The Orville began in 2017 as a comedy-drama with a lot of focus on comedy.
Created by Seth MacFarlane, The Orville began as somewhat of a spoof of Star Trek with a lot of focus on comedy and hijinks rather than serious space battles and galaxy consequences. And the cast really worked with that tone. Scott Grimes, J. Lee, and Peter Macon brought a brand of humor to the show that was laugh out loud funny, but by season two, the series began moving in down a different path. With episodes like the two-parter “Identity,” The Orville set the tone for what would become its best season yet.
Scott Grimes, who plays Lt. Gordon Malloy on the series, spoke with CinemaBlend about the need for the series to have pivoted in such a manner.
"If the show would’ve stayed what it was the first season, which was just kind of this tongue-in-cheek thing, we might have gone a couple of years on Fox, but Seth wouldn’t have been satiated. The show wouldn’t have, I don’t think, gone anywhere. It would have just been another American Dad or Family Guy but live-action, and there’s just nowhere to go with that."
The Orville could have essentially been Family Guy in space.
According to Malloy, the transition to more serious story-telling benefits not only the series but the creator as well as Seth MacFarlane wouldn’t have been as fulfilled as he is now.
"I am so happy that one, he gets to do the show he wants to do because why would he do that [otherwise]? He doesn’t need to work. He’s doing this because he wants to say something and he’s a great writer."
If there is one thing that season three is proving, it’s that Grimes’ words are true. MacFarlane is a great writer and has proven so time and again this season. Though we get an occasional humorous line or situation, for the most part, MacFarlane has taken The Orville, now renamed The Orville: New Horizons, in a fresh, new direction. And, hopefully, it’s this direction that will bring in more viewers, encourage previous viewers to hang around, and convince Hulu that a fourth season is wanted.