The Orville is a comedy science fiction TV series featuring Seth MacFarlane (creator and star) and Brannon Braga (writer and executive producer). It’s also a medium rich in psychiatric themes for medical students to review aspects of human behavior.

Among so many other media, our medical school curriculum focuses on the Star Trek franchise with abstracts on Gene Roddenberry’s legendary series presented at national meetings. Now, it’s time to tackle the next generation. Each Sunday evening at 8:00 pm (EST), medical students at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School will beam up to the titular U.S.S. Orville. Their educational mission:

to explore strange new behaviors,

to seek out new life-changing medications,

to boldly go where no student has gone before!

Okay, so maybe using creative media like TV and film won’t gain grant support for clinical trials of new medications but you get the point. At the end of each month, we’ll post a reflection at the link (Toblogs > Behaviorville) that analyzes the month’s episodes and reviews points germane to the field of psychiatry. What better way for medical students and residents to learn psychiatry than by watching The Orville on Sundays and tuning into our website each month to discover what the episode was really about?

If you have any questions or comments while reading the reflections or viewing the episodes, please direct them to @ATobiaMD using the Twitter handle #behaviorville.

Bon Voyager!

Captain’s Log: Month 1 of The Orville

In Old Wounds (S1E1), we are introduced to the cast of characters who will demonstrate universal themes of the human condition: take 1 part person(s), 1 part close quarters, and fold in an external threat and let’s see what rises. The pilot episode therefore introduces the same dynamic as Gene Roddenberry’s original series, Jaws (1975), 90% of zombie films since …

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