If you liked the first season of The Orville but wanted a little more science fiction and a little less humor, you're in luck.
With the show officially renewed by Fox for a second season, creator and star Seth MacFarlane spoke about the show's next steps with reporters earlier today (January 4) at the Television Critics Association (TCA) winter press tour.
Perhaps the biggest surprise about The Orville was how earnest the show was about being a real science fiction series. While there were elements of the kind of humor that audiences might expect from the man who created Family Guy, MacFarlane himself said today that he felt confident enough in the show to lean more on the sci-fi and less on the jokes in Season 2:
"The show was experimental in a lot of ways. Tone was the biggest experimental part of it. What we found was that we can lean a little more heavier into the science fiction and not have to worry so much about knocking out a joke every page. The show is an hour and really can and wants to service its storytelling in a way that makes it a priority. The jokes come as they come, the comedy comes as it comes."
Indeed, The Orville has been compared favorably to the show it most closely resembled, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and fans debated whether it was better than the actual new Trek series that launched last year too, Star Trek: Discovery. It may have started a bit rocky with critics, but there's no doubt the series has started to find its footing. MacFarlane said that the turning point for him was an episode titled "Into the Fold":
“It was a very dark, somber episode that still lived in that world very successfully. That episode for me in the first season was the real test of how far we can take the genuine science-fiction aspect of it.”
MacFarlane also promised at least 14 episodes in the second season, as opposed to the premiere season's dozen, adding that he didn't want to stretch it out to the standard 22 segments: "I’d rather do fewer episodes and have them be better content-wise than do 22 and have them be filler."
Although that first season was a bit uneven in its tone, The Orville developed into a far more interesting sci-fi series than perhaps many viewers thought it might be. It was also a solid ratings performer for Fox, so it's no surprise to see the show coming back next fall (a premiere date has yet to be confirmed). Did you watch The Orville all the way through? Did you like what you saw, and are you glad to hear that Season 2 will go "heavier" on the sci-fi?