Fans were not sure what to expect when FOX announced a new live-action series last year from ‘Family Guy’ and ‘American Dad’ creator Seth MacFarlane, which would center around the revolving comedic adventures of a captain and his crew in space, looking to be a send-up of ‘Star Trek.’ When ‘The Orville’ finally appeared, audiences were in for a bit of shock when they found the show to be a surprisingly smart and funny series, modeled very much after ‘Star Trek,’ but seeming to understand the tone and feel of that old franchise and deliver something that ‘Star Trek’ fans really responded to, even if some continued to call it nothing more than a rip-off of the classic series.
Of course, the biggest distinction between ‘The Orville’ and ‘Star Trek’ was the first season’s focus on humor, which is something the series is not relying as heavily on as Season 2 goes on, with a lot of the season being much darker and more serious than its predecessor.
While speaking recently at The Contenders Emmy confab for the website ‘Deadline‘ at Paramount recently, creator and star Seth MacFarlane stated:
“When we began this, it was designed to be a little bit more of a hybrid, straddling the line pretty evenly between comedy and drama.I have been a big sci-fi fan since I was a kid. I think secretly that was the show I wanted to do, but I figured there’s no way in hell anyone would swallow that from me…With an hourlong show, in order to sustain it, you have to have real stakes. That was my fear at the beginning. If people aren’t with us on that side of it, we’re probably not going to last very long. But they were, so we really leaned into that.”
Later, he spoke about the clear inspiration the show has taken from ‘Star Trek,’ with some fans even calling the show more “Trek” than the current ‘Star Trek: Discovery‘ series which long-time fans have had some gripes with of late. MacFarlane spoke about his own views on the ‘Star Trek’ influence:
“’Star Trek’ was the first franchise to bring it to a point that reached the mainstream in such a massive way. In many ways, it does have ownership on this idea of a captain on a bridge of his spaceship instead of a sailing ship. But it’s become the convention. You can’t help but go there if you’re doing this type of show. … You just try to start by learning from what your predecessors have figured out and then take it off in its own direction.”
Are you enjoying the second season of ‘The Orville?’ Do you prefer when they are doing more serious story-lines, or like it better when they lean into a comedy a bit more? Or do you think they strike a good balance between the two? Feel free to share your thoughts below!