SDCC17: ‘The Orville’ Panel Promises Optimistic Sci-Fi For Star Trek Fans + New Trailer

TrekMovie has been bringing you all the Star Trek: Discovery news from San Diego Comic-Con (and there is more to come) but there is another sci-fi show set in space coming this fall we are keeping our eye on, The Orville. The Fox dramedy was created by Seth MacFarlane and features a number of Star Trek vets in the cast and crew including executive producers Brannon Braga and David A. Goodman, who moderated the panel.

The Orville panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2017

The Orville has a holodeck

Many people have noted that the look of The Orville is a close match for  Star Trek: The Next Generation and other 24th century Star Trek shows and this was made even more clear with a Comic-Con clip that kicked off the panel. The clip showed a scene set on what is The Orville’s version of a holodeck with Scott Grimes doing fight training against this giant, scary alien, who has been programmed with a surprisingly relaxed and laid back personality. It’s hard to describe, but it was a funny scene. Later, during the Q&A MacFarlane was asked if the holodeck was used for extracurricular adult activities, and Seth said “the subject isn’t totally ignored.”

Speaking of parallels with the look of Trek, last week MacFarlane shared this image on Twitter of layout for the U.S.S. Orville, which again looks like a master systems display straight out of TNG.

Deck plan for the U.S.S. Orville (Twitter/SethMacFarlane)

A return to optimist sci-fi

After introductions MacFarlane started off saying he has worked his entire career in comedy but he has always wanted to do sci-fi, and a specific kind of sci-fi saying:

In this day and age of dystopian science fiction where everything is grim and dark and depressing I think there is an appetite – and I think it has been a while – for a show that is aspriational and optimistic and can maybe provide a blueprint for a future we could have if we get our shit together.

Later during the Q&A when asked to compare the show to his other work MacFarlane made it clear the Orville is different:

This show is its own thing. It’s not Family Guy. It’s not American Dad. It’s not Ted. It is something very specific, and hopefully very beautiful.

Seth MacFarlane at The Orville panel at San Diego Comic-Con (Fox)

Penny Johnson predicts Trek fans will embrace Orville

One familiar face to Trek fans in the cast is Penny Johnson Jerald who plays the ship’s doctor on The Orville, and played Kasidy Yates in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. She said it felt great to be back in space. Speaking of The Orville she predicted Trek fans will love it saying:

I cannot wait until [the premiere on] September 10th and I can turn on my Twitter feed and hear all of you Star Trek fans just bowled over. I mean you are going to have such a wonderful time.

The Orville co-stars Adrianne Palicki and Penny Johnson Jerald at The Orville panel at San Diego Comic-Con (Fox)

Red shirts on The Orville

Seth was asked what was the equivalent of “red shirts” (the ill-fated Star Trek crew members who never make it back from away missions) are on The Orville. While the question was presented as a joke, Seth answered fairly seriously saying:

We straddle the line between comedy and drama and that is one of the biggest challenges. It’s like M*A*S*H, if somebody is actually in jeopardy or dies, if you start cracking jokes you are telling the audience there are no real stakes. And in an hour-long show there really has to be stakes.

He went on to say it depends on the specific tone for the episode but that there will be deaths on the show.

Born on the Enterprise

When Seth was asked if his cameos (as Ensign Rivers) on Star Trek: Enterprise had anything to do with the inspiration for doing his own sci-fi show, he basically said it did:

It was always something in the back of my mind. It was actually David (A. Goodman) who got me that gig because he was writing for Enterprise. I remember being at that time in “holy shit” mode. I am standing here with this great team who had been doing that for a decade and a half and I was just enthralled. And with that I knew for sure it was something I wanted to do.

Goodman also noted that MacFarlane’s time on Enterprise was when he met Brannon Braga and they later collaborated on Cosmos and now on The Orville.


Cast member Chad Coleman with executive producer Brannon Braga at The Orville panel at San Diego Comic-Con (Fox)

New trailer

To coincide with the panel, Fox also released a new trailer for The Orville.

Space Training Center and ‘Join the Orville’ contest

One of the ways Fox was promoting The Orville at Comic-Con was by setting up a “Space Training Center” on a lawn outside the convention center.

The Orville Space Training Center at San Diego Comic-Con 2017

Visitors to the camp were asked to pick a position on the ship they are interested in and then they could go into a booth and watch an orientation video.

The Orville Space Training Center at San Diego Comic-Con 2017

There was also a gyroscope ride which was part of the “space training.” Seth MacFarlane and some of the cast visited the camp and some even took a ride in the sphere as you can see from the video below.

The training camp was part of a new “Join the Orville” promotional contest  to apply to be a member of the crew of the ship. The winner gets a trip to the premiere event and a trip to the year 2417 by being cryopreserved. Of course you can always take the cash equivalent.

More TrekMovie SDCC17 coverage

Exclusive interview with Mary Wiseman (Ens. Tilly on ‘Discovery’)

‘Discovery’ press conference report

‘Discovery’ panel report

New trailer and images from ‘Star Trek: Discovery’

IDW Panel reveals details for ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ and Boldly Go comics

See ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Federation and Starfleet Props and Costumes

See ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Klingon Costumes And Props

Klingon Torchbearer Revealed + Gentle Giant Announces Discovery Collectibles

‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Concept Art Details Klingon And Federation Ships

Stay tuned for even more coverage of San Diego Comic-Con.

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“In this day and age of dystopian science fiction where everything is grim and dark and depressing I think there is an appetite – and I think it has been a while – for a show that is aspriational and optimistic and can maybe provide a blueprint for a future we could have if we get our shit together.”

Eat this, STID! This is exactly what Star Trek Fans miss since 1994.

TOS is iconic. TNG is iconic. DS9, VOY and ENT are not. Good TV-SF-shows, but not iconic. Guess why.

Your opinion. Others consider DS9, VOY, and/or ENT iconic and can’t stand TOS and TNG.

That’s the great thing about Star Trek… there’s a little something for everyone.

Well said.

(I’d like to also say I’ve enjoyed your Trek CGI fan work in the past. You’re quite talented!)

“Can’t stand TOS” but claim you’re a Star Trek fan?

You really don’t understand what you’re watching, do you.

@Thomas — then feel free to enjoy your nostalgic trip backward to 1994, complete with sets and costumes last seen during that era. This Trek fan has not been missing it. Your revisionist history should help make the trip complete — certainly nothing dystopian about TNG and their bureaucracy that tried to strip data’s rights from him, or the need for Section 31, or the Borg threat.

There is a reason why Orville is comedy… it’s because TNG Trek dumbs down the final frontier to the point it is boring, only to be watched for laughs.

Uh no. TNG was just as exciting if not more to a lot of people. They faced every crazy threat out there from the Borg to Romulans. Just because Picard didn’t get his shirt ripped off every 2 episodes doesn’t mean things didn’t happen. It just meant the 60s were over.

I grew up with TOS, but the nostalgia for it is not there for me at all. It was great for its time but its no way I want Trek to feel that campy and over the top again.


What a moronic comment.

What are you talking about? That time Picard almost scorched his tongue on tea that was too hot was a pulse pounder! I mean, what if he burnt his lips and couldn’t play his flute anymore?? ;)

Yes that and being tortured by the Cardassians, assimilated by the Borg, personally abducted a dozen times, his ship taken over by hostile forces about the same number of times, lost family and close ship mates, died nearly several times himself not to mention carrying the weight of Wolf 359. But lets pretend Picard’s time in space was just dealing with mundane issues and never had to worry about any real dangers or consequences. Man slept like a baby if you forget all of the above.

Don’t forget carrying the weight of sending Beverly’s husband on that mission that got him killed.

Pretty sweeping statement to make about a show that achieved a level of popularity never seen since in the franchise. A big audience tuning in just for “laughs”.

@ Thomas… Speak for yourself, that is not what THIS Star Trek fan wants.

I love TNG, but this is simply a wrong assessment of the situation. The reason I love TNG is not because it looks like it does; the reason it looks like it does is bacause of budget limitations, of technical limitations of the early 90s, because it had to be done in an episodic format, because it was designed in the late 80s and transitioned from spandex and man-skirts to pajamas because spandex wasn’t a thing anymore in the 90s. I love it despite its dated looks, because of its stories.
I think TNG’s look is fitting for the era (and we got used to it), but it is definitely not how Star Trek should look. Orville doing this retro thing is okay, it’s not annoying. But whoever seriously suggests that it looks better than DSC or more true to Trek really looses all credibility with me.

Thanks for your opinion…. mine is: TOS = mostly unwatchable. TNG = great. DS9 = the best. VOY = mostly watchable. ENT = mostly watchable

Heh, have they kidnapped Mike Okuda and had him work on those designs?

Gabriel Koerner’s working on it!

Oh, very cool! I did not know Gabe was working on this.

how cool’s that?!

I’m really wrestling with thoughts here. They are saying all the right things, which is exciting. But Brannon Braga is involved, which is a major turn off.

I would 100 percent watch this show if Braga wasn’t involved, but he is. ARRRGH!!!!

Total confusion!!!

I may actually give it a chance!

Too bad Seth MacFarlane is not in charge of the new Star Trek show. I really hope he success on this one.

That depends. Do you want a Star Trek show that takes it seriously or one that is an obvious spoof on star trek.

Im not sure where people get the idea that Orville is ‘real’ Star Trek. its so clearly a spoof. Spoofs can be funny. But Im not particularly impressed with what I’ve seen thus far.

There are people saying that Orville will hurt Discovery. I’d say its the other way around. A serious legitimate Star Trek will hurt the spoof. But realistically, Im not sure they even appeal to the same audience.

Sure you will have a certain vocal minority come here every week and rave about Orville, whether they watched it or not, because its easier to do that as a way of being critical of Star Trek.

People have to accept that Star Trek will never be custom produced for each individual fan.

Discovery is Star Trek. Orville is a spoof.

And Im not even sure why its getting such coverage here. its not Star Trek (was there a deal made between the Orville people and this site to provide coverage)?

No way can this last much beyond one season – the concept hasn’t got legs. Galaxy Quest already spoofed Trek perfectly, The Orville is a spoof of a show from the 90’s, it’s only going to appeal to a really small demographic.

Just my opinion though!

Fortunately, it’s on Fox, where many of it’s top-rated scripted shows can come in with relatively low ratings and still get renewed (i.e. Gotham, Lucifer). Plus there would seem to be a ton of marketing tie-in potential with a show like this that could help the bottom line.

Ultimately though, it will come down to how expensive it is to produce. From the looks of it, they are throwing a ton of money at it — how long they are willing to do so will be the deciding factor.

You are talking about the man that bring cosmos back, so he can be more serous than all the previus star trek, in other words: you dont seem to know what the hell are you talking about.

Exactly. ORVILLE may be enjoyable in the way GALAXY QUEST was, although topping GALAXY QUEST is a tall order. And yes, ORVILLE has strong production values. But the notion that it’s going to dethrone Trek because of its “optimistic” outlook? C’mon. I’ve seen nothing that suggests thought-provoking sci-fi here. What I *have* seen, in the trailers, is reminiscent of the worst moments of INSURRECTION: toilet seat jokes, ex-wife jokes, etc. Despite what Macfarlane says, this doesn’t look like TNG or MASH or SG1’s lighter episodes. It looks like a variation on FAMILY GUY in space. Now, again, for sure, that’s OK; I like FAMILY GUY. But I’m not getting my Star Trek fix from it.

But River, it’s clearly true Star Trek more than Discovery!

Yes, its amazing that the Orville apologists (the Orvologists) are giving a pass to the lame 90’s era jokes. Seth talks about real sci fi and exploration and delivers teases that are absurd in how out of place the cracks are.

And thats fine. Because it’s a spoof. Its a spoof of Star Trek. And Seth wants to attract Star Trek fans so they are trying to say all the right things to get Trek fans to check it out, which is smart. But this is a total spoof.

Again, why is it getting full coverage on a Star Trek site? Im not calling into question the integrity of the fine people that run this place but if there is a quid pro quo going on, I think its worth mentioning. If the Orville people are paying for coverage, Im totally fine with that because the people here deserve to make the money so we have a great place to converge.

But if not, I have no idea why this is getting such coverage. And if we’re covering things vaguely Star Trek related (or things where the creators mention Stare Trek as an influence), can we also cover Game of Thrones since that was mentioned as an influence on Discovery? ;-)

TUP you hit the nail on the head. I’m glad some of you can flock to this show over Discovery if it’s not doing for you what it’s doing for me but this coverage is starting to get a little weird. A little shady…


I take it that this one Orville article is too much for you? This site has published 21 articles about ‘Discovery’ in the past 9 days, that’s more than any Trek other site.

Been many articles on Orville.

How many Discovery articles does the Orville website feature? lol

@ TUP: It’s a space sci-fi series that has a lot of former Trek people involved behind and even in front of the camera. And it seems that at least part of Trek fandom is looking forward to it. Trekmovie has covered other sci-fi and genre before. In fact, there used to be an extra category for that that had regular articles. So nothing shady going on. It’s not like the Orville coverage is taking away from the Trek coverage. If you’re not interested in Orville just skip those articles.

Much too logical, diginon. I look forward to both shows and will judge them after I actually get to watch them.

Vaguely Star Trek related. Looking at the cast 16 of the actors on Orville have been on Star Trek, someb3 different shows.

Why assume that Seth’s take on ‘Trek would be comedic?

Because of the trailers.


Well, the man himself is telling you otherwise.


Seth 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.”

@ Ahmed: So it would seem that FOX is doing some heavy false advertising becuase the trailers don’t give that impression. Or Seth is making the show sound more than it is to “lure in” Trek fans. We’ll see.


“And Im not even sure why its getting such coverage here. its not Star Trek (was there a deal made between the Orville people and this site to provide coverage)?”

Since July 15 Trekmovie has published over 21 articles about ‘Discovery’ & yet here you’re whining about a single article in the same time period about ‘The Orville’.

@Ahmed – Im not whining at all but I know youd never complain about people being critical of you for the same thing, right?

Its a reasonable question since this is not Star Trek or a program featuring a star of Star Trek. Actually, was Sh!t My Dad Days covered this prominently?

Others have asked as well. Its not my site so I dont care, just curious. Some people seem very confused and think Orville is Star Trek.


Then don’t read articles about ‘The Orville’, problem solved!

fyi there’s a new interview thread with Anthony Rapp that you’ve not spammed yet with your endless love for Discovery, you may want to check it out.

And it’s really shame that you made just one comment in the Shazad Latif interview thread, unlike the 10s comments here. Why you don’t go there rather than hanging around here, just follow your own advice!

Agree with TUP here. It’s fine if there’s an update now and then about Orville, as it’s a spoof of Trek, but in the end it’s NOT Trek, so should not be consistently covered. If they want to give full coverage to Orville, start a separate site. “”

You may like it and that’s fine, but this is a Star Trek website, so our opinion is surely a valid and logical one, even if you disagree.

As for “following our own advice” you should take your own: stop reading Discovery articles.

Why not put this on Netflix???? Do they really expect me to go out and get cable, or buy a $6 digital antennae to watch this?

***** (< that is a 5 star rating for your post, Torch)

FOX stations are on standard OTA frequencies that don’t need cable, or basic non-premium digital cable (and if you use an antenna, you need to get an outdoor one, not an indoor one, so that you’ll get the channel no matter what weather condition presents itself.) You don’t need to watch everything on streaming.

I still need to buy a digital antennae. Every TV needs something to pick up a signal over the air. How can I be expected to spend upwards of $12 on one, just for ONE SHOW that I want to watch? I already have Netflix, they should put it there!

Or even on CBSAA. I’m paying $6 a month to see Discovery, so my antenna purchase is TWO MONTHS of that!!! UNFAIR!!!!


as opposed to paying each month for netflix? You can always wait until it gets to Netflix sometime much much later – I do that for several shows. Always a season behind but hey its still new to me

I just think it’s really selfish, and just a total d1ck move for them to put this on a network I need to spend new money on instead of a service I already pay for. They should be making this just for ME after all!!! SELFISH! It’s really kind of extortion and I don’t think it’s right!!!!

Most people have a limited amount of time to watch TV and not many folks want to commit to something in it’s first season that is not guaranteed to come back. Just like you never buy the first model year of anything. I think this show will be fun, but I will wait to see if it gets picked up for season two before watching. Likewise, any new Star Treks need a three year foundation before I invest anything in that.

So how is anything going to last more than a season if nobody watches it until it has more seasons?

I was kinda on the fence about this show but now I’m kinda excited about it.

I think the key phrase here is “it’s like M*A*S*H” If MacFarlane really can deliver humour with heart we may have something here. It does seem to be something other shows are doing well lately, eg: Bojack Horseman, F is for Family. I’m barracking for him.(that’s Aussie for rooting. Rooting means something different here, Google it.)

“I think the key phrase here is “it’s like M*A*S*H” If MacFarlane really can deliver humour with heart we may have something here.”

Well, yes, but again, I see no kind of Catch-22 or MASH-style black humor from the trailers, nor any humor-fused-with-social-commentary a la Norman Lear. We have a captain sharing the bridge with his ex-wife, a captain making toilet jokes, etc. We’ll see. Perhaps it will end up working, but I don’t see it from the trailers. I acknowledge trailers can be incomplete.

Honestly he lost me at the comparison to Mash. Nothing from the Orville trailer even came close to hinting that it’d be a dark and thoughtful commentary on the horrors of….anything.

Maybe he meant to compare it to Hogan’s Heros, that I’d believe. Still looking forward to checking it out, make no mistake, but MASH is a high bar to try and compare a parody tv series to.

Planetary Union? As in… p.u.?

That goes along with the pallets of t.p. In the crew meeting scene.

Seth just can’t help himself.

@CmdrR — exactly, and that’s why this show will not likely be more than what it seems. He can put all the spin he wants on it, but in the end, he just can’t help himself. It’s going to be a parody of TNG, that will dip into the sophomoric dregs of humor, and have forced dramatic moments — this is shaping up to be more like his doomed western with each new release.

@Curious Cadet,

It’s funny that when it comes to ‘Discovery’ you demand that people watch the show first before making judgement and yet with every Orville thread you’re there to trash the show, its creator.

I agree people should watch Orville before judging, but the difference between Orville and Discovery is that Orville was created by Seth McFarlane, and he has a long body of work by which we can expect the results to be similar to.

Now, maybe it will surprise us. Maybe buried under the fart humor and sex jokes is some real thoughtful, introspective, social message-style science fiction. Heck, it might even complete do a 180 from previous Seth McFarlane shows and be funny!

But there’s enough in his history for me to say “this isn’t for me, and it probably will be terrible.” The trailers reinforce those preconceived notions as well, rather than allay them.

Discovery, on the other hand, was created by Fuller, written by Meyer, and is being produced by a group of people who have done a wide variety of work that varied in quality from excellent to mediocre. Certainly if you don’t like what you see from the trailers, by all means, don’t watch it. But it’s a bit premature to say “well based on their track record, I don’t think this will be good.”

I can say that about Zack Snyder’s Justice League after 2 terrible Zack Snyder Superman movies, but even now that they’ve brought in Joss Whedon i’m willing to give it more the benefit of the doubt than I would have previously.

I couldn’t agree more with you, Torchwood. I share the same opinion.

Yeah, he has the comedy shows. But he also has the COSMOS remake under his belt. The guy loves science and space.


He also loves westerns. How’d that movie of his turn out? And for god’s sakes, COSMOS is a documentary!!!


First, I appreciate the thoughtful response, even though I disagree with it.

Given that McFarlane’s passion for science fiction in general and Star Trek in particular was instrumental in creating this show, and the comments he made about the nature of the show I’m willing to give it a chance comes September. Not sure why would some people take that as saying that ‘The Orville’ is a replacement for ‘Discovery’, this is not the case.

As for ‘Discovery’ while I abhor the very idea of another prequel I was, and still, willing to give it a chance.

You mentioned the ‘Discovery’ team, by looking at their track record can’t say that I’m excited as you. Kurtzman is the one who created the show, Fuller joined the projects couple months later as co-creator and as you know, he is not involved anymore with ‘Discovery’.

Looking at TV shows from the current showrunners Aaron Harberts & Gretchen J. Berg like ‘Revenge’ & ‘Roswell’ they don’t fill me with confidence and Kristen Beyer is a novelist who never wrote for TV before.

And I’m even less encouraged with the involvement of Alex Kurtzman & Akiva Goldsman, given the lack of experience from the rest of the production team I feel those two will have the upper hand in shaping the show.

As for Nicholas Meyer, his last Trek project was 26 years ago, his recent TV projects includes ‘Houdini’ which was panned by both the critics & audience; and ‘Medici: Masters of Florence’ went under the radar. Now, it’s possible that he still has it in him and will write an amazing script, but recent projects from other past great directors/scriptwriters such as Ridley Scott, Oliver Stone, Michael Mann and J. Michael Straczynski shows that creativity doesn’t last long.

If there is anything that I like about ‘Discovery’ it would be the cast. Jason Isaacs, James Frain & Michelle Yeoh are all excellent choices. Not sold yet on Sonequa Martin-Green since I’ve only seen her in ‘The Walking Dead’ and wasn’t impressed with her character.


“I’m willing to give it a chance comes September.”

And I think that’s great. No problem with anyone checking it out, for whatever reason. Maybe you like his previous stuff– that’s fine too. Not for me, but if it’s for you, I’m sure you’ll love Orville.

The issue I have though is people (and not necessarily you) acting as if just because this looks superficially like TNG-era Trek, it’s somehow going to be “more Star Trek” than Discovery. Well, I suppose if visuals is really how these fans define Trek, then I guess that’s fair (and it sure seems that way based on the fact that most of the criticism levied at Discovery has been on how it looks like the new movies, or doesn’t look like TOS).

“As for ‘Discovery’ while I abhor the very idea of another prequel I was, and still, willing to give it a chance.”

And that’s awesome! All I ask of people here is to give it a chance before jumping down it’s throat and writing it off as “not Trek” or that Orville is somehow better before seeing either. If they want to say “more excited for Orville” then hey, fair enough, but again, how does a low-brow fart-humor laden spoof of Trek have you more excited than ACTUAL TREK that you don’t like simply because it’s different?

“You mentioned the ‘Discovery’ team, by looking at their track record can’t say that I’m excited as you. Kurtzman is the one who created the show, Fuller joined the projects couple months later as co-creator and as you know, he is not involved anymore with ‘Discovery’.”

Fuller created this show. This is well documented. Kurtzman got the ball rolling, but the time period, overall story, setting, and characters were created by Fuller. Kurtzman I’m sure had input, but the base of the show was Fuller.

“Looking at TV shows from the current showrunners Aaron Harberts & Gretchen J. Berg like ‘Revenge’ & ‘Roswell’ they don’t fill me with confidence and Kristen Beyer is a novelist who never wrote for TV before.”

Roswell was a very well regarded series, particularly among Trek fans. I never saw it. But I do notice you left out other shows they worked on, particularly Fuller’s Pushing Daisies and Wonderfalls, both critically acclaimed. You also leave out exec producer Heather Kadin, who worked on Sleepy Hollow; and director Vincenzo Natalie who did two of my favorite cult sci-fi films “Cube” and “Splice”.

I’m not saying the producers and writers are the best assembled, not that it even excites me as you say; rather simply that the assembled names and their respective body of work is not like Zack Snyder or Seth McFarlane where I know what to expect. Their previous work ranges from excellent to mediocre, across many genres.

I’m proud to say I’m one of “those” Star Trek fans who is FAR more excited about Orville than Discovery. And I never thought I’d say that. If you had asked me a year ago if I’d ever be rooting for a Seth MacFarlane SPOOF of Star Trek that airs on Fox over the first actual Star Trek series in 12 years, I would have found the idea absurd.

I think those promoting Discovery over Orville do a disservice to other Star Trek fans when they assume we’re only rooting for the show because of the superficial reason that it “looks like TNG”. Yes the set designs, costumes, and lighting are much more “Star Trek” to me because it emulates the style of 90s Star Trek (and would make me want to check it out even if that was the ONLY thing the show had going for it), but that is hardly the reason why I’m looking forward to an entire season of this series.

Seth MacFarlene said it best: In this day and age of dystopian science fiction where everything is grim and dark and depressing I think there is an appetite – and I think it has been a while – for a show that is aspriational and optimistic and can maybe provide a blueprint for a future”. Spiritually, Orville FEELS like a worthy successor to TOS and TNG because it has a fun, adventurous, upbeat style. It sounds like they are going to do a lot of cool stories about exploring the universe. I’m not seeing that from Discovery. The trailer felt very bland and serious, and I’m concerned that “team Discovery” seems much more focused on their own superficial goals of being politically correct and ticking every demographic than on telling compelling sci-fi stories. I’m all for “diversity” in Star Trek but it used to be organic. “The Orville” has a “diverse” set of characters as well, but it doesn’t feel forced or heavy handed. Discovery could learn a thing or two from that.

The bottom line is that I will give both shows a chance and watch the actual episodes before I cast judgment, but yes, I am far more excited for Orville at this point and I think the people behind Discovery have only themselves to blame for that. MacFarlane may have done too much toilet humor in the past, but what we’re seeing NOW is that Orville is saying and showing all the RIGHT things to appeal to Star Trek fans, and Discovery is doing everything WRONG when it comes to marketing the show to Star Trek fans. So far, the ONLY thing I’ve found appealing about Discovery is the special effects look very good (again, not the reason I watch Star Trek, the original series 1960s broadcast episodes had low budget and now laughable special effects) and fleshing out Harry Mudd’s backstory before TOS sounds fun, at least on paper (and I’m not yet sold that Discover’s ACTUAL execution of that will be good).

We will find out in September how it pans out.

“Orville FEELS like a worthy successor to TOS and TNG”

To you. Because to me it is not a worthy successor at all, as a low-brow comedy. That’s fine, btw. Not everything out there has to be Trek-like, not everything has to be serious and high-brow. There’s room in the world for low brow comedies. I’ve enjoyed a few myself here and there.

But Orville carrying on the spirit of Trek? Doesn’t look that way to me. Discovery’s producers have said their show will promote diversity, exploration, delve into social issues, and all of that sounds VERY Trek-like to me.

Just because it’s serious doesn’t mean it isn’t Trek-like. Trek has had plenty of serious, dark stories, both visually and otherwise. Some of the most beloved and acclaimed TNG episodes, such as “Best of Both Worlds,” “Inner Light” and “Measure of a Man” were very serious– not what I’d call fun or upbeat. These episodes are grim, borderline bleak, some with a very visually dark tone. “Yesterday’s Enterprise” — often considered one of the very best– is the perfect example of this.

This doesn’t even consider DS9, which, while had it’s fun romps, was generally a pretty dour show. The best episodes of that series, “The Visitor,” “Inter Arnim Enim Silent Leges,” “The Siege of AR-588”, and “Improbable Cause” are some of the darkest, most grim Trek episodes ever produced, but are why DS9 is often lauded as the best Trek series by its fans.

Not to say Trek is truly best when dark. Like you, I appreciate the fun in Trek. But taking it out doesn’t mean it isn’t Trek.

And let me be clear here: Orville is NOT a successor in anyway to Trek. I don’t even think McFarlane would claim such a thing. It’s a spoof, inspired by his love of Trek. It may even (poorly attempt) to explore some similar themes, under a blanket of fart jokes and potty humor. But a successor even spiritually? I think not.

Because nothing in McFarlane’s background or in these trailers convinces me it will be Trek-like in any way other than visuals.

Now, maybe he’ll prove me wrong, but hopefully you understand my logic as to why I am more excited for Discovery.

I am looking forward to this show but as a Comedy.. It’s a world where space exploration is so easy with so little lessons left to learn and aliens of the week simply humans in bad costumes that the crew goes to play in the holodeck and worries about relationships – I hope the writers mock the hell of out of it.. We kind of had that with TNG, but I am glad someone realized that the laughs are what make it work and they should double down on that as a comedy. This also frees up the “Wagon Train to the Stars” concept with action, no-free-energy, a final frontier full of mystery and danger (and hopefully some situational humor) for ST:Discovery.

It concerns me that so far The Orville has better starship visual effects than Discovery.

@Daniel — After the last trailer, I’m not sure I can agree. I suppose it all depends on what you like. Orville seems pretty generic to me. DISC looks like Star Trek.

@Curious Cadet,

“Orville seems pretty generic to me. DISC looks like Star Trek.”

‘Discovery’ trailer was the very definition of generic sci-fi action trailer including the obligatory hero landing!

>> Orville seems pretty generic to me. DISC looks like Star Trek. <<

I feel the opposite way from looking at both. DISC seems pretty genetic to me (and the first shots in the desert seem like they're right out of Star Wars INSTEAD of Star Trek). Orville looks like Star Trek.

I thought that a lot of the ship shots in this Orville trailer were far too bright. Also some of the ship movements (e.g. in the battle) were kind of laughable although those might have been sped up for the trailer. On the other hand, I also thought that some of the ship shots in the Discovery trailer didn’t look too good. I don’t know if these shots are still unfinished or whether they just wanted too much for their budget. Also we shouldn’t forget it’s still a TV show, not a movie, even if they aim for a cinematic look.

But Adrianne Palicki… still hot dang

I really miss her in MCU as Mockingbird. :(

I’m hopeful they can pull off the light touches of comedy along with some fun sci fi action, ala The Next Generation. To me that show and Star Trek in general was at their best when they let the characters be funny while they explored the universe.

Who’d have thought Seth MacFarlane would be the one embracing and championing the optimism of Star Trek, while CBS would set another show back in pre- original series history to tell a grimdark war story?

“To me that show and Star Trek in general was at their best when they let the characters be funny while they explored the universe.”

Thus we got TNG classics like “Manhunt,” “A Fistful of Datas,” INSURRECTION, etc. Nearly every TNG attempt at humor felt forced and fell flat.

And that’s before we even get to Neelix.

I don’t know who ever got the idea that STAR TREK movies should be comedies. (The oft-cited success, “The Trouble With Tribbles,” wasn’t really *that* much of a comedy outside of Cyrano Jones; it was more a theater-of-the-absurd for one or two scenes.) Fortunately, the DSC team seems to appreciate that.

The only show that’s ever been really able to pull off comedic elements well was SG-1. Even there, they did it sparingly; a lot of its success was due to Richard Dean Anderson; and when they tried it with Vala Mal Doran, the comedy once again fell flat.

Both TOS & TNG had their fair share of lighthearted, breezy episodes with a lot of comic relief, especially in the early seasons. Examples include Shore Leave, The Squire of Gothos, This Side of Paradise, the two Harry Mudd episodes, etc. from TOS and The Big Goodbye, The Neutral Zone, The Outrageous Okona, Déjà Q, The Most Toys, Captain’s Holiday, First Contact, Rascals, etc. from TNG. I could make a similar case with Voyager (“Bride of Chaotica!”, etc.) and even the grimdark DS9 and ENT had their share of lighthearted, funny episodes. Comedy worked best on Star Trek when the situation itself was serious and the story had depth, but certain situations provided some nice LOL moments for the show. Even “serious” episodes like The Corbomite Maneuver and The City on the Edge of Forever had some great comedic moments. I agree that a lot of the forced “comedy” episodes like most of the Counselor Troi’s mother and/or scheming Ferangi episodes fell flat. It also got tired and irritating very quickly.

I hope Discovery will do the same and give the audience a break during the first season with a lighthearted and fun episode, but the serialized storytelling format and tone/feel of the trailer doesn’t make me optimistic at all.

Bring it on. Can’t wait.


Looks great. Hopefully it’ll balance comedy and drama in the right way like Stargate & Farscape did.

From the trailers it doesn’t look like a good balance between comedy and drama but I guess I’ll check out the show in September. However, if the whole show is loke those trailers I’m not sure how long I’ll last.

If you like Seth McFarlane i’m sure you’ll love Orville. But don’t expect a balance of drama and comedy. Here’s his list of written/produced by credits:

-A Million Ways To Die in the west
-Ted 2
-The Cleveland Show
-American Dad
-Family Guy
-Assorted Cartoons: Ace Ventura/Johnny Bravo/Cow & Chicken/Dexter’s Lab


Seth McFarlane did not write or direct Cosmos, which, btw, was a documentary and so not really relevant to the discussion.

But where COSMOS is concerned, he was an executive producer, and it was his interest in the original series that got the production off the ground. Good on him for that.

Well yes, you had a list that included stuff he’d produced. So I added COSMOS.

I liked the first Ted but could not watch it a second time. Liked Family Guy for awhile but its very repetitive. We watched American Dad regularly for awhile but I was generally bored by it.

Not really sure, even if there are moments of high drama, that I’d be too invested in a show where a character says “Boom bitch” like that

Not a fan of Family Guy or much of Seth’s other work (except Cosmos), but he is saying the right things. However, I sense a conflict between the network wanting and promoting Family Guy in space (or at best Galaxy Quest) and MacFarlane wanting a dramedy. Don’t know what STD or Orville will ultimately be like obviously, but I must admit I like the noises coming from The Orville team in a way that I don’t from the STD team. Time will tell, but at this point it has me wishing MacFarlane would have gotten a shot at Trek (words I never thought I would hear myself say).

know I’m in the minority here, but this actually looks kind of stupid. Unless there’s some big mix-up, or a huge level of incompetence at HQ, I don’t see anyone giving that guy command of anything better than a garbage scow. And he’s got a bunch of unprofessional dumbasses on his crew. Seems like it should be an eight minute sketch, not a TV show.

@Jeff — it’s supposed to be kind of stupid. It’s NOT a real show, despite what they’re all saying. Braga wants this to be his second turn at redeeming himself after killing the franchise, but it’s just a sad return to the trough of been-there-done-that. MacFarlane is likely playing him like a fiddle, and at the end of the day, overriding any dramatic decisions in favor of sophomoric comedy. I actually can’t wait to see this show. I hope there aren’t so many potty jokes as to turn me off, and they manage to pull a GALAXY QUEST kind of parody out of this. But make no mistake, this is not a serious dramatic series, nor is it intended to be. It’s a romp, and as long as it doesn’t forget that, it might actually be a lot of fun — especially when the real deal is also available to cleanse your palate and vice versa.

I see your point. But I’ve watched Red Dwarf for years, and there was also Tripping the Rift, which was good for awhile and then it got lame.

yeah its a spoof. Its sort of like comparing Space Balls to A New Hope. One is a spoof not to be taken seriously.

Its only being taken seriously by a few because Trekmovie is covering it seriously and its an easy way to stomp feet and moan about how much people hate Discovery even though they’ve never seen it.

If you wished Picard made jokes about his relationship with Crusher and Worf farted and Geordie shat himself because he was blind, then I suppose this would be up your alley. Its a spoof. Hopefully a really funny one. But it aint Star Trek.

If it looks and feel like star trek I’ll be watching it. I liked TOS, I loved TNG, ENT and DS9 and voyager was ok.

Make more and I’ll watch them all.


Not a fan of Seth MacFarlane’s humor… fart jokes and juvenile humor gets boring real fast. The movies he’s done were horrible. THIS is the kind of Star Trek the people bashing Discovery want? Family Guy in space? “In space, no one can hear you fart.” Wow. Well, be happy you have this. But FOX’s history isn’t the greatest with sci-fi. And with the budget per episode… I don’t see it lasting more than a season.

I like it, looks awesome

So will you guys be covering Star Wars Episode 8 and 9 as well? Just asking

Trailer looks marginal though. Interesting to see which way it plays. Hard to see it as a dramedy–seems like it needs more intelligent, subtle humor for that to work. Then again, maybe the trailer is the network trying to push things in a certain direction.

Amazing, how so many ‘fans’ are lining up to support this show or Discovery as proof of their brand loyalty. As if, at this stage, one couldn’t hope for good things from both.

I know, right? If they’re both good, I’m going to be in space opera heaven.

Weird, isn’t it? I really don’t think most Trek fans see it that way, choosing one or the other. It certainly seems like the two shows are offering something completely different from each other. I’m curious to see if the Orville’s style of show can really work for 11 episodes and 45 minutes per episode.

I think in a perfect world Discovery is awesome, and Orville is a strong spoof that lampoons Trek without making fun of it outright. If one does well, it helps the other. As they say, a rising tide raises all ships.

Orville, if successful, could help bring more buzz to Discovery by making Trek relevant, and vice versa.

Well said Torch.

I still don’t understand the notion of brand loyalty with respect to entertainment. It’s like the auteur theory for directors, as if the greatest filmmaker is immune to toe-stubbing. The words STAR TREK should not mean, ‘gets a pass for its first three seasons while it gets its sea legs,’ but in my mind, the ModernTrek/Berman era was exactly all about that (and worse.)

I think there’s plenty of room in the galaxy for a show like this, and I’m looking forward to it. A good looking trailer with Deep Purple playing in the background? What more do you want?

I have zero desire to watch this at all. But I don’t begrudge those that do. Enjoy!

Looks like the Orville will be a fun diversion, but even with the names involved it comes across as a fan production to me. More like Star Trek Continues rather than an actual attempt at making a modern Star Trek show. Seth MacFarlane wanted to be a starship captain so he got some buddies together and created the Orville.

I’ll definitely watch it, it doesn’t necessarily look bad, just a bit of a throwback that doesn’t take its universe seriously.

The trailer for The Orville makes me want to watch it. It looks entertaining. The trailers for Discovery make me not want to watch.

Funny, I feel the exact opposite!

For me, the two arent even connected. Weird how so many anti-Discovery people feel such a connection between the two.

I will probably watch the Orville’s first episode and see what happens. Whereas I know I will watch all of Discovery even if its awful (afterall, i watched all of Enterprise and Voyager lol).

But Orville is a comedy not related to Star Trek so I feel no compulsion to commit to it.

I will probably watch the Orville’s first episode and see what happens. Whereas I know I will watch all of Discovery even if its awful (afterall, i watched all of Enterprise and Voyager lol).
But Orville is a comedy not related to Star Trek so I feel no compulsion to commit to it.

Again, I feel the opposite. Discovery's first season is going to be entirely serialized so I will check out the pilot and see if it is able to give me a really compelling story that leaves me at the edge of my seat wanting to know what happens next (ironically, the last TV show to successfully "sell" me on that with its pilot alone was the comedy series Ash vs. Evil Dead) Most Star Trek pilots are pretty clunky at first (Voyager was probably the best, too bad the rest of the show didn't "live up" the potential set down in the pilot) If Discovery's pilot isn't amazing but merely "okay", I'll sit through a couple more episodes hoping the series piques my interest and gives me a reason to keep watching its serialized storyline. If not, I'm gone. Team Discovery is banking on Star Trek fans being so excited by the pilot that we all rush to sign up for All Access and pay $5 a month to watch 15 more episodes in a row (with a long break between the first 8 episodes and the next 7) and I doubt they will be able to pull that off, but I'll give them a chance.

Orville is indeed a stand alone comedy series that is not tied to existing Star Trek canon and seems to have all "stand alone" episodes, so that's all the more reason why I feel I can tune in any time, to any episode, and have something to look forward to. If the previous week's episode was totally worthless, the following week will tell an entirely different story written by a different person, so its something new and different I'll be looking forward to seeing. If the pilot is lousy and it seems the entire show is going to be silly fart jokes, I can watch the second episode and see if the execution is any different. Even if its not and Orville doesn't last an entire season, it has a "fun" look and feel even when nothing "fun" is happening, so it could end up being a guilty pleasure like watching a ridiculous Wayans Brothers movie.

kind of amazed Patrick Stewart wasn’t the admiral giving Seth his command in the trailer …

The series looks entertaining. I am looking forward to it.

Star Trek is dead…long live THE ORVILLE!

To be another TNG this show is going to have to have a lot of heart, with a crew who are a family and can have tender moments together. The instant I heard Braga was part of this though I knew that was a complete non starter. The guy could never manage to build any sort of believable rapport between characters when he was in charge. Bizarre stories, endless time travel and T&A yes, that no.

A big if, but if this shows catches on enough to get a 2nd season, I may have to get myself an agent again. I just dug out my old TNG treatments and the three specs I wrote before pitching at Par in 90, and I think they’d ALL work as ORVILLE eps. Won’t know for sure till we see how far the show ranges in tone, but I think the drama level will surprise folk and that there will real poignancy to balance out the anachronistic contemporary asides. Plus … MOTION CONTROL MINIATURE WORK! YAHHHHHHH!

Orville pwns Discovery! =P
do we see anything like a deck plan from discovery or nu-trek? no, ’cause they don’t care about things like functionality or realism, it’s just fake flashy crap.
Orville is the real deal in terms of (real) Star Trek! =D
(qualifier: the discovery props ARE very good, however…)

Hi guys. I love your site and check it daily, but I don’t know exactly why I hate articles on this series. I come here for Star Trek news ( which you do brilliantly by the way). Ps, most people of a certain age here in the UK will associate the name “Orville” with a stupid ventriloquist’s duck dummy with an irritating voice.

“I wish I could fly, right up to the sky….” lol 😉

The Orville looks way better and far more faithful to the spirit of Star Trek and its canon than Discovery does lol.