With so many shows on hiatus, shuffled between networks, or enduring major production issues because of the outbreak, it can be difficult for a fan to keep tabs on a display’s status. Seth MacFarlane’s The Orville was hit hard by that confusion. Using its very last episode having aired in April of 2019, the fans have long since started to dread the worst. But, The Orville is still expected to return for a third season, moving to Hulu after two seasons on FOX.
What’s the Orville?
The Orville is creator Seth MacFarlane’s love letter to Star Trek, and also the culmination of a childhood dream. The assumption is familiar: a spaceship and its crew on a years-long deep space assignment. Unlike the Enterprise, the exploratory vessel USS Orville isn’t a dream mission, it is where the C students, as well as the officers with a few blemishes on their service records, wind up. Orville’s ancient episodes give its characters a sense of barely-hanging-on. It always feels like dollar beer night on this vessel.
The Orville maintains a bridge crew of conflicting but frequently empathetic personalities hoping to perform their very best. Captain Ed Mercer (Seth MacFarlane) was a talented officer until his life hit the skids after the dissolution of his marriage. Captain Mercer’s first officer, Kelly Grayson, is his ex-wife. Years after the fallout, the couple are supportive, if sometimes fractious friends.
The crew also includes single mother Dr. Finn (Penny Johnson Jerald), who’s possibly the very best doctor the mid-list ship could have hoped for. Helmsman Malloy (Scott Grimes) is a cheerful himbo obsessed with over 1 flight stick, while Second Officer Bortus (Peter Macon) is a brusque alien Mo clan whose episodes are often debilitating but heterosexual dialogues. And needless to say, there is Isaac (Mark Jackson), the robotic science officer whose next season two-parter, “Identity” is a must-see.
The Orville’s Success
The first period of The Orville was critically lambasted for feeling like a Star Trek rip-off weighted down with unnecessary jokes, but crowds quickly recognized what MacFarlane’s goal actually was. The series was a carefully crafted throwback into the pulp fiction era of sci-fi, it is a loving but sometimes joshing homage to Gene Roddenberry. The mild comedy would persist but seldom overwhelm a given incident, and it helped balance the weighty issues that the show might manage with.
Untethered from the sprawling lore of different franchises, The Orville returned to anthological storytelling mixed with brief arcs and persistent character growth. There are the things that classic Trekkies adored. From the second season, the critics eventually recognized what the fans already understood. This was a show with real chops, mixing modern humanity and humor with the complex morality tales newer Star Trek entrances had begun to leave behind.
Why The Delay?
The Orville’s renewal for a third season was confirmed shortly after its second season finale went into the air. From July, streaming service Hulu amicably took control of the series afterwards MacFarlane discussed his ambitious aims for the series with them and 20th Century Fox, who was MacFarlane’s sponsor for more than twenty-five decades. Committing to a slower but high-quality production, unfortunately, meant that The Orville ran head-on into COVID-19 waits in March 2020. Production kicked back into gear in December 2020, using new pandemic worries hitting the pause button in January. The series remains tentatively dated to release in late 2021, exclusively on Hulu.
The Orville stars Seth MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, Scott Grimes, Peter Macon, Penny Johnson Jerald, J. Lee, and Mark Jackson.