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The Orville’s season finale goes out without a single bang The Orville’s season finale goes out without a single bang

In anticipation of tonight’s season finale, I wondered last week who was going to get punched in what would surely be a wiz-bang send-off. No one got punched. In fact, tonight’s episode was surprisingly anti-climactic. And I mean that in a good way. It’s a satisfying defiance of convention that the central problem of…

We meet John LaMarr again for the first time on a solid Orville We meet John LaMarr again for the first time on a solid Orville

Every time the Orville had a really good show this season, I found myself wondering, “Is this it? Has the show finally found its stride?” Only for the following week to be a letdown. But not only was “New Dimensions” another enjoyable episode after last week’s parade of horrors, it offered a second, much better…

The Orville gets spooky in an enjoyable episode The Orville gets spooky in an enjoyable episode

After last week’s gross episode, The Orville rebounds with a solidly enjoyable adventure. Tonight’s episode, “Firestorm,” is essentially a redux of the season’s second episode, “Command Performance,” that once again places Alara at the center in order to address her lack of self-confidence and anxiety in response to…

On The Orville, an old friend returns On The Orville, an old friend returns

Maybe it’s just that today has been has been so dense with even more news about men who destroy lives just to satisfy their sexual needs, but I don’t know if I was in the mood to watch an episode of The Orville about a man who blithely goes through life causing chaos and death in the wake of his myopic desire to…

In an excellent episode, Dr. Finn emerges as The Orville's best character In an excellent episode, Dr. Finn emerges as The Orville's best character

Tonight we learned nothing comes in the way of a mother’s love; not even a war-torn moon festering with alien plague cannibals. With “Into the Fold,” The Orville continues to build up its first season with episodes focusing on individual crew members. It’s a smart approach, since it gives us a chance to deepen our…

In a weak episode, The Orville tackles social media for no good reason   In a weak episode, The Orville tackles social media for no good reason  

Even if you haven’t already seen the Black Mirror episode “Nosedive” (or really any episode of Black Mirror), or the Community episode, “App Development and Condiments,” or had a passing, idle conversation with a friend or relative about how folks really have their noses buried in their phones these days, it’s…

The Orville explores a stock villain in an episode that's strong on story, but weak on jokes The Orville explores a stock villain in an episode that's strong on story, but weak on jokes

The Orville’s best humor comes from playing off of the unlimited possibilities of a sci-fi setting. The funniest part of this week’s episode happened in the cold open, when the crew discovers Bortus’ race adapted to consume almost anything for nourishment. Naturally, this leads to an enjoyable bit where everyone…

With a little help from a guest star, The Orville feels like it’s finally coming into its own With a little help from a guest star, The Orville feels like it’s finally coming into its own

For its first four episodes, The Orville was like breathing in thin atmosphere. All the potential richness of an outer space adventure series with comedic overtones (or however the show wants to bill itself) felt largely untapped; and with the exception of a few strong moments, the show felt sparse. Jokes were slight…

For its penultimate episode, Transparent finds peace on the Dead Sea  For its penultimate episode, Transparent finds peace on the Dead Sea 

With members of the Pfeffermans either literally or figuratively wandering the desert like a lost tribe in “Desert Eagle,” “They is on the Way” is the oasis that awaits as the reward after a time of strife. Given the family’s personalities (and demands of a maintaining a dramatic show) it’s hard to imagine the…

After a promising episode, The Orville slips back into mediocrity After a promising episode, The Orville slips back into mediocrity

It’s really difficult to avoid viewing every episode of The Orville against Star Trek: The Next Generation (as an aside, why not celebrate the show’s 30th anniversary premiere by checking out Zack Handlen’s excellent series reviews). They’re not identical, of course, but it’s obvious how much The Orville cherishes TNG…

In Israel, Transparent unearths forgotten family In Israel, Transparent unearths forgotten family

Before getting into the review proper, it’s fair to disregard this episode’s grade, critiques, and misgivings entirely for a single reason: Moshe Pfefferman’s titular “Cool Guy” commercial in all its full George H.W. Bush-era (Yitzhak Shamir-era?), spray-and-teased hair glory. It’s an easy joke to recreate the…

In its best episode yet, The Orville goes to trial for a baby's happiness  In its best episode yet, The Orville goes to trial for a baby's happiness 

Seth MacFarlane has been cagey about defining his show; unwilling to call it a comedy, he instead emphasizes The Orville’s dramatic foundation. Tonight’s episode, “About A Girl,” is the first episode to offer some legitimacy to his claim. The show is dedicated solely to the ramifications of the previous episode’s…

A trip to the zoo helps elevate an otherwise average Orville A trip to the zoo helps elevate an otherwise average Orville

The Orville’s second episode, “Command Performance” returns with a more inventive plot, but still struggles with the same problems that afflicted the series premiere. Much of the positive feedback for the show highlights its optimism; after a surprisingly long-lived “dark and gritty” era in entertainment, seeing…

The Orville fails to make a strong case for its existence in a tepid series premiere  The Orville fails to make a strong case for its existence in a tepid series premiere 

Being familiar with Seth MacFarlane’s body of work, the question I was asking myself going into The Orville was not if, but how long before the show took advantage of its sci-fi trappings to make an alien dick joke. Like a phallus of Damocles hanging over the pilot, MacFarlane’s long and dedicated history of easy…

Telltale’s Guardians Of The Galaxy takes an emotional trip into Rocket Raccoon’s past Telltale’s Guardians Of The Galaxy takes an emotional trip into Rocket Raccoon’s past

Welcome to our Game In Progress review of Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy: The Telltale Series. Nick Wanserski will be reviewing each episode of Telltale’s latest game series as they are released, diving into the story so far and the choices Star-Lord has made along the way. As always, we invite you to play and…

The Wind Waker-inspired island world of Rime is a beautiful puzzle worth solving The Wind Waker-inspired island world of Rime is a beautiful puzzle worth solving

The titular sailor from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Rime Of The Ancient Mariner was forced to wear a murdered albatross around his neck as an ever-present reminder of the sin we are all chained to. The unnamed hero of Rime, developer Tequila Works’ latest title, isn’t forced to do anything as literal as sport a dead sea…

The crushing disappointment of a game that looks better than it plays The crushing disappointment of a game that looks better than it plays

In Art Of The Game, Nick Wanserski explores how visual design shapes video, tabletop, and role-playing games.

Pt. 1—Shoot first, have meaningful conversations later in Telltale’s Guardians Of The Galaxy Pt. 1—Shoot first, have meaningful conversations later in Telltale’s Guardians Of The Galaxy

Welcome to our Game In Progress review of Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy: The Telltale Series. Nick Wanserski will be reviewing each episode of Telltale’s latest game series as they are released, diving into the story so far and the choices Star-Lord has made along the way. As always, we invite you to play and…

In Make Trouble, John Waters politely asks graduates to raise hell In Make Trouble, John Waters politely asks graduates to raise hell

When John Waters announced his book, Make Trouble, my mind reeled at the possibilities. It’s exciting to imagine what kind of book Waters could compile, from his early years as a criminal filmmaker scumbag to one of pop culture’s most esteemed filmmaker scumbags. While Waters has five other books to his name, most…

Here are the new albums to expect this April Here are the new albums to expect this April

Every Friday, dozens of new records are released into the wild. Some make big splashes, and others sink almost immediately. For most music consumers, it’s almost too much information, and save for those precious few who spend their hours glued to review sites and release calendars, it’s hard to know what’s coming out…

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