Seth MacFarlane: ‘The Orville’ Will Be More ‘Star Trek’ Than ‘Futurama’

Last week we showed the first trailer and images for Seth MacFarlane’s new sci-fi comedy drama The Orville, which features a number of Star Trek vets (Jonathan Frakes, Robert Duncan McNeill, and Brannon Braga) behind the camera. The show has been described as a parody of science fiction and specifically Star Trek. MacFarlane is best known for his animated comedies Family Guy and American Dad,  so it’s unsurprising that the Fox trailer focused on the funnny side of The Orville.  But MacFarlane sought to clarify that The Orville is not just for laughs.

Speaking to Inside Edition, MacFarlane said, “It’s not Family Guy in space.” And he was more specific with AP, saying,

It probably has more in common with Star Trek than Futurama. It is an hour-long show so we have to tell a story…The show is being promoted leaning on the comedy – and we like the promo a lot – but I think people will be surprised that we are digging a little deeper. We are servicing the science fiction aspect as well.

And he told Access Hollywood:

I think it is going to surprise people that we do do our heavy lifting – or least we try to – with the actual work of writing thoughtful science fiction. It’s not really as much Galaxy Quest as it’s being billed as. We’re digging a little deeper.

Bringing back sci-fi allegory and optimism

And MacFarlane again referred to Star Trek when talking about how he hopes to tell allegorical stories with The Orville:

I was a big fan of shows like The Twilight Zone and Star Trek. The real allegorical sci-fi that was kind of mad about stuff and sought to tell a story or posit a social theory through its characters and through this fictitious world. So we are trying to service that in this show as well.

He also seems to be specifically talking about Star Trek: The Next Generation when discussing a more optimistic tone for The Orville:

The 90s was kind of a heyday for thoughtful sci-fi to me. Everything we were kind of fed was utopian and aspirational and now all we are getting is The Hunger Games. There is an attempt to infuse a lot of that into this show. And hopefully make it funny along the way.

Seth MacFarlane says The Orville will go beyond the laughs to deliver real sci-fi TV

Showing off the Orville model

Like a lot of less modern sci-fi, The Orville is using physical models in addition to CGI effects. MacFarlane has been showing off  the filming model of the Orville, which was made by Oscar-winner (and Star Trek vet) Robert Legato.

Model for the U.S.S. Orville (Twitter/SethMacFarlane)

Model for the U.S.S. Orville (Twitter/SethMacFarlane)

Model for the U.S.S. Orville (Twitter/SethMacFarlane)

MacFarlane explained the decision to go old school with the models (along with CGI).

Fun with Penny on the set

Penny Johnson Jerald (aka Kassidy Yates from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) plays Dr. Claire Finn on the U.S.S. Orville, and she’s been tweeting from the set:

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

TrekMovie has created an Orville category to keep up with news and updates on this new Star Trek-inspired show crewed with Star Trek vets.

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