As Deadline Hollywood reports, “The Orville,” Seth Macfarlane’s take on a Star Trek-style space adventure series has been renewed for a second season, a remarkable accomplishment considering how hard it is to keep such a series on the air. The gentle reader is invited to think about what happened to “Firefly” to illustrate the point. The news is even more surprising considering that an actual Trek series, “Star Trek: Discovery” is also airing, albeit on the new CBS Access channel for which one has to pay a subscription. What is even more surprising is that while the critics like “Star Trek: Discovery” far more than “The Orville” the fans are flocking to the latter series.

‘Star Trek: Discovery’ vs. ‘The Orville’ by the numbers

Digital Spy reports that the Rotten Tomatoes score for “The Orville” is a paltry 18 percent whereas Star Trek Discovery” is getting a respectable 83 percent. However, using IMDB ratings, starting with each episode going head to head, the winner is “The Orville” hands down. The fans seem to prefer “The Orville” to the Star Trek series. How can this be?

Why would fans prefer ‘The Orville?’

Part of the reason the fans seem to be tuning into “The Orville” has to be that it is on free to air TV whereas “Star Trek: Discovery” is tucked into a live streaming service for which one has to pay. So far the Trek series is the only original show that is available on CBS All Access.

Everything else consists of reruns of old CBS TV show.

Then too, “The Orville” is an unexpectedly deep series coming from the purveyor of “Family Guy” and “American Dad.” The tone is light, but not excessively so, and some of the plotlines are reasonably weighty. Some of the episodes could have played well with the classic Trek series from the 1960s.

On the other hand, “Star Trek: Discovery” is setting a fairly grim, edgy tone, having been described as “Game of Thrones” in space. The approach may be appropriate, considering that the Federation is at war with the Klingons. However, the tone may be upsetting to long-term Trek fans who like a little humor and an occasional light touch.

Also, “Star Trek: Discovery” does violence to Trek canon in certain respects, The Klingons, who looked vaguely Mongolian in the classic Trek series and were humanoid with bumpy foreheads in every other show, are being presented as reptilian monsters in the new show. The creative license that is being employed is something that Trek fans tend to notice and are not too happy about.

Finally, someone associated with the show compared the Klingons to Trump supporters. This assessment is surprising, considering that MacFarlane has been known to be very political but has mostly avoided that sort of thing in “The Orville.” It is never a good idea to insult half of one’s audience from the start.