Comparisons To Star Trek Dominate Fox’s ‘The Orville’ TCA Panel

Last week we reported on the CBS Discovery panel at the Summer TCA Tour, and yesterday was Fox’s turn. TrekMovie has been covering Fox’s new sci-fi show The Orville because it is is a explicit homage to Star Trek (especially from the 80s and 90s) and sports a number of Trek vets behind the camera. We are not the only ones to see the connection, so when it came time for the Orville team to face the television critics, much of the discussion involved Star Trek.

MacFarlane: Star Trek going in a different direction

The TCA panel for The Orville started with a question about Star Trek, so creator MacFarlane outlined what he saw as the relationship between that and  The Orville (via Deadline):

“Star Trek itself sprang from a lot of different sci-fi tropes that came before it,” MacFarlane insisted. “The idea of a ship, in the naval sense, cruising in space did not originate with that show,” he said. He insisted he drew from “many different places”…“I miss the…aspirational place Star Trek used to occupy,” MacFarlane said. “They’ve chosen to go in a different direction,” he said, describing that direction as dystopian. The aspirational space of early Star Trek, MacFarlane maintained, now is “unoccupied.”

The Orville executive producer (and former Star Trek: Enterprise writer/producer) David Goodman struck a diplomatic note about both Discovery and The Orville launching in September:

“I think there is room for two spaceship shows,” Goodman said, noting “there’s more than one cop show.”

Seth MacFarlane and David Goodman at The Orville panel at TCA Summer Tour


Discovery producer responds to “dystopian” comment

Ted Sullivan, co-executive producer of Star Trek: Discovery, tweeted his reaction to MacFarlane’s comments the following day.

Fox not worried about being sued by CBS

Earlier in the day, critics were even more pointed about the relationship between the two shows. During an executive session with the top brass, they were asked if Fox was worried that CBS might sue. Fox Television Group chairman and CEO Dana Walden said they were aware of the connections to Trek but felt safe, legally (via EW):

We’re not really concerned. We obviously have a big legal team. We vet things, so it’s not like we’re just flying by the seat of our pants out here. Seth’s intention is to do something that clearly pays homage to Star Trek, that clearly was inspired a lot by Star Trek. He talks about The Twilight Zone, a show that examines the human condition in the future and looks at the human condition through little morality plays, but I can’t imagine, especially when you see the direction that the Star Trek franchise is moving, that anyone involved would consider it anything other than a compliment. Most shows have some DNA of previous shows. There are very few shows that I’ve worked on that weren’t slight reinventions of something that’s come before it. It is a certain format of storytelling, it’s a certain act structure, there are certain limitations to what we all do in this storytelling form, so I find it to be flattering and I know Seth holds the Star Trek franchise in the highest regard.

Fox execs Rob Wade, Dana Walden, and David Madden talk Orville and Star Trek on the TCA Summer Tour 2017

New images from The Orville

Fox has released some new images from the pilot of The Orville, which premieres on Fox on Sunday, Sept. 10 .

The Orville Ship

Seth MacFarlane and Adrianne Palicki

Penny Johnson Jerald, Seth MacFarlane, and Peter Macon

MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, Penny Johnson Jerald, and guest star Brian George

Seth MacFarlane

Peter Macon and Chad Coleman

Fox has also released a new set of character images from The Orville. (Click to enlarge.)

Keep up with all of our The Orville coverage here at TrekMovie.

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