Orville Update: Premiere Date Set, Closer Look At Bridge, Another Star Trek Vet And More

There has been a lot of news in the last week about Star Trek: Discovery, but there has also been some news about another fall show set in space we are keeping an eye on, The Orville, the Star Trek-inspired sci-fi comedy from Seth MacFarlane and Brannon Braga. 

Fox has announced they will premiere the first hour of The Orville pilot on Sunday September 10th at 8 PM (two weeks before Star Trek: Discovery), immediately following an NFL doubleheader. The second half of the pilot will air the following Sunday at 8PM on Fox, also immediately following NFL. These football lead-ins should give the show a boost before it moves to its regular showtime of Thursdays at 9PM, starting with the third episode on September 28th.

In Canada The Orville will air on City. The show will premiere in early fall in Canada, airing Thursdays at 9PM and in late fall it will movie to Thursdays at 8PM. Rogers Media/City haven’t yet released the premiere date for Canada.

Orville panel at SDCC

Today Fox announced their schedule for next month’s San Diego Comic Con, which includes a panel for The Orville on Saturday:

[Saturday] 4:15 – 5:15PM The Orville, Room 6A – Come meet the whole crew of the mid-level exploratory vessel U.S.S. Orville – Seth MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, Scott Grimes, Penny Johnson Jerald, Peter Macon, Halston Sage, J. Lee, Mark Jackson, and Chad Coleman – as well as producers David A. Goodman and Brannon Braga – for an exclusive look at this sci-fi comedy series, which is a take-off of 1960s sci-fi shows like Star Trek. Jon Favreau directed the pilot.

Another indication of how much Fox is preparing to promote The Orville is that the first San Diego trolley car advertising wrap in advance of San Diego Comic Con next month was for The Orville. This first look was shared by the San Diego transit system 10 days ago.

A closer look at the bridge

In a tweet over the weekend Seth MacFarlane shared a closer look at a console from the bridge of the USS Orville, which is yet another aspect of the production design that is reminiscent of the Star Trek TNG-era.

A closer look at the bridge (Twitter/SethMacFarlane)

Another Trek vet on The Orville

Earlier this month Penny Johnson Jerald (herself a Star Trek vet) gave a shout out Andre Bormanis, who (along with Braga) wrote the episode being shot at the time.

Bormanis worked as a science consultant for Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager. He also wrote a number of episodes of Voyager and Enterprise. He joins a growing list of Star Trek vets behind the scenes including Braga, David A. Goodman, James Conway, Robert Duncan McNeill and Jonathan Frakes.

More behind-the-scenes

Some of the cast and crew of The Orville have been sharing some behind-the-scenes shots of the show, including young actor Kai Wener (who plays Ty Finn, son of Dr. Finn played by Penny Johnson). One of Kai’s tweets also revealed that MacFarlane directed one of the episodes shot in June.

Here is a shot Seth MacFarlane shared of Isaac the robot, played by Mark Jackson.

And here is a shot Mark Jackson shared of himself with his Isaac helmet off, joined by Penny Johnson.

And here is one from Seth’s personal chef, goofing off with one of the aliens.

And here is a tweet from just today showing that they are getting ready to shoot the 10th episode (of 13) for the first season.

Keep up with all The Orville coverage at TrekMovie.

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Trek is back! Oh wait a minute…


If this weren’t a parody of Trek, I’d cringe at those dated sets and costumes. We’ve been there and done that so long ago and for so many years … no thanks.

And yet it IS a parody, intending to directly reference sets and costumes from previous TV shows and films. So, um… Thanks? n

100% agree — reliving the glory days is nice, but it’s time to move forward. Trek MUST evolve and grow if it is to remain relevant. I personally want to see Trek gain hordes of new fans rather than die in the suffocating grip of Trek purists.

I love this franchise and I want as many others as possible to join the ride. Embracing new ideas, crews and production design is the way to do that, not clinging on to 1960’s or 1990’s aesthetics and storytelling. We can safely move into the unknown while still celebrating what came before.

Evolve? To what good? To reach those “hordes” of young viewers whose favourite shows are Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead or Gotham? If DSC tries to appeal to THEM, there is no Star Trek anymore… sorry!

At least the JJ-verse moves tried to appeal to generic blockbuster aesthetics. That may not be culturally sophisticated or cerebral by Trek’s standards, but at least it almost did no harm because after all, most of these PG-13 blockbusters are harmless fun.

But now, that TV has gone gritty, bleak and “mature” and even tentpole movies are increasingly often R-Rated (Logan, Deadpool), I’m afraid I don’t want to follow that path aboard a Federation starship.

It was okay, to have some darkness on DS9 or ENT – Season 3, but first of all, Trek did this to truly evolve and not to blindly follow a cultural trend, and second, the fanbase used to be morally integral enough to challange and discuss these changes.But that was the 90s… Nowadays, those “open-minded” people have grown accustomed to “mature” TV so much they might not even be able to tell right from wrong anymore…

It’s going to be interesting to see how much TWD or GoT will be in DSC…

That’s why nobody likes this fandom… the absolute and total elitism and unnecessary banter and simple false facts.

That was for smike

If Star trek never evolved – we’d never have gotten The Wrath of Khan.

…. or TNG or DS9 or etc….. Roll with the times…. evolve or perish. I always thought what was best about Star Trek (besides everything!) is that there was a series for everyone – take your pick and sit back and enjoy.

Umm…it’s not Trek. It is it’s own thing.

“real” Star trek fans would disagree with you.

And everyone else.

And themselves.

Yep. This looks so much better than Discovery in concept and execution. I hope it lives up to the trailer.

CBS should almost be embarrassed that this show looks more like Star Trek than their new Discovery show. I think it’s mainly the lighting. That bridge shown in the Discovery trailer just looks unusably dark, like something from the middle ages instead of something from the future.

Enterprise E, Voyager, Defiant. All ships renowned for their hospital clinic Look.

I still don’t get this ‘looks like Star Trek’ angle.

Go watch it then and don’t tune into Discovery when The Orville find out of steam.

I think the Orville looks great and I’ll have a look but it’s certainly nothing for CBS to feel sorry about.

TNG has come and gone long ago

I dont see it. If these photos were released as is and said to be from Discovery, we’d all be very critical. The bar is much lower for Orville.

I dont get the sense it will last long. A one hour sci-fi comedy by Seth? With what has to be a pretty healthy budget? *Maybe* its gets a second season, but I doubt it.

But it will be interesting when they inevitably cast Shatner and it spikes ratings.


The Orville is not just “one hour sci-fi comedy”, Seth MacFarlane is trying to bring something more to the show than just that. Check this previous Trekmovie article with quotes from MacFarlane.


MacFarlane: “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.”

MacFarlane: “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.”

MacFarlane: “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.”


Yes Seth, but you’ve signed up Brannon Braga. He was one of the main people in charge of putting Star Trek into its original tailspin in the first place.

Yeah, who knows if the story will be worth watching, the Orville story lines may be too stupid to watch.

But the Orville ship design looks more futuristic than that 21st century submarine look of the Shenzhou or whichever bridge we were seeing in the Discovery trailer.

Hopefully they’ll have a good in-cannon reason that doesn’t amount to nonsense like, “well we wanted ‘dark and gritty’ so we just turned off all the ambient lighting”.

I’m sorry, Jeff. Are you saying that the Shenzhou looks LESS advanced then TNG-style starships?

From a design aesthetic yes. Star Trek has generally had a common sense lighting scheme on board the federation ships. Light everything as if you were actually living on board and using the ship. The Shenzhou looks like the designers forgot to install lighting. Optionally maybe they are trying to say it was designed by Klingon or Romulans (poorly lit rooms = enemy ship).

Agreed. If TOS kept the same general designs but was updated using 2017 SFX and technology, it would not look the way it did in the 1960’s.

Which would make sense, as The Orville’s set 400 years from now, i.e. in the 25th century; whereas Discovery is set in the 23rd century. The Shenzhou is said to already be an older ship for the show’s timeframe (the 2240s-2250s, aka ‘a decade before Kirk and Spock’).

There are good technical reasons for shooting darker nowadays. Today’s TVs have a much wider color gamut, and when shooting digital, you have much greater dynamic range, so you don’t lose detail.

The TOS bridge wasn’t particularly brightly lit (even up to ST V… and certainly compared to the JJPrise). In fact it had tons of shadows and black panels to allow the backlit screens and control gumdrops to shine through.

The Shenzhou’s bridge is maybe a tad darker, but you know, it’s TV drama. If it looked like a well-lit, carpeted office cubicle farm it might meet OSHA standards but it’d look kinda boring.

Funny that you talk about the lighting. I noticed a substantial change in lighting of the E-D from “All Good Things” to “Generations”. In Generations EVERYTHING on board got noticeably dark. Too the point where I did a little MST3K thing when Picard asked Troi what he could do for her her response should have been, “Yes! You can turn the dam lights back on!”

I really think they were trying to set the show apart from the movie in some way since they were now lighting the same TV sets for a feature film. But as a viewer of both the show and then the feature, I think the change was a little jarring.

The E sets were shot darker for Generations because they were built for a standard definition television show and the detail would not hold up to the big screen enhanced scrutiny of motion picture filming.

Yes, I hinted at that in my post. I understand the reason. It still looked bad on screen, however.

Orville is a “Dramedy” (Comedy-Drama), not unlike a certain show which premiered about 51 years ago, on September 8th…

I’ll tune in to watch Orville, and I most likely will end up following Star Trek: Discovery on Netflix (since I already have Netflix for other shows). But Orville definitely has the “Trek look” more than Discovery does. “TNG has come and gone”, so what? The look worked for the past 50 years. Not everyone is a fan of the JJverse style (which Discovery definitely emulates, even if it claims to be “Prime” universe).

Why would you think looking like TNG is *THE* look of Star Trek? Because you grew up on TNG? I would be very disappointed if the Orville “look” was Discovery.

I never said the TNG look was “the” look of Trek. Star Trek has been pretty consistent thou for the past 30 years, with TNG, DS9, VOY and ENT. ENT merely made the move to HD, but the look has remained fairly consistent.

Then came 2009, and the JJverse (must have lens flare generators EVERYWHERE). Discovery replicates this behavior to an extant, and it was one of the most hated “features” of the JJ films. Justin Lin toned it down considerably in Star Trek Beyond.

Trek doesn’t need “dark and gloomy” just because every other series goes Dark and Gloomy these days. I’ve heard Discovery compared to Game of Thrones which is just plain ridiculous. Star Trek has always been about an “optimistic view of the future”. Watching people do their jobs in dark and gloomy environments (hello USS Shenzhou) is not very optimistic.

Agreed with the early cancellation, TUP. Fox does that consistently, especially with (in this case even silly) sci-fi. See “Almost Human,” recently. Cancelling that show was a sin, IMO, it was fantastic.

@Jeff — you should cringe that you think a show that looks like Star Trek from 30 years ago is what Trek should look like today. Boring. For those who keep complaining that the new show should be set after TNG, so much for looking forward. I guess that’s all well and good as long as the sets still look like TV series produced in the 1960s and 1980s and 90s?

@ Curious Cadet and SHiiNZoN…no on is saying the sets look like they should be from 60s,80s and 90s. Although I’m not sure what you even mean because those sets would hold up today with a little tweaking. So TNG has come and gone a long time ago. OK, tell that to Star Wars fans. Hey, A New Hope has come and gone a long time ago…move on gang. Right? The designers of Enterprise made that show look like it could evolve into the shows that came later. It can be done. To my eye and a lot of others it appears no attempt was made with Discovery to do that. And guess what, we are entitled to our opinions. I just find is absurd how we are supposed to just forget about the other shows.

@Jack D — respectfully disagree. The Berman era sets look horribly dated, and no amount of tinkering will bring them up to modern expectations. The SW argument is a non-sequitur. The Falcon was already an old rust bucket in the original film. But it’s also a masterful design. The interior manages to look convincing in part due to the simplicity. And lets not forget nostalgia. Unfortunately, Trek does not have the same base audience as SW, so relying on nostalgic 60s era TV designs don’t really help build a new audience. SW benefited from a decade of technological improvements and sci-fi design aesthetics which Star Trek invented — so it holds up far better, just like much of 2001 ASO does. It also takes place in a galaxy far far away … so not so much futuristic — probably why I’m not into it as much. Orville looks like what it is — a campy parody derived from a TV show that went off the air over 20 years ago.

I’m saying Star Trek federation ships in almost all their previous incarnations had common sense lighting as if it was used by real people. As Jack D said, ST Enterprise achieved a modern look (and good lighting) while also feeling like it could lead to what we saw on future ships. The Discovery images look out of character from an ambient lighting aspect. It almost makes me think “medieval design” where they don’t have enough lights to illuminate things properly. They keep mentioning quality that goes head to head with Game of Thrones, maybe they took that too literally.

“I’m saying Star Trek federation ships in almost all their previous incarnations had common sense lighting as if it was used by real people.”

Except that one called “Star Trek”. remember it? From 1966…when it was recognized that television entertainment is an art form, not real life and good cinematographers along with creative directors and lighting experts, could paint gorgeous aesthetics with light and shadow. The trademark signature band of light across Kirk’s eyes makes no sense…but it looks cool. I say leave the bright and even lighting in Walmart and shop class, where it belongs.

@Jeff — you’ve clearly never been on a submarine. They don’t need bright white lightning in a controlled environment. It’s actually fatiguing on the eyes.

The Orville looks like fun, but I wonder how long they can keep the nostalgia trip going? It’s clearly an ode to TNG, which is fine, but these things tend to run out of steam quickly.

@Joel — I’ve never seen a MacFarlane parody production that didn’t run out of steam before it was over … especially when he’s in them.

i hope cbs sues them and get this shut down or i hope fox pulls the firefly ruetine and cancels it


Forget to take your meds or something?

I’m pretty sure spoof and parody are constitutionally protected forms of free speech.

Ridiculous statement.

Clearly NOT a star trek copyright violation.
They have not made a Star Trek in 40 years!


Brannon Braga.. so more wired time travel stuff or better yet.. de-evolving into space slugs?

@jerr — don’t forget salacious scenes involving scantily dressed women he’s probably hitting on off-camera, seductively eating chocolate …

Ahem. Braga wrote some of Trek’s best loved and memorable classic episodes, many of which had nothing to do with time travel. Try look at Identity Crisis, The Game, Realm of Fear, Schisms, Frame of Mind, Parallels, Phage, Projections, Deadlock, Distant Origin, Scorpion,
Living Witness, Hope and Fear, Author Author, and so on. If you want to judge him because of Threshold, then Gene Coon can be dismissed as “the guy who wrote Spock’s Brain”

Love the outlook of The Orville. And it’s good to hear that many Trek alumni are involved with the show behind and in front of the camera.

Isaac is a good name for the robot (3 laws built in, I assume) but I hope that boring faceplate projects holographic faces or something.

I would love for The Orville to succeed… kinda doubting it, though.

How do cord cutters watch this?

Part of my internet-only package through Verizon is included HD network television stations. You get all the majors, CBS, NBC, FOX, ABC, PBS, and other local, lesser-known movie channels, etc. Failing that, you can buy an HD antenna. You could also watch them on Hulu, if you subscribe. Another way would be to buy the show from ITunes, all options above still leaps and bounds cheaper than cable.

@Danpaine — yes I bought the season of “Better Call Saul” on iTunes, as it was one show I wanted to see without waiting a year. I find I get far more enjoyment out of paying for media that way than an expensive blanket fee for an endless variety of programming I’m mostly not interested in.

Better Call Saul, great show, just finished season three. Agreed. It is MUCH more preferable to purchase only what you want (with no commercials). And a ton cheaper.

If this is broadcast on FOX you should be able to watch it for free on their website (maybe with 1 week delay).

Fox has been pretty good about putting their shows on Hulu, in the US at least. I guess we’ll have to wait and see if this shows up there.

Fox owns 30% of Hulu, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be up on Hulu within a day or two after it airs on Fox.

Also since it’s airing on broadcast TV, many cord cutters use an antenna to get their local channels (assuming good reception of course).

I for one am looking very forward to this. Bring on the Spoofing.

Penny looks terrific. It’s almost as if hardly any time at all has passed since 1999.

Sigh. I really miss DS9. :( I eagerly look forward to the upcoming documentary, but it just won’t be the same. Sigh.

Speaking of classic Trek, are the Okudas involved with “The Orville”? If not, I think their graphic designer owes a debt of gratitude to Denise and Mike for the Okudagram design language so prevalent in that bridge console!

Why is this website posting articles about this show?

Why not?

Because there are Trek vets involved in it’s production. This site also heavily covered the BSG reboot because it had Trek vets involved in the production. The real question is why does it bother you that Trekmovie is doing the same thing it has always done since it’s inception?

Braga’s involved? Oh god, forget it then!

…i must be an old fart – cause it looks pretty damn good to me! =D

(better than discovery, imho)

It’s embarrassing for people to say that this is what CBS should have done. You do realize this is the same old production we got in the 90s right? Oh but that’s right, Trek can only be the one thing you see it as and nothing else…

You’re right and wrong at the same time! Yes, Trek can evolve into something different, something more “up-to-date”…perhaps it needs to do that… However, having observed what has happened to television over the last 12 years, after ENT went off air and NuBSG took over space, I’m not entirely sure I want this to happen to Trek…

NuBSG, Lost, Hannibal, American Horror Story, Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Vikings, Spartacus, American Gods, Westworld, The Expanse, Stranger Things, Gotham, Daredevil… whether you like some or all of these shows or not… I don’t want anything that bleak and gloomy near Trek.

I kept an open mind for more than a decade and what did this decade do to TV? It killed all innocence, brought out the least desirable human trades in TV shows and dared to call it “mature” quality TV… Sorry, but murder, bloodshed, crime, massacres, torture etc. are still not “mature” desirable activities just because the majority of younger viewers calls all of this good television…

I’m done with that… If DSC even remotely follows that pattern, Star Trek is dead…

But you just described DS9 in that last paragraph and that show did pretty well.

Ooh, I want a personal chef.

And the Okuda style control panels are a nice nod but I miss (and did miss on TNG) seeing some actually tactile controls like TOS.

That’s quite an ad on that train.

Brannon Braga wrote an episode? I thought they want to appeal to people.

So far Orville looks more entertaining than Discovery.

I am excited about The Orville. I can’t wait until September.

Well, initially I was totally intrigued by the concept of this show, a show somewhat bringing back the good old Trek days of the 90s mixed with a little tongue-in-cheek Galaxy Quest-ish fun.

But having had time to contemplate, The Orville could do more harm than good to classic Trek nostalgia… making fun of “our fathers’ Star Trek” while CBS sends official Trek on a journey to win over contemporary viewers who are more into Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, American Gods or Gotham…

You may argue that DSC is obliged to go down that very road to make Star Trek watchable for the teens and tweens of the 21st century. But will that still be Star Trek? Is that sort of Star Trek, so remotely disjoint from Gene Roddenberry’s original vision, still be worthwhile? We don’t know yet and one has to keep an open mind…

But still, TV experience from 2005 to 2017 tells me to be more than cautious. There is hardly any successful show that doesn’t emulate that formula of blood, toil and tears mixed with incredibly cinematic aesthetics but lacking the once prevalent innocence of genre television back in the 60s, 70s, 80s and early 90s…

Trek had been the purest of them all, with NextGen being a shining beacon of optimism and hope. And now this franchise faces and incredible challenge: having to compete with “mature quality TV”, that may be asthetically and thematically intriguing while at the same time being a devolution of sorts, a devolution back to the foulest, least desirable trades of human nature… one can argue that all of this deserves to be dealt with, or one may grow desperate and disillusioned abut the human condition in a generation that worships blood, torture, mutilation and sexual attrocities as “the new mature”…

Hard R stuff had been out there for decades but it was nothing but niche adult stuff. Now it is mainstream entertainment, supposedly directed at adults but in reality, being watched by older kids and teens as we used to watch old Trek or The X-Files back then. TV culture has become truly bleak if you ask me…

You make an awful lot of assumptions about a show you have never watched.

Its funny to see the certain group of people getting salty because The Orville exists.

I’m so much more excited for this than Star Trek Discovery. Presently, I base this statement entirely on the production design. The content of each remains to be seen.

Honestly, the least realistic thing about this show is that Adriane Palicki would ever marry someone as annoying as Seth MacFarlane. Writer’s prerogative to give himself a hot female co-star ten years his junior, but I’m sick of that kind of nonsense.

That alien looks an awful lot like the klingons on Discovery.

The bridge looks like an Apple store.

NO Thank you.

Just watched the trailer…Yawn.