The Orville

The Orville is an American science fiction comedy-drama series created by and starring Seth MacFarlane. The series premiered on Sunday, September 10, 2017. MacFarlane stars as Ed Mercer, an officer in the Planetary Union's line of exploratory space vessels. After his career takes a downturn following his divorce, he is given the ship Orville as his first command, only to discover that his ex-wife, Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki), has been assigned as his first officer. Inspired by several sources, including Star Trek and The Twilight Zone, the series tells the story of Mercer, Grayson, and the crew of the Orville as they embark on various diplomatic and exploratory missions.

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The Orville
Genre
Created bySeth MacFarlane
Starring
Theme music composerBruce Broughton[4]
Composer(s)
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes20 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Running time43 minutes (season 1)
48 minutes (season 2)
Production company(s)
Distributor20th Television
Release
Original networkFox
Original releaseSeptember 10, 2017 (2017-09-10) 
present
External links
Website

The Orville is an American science fiction comedy-drama[1][2][3] series created by and starring Seth MacFarlane. The series premiered on Sunday, September 10, 2017. MacFarlane stars as Ed Mercer, an officer in the Planetary Union's line of exploratory space vessels. After his career takes a downturn following his divorce, he is given the ship Orville as his first command, only to discover that his ex-wife, Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki), has been assigned as his first officer. Inspired by several sources,[5] including Star Trek and The Twilight Zone, the series tells the story of Mercer, Grayson, and the crew of the Orville as they embark on various diplomatic and exploratory missions.[6]

New episodes aired Thursdays on Fox during the 2017–18 season.[7][8] On November 2, 2017, Fox renewed the series for a second season,[9] which premiered on December 30, 2018.[10] [11]

Premise

The Orville is set on the titular U.S.S. Orville (ECV-197), a mid-level exploratory space vessel in the Planetary Union, a 25th-century interstellar alliance of Earth and many other planets.

Cast and characters

Main

  • Seth MacFarlane as Captain Ed Mercer, who commands the Orville.[12][13][14] Mercer was an up-and-coming officer, believed to be on the fast track to commanding his own heavy cruiser by age 40. However, he caught his wife Kelly in bed with an alien, and, over the course of the following year, he is cited for being lax in his duties and having reported to duty while hung over. Eventually, he is informed that the Orville, a mid-level exploratory ship, needs a new commanding officer.[13]
  • Adrianne Palicki as Commander Kelly Grayson, the first officer of the Orville and Ed Mercer's ex-wife.[12][14] The two divorced after Mercer caught Grayson in bed with an alien and resulting in Mercer's year-long emotional crisis. Unbeknownst to Mercer, Grayson personally appealed to Admiral Halsey for her ex-husband to be given a command, stating that, despite personal setbacks, he merited it. She requested her involvement be kept confidential after Mercer is assigned to the Orville. When Grayson is assigned as the Orville's first officer, she and Mercer agree to set aside their differences to work as a team and stay friends.[13]
  • Penny Johnson Jerald[14] as Doctor Claire Finn, the chief medical officer on the Orville, holding the rank of lieutenant commander. A physician of exceptional credentials, she has expertise in molecular surgery, DNA engineering and psychiatry, which afforded her a choice of assignments on heavy cruisers. She instead chose a mid-level exploratory vessel. As she explains to Mercer in the pilot episode, she prefers to serve where she feels she is needed, finding such assignments more stimulating. When she tells Mercer she felt he could use her assistance on his first command, he interprets this as her lacking confidence in him, though she discounts this.[13] Having never found the ideal opportunity to marry, she chose to become a single mother. Her two sons, Marcus and Ty, travel aboard the Orville with her.[15] She repeatedly rebuffs Lt. Yaphit's advances,[16][17] though they become physically intimate in "Cupid's Dagger" after falling victim to a Retepsian sex pheromone.[18] Claire realized that she was attracted to Isaac in the second season, and eventually began to date him after Mercer helped Isaac acknowledge that he was interested in their relationship beyond as part of his research on organic life-forms. She feels betrayed when the crew learns that Isaac had been sent to the Orville to determine whether the Kaylons should terminate other biological lifeforms after they killed their builders.
  • Scott Grimes as Lieutenant Gordon Malloy, the helmsman of the Orville and Mercer's best friend.[12][14] Considered the best helmsman in the fleet, he was relegated to desk duty after he attempted to impress a girl with a precarious shuttle docking, damaging the vessel and losing cargo in the process. Mercer specifically requested he be assigned to the Orville despite Admiral Halsey's lingering concern over Malloy's history of crude and juvenile pranks.[13] He is generally comfortable with his reputation for limited intelligence, to the point where he willingly answers a series of questions from Grayson, with the expectation that his answers would demonstrate in a Moclan court that males are not always superior to females.[16]
  • Peter Macon[14] as Lieutenant Commander Bortus, the second officer aboard the U.S.S. Orville. Bortus is from Moclus, a planet where the primary industry is weapons manufacturing,[16] and whose inhabitants are a single-gender species (although statistically, one female Moclan is born every seventy-five years).[16] Among the peculiarities of the Moclans are that they urinate only once a year,[13][14] with this period being of such significance that Moclans return to their home planet with those closest to them to urinate in a sacred spot chosen by each individual. Bortus is married to Klyden, a Moclan, who also resides on the Orville with Bortus and their son, Topa.
  • Halston Sage[14] as Lieutenant Alara Kitan, the Orville's young chief of security. (seasons 1–2) Kitan is from Xelaya, a high-gravity planet that gives her greater-than-human strength in Earth gravity. She can knock down doors and walls,[13] and crush a solid block titanium and reshape it into a small sphere with her bare hands.[16] She receives the Sapphire Star for her role as acting commanding officer after Mercer and Grayson are abducted by the Calivon during Bortus' incubation of his egg.[19] Sage departed the series in the third episode of the second season when her character resigned her post to be with her family on her home planet after it was discovered that she was losing her strength due to her long period away from her home planet's atmosphere, using the opportunity to reconnect with her parents.[20]
  • J. Lee as Lieutenant (later Lieutenant Commander) John LaMarr.[14] He is navigator of the Orville for most of the first season. He and Malloy strike up an immediate friendship in the first episode.[13] Though intellectually gifted, he learned to hide his intelligence and settle for modest ambitions growing up in order to fit in with his peers. When Grayson discovers his high aptitude in "New Dimensions", she encourages LaMarr to fulfill his potential. As a result, he acquits himself so well during that episode's crisis that he replaces the outgoing Lt. Commander Newton as the Orville's chief engineer.[21]
  • Mark Jackson[14][22] as Isaac, the Orville's science and engineering officer. Isaac is a member of the artificial, non-biological race from Kaylon-1 that views biological lifeforms, including humans, as inferior. In the pilot episode, Isaac explains to Mercer that the Union's Admiralty offered a posting to any willing Kaylon, as an attempt to initiate relations between the two powers. Isaac accepted the offer as an opportunity to study human behavior. During the course of his time with the crew, he comes to observe and understand aspects of human behavior, such as relationships, sarcasm, slang,[6][13] and practical jokes. Isaac perceives his surroundings with his body's internal sensors. His two glowing blue "eyes" are purely anthropomorphic, with Gordon once putting a 'Mr. Potato Head' face on him without Isaac realizing.[23] He began dating Doctor Finn after she expressed an interest in developing their relationship further, but although he initially considered the relationship over after they achieved intimacy using the simulator, Mercer prompted Isaac to realize that he actually missed Claire's presence when she told him to leave her alone. It's eventually revealed that Isaac and his people had actually killed their builders many years ago due to their rapid evolution and he had been sent to the Orville to determine whether other biological lifeforms should be terminated to ensure the Kaylons' survival. The crew feels betrayed by Isaac's true mission, especially Claire, as the Kaylons take control of the Orville to kill every biological lifeform in the galaxy, starting with Earth.
  • Jessica Szohr as Talla Keyali, the ship's second Xelayan Chief of Security, who replaces Alara Kitan after her resignation.[20] (season 2-present)

Recurring

  • Victor Garber as Admiral Halsey, Mercer's superior and old friend of Grayson's father[13][18]
  • Chad Coleman as Klyden, Bortus's mate and father of their child.[19] He revealed that he was actually born a female and had the procedure to correct his gender when he was an infant, only learning about it when he was first examined by a non-Moclan doctor after joining Bortus on his first ship assignment.[16]
  • Norm Macdonald as the voice of Lieutenant Yaphit, an amorphous, gelatinous, shapeshifting engineer on the Orville,[24] who repeatedly attempts to obtain a date with Dr. Finn,[16][17] and frequently flirts with other females on the ship.[23] Despite his telling her in "Cupid's Dagger" that he is in love with her, she does not reciprocate his attraction, though they become physically intimate in that episode after falling victim to a Retepsian sex pheromone.[18]
  • Larry Joe Campbell as Lieutenant Commander[19] Steve Newton, chief engineer of the Orville[23] until episode 1.11, when he leaves to take a new job designing space stations, and is replaced by the promoted Lieutenant Commander LaMarr[21]
  • BJ Tanner as Marcus Finn, elder son of Doctor Claire Finn[15]
  • Kai Wener as Ty Finn, younger son of Doctor Claire Finn[15]
  • Gavin Lee as Nurse Park[18]
  • Mike Henry as Dann, unnamed alien species member of the engineering staff, who suggests music be played in the Orville's elevators and makes unsuccessful attempts to befriend fellow crew members.[18][21]
  • Rachael MacFarlane as the voice of the Orville computer[25][26]
  • Ron Canada as Admiral Tucker[19][27]
  • Kelly Hu as Admiral Ozawa[28]
  • Chris Johnson as Cassius, a teacher on board the Orville[29] who had a relationship with Grayson until they broke up during season 2.
  • Blesson Yates as Topa, Bortus and Klyden's son.

Guest stars

  • Rob Lowe as Darulio, the Retepsian archaeologist whose affair with Kelly ended her marriage with Mercer.[13] He came back to the ship to consult during a crucial research mission, where his pheromones caused Mercer and Grayson to be attracted to him and Claire to have sex with Yaphit (although he declines to confirm if his pheromones were the reason for Grayson's original affair).[18]
  • Brian George as Doctor Aronov, the leader of the Epsilon II science station[13]
  • Jeffrey Tambor as Ben Mercer, Ed Mercer's father[19]
  • Holland Taylor as Jeannie Mercer, Ed Mercer's mother[19]
  • Jonathan Adams as the Moclan arbitrator[16]
  • Rena Owen as Heveena[16]
  • Robert Knepper as Hamelac[17]
  • Giorgia Whigham as Lysella, a barista who helps rescue John on a planet where public votes determined a person's social status; Lysella learned of the crew's alien nature when she saw Alara's ears and subsequently provided them with understanding of how to rig public support in John's favor.[27]
  • Liam Neeson as Jahavus Dorahl, captain of the derelict multi-generation ship[17]
  • Rico E. Anderson as The Moclan Doctor[16]
  • Charlize Theron as Pria Lavesque, a time-traveler from the future who attempted to steal the Orville after its historically-recorded destruction.[23]
  • James Horan as Sazeron, the Krill high priest on the Krill destroyer Yakar[28]
  • Michaela McManus as Teleya/Lt. Janel Tyler, a Krill teacher serving on Krill destroyer Yakar, who has developed a particular focus on Mercer after he destroyed her ship.[28]
  • Steven Culp as Wilks[27]
  • Brian Thompson as Drogen, a survivalist on a planet where Finn, Isaac and Finn's children crash in "Into the Fold"[30]
  • Ralph Garman as Kanoot, a karaoke announcer on the Orville[18]
  • Robert Picardo as Ildis Kitan, father of Alara Kitan[31]
  • Molly Hagan as Drenala Kitan, mother of Alara Kitan[31]
  • Candice King as Solana Kitan, sister of Alara Kitan[31]
  • John Billingsley as Cambis Borrin, the angry father of one of Ildis Kitan's students[31]
  • Jason Alexander as Olix, an alien bartender on the Orville
  • Patrick Warburton as Lt. Tharl, an alien who temporarily takes over Alara Kitan's position when she goes back to her home planet.[32] His species has a second esophagus that resembles an elephant's nose, to make it easier for them to eat large amounts.
  • Ted Danson as Admiral Perry[33]
  • Bruce Willis as Groogen (the Katrudian "flower alien," uncredited)[34][35]
  • Marina Sirtis[36]

Episodes

Series overview

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
112September 10, 2017 (2017-09-10)December 7, 2017 (2017-12-07)
214December 30, 2018 (2018-12-30)TBA

Season 1 (2017)

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
code
U.S. viewers
(millions)
11"Old Wounds"Jon FavreauSeth MacFarlaneSeptember 10, 2017 (2017-09-10)1LAB018.56[37]
22"Command Performance"Robert Duncan McNeillSeth MacFarlaneSeptember 17, 2017 (2017-09-17)1LAB036.63[38]
33"About a Girl"Brannon BragaSeth MacFarlaneSeptember 21, 2017 (2017-09-21)1LAB044.05[39]
44"If the Stars Should Appear"James L. ConwaySeth MacFarlaneSeptember 28, 2017 (2017-09-28)1LAB023.70[40]
55"Pria"Jonathan FrakesSeth MacFarlaneOctober 5, 2017 (2017-10-05)1LAB053.43[41]
66"Krill"Jon CassarDavid A. GoodmanOctober 12, 2017 (2017-10-12)1LAB063.37[42]
77"Majority Rule"Tucker GatesSeth MacFarlaneOctober 26, 2017 (2017-10-26)1LAB074.18[43]
88"Into the Fold"Brannon BragaBrannon Braga & André BormanisNovember 2, 2017 (2017-11-02)1LAB083.83[44]
99"Cupid's Dagger"Jamie BabbitLiz HeldensNovember 9, 2017 (2017-11-09)1LAB093.69[45]
1010"Firestorm"Brannon BragaCherry ChevapravatdumrongNovember 16, 2017 (2017-11-16)1LAB103.32[46]
1111"New Dimensions"Kelly CroninSeth MacFarlaneNovember 30, 2017 (2017-11-30)1LAB113.63[47]
1212"Mad Idolatry"Brannon BragaSeth MacFarlaneDecember 7, 2017 (2017-12-07)1LAB133.54[48]

Season 2 (2018–19)

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
code
U.S. viewers
(millions)
131"Ja'loja"Seth MacFarlaneSeth MacFarlaneDecember 30, 2018 (2018-12-30)2LAB015.68[49]
142"Primal Urges"Kevin HooksWellesley WildJanuary 3, 2019 (2019-01-03)1LAB122.82[50]
153"Home"Jon CassarCherry ChevapravatdumrongJanuary 10, 2019 (2019-01-10)2LAB023.06[51]
164"Nothing Left on Earth Excepting Fishes"Jon CassarBrannon Braga & André BormanisJanuary 17, 2019 (2019-01-17)2LAB033.01[52]
175"All the World is Birthday Cake"Robert Duncan McNeillSeth MacFarlaneJanuary 24, 2019 (2019-01-24)2LAB043.18[53]
186"A Happy Refrain"Seth MacFarlaneSeth MacFarlaneJanuary 31, 2019 (2019-01-31)2LAB053.11[54]
197"Deflectors"Seth MacFarlaneDavid A. GoodmanFebruary 14, 2019 (2019-02-14)2LAB063.07[55]
208"Identity, Pt. 1"Jon CassarBrannon Braga & André BormanisFebruary 21, 2019 (2019-02-21)2LAB073.05[56]
219"Identity, Pt. 2"[57]Jon Cassar[58]TBAFebruary 28, 2019 (2019-02-28)2LAB08TBD
2210"Blood of Patriots"[59]TBATBAMarch 7, 2019 (2019-03-07)2LAB09TBD

Production

Development

MacFarlane originally wrote The Orville as a spec script, which was given a 13-episode order by Fox on May 4, 2016, making it the first live-action television series created by MacFarlane, as well as his first live-action starring role on television.[60] Following the project's greenlight, MacFarlane stated, "I've wanted to do something like this show ever since I was a kid, and the timing finally feels right. [...] I think this is gonna be something special."[7] According to MacFarlane, The Orville was inspired by The Twilight Zone and Star Trek.[61] He was also encouraged to sell the series due to the success of Guardians of the Galaxy and Deadpool.[62]

On November 2, 2017, Fox renewed the series for a second season.[9] On November 15, it was reported that one of the thirteen episodes for season one would be held back and instead air during the second season due to a gap in broadcast dates caused by the broadcaster's lengthy Christmas programming.[63][64] It will be a sequel to "About a Girl".[65]

On December 10, 2018, it was reported that the California Film Commission had approved $15.8 million of tax credits for a potential third season should Fox decide to renew the series again.[66]

Casting

On July 29, 2016, MacFarlane's role was revealed to be Ed Mercer, the captain of the Orville, while Adrianne Palicki had been cast as Kelly Grayson, Ed's ex-wife and the newly appointed first officer of the Orville, and Scott Grimes, who voices Steve Smith on American Dad! (another show created by MacFarlane), was cast as Gordon Malloy, Ed's best friend whom he has assigned to pilot the Orville.[12] On August 19, Peter Macon and J Lee were cast as series regulars.[67][68] On October 31, Halston Sage and Penny Johnson Jerald joined the cast.[69] On December 8, Mark Jackson was cast.[22] On April 3, 2017, Chad L. Coleman was added as a series regular and Larry Joe Campbell was cast in a recurring role.[70]

At San Diego Comic-Con in July 2017, MacFarlane said that Charlize Theron would guest-star in an episode. The two had previously co-starred in A Million Ways to Die in the West.[71] Theron appeared in "Pria", episode 5 of The Orville.

On February 12, 2018, Jessica Szohr was cast as a regular for season two.[72] On February 21, Chris Johnson was cast in a recurring role.[73]

Filming

On August 24, 2016, Jon Favreau signed on to direct the pilot.[74] Production on the pilot episode began in late 2016, and the rest of the episodes began filming on March 27, 2017.[60] Production wrapped on August 23, 2017.[75] Star Trek veterans Jonathan Frakes and Robert Duncan McNeill, who have directed episodes within the Star Trek franchise, have each directed an episode of The Orville.[76] Four episodes were directed by Brannon Braga, a long-time Star Trek alum who began as an intern on Star Trek: The Next Generation, was producer of Star Trek: Voyager, and co-created Star Trek: Enterprise. Filming for the second season began on February 26, 2018, and Frakes and McNeill have each returned to direct another episode.[36][77]

Visual effects

Studios hired to work on the visual effects of the show include Tippett Studio, CoSA VFX, Pixomondo, Crafty Apes, Fuse FX, Eight VFX and Zoic Studios.[78]

Music

The show uses a 75-piece orchestra for the music in each episode, alongside several different composers, such as John Debney, Joel McNeely and Bruce Broughton, who wrote the show's theme and composed the score for the pilot. MacFarlane said "We score it like a movie" and "We really put as much into that as we do into the effects."[79] A soundtrack album for season 1 was released by La-La Land Records on January 22, 2019.[80]

Disc 1
No.TitleMusicEpisodeLength
1."The Orville Main Title"Bruce Broughton 1:04
2."Shuttle to the Ship"Bruce BroughtonOld Wounds (1LAB01)1:54
3."She Requested It / Departing for Landing"Bruce BroughtonOld Wounds (1LAB01)1:09
4."Krill Attack / Shuttle Escape"Bruce BroughtonOld Wounds (1LAB01)4:14
5."Emergency Docking"Bruce BroughtonOld Wounds (1LAB01)2:27
6."Kelly Has a Plan / Asking Kelly to Stay"Bruce BroughtonOld Wounds (1LAB01)3:51
7."The Bio-Ship / Exploring the Hull"Joel McNeelyIf the Stars Should Appear (1LAB02)2:22
8."Exploring the Bio-Ship"Joel McNeelyIf the Stars Should Appear (1LAB02)2:45
9."Finding Alara / Space Battle"Joel McNeelyIf the Stars Should Appear (1LAB02)2:53
10."Dorahl / The Roof Opens"Joel McNeelyIf the Stars Should Appear (1LAB02)4:05
11."Distress Signal Received / Alara Freaks Out / Explosion"John DebneyCommand Performance (1LAB03)5:54
12."Alara Gets the Cold Shoulder / Approaching Calivon"John DebneyCommand Performance (1LAB03)3:52
13."Extermination Process Continues / Bortus Hatches His Egg"John DebneyCommand Performance (1LAB03)2:39
14."Western Simulation"Joel McNeelyAbout a Girl (1LAB04)1:01
15."Asteroid Destroyed / Relieved of Duty"Joel McNeelyAbout a Girl (1LAB04)1:07
16."Arriving on Moclus"Joel McNeelyAbout a Girl (1LAB04)1:42
17."Trip to the Mountains"Joel McNeelyAbout a Girl (1LAB04)2:15
18."Tribunal Adjourned / Epilogue"Joel McNeelyAbout a Girl (1LAB04)3:27
19."Rescuing Pria"John DebneyPria (1LAB05)3:51
20."Searching Pria's Room / Dark Matter Storm / Navigating the Storm"John DebneyPria (1LAB05)4:06
21."Approaching the Coordinates / Isaac Saves the Crew"John DebneyPria (1LAB05)3:19
22."Pria's Theme"John DebneyPria (1LAB05)1:41
23."Distress Call"Joel McNeelyKrill (1LAB06)1:29
24."Krill Attack the Orville"Joel McNeelyKrill (1LAB06)2:49
25."Bomb Found"Joel McNeelyKrill (1LAB06)4:54
26."Intruder Alert / Preparing the Weapon"Joel McNeelyKrill (1LAB06)2:59
27."Turning on the Lights / New Enemies"Joel McNeelyKrill (1LAB06)2:29
Total length:76:59
Disc 2
No.TitleMusicEpisodeLength
1."Lysella Wakes Up / Looks Like Earth / Rescue Mission"John DebneyMajority Rule (1LAB07)1:39
2."John Gets Arrested / Alara Seems Suspicious"John DebneyMajority Rule (1LAB07)2:05
3."Ed Has a Plan"John DebneyMajority Rule (1LAB07)1:33
4."Bringing Lysella Aboard / Casting the Votes / Their World Can Do Better"John DebneyMajority Rule (1LAB07)6:06
5."Sucked In"Joel McNeelyInto the Fold (1LAB08)2:44
6."Claire Breaks Out"Joel McNeelyInto the Fold (1LAB08)1:26
7."The Fight"Joel McNeelyInto the Fold (1LAB08)1:21
8."Claire Returns to the Wreck"Joel McNeelyInto the Fold (1LAB08)2:11
9."The Attack"Joel McNeelyInto the Fold (1LAB08)1:55
10."Claire Thanks Isaac"Joel McNeelyInto the Fold (1LAB08)1:21
11."Archaeologist Arrives / Claire Visits Yaphit / Claire Kisses Yaphit"John DebneyCupid's Dagger (1LAB09)3:12
12."Fleets Approach / War Before Peace / Cleared for Duty / Darulio Departs"John DebneyCupid's Dagger (1LAB09)4:38
13."Plasma Storm / It Was Late Evening"John DebneyFirestorm (1LAB10)3:08
14."Alara Blows off Steam / There Was a Clown"John DebneyFirestorm (1LAB10)3:04
15."Alara Hallucinates / Deserted Ship"John DebneyFirestorm (1LAB10)6:55
16."Cannot End Simulation / Back to Normal"John DebneyFirestorm (1LAB10)4:03
17."Damage Report / What Happened to the Plants?"Andrew CotteeNew Dimensions (1LAB11)2:00
18."Krill Ships Approaching"Andrew CotteeNew Dimensions (1LAB11)2:30
19."Within the Anomaly / Time to Reflect / Quantum Bubble Is Deteriorating"Andrew CotteeNew Dimensions (1LAB11)2:25
20."Engaging Tractor Beam"Andrew CotteeNew Dimensions (1LAB11)2:17
21."Mission Complete / Commander Lamarr"Andrew CotteeNew Dimensions (1LAB11)2:48
22."Investigating an Anomaly"Joel McNeelyMad Idolatry (1LAB13)1:09
23."Emergency Landing"Joel McNeelyMad Idolatry (1LAB13)3:41
24."Searching the Planet"Joel McNeelyMad Idolatry (1LAB13)2:38
25."Walking Through Town"Joel McNeelyMad Idolatry (1LAB13)2:21
26."Spread the Word"Joel McNeelyMad Idolatry (1LAB13)1:17
27."Isaac Steps Up / Civilization Restored"Joel McNeelyMad Idolatry (1LAB13)3:14
28."The Orville End Titles"Bruce Broughton 0:34
Total length:74:58

Marketing

On May 15, 2017, the Fox Broadcasting Company released the first trailer of The Orville as part of their upcoming slate of television series including the X-Men series The Gifted and the supernatural sitcom Ghosted.[81][82] To promote the series, Fox organized a panel at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con on July 22 featuring cast members Seth MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, Scott Grimes, Penny Johnson Jerald, Peter Macon, Halston Sage, J. Lee, Mark Jackson and Chad Coleman, and producers David A. Goodman and Brannon Braga. In addition, Fox established an Orville Space Training Station at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Law with a "Cyropreservation program" for fans.[83][84]

On July 22, 2018, Fox released the trailer for the second season of The Orville at the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con.[85] To promote the series, Fox sponsored a series of Orville-themed pedi-cabs for people attending the San Diego Comic Con. In addition, Goodman moderated a Q&A panel on July 21 at the Comic Con alongside cast members MacFarlane, Palicki, Jerald, Scott Grimes, Braga and Jon Cassar.[86][87]

Release

The Orville is available in the United States on the Fox website as well as the Hulu and Amazon Prime streaming platforms. In the United Kingdom, the series is available on Fox UK's streaming service. In Australia, The Orville is available on the television channel SBS Viceland and streams on SBS on Demand.[88] In New Zealand, the series is available on the free TVNZ OnDemand streaming service.[89]

Reception

Critical response

Season Critical response
Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
1 31% (52 reviews) 36 (36 reviews)
2 100% (11 reviews) 77 (9 reviews)

Season 1

For the first season, the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 31% approval rating, with an average rating of 5.22/10 based on 52 critic reviews. The website's consensus reads, "An odd jumble of campiness and sincerity, homage, and satire, The Orville never quite achieves liftoff."[90] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 36 out of 100, based on 21 reviews, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[91]

Liz Miller writing for IndieWire compared the series to Star Trek, calling it a rip-off and "Creatively, Morally, and Ethically Bankrupt". She criticized the lack of creativity, the blatant imitation, and was surprised that the show is "uninterested in being a comedy".[76]

Tim Surette at TV Guide says, "The truth is, The Orville was never going to win over critics because it's a throwback and goes against everything modern television is. It's not that The Orville doesn't know what it wants it to be, as critics assume, it's that it wants to be a little bit of everything".[92]

Season 2

A 100% approval rating for the second season was reported by Rotten Tomatoes, with an average rating of 7.5/10 based on 10 reviews. The website's critic consensus states: "Fun, focused, and surprisingly thoughtful, The Orville's second season makes good use of its talented crew."[93]

Nick Wanserki of The A.V. Club praised the season's first episode "Ja'loja" for its character-driven drama and focus on low-stakes plots which built upon the first season's efforts to develop the crew of the Orville into a group of people that the audience cared about.[94] Liz Shannon Miller of IndieWire awarded The Orville a B rating; expressing hope that the series could evolve into a character-driven "dramedy" set in space, which she described as something unique that could make the show worth watching.[95] Ryan Britt of Den of Geek praised the second season for playing to its strengths as a sitcom and addressing the "wonkiness" of the first season.[96]

Kevin Yeoman of Screen Rant opined that the series "had found its footing and maybe its identity in telling smaller, more character-driven stories, that better serve its sometimes confounding mix of sincerity and irreverence."[97]

Audience response

In the October 15, 2017 episode of The Angry Joe Show, "The Orville Mid-Season Angry Review", host Joe Vargas noted the gulf between the response to the series among critics and viewers, contrasting the Rotten Tomatoes' 19% approval rating from professional critics to the 91% viewer approval rating. Vargas compared this to Star Trek: Discovery, which received an 83% rating from critics but a fairly low audience score of 54%,[98] and stated "Star Trek fans—at least the ones that watch my show—like The Orville way more than they like Star Trek: Discovery".[99] Tim Surette of TV Guide also wrote about the critic-to-viewer Rotten Tomatoes rating, noting the balance had shifted to 21/93, and that its Metacritic score was 36% approval from critics, and 82% from viewers. As a critic himself, Surette notes that, as a throwback, The Orville is an anomaly in modern television, and found showrunner David A. Goodman's admission that MacFarlane wants to vary between serious or dramatic and lighter or comedic episodes a potentially dangerous or risky strategy, but concedes that the show's viewers appear to like it for that reason.[92]

Ratings

After its premiere on Sunday, September 10, 2017, the show moved to Thursday nights at 9 p.m. In its first broadcast in the new time slot, The Orville became Fox's highest rated Thursday 9 p.m. broadcast in two years.[100] After taking into account DVR and VOD, The Orville was Fox's most-viewed drama debut since the premiere of Empire in 2015.[100]

SeasonTimeslot (ET) Episodes First aired Last airedTV seasonRankAvg. viewers
(millions)
18–49 rating
(average)
Date Viewers
(millions)
Date Viewers
(millions)
1Sunday 8:00 pm (1–2)
Thursday 9:00 pm (3–12)
12 September 10, 2017 (2017-09-10) 8.56[37] December 7, 2017 (2017-12-07) 3.54[48]2017–18636.552.0[101]
2Sunday 8:00 pm (Premiere)
Thursday 9:00 pm
14[citation needed] December 30, 2018 (2018-12-30) 5.68[49] TBA TBD2018–19TBDTBDTBD

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2018 International Film Music Critics Association Awards Best Original Score for Television Bruce Broughton, John Debney, Joel McNeely, Andrew Cottee Won [102]
Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild Awards Best Special Make-Up Effects – Television and New Media Series Howard Berger, Tami Lane, Garrett Immel Nominated [103]
Publicists Guild Awards Maxwell Weinberg Publicist Showmanship Television Award Erin Moody Nominated [104]
Saturn Awards (44th) Best Science Fiction Television Series The Orville Won [105]
Best Actor on Television Seth MacFarlane Nominated
Best Actress on Television Adrianne Palicki Nominated
Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a TV Series – Recurring Young Actor Kai Wener Nominated

Home media

Season 1 of The Orville was released on DVD on December 11, 2018.[106]

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