Now that Seth MacFarlane’s comedy/sci-fi hybrid The Orville has made its premiere, and prior to the airing or episode two the network has provided FHM with an exclusive clip featuring MacFarlane and Adrianne Palicki.
The show is described as follows:
"Down on his luck after a bitter divorce, Planetary Union officer Ed Mercer (MacFarlane) finally gets his chance to command his own ship. Determined to prove his worth and start a new chapter, Ed discovers the first wrinkle in his plan when the First Officer assigned to his ship is his ex-wife, Kelly Grayson (Palicki). As the new commander, Ed assembles a qualified — but eccentric — crew, including his best friend, Gordon, who has problems with authority but is the best helmsman in the fleet; Dr. Claire Finn; Bortus, an alien from a single-sex species; Isaac, an artificial life-form from a machine society; navigator John Lamarr; Alara Kitan, a young, inexperienced security officer; and Yaphit, a gelatinous creature.”
One of the challenges of the series is that it has been heavily marketed as an all-out comedy, but as MacFarlane discusses in the following interview, his intent is something very different.
FHM: Seth, I know it's easier to lead from a marketing standpoint as sort of comedy forward, but FOX is advertising this very heavily as a comedy and not so much as the very sincere homage it is for the most part. Do you have any concerns about how people are being brought to your show?
Seth MacFarlane: "That thought has crossed my mind. I mean, the promos have leaned very heavily on the comedy and the comedy is a significant part of this. But I feel great about the shows we've done, and I feel like tonally they're going to speak for themselves. And once people tune in and kind of see what the hour has to offer, it's really going to become clear what the show is."
FHM: You've got a number of Star Trek alumni working on this show. In general, how do you define your relationship with Star Trek, especially The Next Generation and that era that the show definitely seems to have a kinship with?
Seth MacFarlane: "There are two ways to answer that. One, Star Trek itself sprang from a lot of different sci-fi tropes that came before it, from Sci-Fi radio dramas in the '30s and movie serials. The idea of a ship in the naval sense cruising through space is something that doesn't originate with that show. They were the ones who really crystalized it in a more perfect way than anyone else. And for me, look, there are many different places that I draw from when I kind of think about this. I mean, there's The Twilight Zone, there's Star Trek... I hold a lot of these different franchises in very, very high regard. And, you know, I kind of miss the forward‑thinking, aspirational, optimistic place in science fiction that Star Trek used to occupy. I think they've chosen to go in a different direction which has worked very well for them in recent years, but what has happened is that it's left open a space that has been relatively unoccupied for a while in the genre. In the same way that when James Bond kind of moved into a different area than classic James Bond, Iron Man came along and sort of filled that void."
"So, for me, it's a space that's kind of waiting to be filled in this day and age when we're getting a lot of dystopian science fiction, a lot of which is great and very entertaining, but it can't all be The Hunger Games. It can't all be the nightmare scenario. I think there's some space for the aspirational blueprint of what we could do if we get our shit together, and that's something that's been missing for me for a while. And again, it's something that meant a lot to me when I was a kid, that Star Trek did, and this is sort of an attempt to kind of fill that void in the genre. And we really do see it as a Sci-Fi, comedic drama in that we allow ourselves room for levity in ways that a traditional hour‑long Sci-Fi show doesn't. So we're trying to break some new ground here. And whether we've succeeded is obviously up to the viewers."
FHM: It was interesting that the science fiction part of the show feels like it came from the 1990s as opposed to something that might have been created for today's audience.
Seth MacFarlane: "Because I missed the optimism, because I'm tired of being told that everything is going to be grim and dystopian and people are going to be murdering each other for food. I've had enough of that. And I miss the hopeful side of science fiction, which, you know, really, that kind of goes back to the roots of the genre, and is about what we can achieve if we put our minds to it. That flourished in the '90s. In some ways, some shows did it in kind of a more cheesy fashion, and others like Star Trek made it a little more legit. But that was the way to do a Sci-Fi show back then. And now, things are just very grim, and so that was a conscious choice, because I missed that flavor of science fiction."
Lead image via YouTube.
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