Orville Update: Season 2 To Feature More Sci-Fi, To Be At Least 14 Episodes



This week has some news for TrekMovie’s adopted Star Trek-inspired show, The Orville. Speaking at a Fox Family Guy panel at the Winter TCA, creator/executive producer Seth MacFarlane discussed some of the plans for the second season. Talking about the length of the season, MacFarlane told the critics (via TV Guide):

“I think it’s going to be at least 14 [episodes]. I’d rather do fewer episodes and have them be better content-wise than do 22 and have them be filler.” 

Based on a tweet from actor Scott Grimes the show will be back in production next month, however we may have to wait a bit to see the second season. When asked at the TCA if the show will be back in the Fall, MacFarlane indicated it wouldn’t be, due to the lead to to make each episode, saying “No, there’s too much to do.”

Seth MacFarlane speaking at 2018 Fox Winter TCA Family Guy panel

More sci-fi for season two and maybe Family Guy crossover and puppets too

When talking about lessons learned from the first season that can apply to the second, MacFarlaned talked about the tone and balance with comedy, indicating the second season will have more sci-fi, saying (via Slashfilm):

“The show was experimental in a lot of ways. Tone was the biggest experimental part of it. What we found was that we can lean a little more heavier into the science fiction and not have to worry so much about knocking out a joke every page. The show is an hour and really can and wants to service its storytelling in a way that makes it a priority. The jokes come as they come, the comedy comes as it comes.”

It was also revealed during the TCA Family Guy panel that there may be a crossover with The Orville. Perhaps the crew of the USS Orville will appear in a Family Guy cutaway gag? Executive Producer (of Family Guy) Rich Appel said:

“I sent the script on a slow boat [to approve]. But we end up live on the bridge of the Orville. We’ll see.”

There is one more surprising possibility for season 2 coming from the twitter account of a professional puppet design firm that indicates they are making puppets for The Orville:

MacFarlane on how ‘The Orville’ is “really not a comedy” and how it scared him

In an extensive interview with Build to promote his album In Full Swing, Seth MacFarlane also talked about The Orville and how he was pleased to see fans embrace the show, and especially one that isn’t like his usual work in half-hour comedies. He noted that he was “terrified” at first as he was working on the show.

Keep up with all of our The Orville reviews and news at TrekMovie.com.

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Even though I am a life Star Trek fan I had no interest to watch this show. None. But thanks to all the articles about it here I decided to give it a chance and so glad I did. Its not perfect, but its a show with a lot of heart and actually about exploration (one of the big knocks I have against Discovery but hopefully that will change in its second half). The jokes are there (and a lot of times I actually laugh) but they don’t over take the story like I was originally afraid of.

I really like what they did with this show and while there could be a LOT of improvement it really showed the potential it has. I will definitely be watching next season.

It’s a fun show. It’s got heart. It’s actually funny fairly often.

And it’s better than Voyager and Enterprise. Okay, and half of TNG.

I’d like to see fewer Braga tropes in the writing, though.

I agree.

I’m glad they weren’t dead set on having comedy in every scene and I think they finally struck a nice balance toward the end of the season.

In summary: More Star Trek and less toilet humor.
I’m in!

In the last few eps the humor was definitely workplace and off-duty humor, thanks be, not toilet humor.

I LOLd when Mercer played that game at Bortus’s quarters and got a surprise!

@Marja — I laughed at that too. It was one of the few genuine laughs I ever had in this series.

I thought the first few episodes were train wrecks but ended up enjoying it for what it is. Looking forward to more.

I thought the episode where Kelly and Ed both sleep with Rob Lowe’s character and Finn ends up in bed with Yaphet was a huge step backwards. Less of that and more old-school Trek and I might decide to embrace it.

That was arguably the best episode of the season! Because it was the funniest. That episode was a great step forward for the show.

See, and I thought that was great. You can’t please everyone. I’d be disappointed if they lost the comedy entirely — I think it works well.

I actually thought that one worked for this series. I really wish we’d get at least one scene where Yaphet and Claire talk about what happened. They basically ignored it in the scenes since that ep.

I’d also like to see some follow-up on Yaphit’s ire after being passed over for Engineering Chief.

I didn’t like Finn/Yaphit, but Kelly and Ed worked for me bc it FINALLY began resolving that tiresome “we broke up because I was too busy and she played me” trope.

That was a great episode! Plus it set up some real character and relationship development for Ed & Kelly.
In regards to ‘old school trek’don’t forget Tasha Yar bedded a “Fully Functional” Data under very similar circumstances.

The problem with saying one prefers fewer good episodes to a full season with “filler” episodes is it means those fewer episodes have to be, you know, good. I put it out there that the ratio of good to bad episodes will remain the same no matter how long the season is. Therefore, I would rather see a 22 episode season with “filler” episodes than a short season that still has “filler” episodes.

Am I wrong when the takeaway I got from the article was Seth was looking to do more serious sci fi stuff and have less comedy? If so that is a tremendous mistake. What makes the show stand out is the comedy. Without it it gets taken too seriously and becomes a lame TNG clone. This does not bode well for The Orville. If true there may not be a season 3.

I took it as he is learning that in drama you can have natural humor and not forced humor. That’s a big step for a comedic writer.

I agree here; I think you see things that get over-emphasised or pushed too far. A good example in the first episode is where the guy on the viewscreen has a dog in the background licking itself. That was an intrinsically amusing bit of subtle comic business, that didn’t need to be called out by not one but two lines of dialogue referring to it.

I’m very glad that a shift towards a more subtle and naturalistic tone in the humour is suggested.

Actually love the rest of the show (with a few small reservations) and enjoy the ‘proper’ sci-fi stuff.

@Winkie — it’s Seth MacFarlane. I’ll believe it when I see it.

Indeed – I like Family Guy but not into any of his other stuff…. until Orville. As you say, we’ll see….

And the dog licking itself could have just been
Ed: [in undertone] Kelly do you see that DOG?
Kelly: [gives Mercer the side-eye] Just talk to the guy. Please?

And … thank God.

Puppets? Really?
Can’t say I’m surprised by the family guy cross over. It was just a matter of time. I’ll pass on season 2.

Nobody cares what you’ll do. Neckbeard.

Wish they were doing more shows; with this small of an order, everything will probably be written in-house or with known quantities. Still maybe ought to look to get an agent again, season 3 maybe?

Breaking Bad started as a dark comedy. In the end it was one of the best dramas of all time. In watching the first handfull of episodes from season 1, and LOVING IT so far, I had begun to think that the show shines best when it takes itself a bit more seriously and lets the humor be more organic. I had a hunch it would go the Breaking Bad route and take itself a little more seriously after learning what it was actually about. I’m happy, although unsurprised to hear this. It seemed like the natural and logical evolution.

@I\’mPaul — ORVILLE is not BB. I watched BB from the pilot episode, and it was always squarely a drama from day one. And it was written by some of the smartest people in the business, and brilliantly cast. It also wasn’t trying to rip-off something else.

It’s funny you had a “hunch” it take a more serious course, since the producers flat out said that’s what they had planned. And I disagree that this is either a natural or logical evolution, and I gurantee it makes FOX nervous, as the Pilot looks like a totally different series — the one many people wanted to see, and still do, including me. The ratings reflect that. They have been steadily declining since the Pilot, as the series slid into more serious stories that exposes the flaws of the casting and writing. ORVILLE Is far from must-see TV for its fans (which is a disaster for an advertiser-based network show), and even series with similar ratings that did not get renewed had much higher season finales than their average numbers, not less like ORVILLE. So we’ll see …

Yeah, I kind of spoke too soon and didn’t cover all my bases. The Orville is cheap and camp. It so happens that I really like it, but it seems like it’s better when it’s about the story, and the humor is related to the story as opposed to being slapstick. I’m only about five episodes in.

My point with Breaking Bad was that I had never seen such a deft tone change from the beginning to the end of the series. It was always a drama, but it was full of humor at the beginning of the series. By the end, no one even remembered that the show began with all of the comic notes, and didn’t remember that was a huge part of what they loved about it. That being said, it didn’t start as good as it ended. So, for the modern era of TV I just had a feeling (yes a “hunch,”) that The Orville was going to try to make a similar tone change and benefit from it. I still think it is the evolution and ultimate improvement of the show, and I’m excited to see how it turns out.

Though I would trade the entire first season of The Orville for even the handful of Discovery episodes I’ve really liked so far, that doesn’t mean I’ve haven’t enjoyed the shoe on occasion or found it to be without value. I’m certainly encouraged by MacFarlane’s willingness to learn from his mistakes, and can only hope that the folks at CBS will do likewise.

Happy New Year, everyone.

Joke for baby boomers

“A really big shoe”


Don’t sully the reputation of Gen-X.

I got it, too. ;-)

Why is this show covered here like it’s star Trek? Star Wars would certainly deserve coverage if Orville counts as “Star Trek” lol

I might try it again next season. See if it’s improved given the chance to listen to feedback.

We’ve had that discussion over and over on this site.
It’s a thread.

SWars and STrek are in no way related. Wars is not a “tribute” to Trek. McFarlane has stated Orville is a loving tribute to Trek, a show that inspired him. And that dude loves Science.

Sucks that we have to wait a year(?) for Season 2. But, it’s good to know that it’ll eventually be back.

Question re: “I think it’s going to be at least 14 [episodes]. I’d rather do fewer episodes and have them be better content-wise than do 22 and have them be filler.”

Why is it either/or? Is it just a budgetary issue? In order to have 22 strong episodes, they’d have to hire more writers, which would break the budget?

I don’t know — I’m a fan of shorter seasons, generally. Even 14 episodes seems like too many. I like how British shows and Netflix do it.

I think it’s tough to be great with that many — you’re just pumping out content — and this is true of all the previous Trek series. There were a few great episodes and then a few that simply didn’t need to be there at all — and some in between.

@Jack — previous Trek was different. They bought stories and scripts and adapted them from third party writers. There weren’t many episodes I’d say were unnecessary. Whereas a serialized story really can’t fill the gaps between staff scripts with third party scripts as the story must be developed and executed by the same staff.

I do find it comical that some armchair producers state things like more scripts mean more writers and higher budgets, like there’s any truth to that equation. More episodes=more cost overall. Not more writers. And stories are the least of the per episode cost. Even a serialized show like DISC could supplement a 16 episode season with 6 bottle episodes by third party writers, which don’t necessarily progress the serialized nature of the show, and might even be a welcome respite. The Mudd episode was one such stand-alone that didn’t do much to propel the through line of the serialized plot.

Curious Cadet

More episodes=more cost overall. Not more writers.

Don’t they have economy of scale, in being able to re-use sets and other non-labor factors of production, such that, after the initial investment, their per-episode cost decreases with each additional episode? I’m just asking why it has to be either/or with the content output, not making any assertions about it. Labor strikes me as a production factor that would reach a limit in terms of economy of scale——you can only squeeze so many hours out of staff writers in a week, whereas sets and props can be re-used indefinitely. And the quality of content is mostly dependent upon the output of the writers (“producers,” etc…).

Agreed on DISCO stand-alone episodes. I hope they do more, just to let the serial storyline simmer for a bit in the background every so often.


I was going to ask what you meant by DISCO, and then figured you mean Discovery.


…and this is true of all the previous Trek series. There were a few great episodes and then a few that simply didn’t need to be there at all — and some in between.

I’d agree with that assessment with respect to all Trek series except for TOS Seasons 1-2 and TNG Seasons 3-6. For me, the first two seasons of TOS are very strong, with maybe 2 weak episodes (e.g. “Miri”, “Catspaw”) in each season. And seasons 3-6 of TNG are strong, except for maybe 2-4 episodes in each season (e.g. “Night Terrors”, “Imaginary Friend”). DS9 would be a better show pared down, VOY and ENT even more so. But, I’m still wondering why it has to be either/or.


I don’t get it either. I am not a fan of the shorter seasons at all. The concept is supposed to limit the bad or lesser quality episodes but it just doesn’t work out that way. You still get “filler” episodes. The only way to really avoid that is if you have a season long story arc and every episode moves the story forward. But you can still get some dog episodes even doing that.


I think it is just as tough to be great with fewer episodes. I’d much rather they take more shots at the target and end up with more good episodes overall. With short seasons you have the irritating side effect of waiting seemingly forever for the nest season to start. Some have been gone so long that you completely forget what went on the previous season. I’m looking at you, “The Americans” and “Hell on Wheels.”


With short seasons you have the irritating side effect of waiting seemingly forever for the nest season to start. Some have been gone so long that you completely forget what went on the previous season.

That’s another good point. I’d add “The Expanse” to your list. I love the show, but by the time the next season starts, I’ve long forgotten where we are and what happened in the previous season. The first episode typically has a review of the previous season, but it obviously can’t cover everything, and tends to just cover the plot points and major themes. It usually gives you enough to follow the main plot in the upcoming season, but not to pick up emotionally where you left off or even on character arcs.

I truly believe that the success of The Orville is wholly due to the audience’s desire to see episodic, space-based action on TV. Viewers want new Treks. Orville is close, and can certainly go its own way. What (imho) we’re sick of is scruffy-faced rocket crews dressed all in black shooting anything in sight and then feeling bad about it. BSG was great, and The Expanse is great, but there are a lot of lesser efforts out there, including way too many space-based alien/zombie flicks. The optimism of Trek is important. I know we all hope we’ll survive our own foolishness and get to the stars. I’d like to see MORE optimistic stories.

Well, I do have a weakness for “Dark Matter,” although it is a bit scruffy. Some great characters, particularly Android.

I was sad they decided to cancel Dark Matter while keeping the cheaper and sloppier looking Killjoys. I’m assuming Syfy must not be doing well financially or something.

Oh god. You sad, sad sack of


I feel much the same way.

Orville is so very very bad. Trite territory we’ve traveled many may times before. Shamelessly stealing the aesthetics of TNG, (though TNG never looked so cheap) to appease Berman fans and help them attach those rose-colored glasses…mixed with classic, but overused tropes from the pages of pulp sci-fi that weren’t exactly fresh when Twilight Zone or the original series did them almost half a century ago…add to that poorly placed, unfunny 6th grade humor and sledge-hammer moments of pretentiousness that hurt…all I can say is, it’s a good thing he has a hit with Family Guy. That is Seth’s Golden Ticket and leverage to play and litter up Fox’s sandbox. He’s in a unique position and very lucky. I’ll give him that.

jonboc mixed with classic, but overused tropes from the pages of pulp sci-fi that weren’t
exactly fresh when Twilight Zone or the original series did them almost half a century ago

One could argue that every Sci-Fi/speculative show has the same elements. Good grief, storytelling has its tropes, because humans relate to them on a large scale.

One could argue that you’re an absolute bell end.

At first, I was skeptical, but after watching the first 2 episodes, I was hooked! Love the show, and can’t wait for the second season!

I absolutely love The Orville and I’m glad it’s continuing. I don’t want them to dial down the humor, the humor is part of what makes this show so great!

@TM11 — I agree, it is a huge mistake to dial back the humor.

It’s too bad it’s not more like this Geico commercial — now here’s a fun parody of sci-if I’d love to watch as a series: https://youtu.be/il-Ukx84Hu0

Nice! Thanks for sharing that link :)

Awfully disappointed in the very stock images provided, was hoping they’d have something specific to what the material covered, but hey, for an article that was literally 8+ months in the making (well, 6+ months of that was waiting and nagging), at least it is done.