The Era of Orville Props Has Officially Begun

Over a decade after the last Star Trek show warped off of television, we finally have a new series in the form of Star Trek: Discovery. But much to the chagrin of many old school Trek fans, Discovery has gone all in on the gritty and hyper-serialized storytelling that’s taken over TV since Starfleet last patrolled the airwaves. But for those who are looking for somewhat more lighthearted space adventures, Seth MacFarlane (of Family Guy fame) has created a show which is essentially a love-letter to Star Trek: The Next Generation called The Orville. Some have gone as far as to claim that The Orville is the true continuation of the Trek legacy, though such discussion sounds awfully close to a Holy War to us so we’ll steer clear.

Unfortunately for The Orville fans, the series doesn’t have nearly the commercial draw of Trek. Accordingly, the market for things like replica uniforms and props from the show is still in its infancy, meaning fans of the show have to go the DIY route. [JohnSmallBerries] is one such fan, and his 3D printed “Comscanner” from The Orville is a shot across the bow to the well established Trek prop-making scene.

Without so much as an official toy version of the device, [John] was forced to do his initial 3D rendering based completely on screenshots from the show. Even the scale of the device had to be guessed, as it’s usually only seen being held in a crew member’s hand. In the end he reasoned it’s probably supposed to be about the size of a large smartphone.

Not content with just a static prop, [John] managed to integrate not only the spring-assisted retractable display of the scanner from the show, but also some LED backlit panels complete with a screen-accurate user interface. Judging by the internal shots of the scanner, it looks like there’s still plenty of room inside to add some more advanced electronics. The next evolution of this prop will surely be to add in a microcontroller and potentially even a real screen to add some more elaborate effects and (relatively) practical functions.

We’ve seen plenty of impressive builds of Star Trek gadgets, arguably bringing the devices much closer to reality than the original show runners ever did. It will be interesting to see if The Orville inspires a new generation of engineers to bring their favorite fictional pieces of kit into the real world.

46 thoughts on “The Era of Orville Props Has Officially Begun

  1. That show was one of the biggest surprises for me as far as new shows go. I started watching it in a “let’s see how terrible this is so I can laugh about it later” and then ended up really liking it. Similar to Lethal Weapon which I was sure was going to be absolute trash but ended up enjoying a lot.

  2. Second half of Discovery actually ended up being pretty good. Seems like once the original show runner was blown out they found better footing.

    But yeah, it still never FELT like classic Trek to me. Orville has that bright and hopeful vision of the future that TNG brought, whereas Discovery seems to be the total opposite. Never thought I’d see so much death and blood in a Trek show.

    1. I never could get into it. It always felt like a superficial fabricated ST shaped poor fascimili, where the iconography and techno babble were meant to “bring the trek”. Not the story or the concepts therein, which were unnecessarily stretched and prolix laden.

      In that sense, the Orville felt more like Trek than STD ever did. (And yes I use STD because i’m a child!)

    2. I ended up loving the Orville, maybe because in part because it does feel like TNG.

      Capt. Ed Mercer: Attention, Krill ship. This is the USS Orville. Cease fire immediately, or we will respond.
      Cmdr. Kelly Grayson: In the history of space battles, has that ever worked?
      Lt. Cmdr. Bortus: They have ceased firing upon the planet.
      Cmdr. Kelly Grayson: I stand corrected.

    3. Star trek usually requires a season or two to get proper footing as you say. It’s always a test of patience to re-watch one of the old series front to back and suffer through that first season. It just takes time.

      That said we’re definitely seeing the aftermath of that populist hack J.J. Abrams. It makes total business sense why the series would go that way, but that guy sucks huge greasy ass. I don’t know why anybody who experienced the serial emotional manipulativeness of Lost thinks that guy can make anything good. He’s a piece of shit who only knows how to jam empty cliffhangers and suspense into your chest and twiddle your nostalgia button. Going from Star Trek to a regular ol’ dudes-with-guns-vs-terrorists action movie is pretty pathetic no matter how many lens flares it has.

      Just go type J.J. Abrams into google and look at his smug little rat face. Look at that prick. God he’s terrible.

    1. Some fans say the show improves in its later episodes.

      I probably shouldn’t mention the IMDb user ratings (which I don’t consider reliable indicators) but, FWIW, currently the first episode is rated lowest (7.4) and the season finale is rated highest (8.6).

      Some shows take a while to find their stride (For example, ST:TNG took a few seasons to reach its peaks.)

      1. IMDB ratings are totally bogus. Production companies hire people to create fake accounts and give positive reviews. When users caught and reported them, IMDB removed the users discussions boards.

    2. The first two episodes are just exposition. That’s to be expected. Stick it out, because Orville is Star Trek at its best. It’s no Darmok or Inner Light, but the Orville is the closest thing we’re going to get to real Trek for a very long time.

      Also, the first few episodes of any Trek series suck. It usually takes a season for Trek to hit a groove, but Orville managed it in just a few episodes.

      1. I really wish they would have just let Seth make it a proper entry into the franchise. I’m not saying I would have wanted these guys on a flagship, but they could absolutely have done “Star Trek: Orville” and followed the adventures of Mercer’s slightly off-center crew on a low-level TNG era Federation ship.

        As for Discovery, I have some hope that they’ve hit reset on the mistakes made in the first half of S1, and can get back into proper Trek territory for S2. Bryan Fuller really bungled the job, and it’s taken time to undo his nonsense.

        1. ever read star traks? It is fanfiction premised on the fact that Starfleet has automated production, therefore not enough crews, sure the best and the brightest go to the flagships and the new fleets, but what about everyone else?

          1. I love the Borgspace stories there. Many of the stories by those authors are far better than anything that’s ever been done as official Star Trek.

    3. You should definitely go back and try it again, maybe even skip the first episode.

      In all honesty, I believe that Seth was worried the show wouldn’t get picked up unless it had some of that Family Guy zaniness in the pilot, so he made the first episode intentionally over the top. As the season progresses, there are fewer and fewer jokes, until the final couple episodes where they could easily have been TNG scripts.

      1. I think you probably hit the nail on the head here.
        I’m a huge TNG fan and I enjoyed Family Guy, but the strange melding I saw made me stop watching Orville after the second episode.
        Humor in TNG was relatively rare, so when it happened it was kinda special. Q making Data laugh, and “There once was a woman from Venus” still make me smile.
        Sounds like I got a new series to watch.

      2. Heck, Brannon Braga and Jonathan Frakes directed episodes and there were several Star Trek alumni in it. It’s about as star trek as you can be without calling it star trek.

  3. Hi, thanks for featuring my build!

    I can’t really take credit for being the “official beginning” of Orville prop builds; user “renaissance_man” on the Replica Prop Forum started a comscanner build back in December (https://www.therpf.com/showthread.php?t=284497), though I’m not sure if he ever finished it; and user BiancaW has had a PM-44 model up on Thingiverse since November (https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2623867).

    1. I appreciate you trying to stay humble, but I think we can all agree that while this might not be the FIRST time somebody has printed/built a prop from Orville, this has got to be the most finished and complete one to date. Unless somebody has been building other ones and not sharing them online (which is always possible I guess).

      Honestly, I would be surprised if the “real” scanners from the prop department looked as good as this. Just awesome paint/finish work on this.

  4. Same here. Star Trek Orville captured more essence of Roddenberries. That and I don’t care to read subtitles almost every time a Klingon appears. I get it. It’s not very hard to pick out the gruesomely depicted Klingons. I guess the universal translator concept got lost in STD.
    Which one of the many factors that pushes STD to worst ST series surpassing ST Enterprise. Bakula sucks less now. There are few models for that series. Seems to be connection. And so I’m looking forward to more Orville and related models.

    1. > I guess the universal translator concept got lost in STD.

      Well it hadn’t been invented during Enterprise, and wasn’t very reliable in the Original Series, so no. There isn’t a universal translator yet.

      1. There’s several other Orville props on Thingiverse. Mostly insignia but there’s also another comscanner and a couple of blaster pistols. Good to see this happening. :)

    1. I can’t believe anyone is actually paying a subscription just to watch one TV show, but I digress.

      All I’ve wanted, in terms of Star Trek, is an in-universe detective serial. I’ve been working out a plot for a “Law & Order: Starfleet”.
      Remember those Temporal Directive agents who came to interview everyone after the DS9 crew went back to TOS’s Trouble With Tribbles to save Kirk? Or that investigation when Worf was accused of murder, or when O’Brian was accused of murder? Those were fantastic.

      NBC owns both Star Trek and Law & Order. An official Law & Order spinoff set in the Star Trek universe is entirely doable.

  5. I did a pretty accurate version of the Orville “Phaser” last year. So I may have started the Orville Era of Props a bit before this. Also, this is an excellent Prop as well :D

  6. Just watched the hole season yesterday.
    Yea like some of you were saying a little slow at the start. But i did get better as you saw more.
    I could see little things all over the place from the originale Trek to the latest. Like one of you said it could not be more trekky if you tried.
    I did like it a lot as a hole. I thought the jokes were very different. The extra’s that they had come in were very well none and was a very nice surprise for me to see. And over all the production was very well put together.

    Thanks again for the introduction on the Show…

    1. Oh I guess I should make a comment on your prop.
      Nicely printed, even though I still think it should have been painted to finish it off. Mined you I think that of all printed things. ( Do I do as I say no..) and my prints don’t turn out as nice as yours.
      I do think that the more bells and whistles is better. ( Do I do as I say no..)

      The most important thing is THANK-YOU for the shows. Had a great time. I even pulled out popcorn.
      Keep up the good work.

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