Creator of Family Guy and American Dad Seth MacFarlane has been a life-long, unabashed Star Trek fan. So much so that, now that he's one of Hollywood's most powerful producers, he convinced Fox to not only let him make a new show in the spirit of Star Trek, but he's also starring in it.
MacFarlane also brings Star Trek the one thing it has needed since it started in 1966 - jokes. The Orville is funny.
Since the show launched in the US last year, The Orville has built a highly passionate fan following. The fans insist that it is better than any actual Star Trek show currently on - The Orville, they say, is Star Trek done properly.
The premise of The Orville
The series follows the crew of a not-so-functional exploratory ship in the Earth's interstellar fleet, 400 years in the future. Captain Ed Mercer (Seth MacFarlane) is assigned to the ship, but little does he realise that his ex-wife Kelly (Adrianne Palicki, Friday Night Lights) is also on board.
What the fans say
"It is a show with real heart, putting its characters in moral dilemmas that they are not always able to find a way out of, just as Star Trek did. While the crew of The Orville are nowhere near as competent or brilliant as the various Enterprise crews...They may be a little more down-to-earth, a little more crude and a little more human than Roddenberry’s dream of a better future, but they do offer the hope that people in the future will be a little less selfish, perhaps a little more noble than is often the case in real life."
- Juliette Harrison, Den of Geek
"The Orville is an unabashed, full-throated love letter to Star Trek. From the opening shot of the first episode, featuring a gleaming futuristic city bathed in sunlight, it is very obvious just what kind of a show this wants to be."
- Brian Drew, TrekMovie.com
"I’m quite pleased with the show, and I’m really glad they got picked up for a second season.”
- Melinda Snodgrass, former Star Trek: The Next Generation writer at Wired.com
The Star Trek cast love it
They must love it - so many of them keep appearing on it and directing episodes. Star Trek: Deep Space 9 recurring actor Penny Johnson Jerald is a regular on The Orville. Johnathan Frakes (Star Trek: The Next Generation's Will Riker) has now directed multiple episodes. His former co-star Marina Sirtis has just filmed a role in the second season of the series.
Star Trek: Voyager's hologram doctor Robert Pircado was the first Trek actor to make an appearance. Robert Duncan McNeil, who played Tom Paris on Voyager, cut his teeth as a director on that show and has also directed an episode of The Orville.
Also, beloved Star Trek guest actors like F. Murray Abraham, Tony Todd, and Ron Canada have made appearances.
Oh, and former Star Trek showrunner Brannon Braga is even on board as a producer of the show, directing a bunch of episodes.
The Orville blasts off at 9pm 24 September on SBS VICELAND, with the entirety of season one now streaming at SBS On Demand: