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"It is a future where humanity has got its shit together enough where it can turn its eyes outwards towards space." Brannon Braga, Writer[[source]]
The Orville is an American television series airing on Fox. It centers around the adventures of Captain Ed Mercer and his crew as they explore space, battle enemies, and deal with their personal lives.

While many, including The Orville's own cast, consider the show to be genre-less,[n 1] most consider the series to be allegorical science fiction with comedic elements, intended to be "a return to classical storytelling" where stories parody or criticize real-world events.[1] The inability to fit neatly into a particular genre frustrated television critics, many of whom said the show did not know whether it wanted to be a comedy or science fiction.

Prior to launch, the show was billed as utopian science fiction and an homage to past science fiction television shows, particularly the series Star Trek and the Twilight Zone.[2] Unlike the majority of those shows, The Orville often relies upon comedic elements to create a lighthearted, inviting atmosphere; and the show's main characters are less "paragons of virtue" as they are portrayals of normal individuals in a highly-advanced age of space exploration.

The series was renewed for a second season on November 2, 2017.

The Universe of The Orville Edit

NewYorkCity

New York City in the year 2418.

400 years in the future, humanity has evolved to the point of space exploration, and has developed intricate relationships with other space-faring species. Along with other highly advanced civilizations, Earth created a federated Planetary Union for the purposes of exploration, scientific development, colonization of new worlds, and defense. By the year 2419, the Union is a rapidly expanding power in the galaxy, and boasts a fleet of 3,000 ships and numerous colony planets.[3]

In the early 25th century, the Union divides the Milky Way galaxy into quadrants, though the Union has colonized only one of them.[n 2] Union ships chart space as they explore, so the edge of explored space is synonymous with the frontier, the edge of charted space.[n 3] Strange, uncontacted worlds rest on the frontier, a mysterious territory left to Exploratory-class vessels and intrepid opportunists like miners from the Vega Mining Consortium.[4] On the edge of the frontier of charted space are the star J-2837 and the Dorahl bioship, an ancient colony transport from a faraway, empty pocket of space.[5]

Humanity regards its recent past as a "dark time,"[n 4] one driven by greed, consumerism, and religion-inspired hatred for each other.[n 5] Member species of the Union gradually lost their religiosity as they progressed in technological development. The invention of matter synthesis changed the way people viewed wealth. Old media like reality television that glorified ignorance and other vices are relics of that darker time.[6]

The future is seen as filled with possibilities and mystery. In November, 2419, the crew of the USS Orville caught a glimpse of one possible version of the 29th century.[n 6] Humanity has invented teleportation and a new kind of tractor beam, and its spacecraft by then are so advanced that the Orville's technology is archaic. Navigation through a dark matter storm—considered impossible—becomes a simple matter of logistics. However, Captain Ed Mercer orders his crew to destroy a wormhole to that century, which fundamentally alters the course of history, and it is no longer known if that vision of the future still exists.[4]

Species Edit

The Union is comprised of at least four member species: Humans, Xelayans, Moclans and Retepsians,[7] and possibly many more. All Union species boast similar levels of technology, and work together to achieve common goals. However, not all Union species share the same values. The Moclans are highly interested in war, and their primary industry is the manufacture of advanced weaponry.[8] The Xelayans, despite their tremendous physical strength, loathe conflict and praise scientific advancement and the arts.[9]

The-orville-1x06-plano-critico-600x400

Teleya, a Krill school teacher.

The primary antagonist of the Union is the Krill.[3][10] The Krill view all other life as soulless and condemned to be destroyed by their god, Avis.[10] Thus the Krill are in a nearly perpetual state of conflict with other species. Currently, the Union actively avoids an official declaration of war with the Krill.[n 7]

There are at least two species with levels of technology far surpassing that of other space-faring civilizations: the Kaylon and the Calivon. The Kaylon are an android species capable of enduring millions of years,[11] and currently contemplate joining the Union.[3] The Calivon are a small humanoid species who view any species with less-advanced technology as inherently less valuable, on par with a Human's beloved pet dog or cat.[6] Additionally, the species of the multi-phasic planet is assumed to have now surpassed the Union's level of technology.[11]

At the boundary of Union territory lay the Bruidians and Navarians. Both species are in a state of peace with the Union, but are openly hostile to each other. The Navarian-Bruidian conflict lasted many years, but a truce was declared in early 2420.[7]

Colonization Edit

Rana III

The Union colony planet of Rana 3.

Space-faring civilizations are highly interested in colonizing uninhabited worlds. The Planetary Union operates colonies to mine valuable resources,[10] for scientific research,[3] and for demic diffusion of agriculture.[n 8] One notable colony is Epsilon 2, which houses the Epsilon Science Station. The Union established the Station as a world for scientists to be free of the pressure to produce results.[3]

Union colonies had weak defenses and are highly vulnerable to attack, especially from the Krill. The Krill believe the colonists of other species lay an unjustified claim to a planet's resources, and the Krill actively raid the colonies and kill the inhabitants.[10] Even the Station of Epsilon 2 was raided in September, 2419.[3]

Economy and Resources Edit

Food Synthesizer

Matter synthesis is partly responsible for the end of resource scarcity and Earth's transition into a post-economy.

Union members, including Earth, have entered a post-scarcity economy, where most resources are no longer hoarded and money is a thing of the past. Commander Kelly Grayson explains that money "became obsolete with the invention of matter synthesis." However, she is careful to note that vices such as greed and ambition have not vanished: "The predominant currency became reputation. The only thing that changed was how we quantify wealth. People still want to be rich, only now rich means being the best at what you do."[12]

Food and matter are generated from stock material through matter synthesis. Food Synthesizers and Matter Synthesizers helped usher the Union into its post-economy although items that cannot be synthesized, such as unique goods, continue to be valuable even in the distant future.[n 9]

Some resources are mined, especially dysonium, the fuel source needed for faster-than-light travel.[4][13] Presumably, dysonium is mined because it cannot be synthesized in an energy-efficient manner, and it remains a highly prized commodity. The Union operates at least two mining colonies on Kastra 4 and Chara 3,[10] and permits the Vega Mining Consortium to mine on frontier planets and celestial bodies.[4]

Non-Union species seem to continue vestiges of money. For examples, the Horbalak are notorious for stealing valuable supplies and re-selling them to other species,[12] and the Vega Mining Consortium negotiates for mining rights on non-Union planets.[4]

DevelopmentEdit

Seth Macfarlane Slider

Creator Seth MacFarlane, who also plays Captain Ed Mercer, presented a script of Old Wounds to Fox in April, 2016. He took a lead role in virtually all departments of production.

"This is his baby. This is his child. He's wanted to do this for years." Joseph Porro, Wardrob Designer, on creator Seth MacFarlane[[source]]
Prior to development, Seth MacFarlane became interested in an episodic science fiction television series much like Star Trek of the 1960s through early 2000s. The interest was a long-dormant passion of MacFarlane's - and director Jonathan Frakes later said that MacFarlane had dreamed of creating a space odyssey from the time he was nine years old.[14] "When I was kid, the 90s were sort of a hey-day for thoughtful sci-fi," he later recalled at the 2017 Fox Upfront presentation of the show. "Everything that we were fed was utopian and aspirational, and now all we're getting is The Hunger Games."[15] After matriculation from the Rhode Island School of Design, MacFarlane moved to Hollywood with the goal of one day resurrecting aspirational science fiction.[16]

At least as early as 2011, MacFarlane expressed interest in creating a new Star Trek series: "I'd love to see that franchise revived for television in the way that it was in the 1990s: very thoughtful, smartly written stories that transcend the science fiction audience. I don't know who would give me the keys to that car."[17] After finishing Ted 2 in 2015, he approached CBS to restart Star Trek as a television series. "Hey, you know," he recalled pitching. "If nobody’s doing anything with the Star Trek franchise for TV, I’d love to take a crack at it."[18] The studio passed.

Though MacFarlane's desire never came into being, his interest in science fiction television matured. For several years, MacFarlane spoke off-and-on with Brannon Braga, a producer on the Star Trek shows The Next Generation and Voyager, and David A. Goodman, a veteran of Enterprise, about creating a new show that reproduced the "Trek" style of storytelling and progressive philosophy;[19][20] a show that "celebrates human advancement and achievement, and intellectual evolution."[21] As modern Trek films moved in a darker, dystopian direction, it allowed a new show to produce lighthearted, prospective science fiction.[n 10]

Even at this very nascent period, years before production, MacFarlane had thought of several distinct concepts that became The Orville:

  • Two divorcees named Ed and Kelly who are forced to work together,[22]
  • An all-male Moclan species,[22]
  • An android with a superiority complex (what became Isaac), and[22]
  • A religious extremist species that regards all other life as inferior (what became the Krill).[23]

Ideally, the different character arcs would be set in a show that blended comedy and drama similar to the 1970s show M*A*S*H and Albert Brooks' 1991 film Defending Your Life.[n 11]

Early development Edit

Brannon Braga WonderCon 2015

Brannon Braga worked extensively with MacFarlane from early on to produce The Orville.

MacFarlane began working on an initial script for an unnamed show in March, 2016. He was reading David McCullough's biography The Wright Brothers at the time and was moved by his description of Orville Wright as the "lesser" of the pair. "My God," he thought to himself, "What a perfect name for our spaceship."[24]

He pitched The Orville to Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, but turned them down after they demanded to release all episodes at once rather than episode-by-episode.[21] MacFarlane turned to network television and, by April, Fox had picked up his idea for 13 episodes with a possible backorder of 13 more,[25] originally set some time after the year 2318.[26][n 12] The network was eager to try a science fiction comedy-drama hybrid after the financial success of the movie Guardians of the Galaxy, and was intrigued by MacFarlane's proposal to return to episodic stories.[27]

MacFarlane sprung the good news on Goodman and Braga suddenly:

Last March, I'm having a conversation with Seth, he's saying, "I'm thinking of writing this script, sort of sci-fi with comedy." I said that's good. April: "I wrote that script and Fox picked it up for 13 episodes." So that's how it came together.[28]

He quickly wrote a second script (probably Command Performance or If the Stars Should Appear) and Goodman helped him with a third (what became About a Girl).[20]

When he completed About a Girl's script, MacFarlane enlisted Braga and Goodman as Executive Producers and Writers, and assembled a writing staff of Cherry Chevapravatdumrong, Wellesley Wild, Liz Heldens, and André Bormanis, which Goodman later described as a team of "half comedy writers and half drama writers."[20] Braga elaborates: "There can be no doubt we are paying tribute to the Star Trek ethos – and others such as The Twilight Zone ethos – but we don’t just want to rip shit off."[29] In early drafting, the staff proposed to change the Orville to a ragtag ship or its crew to a cadre of mediocre workers, but MacFarlane quickly shot that down.[14] He insisted the show reflect real life: Orville's crewmembers were skilled professionals who happen to have personal problems much like everyday professionals deal with their personal lives.[14]

While the writing staff developed new scripts, MacFarlane began expanding the team to include other production roles, enlisting the people who would become the heads of various departments: Jon Favreau was signed to direct the pilot episode, Stephen J. Lineweaver as production designer, Marvin V. Rush as cinematographer, Natasha Francis as the visual effects producer, Luke McDonald as visual effects supervisor, Howard Berger as makeup artist, and Joseph Porro as wardrobe designer.[30] Nearly all of them had worked on Star Trek in the 1990s or with MacFarlane on projects like Family Guy.

MacFarlane micromanaged nearly every department from early on. Porro described the process: "This is how The Orville works: I am not the costume designer; Seth is the costume designer. The same is true with production design, special effects, music, scripts, a lot of the directing."[31]

Writing Edit

800px-David A. Goodman by Gage Skidmore 3

Executive producer David A. Goodman recalled the creation of the show: "Last March, I'm having a conversation with Seth, he's saying, 'I'm thinking of writing this script, sort of sci-fi with comedy.' I said that's good. April: 'I wrote that script and Fox picked it up for 13 episodes.' So that's how it came together."

The initial stages of writing began in March, 2016 by MacFarlane and a working script for the pilot was completed was finished at some point by April of that year. Filming would not take place until 2017, which meant that the writers had unusual flexibility to tweak and perfect the scripts until filming began. "I think I’ve done more actual draft writing on the show than I ever had on the animated shows [like Family Guy]," MacFarlane reflected in September, 2017. "Here we had all 13 drafts written before we even started shooting. I was able to go off and write about seven or eight of them. That was a real joy."[18] The reason for the early writing dates was strategic. MacFarlane wanted to be actively involved in the writing process but, because he plays Ed Mercer, knew he could not be present when filming.[32]

The writing staff continued to forge scripts during filming and post-production, finishing the scripts of four episodes of Season 2 before November, when the show was renewed by Fox for a second season.[20] Stories were written around Ed and Kelly's tumultuous professional and romantic relationships, which quickly became an "emotional epicenter" for the writers.[33] Goodman described the writing process behind each episode as starting from the question "What are the dramatic elements?," writing the episode, and only then peppering the script with humor.[34]

All scripts are written in advance of filming and writing rooms "shut down" once shooting begins.[35] While the writing staff was initially recruited to be half comedy writers and half drama writers, by Season 2, the ratio became closer to 30:70 as producers valued drama over comedy.[35]

When asked about how he invents the names of characters from alien worlds, MacFarlane said that the names have no real meaning but that he randomly types letters on his keyboard. "If I'm looking for an alien name I go like this," MacFarlane said, while closing his eyes and pretending to type blindly on his keboard. "And try to make something of the jumble of letters that come up on the screen. There's no art to it."[36]

Braga has said that the writing team actively resists technobabble, using nonsense words that sound specialized to advance the story.[29]

Writers created unique languages for each world visited by the Orville, the most complex of them is likely "Krillain," the language of the Krill. Numerous Krill writings may be found on the walls of the Krill chapel and an entire page of the Anhkana, the Krill holy text.

Production Edit

Favreau

Legendary director Jon Favreau joined the set to direct its pilot and remain as a consultant.

For more information on the production of seasons one and two, see main articles: Season 1; Season 2.

With many episode scripts written, the larger Orville crew began to take the writers' ideas and turn them into sets, props, costumes, and more. Preparatory meetings were held with department heads that the crew called 'long lead' meetings, "It was a time for department heads to discuss design and solve creative challenges within an individual episode and for us, as a team to generate solutions," Producer Jason Clark later recalled.[37]

According to Braga, the universe of The Orville is not completely mapped out. Rather, details are developed as each episode is written. "Finely detailed specifics [are] one of those things where we don’t have everything figured out. Very much like other shows I have done, the backstory is invented along the way."[29] Writers frequently modified the script during later stages of production, making minor tweaks to the script and fleshing out ideas, and using material to write new episodes. By November, 2017, writers had completed 16 scripts.[20]

In a table interview on July 23, 2017, between producers Clark and Goodman, Clark explained that the show is episodic yet strives to maintain strong character memory, where character storytelling runs across the entire season or seasons. Goodman continued the thought by contrasting The Orville's storytelling process against classic sci-fi like Star Trek: "The Seth MacFarlane plan means that the interaction of these characters is original. You haven't seen this kind of interaction between characters in this kind of show before, and that's what makes this show really special.[2]

Casting Edit

Some roles were written with particular actors and actresses in mind while others were written open to audition, such as Science Officer Isaac.[25] During the first cast meeting, MacFarlane outlined his vision for the characters: "This is a show with an ensemble. I may be the captain, but I am not the star of the show. You may find some episodes where you are actually the star of the show, but you may also find some episodes where I’m probably giving you free money."[38]

Filming Edit

Filming for the first season began on March 27, 2017, and ended on August 23. The pilot Old Wounds aired only several weeks later on September 10. Editing of the episodes continued at least through November 20, 2017, when Goodman and MacFarlane admitted that they were still editing the final episode, Mad Idolatry.[39] According to Palicki, during filming, the cast follows a schedule of Monday through Friday, and then enjoys dinner together on Saturdays.[40]

Animation and Modelling Edit

Orville-norm-macdonald

Animating Lieutenant Yaphit, an entirely CGI character, quickly became an expensive process that forced writers to limit the number of scenes in which he appears.

MacFarlane insisted on utilizing physical models of spaceships as much as possible. "There is still something artificial and cartoonish about CGI," MacFarlane remarked.[41] Production relied upon an in-house team of artists and Halon Entertainment to construct actual models of the USS Orville and other vessels. However, space battles and certain effects like explosions were too difficult or expensive to reproduce in real life, and CGI was used for more challenging shots.

Make-Up, Costumes and Wardrobe Edit

As soon as Howard Berger was recruited for make-up department head and visual make-up effects artist in 2016, he envisioned a highly creative make-up team that created highly technical and complex aliens. According to Berger, MacFarlane was unaware this was possible, expecting instead simple nose- and forehead-pieces seen in Star Trek. In late November, Berger turned his wife and two male co-workers into Krill and presented her to MacFarlane. "Dude, this is fucking unbelievable," he said. "Are we going to do this every week?" Berger replied, "No, we are going to do this every single day."[42]

Over the course of a year, visual effects artists created roughly 5,000 prosthetic pieces for characters. Items were first drawn by Berger for approval from MacFarlane; and then sculpted in clay to form a mold, which allowed the team to fashion synthetic prosthetic. Bortus was especially challenging, taking five months to create.[43] Science consultant André Bormanis later reflected on the creative process of MacFarlane and Berger:

Seth did a lot of work and brainstorming with Howard Berger, our brilliant makeup designer/artist. Seth had very clear ideas about how the alien species on the show should look, and since he's also an artist, he's very good at visualizing his concepts. He never wanted the look of an alien to be intentionally funny. The idea was always to make our aliens look believable, to have a plausible biological reality.[44]

Porro observed that MacFarlane was highly interested in particular aspects of costume design: "The thing he really cares about is the uniforms, the badges, the ranking. We went through 50-60 uniform designs," later adding that MacFarlane took a keen interest in the costumes of the Krill and Moclans, "but for the really crazy aliens, he just lets me do them."[31] The demands were even higher for the uniforms of the Planetary Union. Porro went through over 100 designs before MacFarlane was satisfied.[45]

JosephPorro

Brilliant make-up and costume designs by Howard Berger and Joseph Porro (above) led to the many fantastic, even bizarre aliens encountered on screen.

Costumes were tailored to match the architecture of an alien's world;[45] others were designed as a "hat-tip" to the uniforms of Star Trek.[40] Some costumes were half mechanical and the other half prosthetic and makeup. For example, the costume of Ock'or is in fact a bear suit with an alien head; its enormous mouth is operated by a cable. Kanoot is also mechanical: opening and closing the eyes of his costume by internal cables.[46]

For authenticity, the wardrobe department worked with high-tech fabrics rather than traditional fabrics like wool. Pieces were fashioned in China and then more accurately tailored by an in-house costume department. Tailoring the costumes was especially stressful. From the time the clothes arrived from China, staff had only eight days to create every outfit.[31][47] Because The Orville features 30-40 new background characters each episode, costume turnover was extremely high. For single-episode alien creatures like the Calivon, after each episode, the costumes were destroyed.[31]

The artists fit costumes and apply hair and make-up on actors in a rented studio trailer called "The Pegasus."[48] Application of the prosthetic pieces and make-up is an hours-long process. For example, turning Macon into Bortus took about four hours, which was gradually whittled down to 90 minutes as the artists became more experienced. For Sage, it took between two-to-three hours to become Alara Kitan.[49]

Music Edit

Andrew cottee seth macfarlane

Seth MacFarlane (above, far left) was happy to give wide creative leeway to composers Bruce Broughton, Joel McNeely, Andrew Cottee (above, left), and John Debney. The four would later win the IMFCA award for television score for their work in Season 1.

The Orville leadership decided early on to insist on thematically composed music performed live in studio to give the show a movie-like feel.[50] Music is scored by four separate composers, Joel McNeely, John Debney, Bruce Broughton, and Andrew Cottee, and performed by a 75-piece orchestra, one of the largest in Fox's television history.[50]

The show's theme song was written by Broughton, who was given the freedom by MacFarlane to simply compose a dramatic work and conduct the orchestra, with no other contractual obligations.[14] At MacFarlane's request, Broughton composed the theme music based on the music the show Lost in Space[51] and to feel "a little bit like a march."[50] Shortly after the show's premier, MacFarlane remarked:

We scored it like a movie. I was thrilled with how many people caught that in the pilot on Twitter, so we get a lot of comments about the score, which is always very gratifying. We really put as much into that as we do into the effects.[18]

Composition of an episode's score takes roughly three weeks to complete,[52] but recording the live orchestra takes only three days.[53] For the pilot episode, MacFarlane returned to Broughton. The composer had only composed for feature-length film, and he later recalled the challenge of writing for episodic television:

[T]here were some scenes that were obviously lighthearted and I tried to more or less ignore that and focus on the drama ... The last thing I wanted to do was step on any comedic lines or timing, and this seemed like a good way to do that.[14]

Preparing to air Edit

The Orville trailer

The Orville trailer

The first trailer for the show heavily promoted it as a comedy.

As late as early 2017, most of the crew remained tight-lipped about the show, but Fox began to promote it as primarily a comedy. Fox aired a promotional video in May, which clashed with the show's producers' vision of a drama laced with comedic elements.

The disagreement came to a head at the first public unveiling of The Orville at the Fox Upfront presentation on May 16. In Seth MacFarlane's first public comment he stated only that The Orville "is not Family Guy in space, it's kind of its own show."[54] Minutes later adding that "[the show] probably has more in common with Star Trek than Futurama. It's interesting because the show is being promoted leaning on the comedy, and we like the promo a lot. I think that people will be surprised that we're digging a little deeper."[55] In a longer conversation with Access Hollywood, he said that while the show cannot be defined by a particular genre, the writers aimed first for thoughtful science fiction, and that Fox inaccurately cast the show as comedy-driven.[15][n 13]

After the Fox Upfront presentation, MacFarlane and others returned to production of the show until July.

Summer 2017 Edit

Building up to the show's premiere, Fox, the cast, and the crew worked to generate enthusiasm, but on July 11, Deadline broke the news that famed actress Charlize Theron would guest star.[56] Theron's appearance was supposed to be kept tightly under wraps, but the crew decided to confirm the rumor the day before San Diego Comic Con.[57]

Fox scheduled the show's premiere to air after Sunday night football, a tremendous lead-in that Palicki called "the best night in television."[58] Hopes were high that the show would be a strong ratings success and potentially last for years.[59]

San Diego Comic Con Edit

"No one seems to know what the show is going to be like, which we all love because you guys need to tune in and find out for yourselves." Mark Jackson[[source]]
With eleven episodes completed, the main cast and executive producers appeared at the San Diego Comic Con on July 22 for panel and round robin interviews.[60] It marked the first time the cast discussed particulars of the show's story, promising an allegorical show that highlights clashes of culture and different moral values,[58] and none commented on the news of Theron's guest appearance aside from acknowledge her presence.[61] When Entertainment Weekly asked about her upcoming appearance, MacFarlane interrupted, "I know. You guys leaked it; you tell me what happens. You got that one scoop, now get the rest of it."[58]

The Comic Con was the first time actors introduced their characters to the public,[n 14] but they also made deliberate, tantalizing hints about the show:

  • MacFarlane revealed that a character named Bortus is the focal point in a social criticism of gender and sexual identity, the episode About a Girl.[16]
  • Halston Sage (Alara Kitan) hinted slyly of the plot of Firestorm, saying audiences will learn that "not everything is as scary as it seems... or could be," followed by laughter.[62]
  • Scott Grimes (Gordon Malloy) re-enacted a scene from Pria where Gordon's voice gets high pitched and strained due to nervousness, akin to Steve Smith from the show American Dad![59]
  • J. Lee (John LaMarr) said that the episode most recently filmed, New Dimensions, would show John develop and mature as an individual.[63]

MacFarlane told reporters that the goal of The Orville is to rediscover the joy of cinematic television while discovering something brand new each week.[16] "We want a tale well told," said Brannon Braga. "Standalone episodes. A rarity nowadays, a novelty."[64]

One reporter told the executive producers that the trailer clashed with the crews' descriptions of the show as a drama-laden: "The marketing conveys this is a comedy, guys." Braga replied that marketing just started and messaging would change; Goodman noted that it is easier to show snippets of comedy than drama.[64]

Television Critics Association presentation Edit

MacFarlane presented the first three episodes to a bevy of professional critics at the Television Critics Association.[65] "Each week you are seeing a little movie," he promised.[65] As time drew near to the show's premiere, MacFarlane acknowledged he was growing nervous about the fans's reactions, but added that everyone has "a healthy degree of nerves with anything that you care about."[66]

Lead-up to premiere Edit

By mid-August, cast and crew interviewed more frequently. Fox released promotional videos, and sponsored vloggers and YouTube personalities to visit the show behind the scenes and watch the pilot.[67]

As the series premiere date of September 10 neared, understandably nervousness for the success of the show increased as well. "I don't know [if Fox will give The Orville a chance]," MacFarlane answered a reporter's question.

If we are in that middle area where we are still finding ourselves and there seems to be something great, but we just haven’t hit on it yet? Then I think that is the hardest area to be in because how hard do you fight. I am hoping that we come out of the box that we are so different than anything that is on TV today that we hit our stride on day one, but you never know.[68]

On September 9, he voiced his anxiety that what he wrote may be too lighthearted for modern audiences. "Does optimism still have meaning for people? It could feel outdated, like a nineteen-thirties musical that’s devoid of cynicism and is looking at the world through rose-colored glasses and is oblivious to what’s going on."[21]

Series premiereEdit

The series premiere was a ratings success. Old Wounds debuted on a Sunday night to 8.56 million television viewers, a very high number and the strongest series premiere for Fox since Empire in 2015.[69] "It's really exciting," actress Halston Sage (Alara Kitan) said shortly after the numbers came in. "Just because we've been working on this show for so long. It's finally out there and people are liking it; it gives you butterflies."[70]

Science fiction fans and television audiences alike thoroughly enjoyed the premiere, although professional critics gave generally negative reviews. The marked disparity between critics and audiences quickly became a running theme for the rest of the series, and The Orville is now regarded as one of the most asymmetrically reviewed modern television programs.

AwardsEdit

Season 1 Edit

In addition to the list below, Fox submitted to the following to the Emmy Awards for nomination consideration: The Orville for best drama series; Seth MacFarlane for best actor; Adrianne Palicki and Penny Jerald Johnson for best supporting actress; Chad L. Coleman, Scott Grimes, and Peter Macon for best supporting actor; and Rob Lowe for best guest actor.[71] As of May, Emmy officiants have not determined the official nominees.

Year Award Category Nominees Result
2018 International Film Music Critics Association Awards Best Original Score for Television Bruce Broughton, John Debney, Joel McNeely, Andrew Cottee Won
Saturn Awards Best Science Fiction Television Series The Orville Nominated
Best Actor on Television Seth MacFarlane Nominated
Best Actress on Television Adrianne Palicki Nominated
Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild Awards Best Special Make-up Effects - Television and New Media Series Howard Berger, Tami Lane, Garrett Immel Nominated
Publicists Guild Awards Television Erin Moody Nominated
Broadcast Digital Awards Best Television Acquisition The Orville Nominated

TriviaEdit

  • MacFarlane and Adrianne Palicki (Kelly Grayson) have confirmed that alcoholic beverages on film were in fact really alcoholic, usually whiskey.[36]
  • According to Peter Macon (Bortus), English is no longer used as a first language in the 25th century.[72]
  • The name of the show comes from David McCullough's portrayal of Orville Wright in his book The Wright Brothers, which MacFarlane was reading at the time he wrote the pilot script.[24]

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. Scott Grimes at a table interview in 2017.
  2. In the original script, the Union colonized two quadrants.
  3. Mapping is conducted as the Orville travels in the episodes If the Stars Should Appear and Mad Idolatry.
  4. Gordon Malloy calls the 21st century a "dark time" in Episode 7: Majority Rule
  5. Kelly Grayson notes that the era when people desired wealth vanished with the invention of matter synthesis. Episode 11: New Dimensions
  6. Ed Mercer: "[A]s long as the wormhole exists, the quantum potentiality is open. Many sets of future events are possible. But, if we destroy it, we choose a path." Episode 5: Pria
  7. Admiral Ozawa: "And if we went to war, they'd see it as a holy crusade, which means it could last decades." Episode 6: Krill
  8. John LaMarr says he grew up on a farming colony, which means that people settled a planet simply to farm. Episode 11: New Dimensions
  9. Note that in the 29th century, an unidentified Benzian antiques collector bartered with Pria Lavesque for the USS Orville. Episode 5: Pria
  10. Seth MacFarlane:
    If you look at the Iron Man franchise, at a certain point, James Bond decided to do something alternative to what James Bond had traditionally done, and it opened the window for somebody else to sort of step in. I feel like that’s sort of what Iron Man did. That Iron Man sort of said, 'Hey, you know, if James Bond is doing something new at this point, why don’t we do James Bond?' In many ways, that’s how I feel about the type of science fiction in this show.
    Star Trek has chosen to go along a different path or try something different than what they’ve done before, which is great. But it’s also left a wide, open space for the kind of episodic science fiction that they used to do, and I still have a huge appetite for that. I feel like a lot of people, a lot of fans do as well.
    Erik Kain, "Interview: Seth MacFarlane On The Orville's Unique Tone, 'Star Trek' Roots", Forbes (Sept. 16, 2017).
  11. In fact, MacFarlane later said that Defending Your Life had a "profound influence" on him and that he actively sought to recreate the balance of comedy and drama for The Orville. "Seth Macfarlane Google Questions answers". ThePatrickShow. May 18, 2018.
  12. An article announcing Bruce Broughton would compose for the show reflects the old date. "Bruce Broughton Scoring Fox’s ‘Orville’". Film Music Reporter. April 13, 2017.
  13. MacFarlane's comments were echoed by many members of the cast, especially the producers. For example, in early November of that year, Brannon Braga said:
    I'm very encouraged to hear that [the Planetary Union Network] and others have embraced the dramatic elements of the show, because the way the show is being marketed - and Fox did a great job, but they kind of made it look like it was a satire and wall-to-wall comedy, and it's not. Would the audience accept an episode like Into the Fold, which is largely dramatic?
    See "The Orville Fan Podcast w/ Brannon Braga (08)", Planetary Union Network (Nov. 5, 2017).
  14. For Seth MacFarlane introducing Ed Mercer and Adrianne Palicki introducing Kelly Grayson, see "SDCC 2017: The Orville - Adrianne Palicki, Seth McFarlane", Whedonopolis Vidoes (July 26, 2017).For Peter Macon introducing Bortus, Mark Jackson introducing Isaac, and Chad L. Coleman introducing Klyden, see "SDCC 2017: The Orville - Peter Macon, Mark Jackson, Chad L Coleman", Whedonopolis Video (July 26, 2017). For Halston Sage introducing Alara and Penny Jerald Johnson introducing Claire, see "SDCC 2017: The Orville - Halston Sage, Penny Johnson Jerald", Whedonopolis Videos (July 26, 2017). For J. Lee introducing John LaMarr and Scott Grimes introducing Gordon Malloy, see "SDCC 2017: The Orville - J Lee & Scott Grimes", Whedonopolis Videos (July 26, 2017). For executive producers Brannon Braga, David A. Goodman, and Jason Clark, see "SDCC 2017: The Orville - Brannon Braga, David Goodman, Jason Clark (Executive Producers)", Whedonopolis Videos (July 26, 2017).

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