STAR TREK: DISCOVERY vs. THE ORVILLE – Should CBS be worried? (Part 2)

Last time, I discussed the recent release by two of the major networks of official trailers for their new sci-fi shows debuting for the upcoming 2017 season.  CBS, of course, unveiled STAR TREK: DISCOVERY, while FOX surprised (many) genre fans with a new Star Trek-ish series from Seth MacFarlane titled THE ORVILLE.  Both trailers were viewed millions of times with thousands of comments.  But what was very intriguing came from the thumbs-up/thumbs-down ratios.

The trailer for Star Trek: Discovery has about two and a half times more thumbs-down reactions than the trailer for The Orville.  Some misunderstood my previous blog and thought I was calling this a competition—as though fans were going to choose EITHER Discovery OR Orville.  Not quite.  Many fans (like me) might choose to watch both series.

But what makes this interesting is that we have a pretty close comparison of trailers and their reactions from viewers.  The two shows are coveting essentially the same audience (Trekkies and sci-fi fans), so the trailers and series themselves are unmistakably in the same “marketing category.”  The two trailers have almost the same run-length (2.5 minutes) and were released at nearly the same time using the same platform (Youtube).  But beyond that, the two networks are going in very different directions.

CBS is making Discovery available only through paid subscription streaming services (after a free preview of the pilot on CBS).  FOX is putting Orville on their regular network.  CBS went for a very unfamiliar (to Trekkers) production design with dark sets and mostly monochromatic uniforms.  FOX is using a very familiar-looking Star Trek visual approach of brightly-lit sets and and colorful uniforms.

So these two series are coveting the same kinds of fans with very different approaches.  One is very derivative of Star Trek but based within a different universe, and the other is very different but based within the Star Trek universe.  So the word “versus” in the title of this blog entry doesn’t imply that fans must make a choice but rather simply refers to putting the two series side-by-side for comparison, analyzing the very noticeable differences in fan reaction.

So with fans appearing to show a measurable preference for Orville over Discovery—admittedly using only online reaction through thumbs-up/down plus a general trend in posted comments—should CBS be worried?

Continue reading “STAR TREK: DISCOVERY vs. THE ORVILLE – Should CBS be worried? (Part 2)”

STAR TREK: DISCOVERY vs. THE ORVILLE – Should CBS be worried? (Part 1)

Before I begin, please note that the title of this blog is the question “Should CBS be worried?” and not the statement  “CBS should be worried.”  I’m pondering, not preaching.

Also, I want to mention up front that I personally enjoyed the new trailer for Star: Trek Discovery and am looking forward to at least checking out the new series.  People seem to think I’m just another Discovery hater/detractor.  Not so!  I am very much keeping an open mind.  But I’m not blind to the reality of the situation either, and that’s what this blog is about.

(And yes, I know that this is a site about fan films.  But it’s also a site about Star Trek…and it’s my blog, so I can editorialize whatever I want to.)


Last week, all of the major networks unveiled trailers for shows that will premiere during their upcoming 2017 season.  Naturally, Star Trek fans were eagerly expecting to see their first extended glimpse of the new STAR TREK: DISCOVERY series…coming to the subscription-based CBS All Access.

What fans weren’t expecting, however, was a new Star Trek-ish series from FOX starring and produced by Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy, Ted) and directed by Iron Man‘s John Favreau.  Titled THE ORVILLE, this new hour-long series looked more like the Star Trek of yore: bright sets, colorful uniforms, chest emblems with division insignia, sleek and over-lit starships (some filmed from actual physical models!), and a token alien species or two with big bumpy foreheads.  The Orville is obviously meant to be a campy tongue-in-cheek comedy, but the production values, sets, costuming, make-up, and visual FX looked like…well…WOW!

For two days, fans were aflutter with comments about this surprise new sci-fi series.  And the comments were nearly all positive, with many Trekkers suggesting that THIS was the Star Trek we’d wanted all along (minus the implied parody, of course), and wondering why CBS just didn’t get it.

Then, last Wednesday, CBS had their turn to say, “Hey, we DO get it…and here’s what OUR new Star Trek will look like.”  But did they really get it?

Continue reading “STAR TREK: DISCOVERY vs. THE ORVILLE – Should CBS be worried? (Part 1)”

STAR TREK: DISCOVERY trailer is finally shown in New York City!

Earlier today, Entertainment Weekly posted the image to the left on their website, and Trek fans saw their first official photo from the new STAR TREK: DISCOVERY television series.  But that was only the beginning!

A few hours later, CBS showed off a series of trailers for its upcoming fall line-up—including Discovery—trying to excite advertisers to purchase commercial space for these fresh new shows.  It’s called the Upfronts, and the event takes place each year in New York City (the main hub of the advertising industry).

All of the major networks show off their fall line-ups, and each has a time-slot reserved for their presentation at a different location.  For anyone curious, here is a schedule for this year’s Upfront presentations in New York City:

Monday, May. 15
  • NBCUniversal Upfront Presentation — Radio City Music Hall, 10:30 a.m.
  • Fox Upfront Presentation  — The Beacon Theatre, 4 p.m.
Tuesday, May. 16
  • ESPN Upfront  — Minskoff Theatre, 9:15 a.m.
  • Univision Upfront Presentation — The Lyric Theatre, 11.a.m.
  • ABC Upfront Presentation — Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall, 4 p.m.
Wednesday, May. 17
  • Turner Upfront Presentation — The Theater at Madison Square Garden, 10:15 a.m.
  • National CineMedia Upfront Event — AMC Lowes Lincoln Square Theater, noon
  • CBS Upfront Presentation — Carnegie Hall, 4 p.m.
Thursday, May. 18
  • The CW Upfront — New York City Center, 11 a.m.

THE ORVILLE…coming this fall to FOX!

Some fans were suspicious that the timing of CBS’s reveal of the new trailer for Star Trek: Discovery was somehow tied to the enthusiastic fan reception for another new sci-fi show debuting on Fox, The Orville, produced by and starring SETH MacFARLANE (Family Guy, The Cleveland Show, Ted, and a bunch of other funny stuff) and directed by John Favreau (Iron Man, The Jungle Book).  An obvious spoof of Star Trek, the production values, costumes, sets, make-up, lightning, and VFX all looked top-notch…and fans were talking about this new series almost non-stop on social media Monday and Tuesday.  The Orville trailer has already been viewed on Youtube more than 1.3 million times in less than 48 hours!

Many were thinking that Orville looked better than Discovery, and some fans were musing that the strongly positive reaction to Orville scared CBS into rushing out a trailer for Discovery.  But as you can see from the schedule I included above, there was no such panic involved.  FOX went first on Monday, and CBS was simply waiting its turn today.

And now that turn has come.  Int addition to the trailer, CBS announced an extension of the first season of Discovery from 13 to 15 hour-long episodes and the addition of a weekly “Talking Trek” discussion show following the general concept of similar shows like “Talking Dead” on AMC.

Watch the trailer for Discovery here (or view a lower resolution version below if you can’t see it on the CBS site) and tell me what you think in the comments section…