First Trailer And Details For ‘The Orville’ – Seth MacFarlane’s Homage to Star Trek

Today, at their upfront presentation in New York, Fox revealed the first looks and details for The Orville, a new hour-long live-action sci-fi dramedy created by Family Guy creator/star Seth MacFarlane. Set aboard a 25th century starship, the show is clearly inspired by Star Trek. When the series was first announced last year the official description included the line: “this motley crew of space explorers will boldly go where no comedic drama has gone before.”

Here is the brand new trailer for the show:


Today’s reveal of The Orville (formerly known simply as Orville) included this new synopsis:

The Orville is a one-hour science fiction series set 400 years in the future that follows the adventures of the U.S.S. Orville, a mid-level exploratory vessel. Its crew, both human and alien, faces the wonders and dangers of outer space, while also dealing with the familiar, often humorous problems of regular people in a workplace…even though some of those people are from other planets, and the workplace is a faster-than-light spaceship.

Seth MacFarlane, Penny Johnson Jerald, Adrianne Palicki, Halston Sage and guest star Brian George in The Orville

The series stars MacFarlane as the ship’s Commanding Officer and Adrianne Palicki (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) as his ex-wife, who is also his First Officer. The show is set in a 25th century where Earth is part of a “Planetary Union” (sound familiar?), with a fleet of 3,000 ships. From the official description:

Down on his luck after a bitter divorce, Planetary Union Officer Ed Mercer (MacFarlane) finally gets his chance to command one of these ships: the U.S.S. Orville. Determined to prove his worth and write a new chapter in his life, Ed finds that task all the more difficult when the First Officer assigned to his ship is his ex-wife, Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki). 

Guest star Victor Garber and Seth MacFarlane in The Orville

The “qualified, but eccentric crew” that Ed gathers together includes his best friend Gordon Malloy, played by Scott Grimes (Justified, American Dad), who is described as having “problems with authority, but is the best helmsman in the fleet.” Star Trek fans will recognize Penny Johnson (Kasidy Yates from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), who plays Dr. Claire Finn, “one of the Union’s most accomplished physicians.”

Seth MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, Halston Sage, Penny Johnson Jerald, guest star Brian George and guest star Christine Corpuz in The Orville

Peter Macon (Shameless) plays Bortus, “an alien from a single-sex species.” Mark Jackson (That Royal Today) plays ISAAC, which is “an artificial life-form from a machine society that thinks biological life-forms are inferior.” Navigator John LaMarr is played by J. Lee (Family Guy), “whose casual humor cuts through even the most dire situations.”  Halston Sage (Neighbors) plays Alara Kitan, “a young, inexperienced security officer whose home planet’s high gravity gives her superior physical strength.” Rounding things out is Yaphit, a gelatinous creature voiced by comedian Norm Macdonald (Saturday Night Live).

Seth MacFarlane, Penny Johnson Jerald, Scott Grimes, Peter Macon, Halston Sage and Mark Jackson in The Orville

The official synopsis of The Orville concludes with: 

Somehow, Ed and Kelly must put the past behind them and, with the help of the crew, navigate fascinating and sometimes dangerous adventures in outer space, as well as the tumultuous and captivating day-to-day personal relationships with their colleagues.

The crew of the U.S.S. Orville in The Orville premiering this fall on FOX

Trek Vets Behind The Camera

Joining MacFarlane as a writer and executive producer on The Orville is long-time Star Trek writer/producer Brannon Braga, with dozens of writing credits from The Next Generation, Voyager and Enterprise as well as two feature films (Generations and First Contact). Braga also worked with Seth as co-executive producer on the revival of Cosmos. Another familiar writer/executive producer for The Orville is David A. Goodman, who has worked with MacFarlane on Family Guy, and was a writer and consulting producer on Star Trek: Enterprise. Goodman also wrote Futurama’s Star Trek homage, “Where No Fan Has Gone Before” and three in-universe Star Trek reference books, including the upcoming “Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard.”

David A. Goodman (L) with Seth MacFarlane on the set of Star Trek: Enterprise

The pilot was directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man), who is also an executive producer, but directors of subsequent episodes have a particular Star Trek bent. The second episode was directed by James Conway, who helmed 18 episodes of the Trek franchise, spanning Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise, including the series premiere “Broken Bow.” Brannon Braga directed the third episode and Robert Duncan McNeill (Voyager’s Tom Paris) directed the fourth. The fifth and most recently wrapped episode was directed by Jonathan Frakes (The Next Generation’s Will Riker and director of two TNG feature films and many Trek episodes).

Frakes recently tweeted out a picture of himself on the set for The Orville, which some Trek fans initially thought was him on the set of Star Trek: Discovery.

MacFarlane’s Star Trek fandom is well known. His animated comedies Family Guy and American Dad regularly feature Star Trek gags and he even found a way to get a couple of cameos on Star Trek: Enterprise. In the video below from a Paley Center event in 2011 he explains why he loves Star Trek, while also showing off his impressive William Shatner impersonation.

In another nod to past sci-fi TV shows, the production team is using physical models in addition to CGI:

Running in parallel with Discovery

In a way, The Orville is running in parallel with the upcoming CBS All Access series Star Trek: Discovery. Beyond the fact that both are set on spaceships of exploration centuries in the future, both shows are slated for fall releases. Both The Orville and Discovery will have 13-episode first seasons, and both shows started production in January with a few episodes already completed.

In fact over the last couple of months a shuttle prop for The Orville has been spotted a few times around Los Angeles, where the show is produced. Even though Discovery is being shot in Canada, fans took to social media posting pictures of it, thinking they had spotted something from the new Star Trek TV show.

The Orville shuttle spotted on LA Freeway (by Redditor ‘theantnest’)

The Orville is set to premiere on Thursdays at 9:00 PM this fall on the Fox Network.

It could be that like with another homage, the 1999 film Galaxy Quest, Trek fans will adopt The Orville series as a sort of adjunct to the franchise. TrekMovie will be tracking the progress on this Star Trek-inspired and Star Trek-vet-populated show.


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Seth always makes himself the hero in all his creations.

Dear God that looks dreadful. Like a SyFy star trek rip off. Has Family Guy jokes and looks like a shit Galaxy Quest. Is this a show ? I give it 1 series before it’s cancelled.

I totally agree with you but can we be real – Galaxy Quest is kind of a crap fest of a movie. Some Trek fans have done a bit of projecting when it comes to that film.

Galaxy Quest set the bar for this kind of parody series. The writing was excellent, as was the acting. MacFarlane could never hold his own against the likes of Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Tony Shalhoub, nor even Tim Allen. It’s too bad Paramount couldn’t get off their butts and get GQ into production before this monstrosity came into existence. Brannon Braga directing is the ultimate insult.

Curious Cadet,

Did you catch that Brad Grey died at 59? Kind of odd this and that.

Yeah … couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy … I do wonder if that had anything to do with his departure — makes me wonder if they would have left him alone if he hadn’t already planned to step down. If I had been given that diagnosis, the last thing I would have done would have been to want to run a studio, failing or otherwise.

1 “series”? This won’t be no Doctor Who, I’m sure, but now, how many shows are?

‘series’ (British English) = ‘season’ (American English)

Right! Hence the Doctor Who reference.

It has potential but the killer part is Seth MacFarlane. He is just not likable, and has no real acting talent.

Shatner doesn’t have any acting talent and if you ask his costars, he sure as hell isn’t likable either which is why everything he’s in sucks.

Sure, Mr. Shatner has won two acting emmies without any acting talent…

If you think millionaires giving other millionaires public pats on the back sure you could look at any of these awards as having merit. The fact that the Shat in the Hat has won anything makes it pretty clear how vapid and useless these awards are.

Harry Plinkett,

The concept of a trial decided by a jury of your peers must keep you up late at night?

Maybe he should launch a task force to look into Emmy voter fraud …

What a tool bag. Is this mutt supposedly a Trek fan too? He’s probably one of “them” fans who likes all Star Trek except the original series.

The Emmies and talent don’t always go hand in hand. It’s political, not based on talent.


So it not so much that he has any measurable acting talent, but that he’s a political campaigning mastermind? So it really is SHATNER’S WORLD and we just live in it.

blah blah blah. How sad to be so personally obsessed with a man you dont know. Jealous much?

Bill thanks for being a thorn in this bozo’s side.

I agree. He’s like the American version of someone.. . .

haha i love it

This looks fantastic…

Is it Orville or What ?!

Had a shot at ‘tweaking’ the uniforms into something a little more familiar. Not a bad design for a Starfleet look tbh…

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Great Improvement , Orbital W !

Oh gosh not bad?? It’s hard to take anyone wearing that seriously lol. Starfleet needs a new wardrobe designer. Orville can wear whatever they want..

Poor man’s Galaxy Quest….plus I can’t stand MazFarlane and his juvenile sex jokes. I’ll pass.

I like how Seth McFarlane… a TNG super-fan…. has now made a TNG-inspired sh*tty comedy that visually looks so much better than actual TNG

Not really hard when the show is 30 years after TNG lol. If it looked worse FOX shouldn’t be making shows.

Does it look better than TNG though? In terms of interior sets, the TNG sets had a lot more detail and depth to them. Wouldn’t say it looks particularly better in terms of costume or make up either.

Ha, wow. Love the premise, but wish the trailer were funnier – I’ll be shocked if this takes off. Amazing what you can get greenlit, though, when you’ve got clout like MacFarlane.

Sheet, they cancelled “Rosewood” for THIS?


I can’t believe that FOX cancelled FUTURAMA for this!!!

Star Trek is runaway train for Paramount and this show proves it. You can’t completely mock an idea and then expect people to take it seriously too. This is why ST has continued to collapse under each reboot. It thinks by laughing at itself it’s hip but it just continues to degrade it’s value.

The Star Trek Crowd seem to have a high Laugh Threshhold , Steven . The Star Trek Franchise won’t be adversely affected over the course of it’s Timeline !

Maybe the timeline will be affected. Future Guy has been cast.

James Horan will be appearing in an episode.

@Steven, not sure what you’re getting at here … Paramount has nothing to do with this.

Steven: You seem to be confused here. This has nothing to do with Paramount.


One problem with your reasoning, Paramount has a history of taking non-inhouse STAR TREK parodies to court:

That’s probably the final nail in “Other Space”‘s coffin. Too bad. Was always hoping for a second season.

What is Other Space , Schultz ? Is it a fun send-up series ?

It’s a take on ST of course, space exploration sitcom… executive-produced by Paul Feig, so might think it’s bad, but it was a really sweet show, and Karan Soni is insanely funny.

Some fan made promo:

I don’t mind Paul Feig . He always seems to offer the Full Monty . Thanks Schultz !

I don’t either; it’s just that Ghostbusters was, well, “Ghostbotchers”, so people might hear the name “Paul Feig” and take flight. :) “Other Space” had/has a kind of a small cult following, and I certainly enjoyed it a lot. My hunch is that “The Orville” is a ramped up variation on “Other Space”, not a TV version of “Galaxy Quest”. Maybe MacFarlane bought the (remake) rights from Yahoo! after they closed their TV business; the makers of “Other Space” always wanted a second season, but this new thing has surely finished the series off. But Soni is now in MacFarlane’s “Blunt Talk”, and Feig cast him in “Ghostbusters”, so life isn’t that bad, I guess. He just won’t play a funny starship captain anymore. That’s for MacFarlane to do. :)

I mean, both shows have a captain and his wife as second officer, plus a weird robot etc. There are surely other “similarities”. We’ll see. ;)

I’m a big fan of Seth’s. This looks great!

Looks like it could be fun, but I doubt it will last long. Unless it is completely terrible then it will probably run a long time.

Not looking forward to this at all. This is definitely not Galaxy Quest. A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST was absolutely horrible, and this seems to be more of the same. Braga is probably the worst omen for this potentially being any good.

Eventhough I detest Braga, I’m looking forward to this and will make room for it on my storage HDD. If they stick to the 10-13 mini-series format, it shouldn’t become too stale.
Even like the look of ship. So the rest of you who don’t, can just go pound salt.

A lot of the uptight fans around spend a lot of time pounding something.

HP, Lol

Yeah they want to be an over achiever like you.

We’ve now seen more of this Star Trekian show that we have of Discovery. As a consequence, I’m more excited about Orville.

Looks like QUARK 2.0

love the reference, but not the show. I was unfortunate enough to watch the pilot episode. This can’t help but be better.

LOL I was just thinking that … and that show was a piece of crap even for the 70s.

Admiral Halsey? Is that a Paul McCartney reference?

caught that too lol

While it could be a McCartney reference, it could also be a call out to the ACTUAL Admiral Halsey who was in command of much of the Pacific Fleet in WW2 and was instrumental in destroying the Japanese Fleet in major battles after Midway. MacFarlane is a history buff as well, so this would seem to be the reason.

This is going to kick the crap outta Discovery. No word of a lie. This looks so much more interesting and entertaining. Now this is something Shatner could act in. You don’t need to be a good actor at all as Seth MacFarlane has clearly demonstrated over his career.

Ok, for the first time, we disagree. Nothing this guy has ever done has been any good. This looks perhaps like the biggest pile of crap ever put to screen.

Thus, i’m sure it will be a huge hit and run for 16 seasons.

Blue harvest was brilliant.

It only looks better than Discovery because it lasted longer than three frames…

Your whole life is a lie.

Maybe at thirty minutes it would fly, but an hour?

Its looks better than most of the JJ Trek.

Hope it goes well.

Powerless 2.0. We can only hope it meets the same fate.

So, in the full crew shot, the pallets in the background are loaded with toilet paper. We’ve been warned.

Is it me or does the Orville look more organized including what the hell is going on than Star Trek: Discovery with them constantly pushing everything back?

Man we get THIS before we see anything of Discovery. C’mon already CBS!!!!

That said I think I will give this a chance. I think it looks funny and I lol at a few scenes. Anyway the visuals alone look promising and its cool so many Trek vets are involved so there will be some fun parallels. Anyway looks interesting.

Oh and Mockingbird from MCU is on the show! Yaaay! I buried the lead lol. I’m watching this just to see her alone in this.

As mentioned in the article, both these shows started filming in January, and both will premiere in the fall.

I was talking about the actual trailer and promotion man.

Oh you’re one of those weirdos who whine about lack of promotion as if it affects your enjoyment of the final film or show. Got it.

Uh, where was I ‘whining’? I only said I want to see more of Discovery. And where did you get this bizarre idea a lack of promotion ‘affects’ my enjoyment of it? I thought the lack of promotion and bad promotion of Beyond sucked. Easily the worst of the three and yet its my favorite film out of the three. And name calling? Really?

You seem to have problem with basic reading comprehension and then went into some bizarre tirade over something I ever said or implied. Are you having a bad day or something?

I hope this is good. I’ve needed a new sci-fi comedy in my life ever since Futurama was cancelled. Red Dwarf just doesn’t come around often enough.

You need Rick and Morty, which also doesn’t come around often enough

If you see something wrong with this show, you have problems and I don’t understand you. I’ve been tired of Seth MacFarlane for a long time now, but this looks pretty fresh and different from what he normally does.

If you see anything good about this show, you have problems and I don’t understand you. I’ve never liked Seth MacFarlane, and this looks like the same old garbage he’s been doing for years, and nothing more than a sci-fi verison of that crappy western he did.

@Bass, Are you kidding!? Or are you really Seth MacFarlane? Why don’t you watch A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST and come back here and type that comment with a steady hand … this is EXACTLY what MacFarlane does. He even does it on Family guy several times a year — guess he just couldn’t make enough observational humor jokes about Star Trek in the animated series and decided to produce an entire show devoted to it.

The trailer is pretty much 110% Star Trek.

Had Seth MacFarlane gotten what he wanted earlier, THIS show would have been the basis for a 13-part series on Netflex. In fact, this show, as a ‘Trek show, could have been set in the 25th century (2417 CE, just far enough to be different, but close enough to allow guest stars from the TNG/DS9/VOY era to guest-star). But, as usual, TPTB drops the ball. Still will check out the show, though. This, and DSC.

So for some bizarre reason, we don’t even know what the Discovery *looks* like, what the general plot point is, how the characters fit together…basically, nothing. (Not to mention no idea when it will start.) And here we have a comedy that in one shot gives us all of that, with a start date, and on a network.

I wonder if McFarlane took this to CBS first and pitched it as a Star Trek comedy. It basically *is*. I wonder why they might have turned it down- Discovery already in the works?

“and on a network.”

You answered your own question.

And why would they ever accept this as Star Trek? Star Trek is not and should never be a comedy.

It looks like a drama with funny bits. Star Trek has had a lot of that.

Once CBS gets ready to launch Discovery, I see this series dying on the vine. It does look fairly entertaining and has a really good cast. I will certainly give it a try.

It’s a one-note joke. There’s no way to make this very compelling, especially past the first couple of episodes. It was a film trilogy at best, and likely should have just been a brief YouTube series of short films. Galaxy Quest had an interesting premise going on which would have made for a compelling series — a group of actors filming a TV series while doing the real thing. The parody was built-in as they actors faced real dilemma’s. This effort of MacFarlane’s is just a vehicle to poke fun at the real deal, in the same way he did in a MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST — a film which was hard to sit through. This will be more of the same. It’ll be like that Episode of TNG where Rodney Dangerfield was a guest star character who commented on everything as if he were born in the 20th Century … oh wait, there was never such an episode? I wonder why …

Why does it look like it has been produced 15 years ago? The effects and sets look kind of cheap. Maybe it’s because they try to recreate the clean TNG look or maybe it’s intentional, but this could be an episode of Andromeda.

Because nobody has the budget to produce a comedy show parody with the same budget as a serious drama. This is a pet project of MacFarlane’s and Fox is merely indulging him because he brings so much money to the studio.

Great, they are going to beat the shit out of star trek while Discovery which doesnt even resembele Star Trek bombs.

God, the sets look better than anything done after Voyager.
This is gunna hurt.

This set looks worse than the cheapest sets TOS ever had.

You need your eyes checked.

Modern day speech in the 25th Century. That’s so funny!Not.

Double dumb ass on you!

Also INB4 all the Kelvin timeline haters automatically say this is better than anything in the last 3 films.

You’re far too late. Everyone is s^^&ing its d$%k.

Kelvin timeline haters also think the Shat is the best actor on the planet. I tend to not take them seriously

Thats actually not true. I bet you voted for Trump.

That’s why the original series is loved by so many to this day above the rest.

This looks OK. You can imagine them playing it straight and some Trek fans would be lapping it up. They’ve got that 90s look down well.

Based on the view, Starfleet Headquarters (or whatever they call it) has to be in New Jersey somewhere.

The trailer made it look really great and instantly dated Star Trek . Like Battlestar Galactica before it this could be another show that really makes Star Trek look out of place and out of time . Discovery has a huge uphill battle now with something this fresh competing against it

Of course not.

I remember when UPN had a short-lived sci-fi medical drama (Mercy Point- just looked it up) and Trekkies were all, “Man, had you just made it ‘Star Trek: Mercy Point’ you could have had a hit!”

Well at least William Shatner will appear for one of these shows. Guess which one?

Their ship designs look far better than discovery too!

I hope Shatner doesn’t appear, I’d rather these shows succeed.

Sadly, it seems Trek fans have become the fat cow dimwitted popcorn tub slurping masses. Eat it up like pigs to the slaughter!

@Torchwood, what does that even mean? You’re commenting about a non-Trek show and insulting Trek fans…. did you apply your comment to the wrong thread?

Also, if you feel you’re a fat cow, I reccomend the LCHF plan. Works pretty good. Or just get some regular exercise.

what do you have against slurping popcorn? :O


Did anyone notice that the registry is transposed on the shuttlecraft versus the Ship model

Wow, two Trek series on at the same time?! Is Trek relevant again or something? I’m having 90s flashbacks. Nice Admiral Halsey reference. Discovery is gonna either roast this show or make it famous. This looks like Galaxy Quest and will skewer old fashioned Trek. My hope is that Discovery is so different from the Trek mold that the jokes won’t even apply to it. 2017 could be the year Trek reins supreme again.

Wow, wow, woah…I’m in love! I didn’t know this was coming, and it’s the best thing that could have happened next to a real new Star Trek show. Now we’re getting both. Impressive! I loved Galaxy Quest and since that series didn’t happen on Amazon, I’m glad this one is. It could be a real nice addition to an extended Trek multiverse of sorts… Cool!

God damn the whining on this site – why do I even read the comments?
I think this looks fantastic. Guess I’m not a real trek/scifi fan or something.

You have to worship the Shat to be one of the cool kids around here.

Harry, again you’re wrong. You dont have to worship anyone. For you, you have to have an irrational and vile hatred for a man you dont know, to be a cool kid.

For everyone else, a sense of maturity and rationality is all it takes. Give it a try sometime.

As opposed to what being the antichrist of ST boards?

Yeah, I’ll check this out. What the hell. At least the rock music in THIS trailer doesn’t seem woefully out of place.

What’s with the director and lighting people’s aversion to shadows? Don’t be afraid to paint with the light, there’s no law against framing your footage with interesting lighting. So far, everything on this show looks like it was filmed in the middle of a walmart. I don’t think the writing is going to carry it, no harm in trying to make it aesthetically appealing.

Walmart has some great lighting. You can see a 300 pound hillbilly transgender in pink spandex all the way from aisle 27

Oh so that was your lover.

The uniforms remind of the ones that I designed for my Star Trek parody called Star Infinity.

Why no link, James?

I don’t have them posted anywhere on the Internet.

I clicked! A bit Next Gen inspired. looks good.
I need to see a clip, tho!

What’s truly amazing is that this was apparently put together rather quickly

yet looks real good. Like Star Trek with a bend on life and common situations.

Yet here we wait and wonder to Discover what’s around the corner…Hmm…

It looks interesting and I hope Fox is at a chance to thrive and grow. I would’ve preferred it be called The Gustave, for the first man in powered flight, Gustave Whitehead and not the pretenders to the throne, however.

Dang, there’s a lot of negativity on here. It looks like it could be funny. I’m not a fan of family guy and the crude humor. Hopefully this will be better.