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The Orville: New Horizons – Creator Seth MacFarlane Talks Season 3, Norm Macdonald and More

Warning! The spoilers for seasons 1 and 2 of The Orville are in the article below. The Orville: New Horizons will debut on Hulu on Thursday, June 2, 2022.

Three years and a month is a long time for a spaceship to disappear. But how long is the Orville was “disappeared in action” from our screens due to an outage exacerbated by a network swap (Fox to Hulu) and COVID production delays. When it returns on June 2 on Hulu, it will have a slightly adjusted title, The Orville: New Horizons. But it will pick up where the Season 2 finale, “The Road Not Taken,” left off.

Existing audiences will also find more serious sci-fi drama awaiting them. Beginning in season 2, the comedy was less on the nose and that continues following the successful time travel tinkering of Dr. Claire Finn (Penny Johnson Jerald) who restored the timeline that keeps the crew together and stop The Orville to be destroyed. However, Kaylon’s devastating conflict is still a very big thing that everyone is still dealing with in the third season premiere. In fact, “Electric Sheep” was written and directed by series creator Seth MacFarlane and he says it encapsulates the revised direction of the series they’ve been heading in since season 1.

“Like a lot of shows, historically, Season 3 is when you really find out who you are. And I think that’s absolutely true for The Orville Season 1,” MacFarlane told IGN of the creative journey. of the series. “We were trying a balancing act that in some ways was sometimes successful, and in other ways was really a hindrance to pure storytelling. When we freed ourselves from the need to have a punchline every episode and we really let the comedy come from the personalities of those characters, now that people know them we found that worked a lot better and the show was a lot fuller and a lot more entertaining you can start to really expand and dig deep because they’re there with you and that’s what Season 3 is all about.”

But there’s been an ironic shift in the landscape of space exploration TV shows since The Orville premiered a few weeks before Star Trek: Discovery in 2017. At that time, there hadn’t been a new episodic Trek since. 2005. And now there are five Star Trek series in rotation on Paramount+. The void The Orville intended to fill is now pretty much filled, so did that change MacFarlane and his writer’s overall goals for the show?

“No, I think even now we really exist in our own space,” MacFarlane says confidently. “And I think that’s going to be the takeaway for a lot of people in Season 3. Yes, it’s a crowded landscape but I can safely say there’s no show on the air, or even that genre, which exists in the same space that we are in. It’s a show that I hope sci-fi fans will wholeheartedly enjoy. But getting into something like this, deep down in me, I’m like, ‘Could my mom watch this show and find something in it to hold on to?’ Usually it has to do with controlling yourself and making sure you tell stories about people, so that it’s never a science fiction premise or concept. we are resolutely people-centric.

Having suffered its longest lag between season returns, MacFarlane says that initially there was little to celebrate with the extended production delays due to COVID. Aside from post-production and the score getting an extra track, the scripts were locked down. “Most of the time, after a while, we had no more work to do,” admits MacFarlane.

I can safely say that there isn’t an on-air show, or the like, that exists in the same space as us.

But then a specific benefit emerged, that audiences were finding the show on Hulu, much like what happened with MacFarlane’s once-canceled and then-resurrected animated series, Family Guy. “The Orville has had time to ferment and sit and let people find out,” he explains.

And new audiences could see that The Orville was not what they expected. “When we premiered on Fox, there was a very aggressive push from the network to cast us as this ‘wacky’ sci-fi show, and that’s really not who we are,” says MacFarlane. “We’re something very different, so once the dust kind of cleared and the show was right there on Hulu ready to be consumed, it built and expanded our audience.”

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MacFarlane says he’s thrilled fans are diving into “Electric Sheep,” which is a very Isaac-centric episode in which artificial, non-biological engineer Kaylon Orville absorbs the dark fallout from the war his kind has unleashed on the Earth. ‘humanity. Does it confront head-on how you co-exist with someone who has participated in terrible things? He compares the main narrative to actual events today. “It’s like, say you’re married to a guy who was there on January 6th?” he says in comparison. “How do you live with this guy? He is still human. It’s not a monster from another planet. It’s still a person. But he did a terrible thing. How do you find a way to coexist with people who are so different from you, and that’s an overarching theme of the season as a whole.

He continues: “It’s fascinating to write because our instinct, especially these days, is to reduce everything to black and white, good and bad. Yet, in reality, nothing is like that. Nothing in life is simple. Everything has texture and nuance. And everything has layers like an onion. Digging into the complexities of that and the vagaries of wrestling with the ethics of good and evil, when there’s no pure good and there’s no pure evil, that’s a big part of the puzzles that the characters face in the series throughout the season. »

The first episode back is dedicated to Norm Macdonald

On a personal note, MacFarlane is also pleased that this season of The Orville will feature the final character role of recently deceased comedian Norm Macdonald, who voices Lt. Yaphit. “The first episode is dedicated to Norm,” he shared. “It’s sad to have lost him. And at the same time, I’m very grateful that he left us all those great pieces of Yaphet that are yet to come. The fact that The Orville has the privilege of distributing the last moments of comedy that he left us in those recordings, we’re lucky we’re lucky he was on the show, and we’re lucky he’s in this third season.

As for what might be next for The Orville, MacFarlane says it’s entirely based on ratings. “I’m definitely open to that,” he enthuses. “But it’s not a cheap show to do, as you’ve seen. It’s quite extensive. There really has to be an answer that justifies the studio doing more. But there are endless stories you can tell with this kind of world. As a writer, this is the most fun I’ve ever had on any show I’ve worked on. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed the writing process so much. I probably should never have been in comedy. I should have done science fiction,” he laughs. So yes, I would definitely do more.

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