Interview: Jonathan Frakes On Casting Marina Sirtis And What ‘The Orville’ And ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Share

On Thursday The Orville returns from a brief hiatus to kick off the final three episodes of its second season with “Sanctuary.” The episode was directed by Star Trek: The Next Generation veteran Jonathan Frakes so TrekMovie thought it was a good time to check in with the beloved actor/director. This first part of our extended exclusive interview focuses on his work on The Orville. Check back later in the week for what he has to say about his work on the various Star Trek shows.

Jonathan Frakes returns to The Orville

Seth MacFarlane is hyping your episode Thursday as “epic.” Can you elaborate on what makes it epic?

The action is epic. We spent a lot of time on another planet I can say. The casting is epic with Ted Danson, Victor Garber, Tony Todd and somebody named Marina Sirtis is in it. It is a big ambitious episode. But The Orville has done that this season. They have expanded their approach. It used to be – not a ship-based show, but a more traditional episodic event. But now I don’t know if it is influenced by [Star Trek:] Discovery or if it is just audience appetite, but the episodes compared to what I did last season is more fun when it is a bigger event.

To me, one of the differences this season of The Orville feels a bit like The Next Generation after Michael Piller took over as showrunner, with a new focus on character. Are you feeling that vibe?

That’s very astute. I think the fans of Seth expected the show to be much more Family Guy than he ever intended it. In that, part of what he did by hiring [Star Trek veteran] Brannon [Braga] and others is to tell Star Trek stories that happen to have moments of absurdity, and that humor we have come to know. But it was never underlined and never expanded and if you blink sometimes you missed the humor and I think that approach worked in season one. Now for season two, we have these character studies. Like how he has gone all in on Bortus and his partner and that family. We know more about that character than we know about Ed even. I like it. I think it is smart. When we used to do Data stories on Next Gen – Data was my favorite character – and whenever we explored his world and being an android he explained human behavior better than any of us did. The depth of character, I think it helps the show and I think it helps the audience relate to the show and the audience then are invested in the details they found out about the character. And the same thing is true on Discovery. We took Owosekun with us on the away team [“New Eden”] and we killed Airiam [“Project Daedalus”] – two of the episodes that I directed that had these character studies.

You mentioned Marina is in your episode. Can you talk through how that happened?

Seth and I had looked at casting tapes for this character and I said, “I like so and so,” and he said “I kind of did too,” but we weren’t blown away. And he asked, “Isn’t there somebody from your show?” And I said, “obviously Marina could do this part.” He said he was thinking he should hold off until he found another part for her but asked what I thought, and I said Marina would LOVE to do this part. So were in video village – we were already shooting – and both texted her at the same time. She was thrilled and we called her, found a date, made a deal for her. And she was to come in for a costume fitting, but the schedule got shuffled and so the day after we texted her she came in for the fitting and was told not only was she doing the fitting but she was going to make up because she was working that day. It was like like a 24- or 36-hour turnaround from “isn’t there somebody on your show?” to having Marina on set, and it was such a good call.

She is so under-used and so talented and so good for our universe, on either show. She is a quintessential member of this family and Seth has been so loyal to all of us and has such a great affection for The Next Gen that it made perfect sense. And also, he has set the precedent of using people from our world, including [Robert] Picardo, and [John] Billingsly and [Tim] Russ was on the last one that aired. He is putting his money where his mouth is.

Seth MacFarlane, guest star Ron Canada, guest star Victor Garber, guest star Kelly Hu and guest star Ted Danson in the “Sanctuary,” directed by Jonathan Frakes (FOX)

Have you ever considered putting yourself in a cameo in The Orville – or even Discovery?

Every day! First of all, I am the most vain person in the world. I was always able to do it on The Librarian. I was always able to sneak myself in somewhere. It is a little more complicated on those shows, for obvious reasons. I think I have a better shot at it on The Orville because of the tone with Seth’s approach. That kind of wink or Hitchcock-ian thing, even a walk-by or the guy brushing his teeth. I tried to do the same thing on Big Bang Theory. I pitched that I’m the guy that sprayed the bowling shoes for Wil Wheaton. There are certain iconic things you want to just say you did. On Big Bang, LeVar [Burton] has been on, Brent [Spiner] has been on, [William] Shatner has been on and they refer to Next Gen a lot. And Wil Wheaton plays himself and Sheldon’s nemesis on the show. So I am pitching to [Big Bang Theory executive producer] Bill Prady that I am happy to come on and not have any dialog, just make that kind of appearance, which I would be thrilled to do on The Orville as well. Even just walking across in the hallway or the bartender or Penny’s assistant in sickbay. There is an opportunity there.

You mentioned how Seth has hired people who worked on Star Trek, one of whom is director of photography Marvin Rush. What is like to be back on the set of a starship with you directing and Marvin as your DP?

Obviously, it is surreal. And I got to say that Marvin and I found ourselves during breaks at the crafts services table reminiscing. He is a very sweet and emotional man who spent a lot of his formative years – not only on our show but in the Star Trek world. He created a lot of the look for a lot of the stuff everyone has come to know and love about Star Trek. I think Seth wisely went after him because it is one thing to have Brannon [as writer/executive producer] and another to have Robbie [Duncan MacNeill], Jim Conway and myself [as directors], but in terms of the look of the show, the idea of hiring Marvin has paid off. In Orville the cutting style and shooting style are much more like Next Gen and Voyager, that sort of ’90s television era which didn’t have wildly moving camera moves. Whereas on Discovery we are encouraged to do the sort of J.J. Abrams cinematic version of Star Trek. And Seth – because he comes from an animation background and he has written all the shows – in his incredible renaissance mind of his he has a picture and a sound of how everything he has written should look, and the rhythm. So, with the framing, if I try to do something different than what he has envisioned, he’ll whisper “that’s not what I am looking for.” So, Marvin and I shoot the show the way Seth envisions the show.

Also returning to Marvin and reminiscing, he wanted to know how everybody was because he knows we all still see each other. We had so much time together and we have so many Marvin stories. There is one with Marina I will share with you. She was shorter than the rest of us. She wore these big heels and sometimes even the big heels weren’t enough to get into a shot with Worf or Riker. And we were on the bridge and Marina had to walk up around the back of the “horseshoe” and get into the doorway of the turbolift. And as she got into the turbolift she was in a scene with both me and Worf, so she was short. So Marvin Rush followed the camera with either a quarter apple or a pancake – a little riser – and as she landed, he slid it under her feet and in rehearsal got his hand out and magically she was two inches taller and the shot was pleasing. On the take, he follows her up the ramp stealthily with the pancake in his hand and he slides it under as she steps down on it with both feet and he has got both of his hands and fingers underneath this pancake, splotched into the floor of the bridge. He is on the ground, on his knees, with an actress and a box splayed onto eight of his fingers. It was a classic moment. And that was the best take. That was so Marvin, that is Marvin giving blood for the shot. It was wonderful. It was a quintessentially Marvin moment where he found a way to solve the problem and he did it himself.

Director of Photography Marvin Rush (Tom Costantino)

Is he still that hands-on?

Less so, but [executive producer/director Jon] Cassar is. He is also a cameraman and likes to grab the camera. There are a lot of cameramen around there. I used to occasionally shoot a close-up that I knew I couldn’t screw up because I knew the camera would be locked on. It allows the wonderful intimacy of looking through the eyepiece. But, there is a lot of lighting going on, so Marvin has his hands full over there.

We have talked about some of the differences between Discovery and The Orville, but what are some of the key similarities you see having directed for both?

I think the similarities on both shows is that the writing is the most important element. Everyone on the show from the top to the bottom understands that. If the story isn’t there and the script isn’t tight and the logic interested addressed, and canon on both shows as well. Orville doesn’t have Star Trek’s canon, but it has its own canon and its own set of rules and those rules are part of what the audience, the producers, the directors, and the actors count on. So, on both shows the world is essential. This sounds like a cliché, but it is about the family on both shows. That’s what made Next Gen successful. That’s what makes TOS successful. What we always dreamed of and aspired to on our show, was to find some version of that magical triangle that was Kirk, Spock and Bones and that relationship – that kidding, ball-busting, supportive, loyal. We tried to find it in different combinations: with Picard, Riker and Data, with Worf and Geordi and Riker and Data and Troi. We always sought after that magic. And I believe that in both The Orville and Discovery we’re finding our combinations that work.

Obviously, Ed and Kelly have magic based on their history. Scott Grimes I think is the great secret weapon on that show. He makes all the scenes he is in work. I love what they did with Isaac and Penny. And the same on Discovery with Saru and Burnham, Tilly and Stamets, that relationship is delicious. There are so many things that used to happen on our show when we have relationships in the family that didn’t drive the story but drove what we felt when you finished watching the show. I think those elements are true of both shows and those are among the reasons why both shows are successful and we anticipate each episode. And why with one of the things they are doing on Discovery this season – and Orville as well – is we are examining their characters on the bridge. We are finding more about them, including characters that felt like supporting players, specifically Airiam, and Owo, and Detmer, and now Nhan on that show. Orville has a bit less of this because it has a smaller regular cast.

Wrapping up on The Orville by returning to Seth’s tweet I mentioned at the start, he also said that you are “really fun to get drunk with.”  So, is there a story there, or is he just making a joke?

Both. That is all I am going to say on that subject. That is an area where I could really get into trouble with. [laughs] But, wouldn’t you take that as a compliment, coming from Seth?

Jonathan Frakes on the set of “Sanctuary” with Adrianne Palicki (Tom Costantino)

The Orville returns Thursday

“Sanctuary” – Jonatha Frakes’ episode of The Orville – airs Thursday, April 11 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. Check out the trailer below.


Keep up with all the The Orville news, reviews and interviews at TrekMovie.com.

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Professor Spock

Will Marina Sirtis be on the Picard show? I will love to see her again with Patrick Stewart as Troi and Picard. Some TNG actors deserve to be on the Picard show. Discovery and Orville are similar in many ways even though Discovery is a more serialized show. The Orville has standalone episodes with some continuity.

Danpaine

So great having Frakes in the game (on both shows). A class act, and seems like a real nice guy.

Tiger2

So true! Frakes is a great guy and so good to see his talents being used on these shows. I can’t wait to see him directing the Picard show as well. It’s so fun to see the band getting back together after all these years.

Professor Spock

Yeah he’s a gentleman

george johnson

I met him in Dallas at a convention – he seemed impatient or annoyed or like someone who suffers backpain maybe? Data (Brent) was there he seemed almost as indifferent or irritated to be there as Frakes. Was honestly disappointing.

Gregg E.

Back pain is the reason given for Riker throwing a leg over seat backs to sit down or going so far as putting a foot up on things, inclusind in at least one instance a bridge console.

“Have you ever considered putting yourself in a cameo in The Orville – or even Discovery – which might be a bit more difficult? Every day! First of all, I am the most vain person in the world. I was always able to do it on The Librarian. I was always able to sneak myself in somewhere. It is a little more complicated on those shows, for obvious reasons.”

I wonder who he could cameo as on The Picard Show…

Duncan MacLeod

Thomas Riker of course

Tiger2

Funny that poor guy has been locked away in a Cardassian prison for over 20 years now and Will and Deanna seem to care less. ;)

Cygnus-X1

Tom Riker was actually a more interesting character than Will, IMO.

Tiger2

Oh yeah I love Will but Thomas was definitely interesting. I wish they had another episode to see what happened to him. I read they had planned to do one more on DS9 but just never did unfortunately.

TG47

Thomas Riker gets good coverage and character evolution in the post-Nemisis Relaunch books.

Not stuck in a Cardassian prison.

Instead, he ends up in intelligence and has a really good mission with Beverly Crusher in one book.

And there is some eventual reconciliation with Deanna and Will.

kmart

And maquis as well, which were my faves. In my alt-reality, Eddington probably sprung TRike and did a buddy show with him (and Yar’s sister was probably along for the ride.)

Hat Rick

Thank you for remind us about the Maquis. You know, it’s funny, I was watching “Repentance,” the VOY episode. And in recent times I have not remembered VOY as being as moving as I felt it was when watching this episode minutes ago. I had increasingly thought of VOY as a bit too clinical, too sterile. But as I watched this episode (which I had missed during first-run), I understood its meaning to be profound and well-stated. I shouldn’t have been surprised, in retrospect, as I was very affected upon viewing “Mortal Coil” (VOY) many years ago. It was a great experience in any way that a tragic plot could be. I thought that Neelix (and Ethan Phillips) truly showed how transformational the religious messages he processed were. It’s one of my favorite Star Trek episodes.

The Maquis of Star Trek were supposed to be a continuing presence in VOY, but that didn’t end up being quite the case, I think. It’s amazing that all these years later, when we watch and re-watch Star Trek episodes, we are reminded of what was, what could have been, and what we missed the first time around (if that). “Repentance” is a story, that, tho’ having nothing to do with the Maquis, encapsulates the Maquis mythos, in that it speaks of an outside society or group that is ultimately misunderstood, yet (in the case of the USS Voyager) returns somehow to the fold. The character of Ikos, the healed person, contrasts with his fellow prisoners. There is a certain pathos in this that I think reflects clearly on the roles of Chakotay and Seven, and suggests opportunities for exapansion of these ideas as allegorical elements in the world today.

Hat Rick

^^ Should be “reminding”. Sorry for the typo.

Cygnus-X1

kmart

Ha! I’d like to see that show, actually.

Eddington was another very enjoyable and memorable character, nicely portrayed by Kenneth Marshall. The writers got a bit too literal (in both meanings of the word) with the direct references to Les Miserables. But, I really like how his character arc ended. Though, it would’ve been greaet to see him return someday if it made sense.

CmdrR

One producer pitched the idea of killing Will Riker at the end of TNG Season 6 and replacing him with Thomas, but the plan was a no go.

Hat Rick

I believe it would have brought a fair bit of tension to the bridge. We see that the future version of Will Riker, of “AGT,” was irritated with the older version of Picard, almost as tho’ it was an imposition for the Future Enterprise to have to come the rescue by blasting the Klingon capital ship. I see a little of Thomas Riker in that portrayal.

Actually yes. This would be a far more interesting twist than Will…

Shivam

Data (Brent Spiner) would have the highest chance but since the killed Data in one of the movies, the chances are slim. Stewart and Spiner worked together on Blunt Talk (TV Show) a few years ago.

Tiger2

I have a feeling in time Frakes will be directing Sirtis on another space show that will begin production pretty soon.

Denny C

Speaking of that other space show, when is the thing actually supposed to start shooting? It’s unusually quiet so close to the start of production on a project like this.

It’s quiet because they’re about to be very busy, that’s not really unusual. Shooting is scheduled to start on Monday (4/15).

Denny C

I’ve been in this business awhile and there’s usually a bit more out there in the trades (and I’m not feeding into the nonsense over at Midnight’s Edge). It’s just unusually quiet building up to the first day of production on a production of this caliber.

DaveCGN

Discovery will be wrapped up next week and then they will start to shoot the Picard show. I think the timing is no coincidence. After discussing the season finale of DSC they will shift the focus on Pic.
The producers know how to keep the momentum.
I bet we will see the first spoiled pic “by accident” in 8 days.

Denny C

That sounds about right or Paramout will announce the next movie. Ya’ never know.

DaveCGN

I’m not so sure about the next movie… I think that ship has sailed and the momentum is lost…I’d either expect that they announce the next season of DSC WITH Anson Mount…

Tiger2

As Matt said, it will be soon! (YAY!!) But I’m not really surprised there hasn’t been any announcements about the start of shooting. Reality is few really make a big deal about it. BUT I am shocked we still don’t know much or anything about the show frankly. I kind of thought they would at least give us the title of it and the premise before they start rolling to get the marketing started. It will be the first Trek show that hasn’t done it earlier. We knew at least the basics about Discovery months before they started shooting. But maybe we will learn all of that after Discovery is done next week.

Denny C

It’s a bit unusual.

JRT!

Not really. It’s like in the old days,when there was no internet,and we only got scraps of info from things like magazines,lol! I actually like that they’re managing to not give much away…..yet.

Denny C

In the age of the internet THAT’S what’s so unusual! It’s challenging to keep things under wraps.

JRT!

Kudos to them for doing just that,lol! And yes,that they’re managing to do so is very unusual and refreshing. So many movies and even tv shows I never bothered watching since it was everywhere online. No need to watch when you know everything,lol!

DaveCGN

Just wait until DSC will be over in 8 days…

Professor Spock

Picard show

Marina is coming home to do theatre this Summer but hopefully she’ll have time to record a few scenes beforehand. if not maybe Season 2?

Hat Rick

I like “The Orville,” although of course, it is subject to criticism as anything is. One can see when people’s hearts are into a project. I think that Seth McFarlane is really into Star Trek, and he is proud to exemplify it in his own way, in this series. I can see how Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis are also committed to this project. And, to be honest, altho’ I’ve criticized Brannon Braga in the past, I do like what his role is turning out to be, to make “The Orville” a fun and light-hearted version of Star Trek, which so many of us love. What’s not to like? The adult language we here is how some people speak, that to me, that’s part and parcel of the intent of this series: To bring people in other than stuffed-shirt types like me. Relax. It’s only Star Tr— well, it’s kind of Star Trek, isn’t it? And that’s something to admire.

I do hope there is more of this to come. I do hope “The Orville” is renewed, perhaps even for the classic seven years we have come to expect of Trek series.

Here’s hoping for clear skies ahead.

Danpaine

Well put, Hat Rick.

Hat Rick

Thank you, @Danpaine.

DeanH

I am not a fan or a non-fan of The Orville. I simply haven’t seen enough episodes to have a definitive opinion one way or the other. That said, obviously some Trek fans like it and it is always great to have more science fiction on TV, so let’s hope Disney/FOX decides to renew the show for S3. Even if it doesn’t get picked up on FOX, perhaps it ends up on the Disney streaming channel because the ratings numbers I’ve seen in the news seem to be pretty good. Btw with Disney on board, I would not be surprised to see Seth put together an animated Orville series.

Hat Rick

I think it’s a fun show and just to see people like Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis involved in it is appealing to me too. It’s one of two shows I try to watch all the time and/or record on my DVR nowadays and then watch immediately thereafter.

(No points for guessing what the other one is.)

kmart

That’s an awesome Marvin Rush story. God I hope this show sticks around somehow.

GarySeven

I really like Jonathan Frakes. He’s my favorite guest at a Star Trek convention, now that Leonard Nimoy is gone (sniff…). Frakes is kind, hilarious, and genuine. I remember one person in the audience asked him about how to become an actor and he basically said “Don’t!” and said it was a ridiculously hard career to succeed in. It was so…honest. And then another time there was a panel of TNG stars talking and Frakes is playing with a spaceship model in his hands, not listening to anyone, just in his own world like a kid. And everyone stops and just looks at him and laughs, and he laughs too. The man is a delight.
What seems ironic to me is that Will Riker was so…boring and straight laced. I wish they let Frakes play Riker more like Frakes and less like Riker.

Hat Rick

My experience at Trek conventions is that every major contributor is a delight. This is so on stage and in smaller settings, wherein you can speak with them.

I haven’t attended a Star Trek convention in ages and I really miss them.

Trek alumni get together like family and they talk like family.

Meeting in person the late Grace Lee Whitney, as well as personages such as Lee Meriwether and Gary Lockwood and others at various conventions has given me a sense of the reality behind the productions. These are real people and at these venues almost invariably they are fun to interact with. This is very difficult at such an impersonal thing as a convention unless you are a natural. Chase Masterson, I must say, was a particularly a great delight to meet and to speak with at the LV Hilton during in the late 2000’s.

It looks like Jonathan Frakes is upholding the tradition that is what makes the whole Trek phenomenon so popular (and deservedly so). Bravo!

Tiger2

The things you said Gary is why this man is so loved in the fanbase. He breathes Trek so few actors do. He said if his entire career was just being in Star Trek he would happily take it because he gets paid well to be in a franchise he loves, few actors get that. And now while its not acting he’s part of Trek again and probably will be for years to come.

Ambassador Sybok

I met Frakes and his wife once in the drive-thru at a Burger King in Bangor, Maine. They were living in Maine at the time (this was 2007 or 2008; don’t recall if they still do). I was the cashier in the drive-through lane and tried playing it cool and we had a great chat. The words “Star” or “Trek” were never uttered by either of us. I stared a bit at first and he smiled and I knew. I asked him, “Are you…?” to which he replied, “I sure am” in a very Will Riker tone. His wife loved it. I took their cash and never even THOUGHT to get something autographed. So I can attest to the fact he is very friendly and personable in real life. A great story I’ll always have.

Danpaine

Great story, and memory to have, Ambassador!

Curtis Burga

Did he order a…”Number One”?

Professor Spock

I never met him but is a nice guy.

BigNutz

Has anyone ever tried to figure out why people watch this show? Is it the comedy or the sci-fi angle? Who are the primary viewers, Trekies, MacFarlane fans, both?

I’m both, and absolutely love the show, but I can see some hardcore Trekie Nerds getting upset because the show doesn’t always abide by quantum physics, or kinetic physics for that matter. Like when they brought the Security Chief to her home planet, as was illustrated in the movie Interstellar, Einstein will tell you that time dilation would have been a factor based on the high levels of mass gravity the planet exhibited.

Fine with me, but I bet there are some Super Nerds out there who feel like they are getting water-boarded whenever they think about it!!

Danpaine

Personally, I’m a Trek fan first (40 years), MacFarlane fan next (15 years). I watch it for all entertainment purposes but don’t get so caught up on the actual science. Same as Trek, I can suspend a lot of disbelief if I’m enjoying the story I’m watching, if the plot is engaging and cohesive, if the characters have chemistry and are compelling. And some humor along the way is just fine with me.

tom

I must confess I didn’t like it from what I heard about it. I watched for the first time season 2, episode 1. I had to shut it off after about 15 minutes. Reminded me of my sister in Law’s favorite soap, “The Young and the Restless.”

After getting Season 1 from the Library, I got to really like it. Some very great story lines. Of course I use the fast forward button to go past the slap stick and soup opera moments.

I am a Star Trek fan but not a Trekkie.

Jeff

I thought S02E01 was probably the worst story to start a season with. It seemed like one of those low budget bottle episodes TNG used to do mid way through a season. I can’t imagine who thought it would be the best way to kick of a new season.

BibFortuna

The mass of the security chief’s home planet isn’t near what would be needed for significant relavistic effects.

Danpaine

And honestly, BigNutz (ha!), to put a finer point on it, the show literally makes me feel good. To me, that is a rare thing these days. The vibe I get from it – even the episodes with heavier elements – makes me feel better than I did before I sat down to watch it. Which is valuable, and makes for repeated viewing (a lot like TOS, TNG, etc. have over the years).

I would love to meet Jonathan and shake his hand and say thank you — he seems like a great guy, and an amazing director.

J.P.

“The Orville” and Trek share the heritage of Trek. Except “Orville” is the best Trek series on currently.

Professor Spock

The Orville is a better Star Trek than Star Trek itself, not just Discovery.

J.P.

Truth. Except maybe DS9. I don’t think you can top DS9. I’ve been surprised how much I’ve been enjoying the Orville, it’s become one of my favorite series of all time and the second season has just been absolutely spectacular overall. I hope it goes on for years and there are spinoffs.

Danpaine

I am very much looking forward to a renewal announcement, mainly because it’s on Fox and they have a horrible track record renewing actual good shows.

PEB

That’s delusional but whatever floats your boat

J.P.

That’s an opinion. Others may share it. Mine is an opinion as well. And many also share mine.

Cygnus-X1

That is an opinion. But it’s not an opinion that Henry VIII had six wives. And while I won’t say that any of the above opinions are crazy, neither will I be shaken from my point about King Henry. Because I’m Henry the eighth I am. Henry the eighth I am, I am. I got married to the widow next door. She’s been married seven times before. And every one was an Henry. She wouldn’t have a Willy or a Sam.

Disinvited

Cygnus-X1,

Or a Sam! He’s the eighth old man. He’s Henry! Henry the eight…

Cygnus-X1

:-)

TrekFan67

Orville is just a wannabe. If they didn’t have the stunt casting from previous Trek actors or the whole behind the scenes team from Trek, would you still like it? I just find it kinda cheesy and roll my eyes often at the attempt of humor in the writing. MacFarlane is a horrible actor – the best episodes are ones he is barely in. Season 2 is just horrid!

kmart

I’d prefer it without the stunt casting, and definitely prefer it without the Braga, so yeah, I’d like it … more! It has charm and does downer endings, which is a magic combo for me, that just about makes up for the absurdly anachronistic aspect — something that on another show, would have caused me to bail and stay gone, but like I said, this has charm. Now if they’d just introduce some contrasty lighting into the show …

TrekFan67

Everything, including the acting, is flat on the show. No excitement. Just very dull. Not very original. Just a TNG remake. Blah.

ML31

Without the jokes, yes. That is exactly what it is. Put the jokes in and it’s an entirely different (and much better) animal.

PS. This episode was particularly disjointed. It had no idea what it wanted to be. More reason why they ought to stick to the lighter tone. In fact, every episode this season would have carried more weight if they were done lighter. Every single one.

TrekFan67

Even when it had jokes in it,they were lame. The show doesn’t work.

kmart

See, and to me ORVILLE is very engaging emotionally most of the time, which TNG almost never managed. It’s like ‘sincerity overcomes stupidity’ or something along those lines.

alastair87

I think from the acting perspective Seth MacFarlane is the weakest link and it would probably be better led by Adrianne Palicki. That doesn’t diminish his other contributions to it though.

Living Raktajino

Dear Fox,

I will buy The Orville on Blu-ray. I will not buy The Orville on DVD or streaming.

That is all.

J.P.

This. I’m not living in 1999. I’m not getting crap to watch on my LG OLED. Blu Ray is bargain bin but still acceptable in a pinch, but I’d prefer 4K Blu Ray.

Yep. Fox just doesn’t care to release their TV on physical media, so they do the bare minimum :-/

Living Raktajino

And so I do the bare minimum to purchase it… which is to say, I don’t.

alastair87

It’s kind of odd that Frakes hasn’t shown up as on-screen yet in The Orville. One of the admirals would have been logical. Now is probably the time to have seized the opportunity given the lack of a renewal announcement.

Professor Spock

The Orville lives up to the Star Trek name. It continues the Star Trek legacy and heritage honorably. This show deserves another season. Don’t cancel The Orville Fox! This show can survive on Hulu if it was canceled on Fox. Jonathan Frakes is my favorite Star Trek actor. I like him more than William Shatner.

Ming on Mongo

Love how Frakes tries to be supportive of Discovery while praising The Orville, but still managed to slip in the sly dig about STD emulating the Abrams ‘style’ of “wildly moving camera moves”… one of the very things Discovery is most criticized for! ;-p

Closer to Enterprise in my opinion. Watch the first season of Enterprise and see.

george johnson

What is Star Trek Discovery? There is only Orville

Gregg E.

What would be neat is to have Jared Padalecki guest star on Orville as an old boyfriend of Kelly’s, whom she thought had died in a fire 14 years ago. That would be a reference to her part in Supernatural where her character Jessica (Sam’s girlfriend) was killed in a fire, in the 1st season, 14 years ago.

SteveS

Haven’t posted on trekmovie.com for a long time, but wanted to take a moment to say how much I absolutely LOVE The Orville… especially season 2. Although I am really enjoying Star Trek Discovery, with The Orville, Seth MacFarlane and crew have managed to remind me of what I loved so much about Trek in the 90s; great story telling, compelling characters, adventure and character driven humor. I was a bit unsure about whether I’d warm up to The Orville at the beginning of it’s run. The humor was in-your-face, and didn’t really have an organic reason for being there, which resulted in it bouncing me out of each episode.

I think the show is now what MacFarlane always wanted it to be in the first place… but had to sell the concept to Fox initially by promising, basically “Family Guy in Space.”

There has not been one episode during season 2 that didn’t bring a huge smile to my face, often bringing a tear to my eye a mere moment later.

Last night’s episode, Sanctuary was again, an incredible blend of amazing story, fast-paced action and humor. As a gay man, the story of Bortus and his people strikes close to home… and I couldn’t stop smiling during the fight, which alternated between the skirmish on the planet and the dog fight in space… all to Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5! Incredible! There is something about this show that affects Trek fans on a very visceral level. I’m sure we’ll get a third season. The Orville is just too damn good to let go. So don’t worry, Seth. Fox may be playing their cards close to their chest right now, but as Dolly says, “The tide’s gonna turn and it’s all gonna floooooow your way.”

Quick Jonathan Frakes story: back in the spring of 1995, I was preparing to pitch stories to the yet un-aired Star Trek Voyager. I had pitched previously to Next Gen and DS9, so it was easy to get sample scripts and a writers’ bible. I was sitting on the terrace at a coffee shop in West Hollywood with my friend Eric, with Voyager stuff spread out on the table in front of us, trying to put together a handful of story ideas… when who walks out of the coffee shop but Number One himself, Jonathan Frakes. As he walked past our table, he couldn’t help but notice all the Trek stuff on our table, so he stopped and said with a smile, “Gentlemen… what do we have here?” I explained that I was getting geared up to pitch to Voyager. He mentioned that he was in early negotiations to direct some episodes. We chatted for a moment, and as he wished us luck and started to walk away, I said, “Can you say it one time before you go? It’ll really pump us up.”

I couldn’t believe he knew EXACTLY what I was talking about, because he smiled, looked around sheepishly and said, “Here?”

“Why not?” I smiled.

So he stood up tall, puffed out his chest, and in his best Commander William T. Riker voice, he snapped “Red Alert!” and then strode away in complete “Riker swagger.” My friend and I sat in stunned silence… grinning from ear to ear.

I’ll never forget that day. But I digress. More Orville! More Frakes! More Trek actor Easter Eggs!

sunfell

The Orville has definitely found its feet. I love the character-based stories, the music, and the shots of comedy. The latter is much more deftly handled this season. I’ve laughed aloud more than once. I really hope that Fox will give it another season or five.

snoopytrek

..did I miss it or did no one mention the great F Murray Abraham, also a trek alum, as Tony Todd and the others.. was also in this outstanding episode??

Cygnus-X1

I thought that was Tony Todd…

Murray I recognized.

Cygnus-X1

I was waiting for a post on “Sanctuary,” but if this is it…

“Sanctuary” is a great episode. Probably the best of the series so far. In “Sactuary,” The Orville successfully emulates the TNG dramatic form with a strong, compelling, meaningful overarching theme running through the entire story. The humor in “Sanctuary”, though not as plentiful as some would like, arises out of situations intrinsic to the story, rather than taking the audience out of the story. The Klyden character finally gets another dimension, some depth and a purpose for being in the show. No longer just a whiny, henpecking man-hag nor a token gay, Klyden now represents a distinct sociopolitical point of view, which I’d describe as conservative vis-a-vis Bortus’s liberal point of view. Yes, they made the conservative the bad-guy, which is typical of Hollywood, but it works well in this story. If the show really wants to be daring, it might consider reversing that moral dynamic at some point — i.e. making excessive liberalness the problem (if you can’t imagine what that might look like, check out what’s happening on the streets of Seattle), not just with these two characters, but with any type of story.

Cygnus-X1

And unlike the “Identity” two-parter, which uses hackneyed tropes (the child in danger; the cold, calculating, sociopathic robot suddenly discovers his big, squishy heart) to pander to the emotions of the audience, “Sanctuary” presents compelling issues that are actually worked through to conclusion in a way that makes sense, keeps faith with the characters, and doesn’t insult the audience’s intelligence. For me, the disillusionment of “Identity” and other groan-inducing episodes from earlier this season has been undone with “Sanctuary.” I only hope that the producers realize how good a job they did with “Sanctuary,” and continue in that direction, because it’s a winner for the longevity of the series. If what The Orville aspires to is TNG and beyond, “Sanctuary” is an excellent starting point.