saying that other pilots sucked, too, then you’re pretty much admitting that the pilot for The Orville sucked, right? And even if TNG, DS9, and Voyager eventually did get better, there was no guarantee that The Orville would follow suit.
But then a strange thing happened: it did get better!
In fact, by the time the episode came back from the midway 30-minute commercial break, the pilot was actually quite a lot of fun to watch. It was exciting, engaging, well-paced, and intelligent. Even the stupid jokes weren’t falling quite as flat as they had in the first two acts.