Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Slippin', Slippin', Slippin' Into The Future

Yesterday FOX Television released a trailer for a new Science Fiction Comedy-Drama created by, and starring Seth MacFarlane. It's called The Orville, named for the Planetary Union exploratory starship whose crew is the focus of the series.

Take a look.

Is it wrong that I'm already working out the game mechanics and adventure ideas for an 'Orville' campaign? 

No. No it is not. Before I get into that...

I'm pretty impressed with what I am seeing. Although I'm not a huge fan of MacFarlane's, I enjoyed the early seasons of Family Guy, and American Dad, and I found the humor in the trailer to work for him - and for me - even if it isn't lose-your-breath hilarious.

What was far more intriguing was the universe they are putting together - a definite parody/homage to Star Trek, but getting right a lot of the Space Opera tropes the recent efforts have gotten wrong.

This looks fun, features neat looking tech, cool spaceships, and interesting, genre appropriate aliens (including a gelatinous crewmember, and a weird, water dwelling, Muppet snake-worm-thing - haven't seen that in Star Trek). I like that the female alien security chief has seriously formidable super strength, and that the big alien Bortus is shown in command of the ship during a space battle at some point. Add in a robot crewmember who looks classic 60s-70s Sci-Fi robotic, and I'm totally sold.

Now back to gaming it...

My very first thoughts after seeing the trailer were, 'How best could I run this as a game?', and 'What system says, 'The Orville'?

Obviously I could simply adapt an existing game such as Starships & Spacemen (which this show basically is), the recently released Retrostar (that'd be neat), or even my old homebrew Galaxy Quest RPG.

At the same time, I'm getting a vibe off the show that a better approach might be a hybrid. It seems like it has funny characters, but a fairly serious premise. I am looking at something crunchier, and more serious than my Galaxy Quest rules, but at the same time lighter, and more - I don't know, 'wacky' maybe - than Starships & Spacemen.

I have some ideas rolling around in my head already. I'll develop them a little further, and see where it takes me. If anything pans out, I'll share them with you guys. If you have any ideas, please pass them on to me.

Looking forward to the adventures of the USS Orville, and whatever they inspire.

Barking Alien


  1. I knew it! Half-way through watching the trailer yesterday I thought to myself, "This is right up Barking Alien's alley".

    I'm hopeful that this won't suck. Like you I'm a bigger fan of MacFarlane's earlier content than his later but I always like his ideas. I'm just glad to see more sci-fi and space opera on my TV.

    1. Here, here!

      TV is pretty damn good right now, but we are missing a decent Space Opera. Something bold, colorful, hopeful, fun, and not so dark, and down. I think this might just be what the doctor ordered.

  2. Like you, I'm not much of a MacFarlane fan, but this trailer made me laugh several times. And, yeah, the F/X look pretty great...more than I'd expect for a television series.

    I'd try modeling it with Far Trek, dialing all the "play serious" dials waaay down.
    : )

    1. It's like, I'm not NOT a fan, I'm just not a big fan. I like his stuff when his stuff is good, which happens and has happened. It's just that sometimes it's too much. Know what I mean?

      Anyway, I might look to Far Trek for some inspiration, but I am thinking of a different system. I am not sure what I want exactly, but I'm getting there.

    2. I was thinking Far Trek too, actually.

  3. It does look a whole lot like Galaxyquest: The Series doesn't it? And that's a really good idea!