Interview: David A. Goodman On How ‘The Orville’ Wrapped Up Season Two And Where It Could Go Next

The Orville cast for season two

The second season of The Orville concluded last week with the time-bending episode “The Road Not Taken.” TrekMovie had a chance to talk to executive producer David A. Goodman, who wrote the episode, about the finale, the second season in general, and what’s next for the show. We also talked a bit about Star Trek as Goodman is a former writer/producer on Star Trek: Enterprise and he has also written a number of Star Trek books.

David A. Goodman with fellow Orville executive producers Seth MacFarlane and Brannon Braga at TCA event in 2017

What goals did you have going into the season that you feel the second season of The Orville achieved?

We had a couple of goals at the beginning of the year. Seth [MacFarlane] really felt strongly – and we all agreed – that even though Seth’s brand is comedy, people who tuned in to this show were okay with this show being serious. There were obviously light character moments throughout, but we definitely went away from the harder-edged humor. There are always comedic elements of humor in our show. There is always strong character comedy in the show and how people relate. But now, we really felt that this show lives in the space of doing serious drama and serious issues with this light touch in it, but that we don’t need to lean into the comedy as heavily as we might have earlier in the first season.

The other big takeaway after the first season was that we set up this universe, it is our own universe, and people like to play in that universe. People like to have continuity from one episode to the next and build out our alien species. So, for instance, we went back to the Moclans a couple of times this season and really explored stuff that we started early in season one. And we got to see our Union Council chamber and our Union president and built out the admirals. We had these great guest star admirals: Ted Danson, Ron Canada, Kelly Hu, and of course Victor Garber, who has been our central admiral. This season really filled in the details of our universe.

And then it was really getting into nuts and bolts of where our characters really lived. So, Ed and Kelly and making sure we kept that central dynamic fresh and alive and fun and interesting. So, we have Kelly with a boyfriend and Ed dating younger Kelly. That was what I think fans and what we as writers really enjoy about these characters. We also felt like Gordon needed more screen time this year. We really didn’t give him his own episode last year, so Scott [Grimes] got two really big episodes and he is a terrific actor and that character is so much fun. And I think the Claire/Isaac relationship was something we started talking about at the beginning of the season and we wanted it to play out the way it did and we were so happy getting to watch Mark Jackson and Penny [Johnson] act with each other, and her boys, who are both such terrific child actors. In all of that way, we are filling in the details of our universe both in a broad sense and in a small sense.

Seth MacFarlane with guest stars Ron Canada, Victor Garber, Kelly Hu, and Ted Danson in “Sanctuary”

One of Seth’s stated goals for this show was for a more traditional episodic show. As you noted, the second season started doing more connections, including two two-part episodes, like the Kaylon one after which Isaac just seems to be reintegrated into the crew with little follow-up. Is there a struggle to keep the balance of being episodic but have some serialization as you delve into the mythology?

Yeah, that is the balance we are trying to strike. Like even with the Kaylon two-parter, those could have been your first two episodes and everything established in there. That two-parter works for people who have never seen the show before and for those who are fans. There is stuff in there for both. That is the balance we as writers take very seriously. We feel like you could start watching this show with any episode. You don’t have to go back to the beginning. If you do, you will see stuff in there as you watch all the way through. But if you just turned on an episode, our goal is to make sure people who are new aren’t confused. And that is a more traditional way to do a show and it works for us.

But it raises an interesting point. Are there going to be repercussions for what Isaac did? We didn’t do any repercussions in season two, so that is a question for season three.   

Mark Jackson in “Identity Pt. 1”

As a Star Trek fan as you watch The Orville, you can often be reminded of past episodes. Like TNG’s “Second Chances” with the penultimate episode of this season or “Yesterday’s Enterprise” with your season finale. Do these parallels with Trek and other sci-fi come up in the writers’ room?

For us, we are all science fiction fans. We consume it all. So, the Kelly double story is similar in some ways to a Next Gen episode, but it is similar to a lot of sci-fi episodes. So we are inspired by everything that we have watched and read but we definitely always see it through the lens of our own show. What is it about our characters and what is it illuminating? So, the idea of Ed dating a younger version of his ex-wife, that is completely fresh. Nobody has done that before. And suddenly realizing that this isn’t what he really wants, is a completely fresh take on that story that has been done in numerous other sci-fi franchises and books and what have you. That is our goal. We are inspired by what we have seen and read, but then what is it about our show?

So with the finale which I wrote, we were breaking the story about Ed and Kelly and Kelly’s young version coming through time. And we were trying to figure out how to end it so that it wasn’t just a reset. We were not originally planning that as a two-parter. We had that fun idea of Ed dating a younger version of Kelly, but we then figured we had to send her back. The story just didn’t seem to work if we didn’t send her back and we came up with that idea of “You did send me back, that is why I don’t have a memory of this.” That was a great turning point in the story break when we realized it was going to work because she didn’t remember any of it.

But we couldn’t figure out an ending that didn’t feel like a reset, so somebody brought up the idea of what if she goes back but does not go out with Ed. I started thinking that would mean Ed wouldn’t get the Orville, and that means Claire wouldn’t be on the Orville and that means that Marcus and Ty wouldn’t become friends with Isaac and that means the Kaylon would have won. So what I just pitched happened in around five minutes and Seth realized right then, there is your season finale, this big adventure story taking place in this alternative timeline. And it is all because Ed and Kelly didn’t go on a second date. And that again is our show. It gets back to the thematic beginning of our show which is Ed and Kelly, ex-husband and ex-wife. He gets command of a ship because of her. If that ended up being our last episode, it ties our two seasons together in this beautiful way. And that is how it all happens.

Adrianne Palicki as both Kellys with Penny Johnson in “Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow”

So, was this going to be an earlier episode, but you moved it all to the end?

I think it was an earlier episode. It was our intent to have the dual Kelly episode earlier in the season and when we figured out how we wanted to end it, we realized this was the season finale.

The parallels with TNG and The Orville are obvious and, according to Seth, by design. What are the goals of the show that you feel are not part of that model?

I think our characters are more flawed than the Next Generation characters. We embrace that society has become much better, but people haven’t necessarily. They are still jealous; they still get pissed off. One of my favorite scenes is in the season premiere where Ed steals a shuttle and spies on Kelly with her new boyfriend, which was Seth’s idea. To me, that is great. This captain on this ship borrowing a shuttlecraft to spy on his ex-wife while she is making out with her boyfriend. That is not something you would ever see Captain Picard do. [laughs]

And, we are really seeing Moclans being part of the Union causes difficulties for us and raises a lot of interesting issues this season especially which is really cool. With this Moclan society, we are criticizing it. It is flawed and has some parallels to contemporary issues. So, I think the flaws in the characters really separate us out and that gives us our humor too. Gordon is a hugely talented helmsman, but he is a goof-off. Alara in season one is this strong girl who is sort of lovelorn and had this weird relationship with her family we see in season two. And we have bigotry, like Klyden in season two. And Klyden’s difficulties with his relationship with Bortus is not something we saw in Next Gen. It is the flaws in our characters that separates us.

Peter Macon and Chad L. Coleman in “Primal Urges”

Something that was brought up by our reviewer was how typically on Star Trek, the destiny of a captain is to be in that chair. The season finale posited that without Kelly, Ed had a command position but not a ship. Is Ed’s destiny to be a captain? Is there some unique quality of his that makes him a great captain? Or is there something here where he is only at his best when he is with Kelly and this group of people?

That is up to the audience to decide. We have shown Ed to be a really good captain. He is flawed, but he is a really good captain. What is destiny? If you say he is only a captain because of Kelly, then was it destiny that he ends up with Kelly so she helps him fulfill his destiny to become captain? When does somebody get to be their fullest in a job and in their life? Usually, they are not doing it alone. They are doing it with the support of friends and family and colleagues. That might be more of our point, that this is a real family and this is Ed’s family. And even in this alternative timeline, we showed Ed with an enormous amount of capability escaping from the Kaylon from the beginning. He has survived the Kaylon takeover of the galaxy, which says something about him as well. There are lots of things that tell us that Ed is a hero in the true sense. He is flawed, but he is a captain in the greatest tradition. But we are also maybe emphasizing the family aspect.

Seth MacFarlane and Adrianne Palicki in the “Deflectors”

Just as a bit of clarification for the final moments of the finale, as soon as the alternative Finn vanished in the past, the timeline was reset, and all is back to normal in the future?

Yeah. I heard someone raise the possibility that Kelly says yes to a second date because she knows what is going to happen, but the Kelly that has gone back is the Kelly from the previous episode. She never saw the alternate timeline. So yes, the intent was Claire succeeded. The memory wipe worked, and all is back to what it was.

Adrianne Palicki as Young Kelly and Penny Johnson as the alternate timeline Dr. Finn in “The Road Not Taken”

Can you say anything about if there is going to be a third season?

We have not got an official pick-up yet, but we are beginning talks. I’m optimistic, but I don’t have the final, official word yet. I think the show has been doing well for them. The studio loves the show. It sells well in foreign sales. So, I am optimistic, but as I often say in this business it is nothing until it is something.

One cool surprise for your episode was the reappearance of Halston Sage as Alara. Should we read anything into that if there is a season three?

Halston is a friend of the show. We love her and would definitely want to figure out ways that she can come back. I don’t think she is coming back as a regular. But, we love that character and we love her and so if there is an opportunity to bring her back story-wise, I think she would be open to it and we would love to have her back.

Halston Sage returns as Alara Kitan in “The Road Not Taken”

We started talking about your goals for season two. Any early thoughts on season three and any possible changes in the balance of humor and drama, episodic and serialization, etc?

I think the format of the show is not going to change. We are still going to be doing standalone episodes. However, now we have shown that we can do a deeper dive in the Union, into the aliens, into our characters. So, we will continue that build. I don’t the show becomes more serialized, but I do think we start to now expect that our fanbase wants us to take more of a leap to an expectation that people know what is going on in our universe. But again, it is really important for us for the show to stick to the format, which is you turn on the show and the story starts in the teaser you don’t want anybody confused who has never seen the show before. That is always a goal for us. We don’t want to alienate any new audience member.

The Orville visits a binary star system in “A Happy Refrain”

You are also working on the new Orville comics, which are telling stories set between the first two seasons. Are these the kinds of stories that would fit as typical Orville episodes, or are you telling stories that you couldn’t tell on the show?

It is somewhere in between. I had never written comics before, so there was a bit of a learning curve as I tried to figure out what is a comic book story. I think it is different. The requirements are different on a comic book story than an episode of television. I think there needs a little more action. You are not going to have scenes where people are talking for page upon page, the way we do in our television episodes, like Kelly and Finn having a long conversation about relationships. That is something that works when you have Adrianne Palicki and Penny Johnson sitting in a room, it is not just the dialog and the direction, you have two actresses you can’t take your eyes off of. In a comic book where it is just sequential art, and that changes the kind of stories you can have.

In issue one you are going to see some aliens that we would never do on the show. They would be too expensive to pull off well, but they work in a comic book. Each story is told over two issues and I am trying to find a simple idea to build the stories on that inform a few of our characters. They are not stories that would necessarily make great television episodes, but I think they work well as comic books. They are filled with the same kind of ideas that we would do on the show.

Do the comics tie in to specific episodes from season one or season two?

Yeah, just in the first four. There is stuff in the first couple of issues that explain some things, answering questions people may have had at the beginning of season two. And then in issues three and four there is definitely a tie-in to a season one episode and a season two episode, sort of bridging two episodes and tells its own story. Technically they are canon because I am writing them. But if in season three we start to break a story that contradicts something I said in the comic books, the comic book is not going take precedence. The television show always takes precedence.

Cover for the first issue of the upcoming Dark Horse Orville comic book

You mention the word canon. As you guys have been building a canon, do you talk about that in the writers’ room?

We don’t use the word canon. That is probably the first time I used it, in talking about the comic book. But, we really do pay attention to what we have done before. For instance, in season one because we wrote all of our shows before we started shooting, we had a great deal of flexibility. So, in the pilot, Seth wrote we introduce the Krill. Then in episode six, which I wrote, where we reveal that the Krill can’t be exposed to light. So, then we went back to the pilot, which had not been shot yet, and made sure that when they were out in the light the Krill were wearing helmets. That is just one example of how we are really paying attention to this stuff to make sure it all tracks. We are building stories on what we did before. For instance, the character Haveena was introduced in the season one Moclan episode “About A Girl.” We come back to her in season two on the Moclan colony that has all female Moclans in it [“Sanctuary”]. It is not a slavishness to continuity, but it is a respect for it and a respect for the audience wanting that kind of continuity and wanting to feel we have thought all this through and are being consistent.

With Star Trek, I feel the reason it survived and had such an attraction to fans, is that even though the episodes were standalone, it was clear whoever was making sure of this – whether it was de Forest Research or Gene Coon or Gene Roddenberry himself – they were making sure each episode fit in the universe. Warp speed was consistent in every episode. The Federation and Starfleet Command were consistent. There was a way in which this world exists. That is the same thing in Buffy and Firefly and Game of Thrones and any of the shows with huge fanbases in a fantasy world is the way that feels like this world exists and that the creators are respecting the audience’s memory. If we reference something it is going to be consistent and it establishes the world for the audience to play in.

Rena Owen returned as Heveena in “Sanctuary”


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

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Harry Ballz

This show keeps getting better! Kudos!

Well, getting renewed would be a good place to start.

Indeed. We’ll know for sure by May 13th. Fingers crossed!

Cygnus-X1

NoMad

How do you know that?

Yes, and what is the significance of May 13?

May 13 is the day of Fox’s “Upfront”, where they announce their next year’s slate of shows to advertisers. A season 3 renewal confirmation is expected with their presentation.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/tv-upfronts-2019-thrs-guide-presentations-few-parties-1202815

Cygnus-X1

Thanks, Matt.

Cygnus-X1

I hope they get picked up for a third season.

If they do, and they really do want to have their own universe, they should invent some aspects to it that are not imitations of the TNG universe. I like that they intend to keep the show episodic like TNG. Serialization has become the norm by this point, so the episodic format is actually fresh. And, as Goodman suggests, it’s good business, too.

I was a bit disappointed that there weren’t any comic-relief episodes this season, like “Cupid’s Dagger” in Season 1. This show seems ideally set up to do comedic episodes, and yet they stayed away from it in Season 2. The serious themes are interesting, and I’m not suggesting that they not continue to do serious episodes, but it seems to me that the show has a comedic strength that it’s not fully exploiting. The show has one of the most successful comedy writers around in MacFarlane, so why not throw in 2 or 3 comedic episodes into the season?

Lastly, was it ever established if the Moclan women are lesbians? Do they mate with each other and produce offspring? If so, are the offspring usually female or do they have an equal chance of being male or female? They could have the Moclan women be man-hating feminists in counterpoint to the misogynistic male Moclans. Given how the female Moclans have been treated, it would make sense for them to be prejudiced against males. Anyway, maybe they’ll answer these questions in Season 3.

SeekerLady

The other thing to ponder is will there be trans gendered moclans?Moclans that want to change back to what they were originally born. Just a thought.

Darfyn

Well the characters have to mature and the stories have to grow from here on . It seems fans of Orville are evenly divided between those who like the earthy (spacy?) humor , and those who like the stories . I think Ed has to grow into being Captain , as Kelly needs to as No. 1 too , and with probably more Away missions . Ms Sage could come back as another alien (with a kangaroo tail?) that the Orville meet . Malloy could continue meeting new hot babes and being lovelorn again . Lamarr gets a female engineer and they hot-tune that Q-drive out of this world together .

Rick Gold

PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD IMPROVE AND DIVERSIFY THE STARSHIP DESIGN.

All caps, you must feel strongly about this. Considering that fictionalized starship design is all aesthetics, and make believe technology, you may want to clarify what needs improving and diversification.

Dr Zaius

I think he’s upset that the Orville doesn’t look like a Starfleet ship.

J.S.

No, what he means is that all ships in the show look the same.

Captain Ransom

The Orville and especially the shuttles are a horrid design. Don’t know what they were thinking.

kmart

The shuttle just looks like some little play razor for kids or something. I thought TNG’s shuttlepod was a graceless grotesque mess, like one of those little backyard storage sheds (or an outhouse) with nacelles, but ORVILLE’s shuttle is just as bad.

TG47

Wow, I really don’t get the super negativity on the shuttle.

Think how standardized the shapes of cars and small dingys or launches are these days. Or naval vessels or container ships. Or the shapes of rockets for that matter.

Physics determines a lot in terms of design.

The Orville’s design team seem to have gone from speculative physics to design. Bravo, from my perspective.

ML31

TNG’s shuttles were indeed hideous. But then again, so was the Enterprise D. They opted to stick with the (grotesque) aesthetic.

kmart

I really disliked the -D (and still do) as well, but at least there was consistency between its lines and those the original shuttlecraft (which I think only existed in miniature forms, as seen in SKIN OF EVIL and then later in a different form.) But when they started using the pod and then the ST 5 shuttle, they looked hauled in from another universe.

marja

I like the Orville’s design, it’s streamlined and kind of rocket-ship-y with those cool loopy things at the back [and why they light up in succession as they go into Qdrive is beyond me], but the shuttles are simply hideous. They remind me of kid’s sneakers for some reason. Ugly, ugly, ugly. If they were pointy, I could deal :^)

kitbashcanon

I think it just doesn’t have a “realistic” look to it. I don’t know for sure what “realistic” would look like, but I think I’ll recognize it when I see it, and I don’t see it yet on Orville. Just the same, I love this show.

kitbashcanon

Oh yeah. I also understand that “Realistic” will have to appeal to the aesthetic sense of a 21st century guy. The “smoothness” is a little too much so, IMO, but I also don’t want it as “busy” as a Borg Cube either.

TG47

I understand that there are a group of fans that really don’t like the ships.

Frankly, I just don’t get this. I have quite the opposite reaction. I’ve felt they were great right from the start.

They are a clean design, determined by the field generated by the quantum drive. Form following function.

The lack of variation makes sense, not only in terms of standardization, but is more consistent with reality for those of us who have lived near a major seaport.

Best of all, the Union ships aren’t copies of any other franchise’s ships.

They aren’t boxy, bumpy Star Wars ships. They don’t have Trek nacelles.

EggKookoo

Honestly I’d like a bit more unification of Trek’s ships. Why do Starfleet ships like saucers? Is there an advantage? If so, why don’t the Klingons use it? If there’s no advantage, why do it?

DIGINON

On Earth, the shape of a car or plane is to some extent determined by aerodynamics. As soon as you’re outside an atmosphere that doesn’t matter anymore. The most efficient shape would be a sphere (best surface to volume ratio) but a sphere would probably look quite boring on screen. The TOS producers wanted something that looked cool on screen. Since then, most Starfleet ships have followed a similar design pattern for the simple reason to make them easily recognizable as a Starfleet ship. For the same reason, Klingon, Romulan etc. ships have a different design – to make them easily distinguishable from Starfleet. This is done to help the audience. If you want to you can come up with in-universe reasons for the look bit it’s really that simple.

EggKookoo

Right, I understand the narrative reason. In the fiction, there have been various attempts to justify the Starfleet arrangement as somehow assisting the flow of warped space. So in a sense it’s “aerodynamics” there, too. But if it’s physics-driven, wouldn’t the same physical laws apply to everyone using the same basic technology? I mean it’s not like different real-world Navies use fundamentally different hull shapes.

They were actually onto something in Discovery by having the spinning saucer element. I could accept it as a component to the warp mechanism, and we just never saw it on, say, the Enterprise because it was hidden beneath the outer hull (but exposed on the Discovery itself). But then they shot themselves in the foot by making it part of the spore drive. So just conveniently this new FTL tech needs a hull shape Starfleet just happened to be using for over a century…

ML31

When Jeffries designed the original Enterprise I believe he was going for something that had never been seen before. Something that would be easily recognizable the instant it was seen.

Marja

Dig, I have always loved the Starfleet ship shapes, but have also always wondered, why are the nacelles on those struts? Was there a reason they couldn’t be nearer the saucer?

One thing I love about Discovery is the shape of that ship. I think she’s gorgeous, and I like the more streamlined design.

kitbashcanon

I really think they went with the saucer shape because of the UFO stories in the news and books, in the mid-sixties (I remember. My first book on it was Frank Edwards’ “Flying Saucers Serious Business”). The two main UFO shapes were saucers and “Cigar-Shaped” UFOs, hence the saucer-shaped Primary Hull and the cigar-shaped Engineering Hull.There was no thought given to Klingon or Romulan ships yet, but they couldn’t be saucer or cigar shaped, as StarFleet claimed those shapes.

EggKookoo

Maybe Starfleet’s lawyers flew around the galaxy serving cease & desist notices to everyone who tried to emulate their designs. That’s probably why they’re at war with everyone these days…

kitbashcanon

Or, more simply, to not make the TV audience work too hard to distinguish the bad guys from the good guys. And in the low-budget TOS they had to use Klingon ships for the Romulans…too expensive to come up with yet another ship design.

marja

kitbash, good to see another Frank Edwards reader on here. I vacuumed up his books as a kid. Stranger than Science! or was it Stranger than Fiction? Some of his narratives were later used in The X-Files ;^)

kitbashcanon

oh yeah, I just couldn’t get enough of it. I still keep track: ancient aliens, David Wilcock, Dr. Steven Greer, etc…and I believe Star Trek was MEANT to get us all used to the idea that we’re not alone and prep us for the eventual Disclosure.

Jack

I don’t mind the shuttles, either. A little clunky, but still better than anything on TNG or later shows (except DS9’s runabout)

Bluff

Bizarre design feature for me is that you have to avoid the ‘engine foils’ to get in and out of the shuttle bay. You’d think that would also make tractor beaming of shuttles a bit more complicated as well.

kitbashcanon

Yeah. Imagine piloting a landing craft through the propellers of an LSD, into its loading dock. doesn’t work for me. I just overlook it though, because I love this show.

ML31

Yep. I felt that was an odd place to put your landing bay. If those engine things are back there why not have a shuttle bay on the side or something?

kitbashcanon

I hear you, Rick.Those “engines” look like something that covers Geordi’s eyes. But I love the show. Just to prove Canon isn’t God, just spring the new, improved design on us, in a future episode. Maybe have Malloy and Ed approaching the new Orville in a shuttle, with Malloy asking “what ship is THAT!” Ed, looking at him puzzled “Its Orville..whats up with you?” Malloy plays along “Just checking your memory, Ed… making sure no Alternate Timeline hiccups in the ole bean” (nervous laughter).

kitbashcanon

Maybe another episode where its Malloy who has the brain hiccup from their alternate timeline adventure, and struggles to come clean with Ed about this.

Obiwanjacobi

When the show premiered, I honestly thought the ship designs were intended to be a joke. But with the high caliber of the effects work, the designs have grown on me to the point that I often tune in just for that!

Still not a fan of the shuttle pod suppositories!

TG47

When Goldman said that successful franchise’s need to ‘respect the memory of the fans’, I wanted to stand up and cheer.

In the world of ‘if onlys’, Discovery could have been so much better out of the gate if the creative team got this.

ML31

Except I remember when Orville had funny jokes in it.

marja

ML31, I guess that depends on what you consider funny. First season’s jokes very seldom meshed with anything else in the script.

I really prefer the Discovery brand of humor, it comes out of the situations and the characters’ reactions to them.

ML31

True, humor is subjective. And that is a complaint I read here a little more often than I thought it would. The thing is, if you are going for laughs, I really don’t care if the jokes meshed with the script or not. I laughed. Which was the point of the joke. And quite frankly, I felt the jokes did work with what was going on so that argument is a perplexing one to me.

There is a difference between having humor and going for the occasional light moment. Discovery goes for the occasional light moment and is nowhere near the other category. Orville’s first season was aiming for perhaps 25% comedy and 75% drama. I feel they would have been better served to go more 50-50. The irritating part is that Fox has promoted both seasons as more straight up comedy than anything else.

PEB

Stand and cheer if you want, Orville doesn’t know what it wants to be and Discovery is doing just fine. No, it’s not going to look like TOS, and I get that.

Eric Beyer

I sincerely hope there is a third season. Writing has been excellent and seems to keep getting better. I wouldn’t mind seeing some more strange new worlds. Maybe biological Kaylons exist in a tiny, rag-tag fleet?

Gibbilo

great interview! loved the reads. can’t wait for season 3!

alphantrion

Good interview and I like his opinions about the issue of “canon”, it shows how this is not something to be feared as I hear many times in discussions about Discovery. When done right and in the right context “canon” becomes something to embrace instead of something to fear.

DIGINON

It is much easier embrace canon when all you have to keep in mind is one or two seasons of your own show. It becomes much harder when you have a franchise that has been going on for 50 years with hundreds and hundreds of episodes to keep track of. Also, it is my impression that some Trek fans just see canon as a “weapon” to “fight” creative decisions they don’t like.

alphantrion

Yeah, but in the end what I was trying to say was that if you approach “canon” in a thoughtful manner, then it is something not to be feared. Many people see adhering to canon as a form of gate-keeping, I don’t think this is inherently true. I think it is just the nature of the universe that is being explored and if used widely can be helpful as well. I personally think canon can be bent or modernized, but still needs to be respectful to what came before. As long as they are respectful about it, I don’t think there is too much problem of canon being used to fight creative decisions.

TG47

Nailed it alphantrion.

Denise M Halcomb

Please keep this show on the air! I love it!!

Hairen

The Orville has been such an endearing and engaging show.

It has succeeded in creating likable characters and in making me care about them.
I am more than happy to suspend disbelief (cough hiding in a black hole cough) but I am happy to do so for a show that has hooked me with good stories and good characters and that has made an effort, like this interview shows, to create a self-consisent universe that remembers and respects its own continuity.

I do hope the Orville gets renewed: I am invested in the story and would like to know more about the Union universe and the people who inhabit it.

Great interview, Anthony! I’m encouraged that Goodman acknowledged the lack of on-screen consequences for Isaac after the events depicted in “Identity”, and that this was an avenue that could be explored in season three. The weird sidelining of our favorite artificial turncoat was my only complaint in what was otherwise a stellar sophomore season.

And I am VERY encouraged to read that the show is “doing well” for the studio, which would seem to bode well for a third season pickup. My fingers are crossed that if Fox pulls a Firefly that Disney licenses The Orville to another outlet. And if I recall correctly, I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that they own a broadcast network… ;)

Sylv

Never watched any of Seth MacFarlane’s shows before. Really liked season one with the humour. The show had a style that stood out from other tv space programs. Having seen all star trek series, I am disappointed in the direction Orville took for season 2. It has lost its uniqueness and become a clone of star trek in terms of its moralistic preachiness and time travel non-episodes – the ones where something happens but then doesn’t really happen because shit gets reversed. I was going to give Season 3 a chance (if it happened). Having read this interview and the plans for any future direction, I won’t bother. Disappointed.

Jack

Me too, actually. I liked the jokes – especially when they were character-based. Although, I’ve had enough bro-talking aliens for a while. What happened to Jason Alexander?

ML31

Here too. Very disappointing to hear what they are doing with the show. After reading this part of me is hoping the show does not get renewed. They have had some intriguing stories here and there. But without the comedy aspect they fall flat. If they leaned towards the comedy they could still do some dramatic episodes and they would likely hit harder. But instead, we get…. This.

Lars Beduhn

This interview highlights basically ALL the reasons why “The Orville” is such a great show, and why it is infinitely better than “Discovery”. Even if you hadn’t seen an episode of either… just by comparing the interviews, this here… and the ones with Kurtzman… it is night and day.

And before any negative comments start… I’m a full-blood Trekkie… who started watching and loving Star Trek at the tender age of four. When Discovery was announced I was REALLY excited. About the Orville… on the other hand… I didn’t really care. Especially since I don’t really enjoy sci-fi as much, except for Star Trek. I am, however, really glad I gave it a shot. And I strongly believe the Orville has the right people to do the show… they don’t just wanna go big and loud… but tell meaningful stories. If I could… I’d give Seth a big-ol’-bear-hug… and thank him for keeping Star Trek alive. If not by name… at least by spirit!

Danpaine

Good post, Lars. Spot on.

jim

Right on. I was 10 when Star Trek came out. I enjoyed Discovery but I have to say I have enjoyed the Orville even more – Discovery had a number of forced episodes and disconnects more so than the Orville. Also much darker – the Orville’s humour works while still having deep themes. For both shows the visuals are sophisticated. More likely to watch the Orville Season 3 with anticipation than a continuation of Discovery at this point.

J.S.

“the creators are respecting the audience’s memory”

This. I was appalled how *internally* inconsistent DIS is compared to previous Treks, which is especially glaring with a serialized formula. I honestly can’t believe how they managed to get away with “the time crystal burns out after one jump”, and then in the next episode (so ~30 minutes later when binge-watching) it’s good enough for multiple.

Ad Astra Per Aspera

I was wondering how long it would take one of you to start bashing Discovery. This must be a record.

It isn’t bashing to offer constructive criticism on a show for which you’re investing the time to watch. I thought Discovery started strong, lost its way in the middle, and had a strong finish, and I’m intrigued by the storytelling possibilities they’ve afforded themselves with the time jump. And by he same token, while I’m a yuuuuuuge fan of The Orville, I certainly recognize it has its ups and downs also.

We’re Trekkies (and Orvillians!). Griping about the shows we love is part and parcel of the job description.

Ad Astra Per Aspera

I just feel like needlessly complaining about the show in a thread that has NOTHING to do with it is utterly pointless and borderline-trolling. But do feel free to rudely dismiss my opinions as usually do.

Jack

Nobody’s being rude here, although you’re getting close. Thanks for darkening my Sunday morning with nonsense.

TG47

Uhm Ad Astra, this is Trekmovie.

We’re talking about The Orville in its own right, but in the context of this being a Trek news and discussion board.

Can’t quite understand why you would expect that we wouldn’t want to compare and contrast both the product and the thinking behind it.

Certainly writing for Trek, with 700 hour of existing product has a a heavier burden of established audience memory or canon than two seasons of The Orville.

With a new show, 90% of the backstory is below the waterline, unknown to the audience.

With Trek currently, about 97% of the universe is in the public domain, with the writers’ bibles for each new show constituting a tiny percentage of the video/film universe.

And while it may seem to be an overwhelming commitment, writers and showrunners who think that they should be able to write only from the bibles of the new shows without taking a deep dive and respecting fans memory of the other 700 plus hours, probably should be working on other shows.

So, the discussion here is about whether showrunners, writers and production designers on Discovery vs The Orville see continuity and canon as shackles or a matter of respect.

Trek is a big sandbox, and a very valuable one. CBS know this.

Bottom line, the thing that I find really strange is that some of the Discovery writers don’t sound like they fully buy in.

Paul Cares

I love the show but 99% of the episodes are about the crews relationships in one way or the other and it’s getting old. Lets get out there and explore, find new adventures and work together as a crew.

DIGINON

The show has 26 episodes in total so 99% of that makes 25.74 episodes.

SeekerLady

I was thoroughly disappointed in STD,especially after discovering STE. As I was binging on the series I was looking for more info on it. When I found out it had been cancelled, just as it was really coming into its own. I was pissed but the Orville came just at the right time. It was a perfect triple play, the original STE and The Orville. If The Orville is cancelled then still after all this time “they” still don’t get it.😚

Darfyn

I’m a STE (Star Trek Enterprise) and an Orville fan . It was very discouraging back in 2005 when it was cancelled , especially since the show and actors were just finding their pace with the series . But we have to face the fact that moviemaking (in this case Paramount/CBS) is a commercial business , and the point of that is to show investors a profit . That is why the new Star Trek Shows are current and have no real connection to the Canon or History of the show . And there is a floating rumor , which I can’t verify , that Orville is to be cancelled . So , the real Star Trek Fans or Orville Fans are truly that wandering band of gypsy’s still looking for their true home , and hoping it will appear somewhere .

jim

Same thinking as you on this- I never watched STE when it came out but in reruns it captivated me. Particuarly the Xindi episodes. I saw Scott B interviewed from some time ago and he felt the show never got the attention it deserved – 4 episodes. He was right. As a series I must admit I rate it above STD.

Danpaine

Hoping to hear about a renewal soon. Very much looking forward to seeing where they go with these characters, some of which I found myself immediately liking. This show hits a sweet spot for me, and the production values are excellent, imo. Waiting…fingers crossed.

Danpaine

That scene with Ed doing the drive-by with the shuttle by Kelly’s window had me in stitches.

ML31

There was one and only one laugh out loud joke in season 2. (As opposed to many in S1) It was Issac in the thighty whities trying to get Finn to break up with him. That was a pause the show laugh. The next best joke was the “pee corner” in Identity. That caused a chuckle. Beyond that, there really wasn’t much. In fact, I found Ed doing the drive by to be juvenile on par with Lamarr doing his silly dance on the social media planet in S1. That said, I would be fine with gags like that here and there IF they opted to go for more laughs in the season. Not all jokes are going to land and I’d prefer them to try nearly anything and fail than try nothing and be boring.

ML31

Very sad to hear that they have decided to go the bland, boring, been-there-done-that route with the show instead of going back to embrace the elements from season 1 that worked. I’d really like to know who it was early in the season who publicly said they had some comedic episodes coming in S2. That was either an outright lie or he was just amazingly uninformed. Apart from being a TNG clone we’ve all seen before, the next big problem with going more for being serious and dramatic is that Seth just isn’t a very good actor. I can sorta buy him if he is cracking jokes. But as a dramatic starship captain? I can’t and don’t. Also many of the goofball story and production elements would have only worked if they were leaning on the comedy. All of this ought to be SUPER obvious but perhaps it isn’t. (Anyone recall Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 being played during a gun fight while people were getting murdered?) And finally, if they are going to go the serious drama route, it would behold them to let the people at FOX know that so they can promote the show accordingly. The entire 2nd season was promoted like the first. Lots of clips of jokes and funny lines. As if that is what people could expect from the show. It’s misleading if not an outright lie.

Very sad news from Mr. Goodman indeed.

Eel

WOW did you even read this interview? The Orville is NOT a simple regurgitation of TNG. The humor isn’t the only thing The Orville has going. Characters on TNG were practically saints who could do no wrong, while The Orville has all sorts of flawed characters. The Federation was a bunch of aliens who shared pretty much all the same values, such as open-mindedness and tolerance, while The Union has some difficulty resolving some values because some species don’t value tolerance or openness.

You seem to be the only one who thinks this is just TNG remade. It certainly has a lot of features that TNG had–but it does a lot of things very differently. Overall this series does what Star Trek always did well–it makes space exploration look like fun, and shows how a diverse group of people can work together and put aside differences. It’s one of the few franchises that hasn’t been tainted by Hollywood efforts to make marginalized groups too perfect and straight white men look toxic and weak. This show has great characters and puts them into stories where we *naturally* see female toughness without having to put down the guys at the same time. We see a more open-minded character struggling to deal with his own closed-minded society…while maintaining a relationship with someone who fully embraces and supports the status quo. We even see where peoples with diametrically opposed values find ways to compromise to prevent war and chaos.

I don’t think we saw a lot of those things in Star Trek. I know we’re definitely not seeing them much now. The Orville has so much more going for it than it’s humor. I can’t wait to see what this show does next!

BringBackKirkPrime

This show has been terrific, and the smartest thing was MacFarlane wanting it to be serious. I would actually say that the humor is the WORST thing about this show–when it does straight sci-fi, we are getting some strong TNG level stuff. It’s good.

ML31

That’s the thing. It’s being TNG. We’ve seen that before. The humor is what set it apart. If a return to TNG is what you were jonesing for then Orville is deffinately for you. I was hoping for a new twist on the TNG formula. Which Orville provided some of in season one. Season two is more of a TNG rip off than anything.

Lefty Throckmorton

I agree; I loved the humor of Season 1, and to see it go because some people are nothing but a bunch of prudes obsessed with TV still being as it was in the ’50’s and ’60’s irks me to no end. Despite this loss, I think this season was great, and I anticipate more greatness in Season 3.

jim

Fully agree and I am absolutely blown away by MacFarlane in all the roles including captain, director, creator etc for this series. Read his bio and one has one talented ballsy guy that deserves the fame/money that goes with the territory. I am sure many of us fans admire his talents and are envious in a positive way about how he is living his dream from childhood. Keep it up SM.