Meet the stars of SBS’s new sci-fi comedy/drama 'The Orville'. Why do some of them look so familiar?
Mary Kiley

8 Oct 2018 - 11:54 AM  UPDATED 8 Oct 2018 - 11:57 AM

These are the voyages of mid-level exploratory vessel The Orville. And though it's definitely not the Enterprise, both the look of the show and the faces on the bridge may feel like you've seen this somewhere before. In a good way.


Seth MacFarlane is Ed Mercer, captain of the titular exploratory space vessel.

Best known as the creator of animated TV series Family Guy, American Dad! and The Cleveland Show, this talented voice actor surprised everyone when he emerged from behind the microphone and turned out to also be blessed with ’50s matinee idol good looks.

He’s starred in A Million Ways to Die in the West, which didn’t set the box office on fire, and hosted the Oscars in 2013, raising a few eyebrows and the ire of a few women. MacFarlane is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea – the urge to dislike him has been dubbed “Sethenfreude” – but the huge success of his previous series as well as his Ted movies proves that there are plenty of fans of his particular brand of humour.

Adrianne Palicki is Commander Kelly Grayson, first officer and Ed’s ex-wife.

Before the recent reboot, Palicki was all set to be the new Wonder Woman. Unfortunately, her 2011 pilot failed to fire, but she still got to kick ass in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Of course, she’s probably best known as Tyra Collette in Friday Night Lights, in which she took what could have been a clichéd “bad girl” character and turned her into a studious and well-rounded young woman. (Plus, she got Tim Riggins in the end. Score!)

Penny Johnson Jerald is Dr Claire Finn, chief medical officer.

A show that’s been labelled a “love letter” to Star Trek wouldn’t be complete without a bona fide Star Trek alum and it has one in Jerald, who played freighter captain Kasidy Yates in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

She also memorably played the duplicitous senatorial wife Sherry Palmer in 24 and no-nonsense captain Victoria “Iron” Gates in Castle.

Scott Grimes is helmsman Lt Gordon Malloy, Ed’s best friend.

Another American Dad! and Family Guy voice cast member, Grimes is probably best known as Bailey’s high school bestie in weepy family drama Party of Five, Technical Sergeant Donald Malarkey in weepy war drama Band of Brothers and bumbling doctor Archie Morris in weepy medical drama ER.

Victor Garber is Admiral Halsey, Ed’s boss.

Everything. Victor Garber has been in everything. Seriously, it would be quicker to list the things he hasn’t been in – and that would probably just be some silent films made before he was born.

Among his many many many roles, Garber played the man who built (and went down with) the ship in Titanic. He was one half of superhero Firestorm in The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow. He was CIA agent Sydney Bristow’s dad in Alias. And, of course, he will always be remembered for his role as Wool Council head Eugene Gremby in 30 Rock.

And keep an eye out for…

Cameos from other Star Trek universe actors, including Robert Picardo of Star Trek: Voyager, Holland Taylor and Jeffrey Tambor as Ed’s parents, an almost unrecognisable Rob Lowe as Kelly’s love interest, and not one, but two A-listers who clearly don’t bear MacFarlane any ill will after A Million Ways to Die in the West...


The Orville airs Monday nights at 9pm on SBS Viceland, with the full first season streaming now at SBS On Demand:

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