|Also known as||The Orville: New Horizons (S3)|
|Created by||Seth MacFarlane|
|Theme music composer||Bruce Broughton|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||36|
|Release||September 10, 2017 –|
August 4, 2022
The Orville is an American science fiction comedy-drama television series created by Seth MacFarlane, who also stars as series protagonist Ed Mercer, an officer in the Planetary Union's line of exploratory space vessels in the 25th century. It was inspired primarily by the original Star Trek and its Next Generation successor, both of which it heavily parodies and pays homage to. The series also uses inspiration from the Star Wars franchise and games like the Mass Effect series. It follows the crew of the starship USS Orville on their episodic adventures, as well as a serialized story which develops over the length of the series.
Produced by Fuzzy Door Productions and 20th Television, The Orville premiered on September 10, 2017 and ran for two seasons on Fox, and became available on streaming service Hulu the following day; followed by a third season exclusively on Hulu. Season one received generally negative reviews, but seasons two and three received critical acclaim. The show had relatively successful ratings on Fox, becoming the broadcaster's highest-rated Thursday show as well as Fox's "most-viewed debut drama" since 2015.
The Orville is set on the titular spacecraft: USS Orville (ECV-197), a mid-level exploratory vessel in the Planetary Union, a 25th-century interstellar alliance of Earth and many other planets. The show consists of adventures encountered by the ship's crew, usually involving planet exploration and visits to various parts of the galaxy.
|First released||Last released||Network|
|1||12||September 10, 2017||December 7, 2017||Fox|
|2||14||December 30, 2018||April 25, 2019|
|3||10||June 2, 2022||August 4, 2022||Hulu|
Main article: The Orville (season 1)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Prod.|
|1||1||"Old Wounds"||Jon Favreau||Seth MacFarlane||September 10, 2017||1LAB01||8.56|
|2||2||"Command Performance"||Robert Duncan McNeill||Seth MacFarlane||September 17, 2017||1LAB03||6.63|
|3||3||"About a Girl"||Brannon Braga||Seth MacFarlane||September 21, 2017||1LAB04||4.05|
|4||4||"If the Stars Should Appear"||James L. Conway||Seth MacFarlane||September 28, 2017||1LAB02||3.70|
|5||5||"Pria"||Jonathan Frakes||Seth MacFarlane||October 5, 2017||1LAB05||3.43|
|6||6||"Krill"||Jon Cassar||David A. Goodman||October 12, 2017||1LAB06||3.37|
|7||7||"Majority Rule"||Tucker Gates||Seth MacFarlane||October 26, 2017||1LAB07||4.18|
|8||8||"Into the Fold"||Brannon Braga||Brannon Braga & Andre Bormanis||November 2, 2017||1LAB08||3.83|
|9||9||"Cupid's Dagger"||Jamie Babbit||Liz Heldens||November 9, 2017||1LAB09||3.69|
|10||10||"Firestorm"||Brannon Braga||Cherry Chevapravatdumrong||November 16, 2017||1LAB10||3.32|
|11||11||"New Dimensions"||Kelly Cronin||Seth MacFarlane||November 30, 2017||1LAB11||3.63|
|12||12||"Mad Idolatry"||Brannon Braga||Seth MacFarlane||December 7, 2017||1LAB13||3.54|
Main article: The Orville (season 2)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Prod.|
|13||1||"Ja'loja"||Seth MacFarlane||Seth MacFarlane||December 30, 2018||2LAB01||5.68|
|14||2||"Primal Urges"||Kevin Hooks||Wellesley Wild||January 3, 2019||1LAB12||2.82|
|15||3||"Home"||Jon Cassar||Cherry Chevapravatdumrong||January 10, 2019||2LAB02||3.06|
|16||4||"Nothing Left on Earth Excepting Fishes"||Jon Cassar||Brannon Braga & Andre Bormanis||January 17, 2019||2LAB03||3.01|
|17||5||"All the World Is Birthday Cake"||Robert Duncan McNeill||Seth MacFarlane||January 24, 2019||2LAB04||3.18|
|18||6||"A Happy Refrain"||Seth MacFarlane||Seth MacFarlane||January 31, 2019||2LAB05||3.11|
|19||7||"Deflectors"||Seth MacFarlane||David A. Goodman||February 14, 2019||2LAB06||3.07|
|20||8||"Identity"||Jon Cassar||Brannon Braga & Andre Bormanis||February 21, 2019||2LAB07||3.05|
|21||9||"Identity, Part II"||Jon Cassar||Seth MacFarlane||February 28, 2019||2LAB08||3.15|
|22||10||"Blood of Patriots"||Rebecca Rodriguez||Seth MacFarlane||March 7, 2019||2LAB09||2.94|
|23||11||"Lasting Impressions"||Kelly Cronin||Seth MacFarlane||March 21, 2019||2LAB10||2.94|
|24||12||"Sanctuary"||Jonathan Frakes||Joe Menosky||April 11, 2019||2LAB11||2.59|
|25||13||"Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow"||Gary Rake||Janet Lin||April 18, 2019||2LAB12||2.68|
|26||14||"The Road Not Taken"||Gary Rake||David A. Goodman||April 25, 2019||2LAB13||2.97|
Main article: The Orville (season 3)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date ||Prod.|
|27||1||"Electric Sheep"||Seth MacFarlane||Seth MacFarlane||June 2, 2022||3LAB01|
|28||2||"Shadow Realms"||Jon Cassar||Brannon Braga & Andre Bormanis||June 9, 2022||3LAB02|
|29||3||"Mortality Paradox"||Jon Cassar||Cherry Chevapravatdumrong||June 16, 2022||3LAB03|
|30||4||"Gently Falling Rain"||Jon Cassar||Brannon Braga & Andre Bormanis||June 23, 2022||3LAB04|
|31||5||"A Tale of Two Topas"||Seth MacFarlane||Seth MacFarlane||June 30, 2022||3LAB05|
|32||6||"Twice in a Lifetime"||Jon Cassar||Seth MacFarlane||July 7, 2022||3LAB06|
|33||7||"From Unknown Graves"||Seth MacFarlane||David A. Goodman||July 14, 2022||3LAB07|
|34||8||"Midnight Blue"||Jon Cassar||Brannon Braga & Andre Bormanis||July 21, 2022||3LAB08|
|35||9||"Domino"||Jon Cassar||Brannon Braga & Andre Bormanis||July 28, 2022||3LAB10|
|36||10||"Future Unknown"||Seth MacFarlane||Seth MacFarlane||August 4, 2022||3LAB11|
MacFarlane originally wrote The Orville as a spec script, which was given a 13-episode order by Fox in May 2016, making it the first live-action television series created by MacFarlane. Following the project's greenlight, MacFarlane stated, "I've wanted to do something like this show ever since I was a kid, and the timing finally feels right. [...] I think this is gonna be something special." According to MacFarlane, The Orville was inspired by The Twilight Zone and Star Trek. He was also encouraged to sell the series due to the success of Guardians of the Galaxy and Deadpool.
In November 2017, Fox renewed the series for a second season. "Primal Urges", one of the thirteen episodes for season one, was held for the second season due to a gap in broadcast dates caused by the broadcaster's lengthy Christmas programming.
In December 2018, it was reported that the California Film Commission had approved $15.8 million of tax credits for a potential third season.
In July 2016, MacFarlane's role was revealed to be Ed Mercer, the captain of the Orville, while Adrianne Palicki had been cast as Kelly Grayson, Ed's ex-wife and newly appointed first officer of the Orville, and Scott Grimes (who voices Steve Smith on American Dad!, another show created by MacFarlane) was cast as Gordon Malloy, Ed's best friend whom he has assigned to pilot the Orville. In August Peter Macon and J Lee were cast as series regulars. In October Halston Sage and Penny Johnson Jerald joined the cast while Mark Jackson was added in December. In April 2017, Chad L. Coleman was added as a series regular and Larry Joe Campbell in a recurring role.
At San Diego Comic-Con in July 2017, MacFarlane said that Charlize Theron would guest-star in an episode. The two had previously co-starred in A Million Ways to Die in the West. Theron appeared in the series' fifth episode "Pria".
In February 2018, Jessica Szohr was cast as a regular for season two and Chris Johnson in a recurring role. In November 2019, Anne Winters was cast as a regular for season three.
In August 2016, actor and director Jon Favreau signed on to direct the pilot. Production on the pilot episode began in late 2016, and the rest of the episodes began filming in March 2017. Production wrapped in August, with a total of $56.2 million spent in California. Star Trek veterans Jonathan Frakes and Robert Duncan McNeill, who have directed episodes within the Star Trek franchise, have each directed one or more episodes of The Orville. Four episodes were directed by Brannon Braga, a long-time Star Trek alumnus who began his career as an intern on Star Trek: The Next Generation, was producer of Star Trek: Voyager, and co-created Star Trek: Enterprise.
Filming for the second season began in February 2018, and Frakes and McNeill each returned to direct another episode. Production for the second season concluded in October 2018, having spent $69.2 million.
Filming for the third season began in October 2019 but was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and ultimately completed in August 2021. MacFarlane and Jon Cassar are the only directors for the third season.
Studios hired to work on the visual effects of the show include Tippett Studio, CoSA VFX, Pixomondo, Crafty Apes, FuseFX, Eight VFX and Zoic Studios.
The show uses a 75-piece orchestra for the music in each episode, written by several different composers, such as John Debney, Joel McNeely and Bruce Broughton, who wrote the show's theme and composed the score for the pilot. MacFarlane said "We score it like a movie" and "We really put as much into that as we do into the effects." A soundtrack album for season 1 was released by La-La Land Records on January 22, 2019. An album for season 2 was released on January 19, 2021.
On May 15, 2017, the Fox Broadcasting Company released the first trailer of The Orville as part of their upcoming slate of television series including the X-Men series The Gifted and the supernatural sitcom Ghosted. To promote the series, Fox organized a panel at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con on July 22 featuring cast members Seth MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, Scott Grimes, Penny Johnson Jerald, Peter Macon, Halston Sage, J. Lee, Mark Jackson and Chad Coleman, and producers David A. Goodman and Brannon Braga. In addition, Fox established an Orville Space Training Station at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Law with a "Cryopreservation program" for fans.
On July 22, 2018, Fox released the trailer for the second season of The Orville at the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con. To promote the series, Fox sponsored a series of Orville-themed pedi-cabs for people attending the San Diego Comic Con. In addition, Goodman moderated a Q&A panel on July 21 at the Comic Con alongside cast members MacFarlane, Palicki, Jerald, Grimes, Braga and Jon Cassar.
New episodes aired Thursdays on Fox during the 2017–18 season. On November 2, 2017, Fox renewed the series for a second season, which premiered on December 30, 2018. Fox renewed the series for a third season that was originally scheduled to be released on Hulu late in 2020. The third season titled as The Orville: New Horizons premiered on June 2, 2022.
The Orville is available for streaming in the United States on through Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime, and the iTunes Store. In Canada, the series is available on Disney+ and was aired on Citytv (former home of entries in the Star Trek franchise from Star Trek: The Next Generation to Star Trek: Enterprise). In the United Kingdom, the series is available on Disney+. In Australia, The Orville is available on the television channel SBS Viceland and most of season 3 streams on SBS On Demand and the complete series on Disney+ Star. In New Zealand, the first two seasons are available on Disney+, while the third season is available on the free TVNZ+ streaming service and the TVNZ Duke channel.
|1||31% (55 reviews)||36 (21 reviews)|
|2||100% (15 reviews)||—|
|3||100% (13 reviews)||—|
On Rotten Tomatoes, the first season has a 30% critic approval rating, with an average rating of 5.22/10 based on 53 critic reviews. The website's consensus reads, "An odd jumble of campiness and sincerity, homage, and satire, The Orville never quite achieves liftoff." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 36 out of 100, based on 21 reviews, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".
Liz Miller writing for IndieWire compared the series to Star Trek, calling it a rip-off and "bankrupt: creatively, morally, and ethically." She criticized the lack of creativity, the blatant imitation, and was surprised that the show is "uninterested in being a comedy".
Kevin Yeoman of Screen Rant suggested, "The show might have stood a better chance with a different actor in the captain's chair, one better suited to navigating the inexplicable tonal shifts and maybe earn the audience's patience and empathy in the process."
Tim Surette at TV Guide says, "The truth is, The Orville was never going to win over critics because it's a throwback and goes against everything modern television is. It's not that The Orville doesn't know what it wants it to be, as critics assume, it's that it wants to be a little bit of everything". Surette also noted the discrepancy between audience response and critic response on sites such as Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, with audiences response being significantly more positive.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the second season has an approval rating of 100%, with an average rating of 7.6/10 based on 14 reviews. The website's critic consensus states: "Fun, focused, and surprisingly thoughtful, The Orville's second season makes good use of its talented crew."
Nick Wanserki of The A.V. Club praised the season's first episode "Ja'loja" for its character-driven drama and focus on low-stakes plots which built upon the first season's efforts to develop the crew of the Orville into a group of people that the audience cared about. Liz Miller of IndieWire awarded The Orville a B rating, expressing hope that the series could evolve into a character-driven "dramedy" set in space, which she described as something unique that could make the show worth watching. Ryan Britt of Den of Geek praised the second season for playing to its strengths as a sitcom and addressing the "wonkiness" of the first season.
Kevin Yeoman of Screen Rant opined that the series "had found its footing and maybe its identity in telling smaller, more character-driven stories, that better serve its sometimes confounding mix of sincerity and irreverence."
Will Harris of The Verge similarly noted that the two-part episode "Identity" demonstrated the series' ability to downplay its humor and "hold its own with any of the more traditional science fiction properties out there."
On Rotten Tomatoes, the third season has an approval rating of 100%, with an average rating of 8.25/10 based on 11 reviews.
Den of Geek reviewer Michael Winn Johnson awarded the first episode "Electric Sheep" five out of five stars. He gave a favorable appraisal of the Isaac-centric storyline for dealing with the themes of prejudice and suicide. Johnson also praised MacFarlane and his creative team for forging an "extremely strong identity" for the show despite its influence from other science fiction franchises, particularly Star Trek. Remus Norona of Collider gave the first episode an A minus, stating that the season premiere is "bigger, bolder, and a whole lot darker." He noted that the first episode explored themes such as trauma, suicide, and grief.
Tell-Tale TV reviewer Nick Hogan observed that the third season had a higher budget than the previous two seasons, allowing more investment in both the practical and special effects. Hogan described the second episode "Shadow Realms" as a "cool, Alien-esque horror story that thrills both psychologically and physically" but criticised the "bloated" storyline. Reviewing the third episode "Mortality Paradox," Johnson praised the episode's writer Cherry Chevapravatdumrong for mixing the third season with "thrills, humor, adventure and even a little horror.
Digital Trends reviewer Michael Green praised the third season, describing it as a "loving homage" and the spiritual successor to Star Trek: The Next Generation. Green also praised the family dynamic between the main cast members' characters Seth McFarlane (Captain Ed Mercer), Adrianne Palicki (Commander Kelly Grayson), Penny Johnson Jerald (Dr Claire Finn), Mark Jackson (Isaac), Peter Macon (Bortus) and J. Lee (Chief Engineer John LaMarr). Green further praised The Orville's high production values and gave a favorable appraisal of its stories which explored philosophical, intellectual and human interest issues. Green praised the Season 3 episode "Midnight Blue" for exploring the ethical dimensions of gender reassignment surgery and its cameo featuring Dolly Parton. He also gave a favorable appraisal of the time travel episode "Twice in a Lifetime" which explored tampering with the past and sacrificing one's family for the "greater good."
After its premiere on Sunday, September 10, 2017, the show moved to Thursday nights at 9 p.m. In its first broadcast in the new time slot, The Orville became Fox's highest rated Thursday 9 p.m. broadcast in two years. After taking into account DVR and VOD, The Orville was Fox's most-viewed drama debut since the premiere of Empire in 2015.
|Season||Timeslot (ET)||Episodes||First aired||Last aired||TV season||Viewership
|1||Sunday 8:00 pm (1–2)
Thursday 9:00 pm (3–12)
|12||September 10, 2017||8.56||December 7, 2017||3.54||2017–18||63||6.55||TBD||2.0|
|2||Sunday 8:00 pm (1)
Thursday 9:00 pm (2–14)
|14||December 30, 2018||5.68||April 25, 2019||2.97||2018–19||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|
According to Parrot Analytics, which looks at consumer engagement in consumer research, streaming, downloads, and on social media, The Orville: New Horizons was the 4th most in-demand streaming show in the United States during the week ending August 26, 2022, and the 6th during the week ending September 9, 2022. According to the streaming aggregator JustWatch, The Orville: New Horizons was the 6th most streamed TV show across all platforms in the United States during the week of June 5, 2022. According to the streaming aggregator Reelgood, The Orville: New Horizons was the 5th most streamed TV show across all platforms during the week of June 11, 2022.
|2018||International Film Music Critics Association Awards||Best Original Score for Television||Bruce Broughton, John Debney, Joel McNeely, Andrew Cottee||Won|||
|Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards||Best Special Make-Up Effects – Television and New Media Series||Howard Berger, Tami Lane, Garrett Immel||Nominated|||
|ICG Publicists Awards||Maxwell Weinberg Publicist Showmanship Television Award||Erin Moody||Nominated|||
|Saturn Awards||Best Science Fiction Television Series||The Orville||Won|||
|Best Actor on Television||Seth MacFarlane||Nominated|
|Best Actress on Television||Adrianne Palicki||Nominated|
|Young Artist Awards||Best Performance in a TV Series – Recurring Young Actor||Kai Wener||Nominated|||
|Young Entertainer Awards||Best Recurring Young Actor 11 & Under – Television Series||Nominated|||
|2019||Dragon Awards||Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series||The Orville||Nominated|||
|Saturn Awards||Best Science Fiction Television Series||Nominated|||
|Best Actor on Television||Seth MacFarlane||Nominated|
|Best Actress on Television||Adrianne Palicki||Nominated|
|Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Special Visual Effects||Luke McDonald, Tommy Tran, Kevin Lingenfelser, Nhat Phong Tran, Brooke Noska, Melissa Delong, Brandon Fayette, Matt Von Brock, Joseph Vincent Pike (for "Identity Part II")||Nominated|||
|Hollywood Professional Association Awards||Outstanding Visual Effects – Episodic (Over 13 Episodes)||Tommy Tran, Kevin Lingenfelser, Joseph Vincent Pike, Brandon Fayette, Brooke Noska (for "Identity Part II")||Won|||
|2020||International Film Music Critics Association Awards||Best Original Score for Television||Bruce Broughton, John Debney, Joel McNeely, Andrew Cottee||Nominated|||
|2022||Saturn Awards||Best Science Fiction Series (Streaming)||The Orville: New Horizons||Nominated|||
|2022||International Film Music Critics Association Awards||Best Original Score for a Television Series||John Debney, Joel McNeely, Andrew Cottee, Kevin Kaska, Bruce Broughton||Nominated|||
Season 1 of The Orville was released on DVD on December 11, 2018. Season 2 was released on December 10, 2019.
In 2019, Dark Horse Comics released a pair of two-issue comic book miniseries set between the first and second seasons of The Orville, collected as The Orville: Season 1.5. Both miniseries were written by television series executive producer and writer David A. Goodman, illustrated by David Cabeza, and colored by Michael Atiyeh. The first storyline "New Beginnings" deals with Captain Mercer and Lieutenant Gordon responding to a distress call from a lost Union ship while Commander Grayson has to contend with a domestic dispute between Bortus and his spouse over their son's education. The second storyline "The Word of Avis" deals with the Orville crew investigating a Union ship heading into Krill space.
In 2020, Dark Horse Comics reunited the same creative team for The Orville: Season 2.5, beginning with the two-issue miniseries "Launch Day".
|Issue||Story arc||Release date||Story||Art||Colors||Collection||Library Edition|
|#1||"New Beginnings"||July 17, 2019||David A. Goodman||David Cabeza||Michael Atiyeh||The Orville: Season 1.5—New Beginnings
Release date: February 5, 2020
|The Orville Library Edition – Volume 1|
Release date: October 5, 2022
|#2||August 14, 2019|
|#3||"The Word of Avis"||September 11, 2019|
|#4||October 16, 2019|
|#1||"Launch Day"||September 2, 2020||The Orville: Season 2.5—Launch Day|
Release date: March 24, 2021
|#2||October 7, 2020|
|#3||"Heroes"||November 4, 2020|
|#4||December 2, 2020|
|#1||"Digressions"||May 5, 2021||The Orville: Season 2.5—Digressions|
Release date: March 16, 2022
|#2||June 2, 2021|
|#3||"Artifacts"||October 20, 2021|
|#4||November 24, 2021|
Three books have been written about The Orville. On January 16, 2018, Jeff Bond released The World of The Orville. On April 26, 2021, Exploring The Orville: Essays on Seth MacFarlane's Space Adventure was published. On July 1, 2022, Cassandra Parvaz's Religion in The Orville: The Dangers Religion Poses To Modern Society as Reflected In Seth MacFarlane’s The Orville was released.
The third season was initially announced as having eleven episodes, but one episode was not filmed due to pandemic-related delays. Titled "Sympathy for the Devil", it was instead adapted as a novelization written by MacFarlane, and takes place after "Midnight Blue", intending to be the ninth episode of season three. The audiobook is narrated by guest star Bruce Boxleitner. The novella was released on July 19, 2022.
Also new is ... The Orville
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