The Orville

The Orville Information

The Orville is an American science fiction comedy-drama television series created by and starring Seth MacFarlane for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series premiered on Sunday, September 10, 2017. MacFarlane stars as Ed Mercer, an officer in the Planetary Union's line of exploratory space vessels. After his career takes a downturn following his divorce, he is given the ship Orville as his first command, only to discover that his ex-wife, Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki), has been assigned as his first officer. Inspired by several sources, including Star Trek and The Twilight Zone, the series tells the story of Mercer, Grayson, and the crew of the Orville as they embark on various diplomatic and exploratory missions.

The Orville is a joint production by Fuzzy Door Productions and 20th Century Fox Television and syndicated by 20th Television.

New episodes aired Thursdays on Fox during the 2017-18 season. On November 2, 2017, Fox renewed the series for a second season, which premiered on December 30, 2018. On May 11, 2019, Fox renewed the series for a third season.


The Orville is set on the titular USS Orville (ECV-197), a mid-level exploratory space vessel in the Planetary Union, a 25th-century interstellar alliance of Earth and many other planets.

Cast and characters


  • Seth MacFarlane as Captain Ed Mercer, who commands the Orville. Mercer was an up-and-coming officer, believed to be on the fast track to commanding his own heavy cruiser by age 40. However, during the year following the end of his marriage on account of his wife Kelly's adultery, he is cited for being lax in his duties and being hung over while on duty. Eventually, he is informed that the Orville, a mid-level exploratory ship, needs a new commanding officer.
  • Adrianne Palicki as Commander Kelly Grayson, the first officer of the Orville and Ed Mercer's ex-wife. The two divorced after Mercer caught Grayson in bed with an alien and resulting in Mercer's year-long emotional crisis. Unbeknownst to Mercer, Grayson personally appealed to Admiral Halsey for her ex-husband to be given a command, stating that, despite personal setbacks, he merited it. She requested her involvement be kept confidential after Mercer is assigned to the Orville. When Grayson is assigned as the Orville's first officer, she and Mercer agree to set aside their differences to work as a team and stay friends.
  • Penny Johnson Jerald as Doctor Claire Finn, the chief medical officer on the Orville, holding the rank of lieutenant commander. A physician of exceptional credentials, she has expertise in molecular surgery, DNA engineering and psychiatry, which afforded her a choice of assignments on heavy cruisers. She instead chose a mid-level exploratory vessel. As she explains to Mercer in the pilot episode, she prefers to serve where she feels she is needed, finding such assignments more stimulating. When she tells Mercer she felt he could use her assistance on his first command, he interprets this as her lacking confidence in him, though she discounts this. Having never found the ideal opportunity to marry, she chose to become a single mother. Her two sons, Marcus and Ty, travel aboard the Orville with her. She repeatedly rebuffs Lt. Yaphit's advances, though they become physically intimate in "Cupid's Dagger" after falling victim to a Retepsian sex pheromone.
  • Scott Grimes as Lieutenant Gordon Malloy, the helmsman of the Orville and Mercer's best friend. Considered the best helmsman in the fleet, he was relegated to desk duty after he attempted to impress a girl with a precarious shuttle docking, damaging the vessel and losing cargo in the process. Mercer specifically requested he be assigned to the Orville despite Admiral Halsey's lingering concern over Malloy's history of crude and juvenile pranks. He is generally comfortable with his reputation for limited intelligence, to the point where he willingly answers a series of questions from Grayson, with the expectation that his answers would demonstrate in a Moclan court that males are not always superior to females.
  • Peter Macon as Lieutenant Commander Bortus, the second officer aboard the USS Orville. Bortus is from Moclus, a planet where the primary industry is weapons manufacturing, and whose society is dominated by males. This is explained in the first season as the result of the rarity of female births, one of which occurs when Bortus and his Moclan spouse, Klyden, bear a female at the end of the series' second episode. Per Klyden's wishes, the infant undergoes sex reassignment surgery against Bortus' wishes in the following episode, and is raised as their son, Topa, following a controversial legal ruling on their home planet. This event in Bortus and Klyden's lives, and the attitudes prevalent among Moclans toward females that Klyden himself harbors, remain a source of tension for the couple, and is a sensitive matter for Bortus in particular, who harbors resentment over the surgery to which Topa was subjected. It is later revealed in the second season episode "Sanctuary" that female births are far more frequent than Moclan society publicly admitted, and that an extensive network of adult Moclan females exist in hiding from the Moclan authorities. Among the unique aspects of Moclans biology is that they urinate only once a year, with this event being of such significance that Moclans return to their home planet with those closest to them to urinate in a sacred spot chosen by each individual. Moclans reproduce by laying eggs, which must be incubated for 21 days by a parent. Politically, Moclas enjoys considerable political clout because it is a weapons manufacturer on which the Union depends.
  • Halston Sage as Lieutenant Alara Kitan, the Orvilles young chief of security. Kitan is from Xelaya, a high-gravity planet that gives her greater-than-human strength in Earth gravity. She can knock down doors and walls, and crush a solid block titanium and reshape it into a small sphere with her bare hands. She receives the Sapphire Star for her role as acting commanding officer after Mercer and Grayson are abducted by the Calivon during Bortus' incubation of his egg. Sage departed the series in the third episode of the second season when her character resigned her post to be with her family on her home planet after it was discovered that she was losing her strength due to her long period away from her home planet's gravity, using the opportunity to reconnect with her parents.
  • J. Lee as Lieutenant (later Lieutenant Commander) John LaMarr. He is navigator of the Orville for most of the first season. He and Malloy strike up an immediate friendship in the first episode. Though intellectually gifted, he learned to hide his intelligence and settle for modest ambitions growing up in order to fit in with his peers. When Grayson discovers his high aptitude in "New Dimensions", she encourages LaMarr to fulfill his potential. As a result, he acquits himself so well during that episode's crisis that he replaces the outgoing Lt. Commander Newton as the Orvilles chief engineer.
  • Mark Jackson as Isaac (named after Isaac Newton), the Orvilles science and engineering officer. Isaac is a member of the artificial, non-biological race from Kaylon-1 that views biological lifeforms, including humans, as inferior. In the pilot episode, Isaac explains to Mercer that the Union's Admiralty offered a posting to any willing Kaylon, as an attempt to initiate relations between the two powers. Isaac accepted the offer as an opportunity to study human behavior. During the course of his time with the crew, he comes to observe and understand aspects of human behavior, such as relationships, sarcasm, slang, and practical jokes. Isaac perceives his surroundings with his body's internal sensors. His two glowing blue "eyes" are purely anthropomorphic, with Gordon once putting a Mr. Potato Head face on him without Isaac realizing it.
  • Jessica Szohr as Lieutenant Talla Keyali the ship's second Xelayan Chief of Security, who replaces Alara Kitan after her resignation in season 2.


  • Victor Garber as Admiral Halsey, Mercer's superior and old friend of Grayson's father
  • Chad Coleman as Klyden, Bortus's mate and father of their child. He revealed that he was actually born a female and had the procedure to correct his gender when he was an infant, only learning about it when he was first examined by a non-Moclan doctor after joining Bortus on his first ship assignment.
  • Norm Macdonald as the voice of Lieutenant Yaphit, an amorphous, gelatinous, shapeshifting engineer on the Orville, who repeatedly attempts to obtain a date with Dr. Finn, and frequently flirts with other females on the ship. Despite his telling her in "Cupid's Dagger" that he is in love with her, she does not reciprocate his attraction, though they become physically intimate in that episode after falling victim to a Retepsian sex pheromone. Despite his jocular manner, he was actually the original front runner to replace Newton as the ship's chief engineer before LaMarr was given the position. When the ship was taken over by the Kaylons, Yaphit played a key role in retaking the ship and assured Claire that he would protect her son Ty when Ty was the only person who could assist him at a crucial moment, Yaphit later helping the crew restart Isaac based on his encounter with another Kaylon during the crisis giving him a good understanding of how Kaylon components worked.
  • Larry Joe Campbell as Lieutenant Commander Steve Newton, chief engineer of the Orville until episode 1.11, when he leaves to take a new job designing space stations, and is replaced by the promoted Lieutenant Commander LaMarr
  • BJ Tanner as Marcus Finn, elder son of Doctor Claire Finn.
  • Kai Wener as Ty Finn, younger son of Doctor Claire Finn. He is the one most attached to Isaac, explicitly stating that he sees Isaac as a father. When the Orville was taken over by the Kaylons, Ty assisted Yaphit in transmitting a distress signal as he was the only other person who could fit in the ship's air vents. When Ty was captured by the Kaylons, the Kaylon Primary ordered Isaac to kill Ty to prove his loyalty to the Kaylon objective, which prompted Isaac to make his choice and turn on his own people to protect Ty.
  • Gavin Lee as Nurse Park
  • Mike Henry as Dann, unnamed alien species member of the engineering staff, who suggests music be played in the Orville's elevators and makes unsuccessful attempts to befriend fellow crew members
  • Rachael MacFarlane as the voice of the Orville computer
  • Ron Canada as Admiral Tucker
  • Kelly Hu as Admiral Ozawa
  • Chris Johnson as Cassius, a teacher on board the Orville who had a relationship with Grayson until they broke up during season 2
  • Blesson Yates as Topa, Bortus and Klyden's son
  • Kyra Santoro as Ensign Jenny Turco, a member of the engineering staff in a relationship with LaMarr
  • Ted Danson as Admiral Perry
  • Rena Owen as Heveena, a Moclan woman

Guest stars

  • Rob Lowe as Darulio, the Retepsian archaeologist whose affair with Kelly ended her marriage with Mercer. He came back to the ship to consult during a crucial research mission, where his pheromones caused Mercer and Grayson to be attracted to him and Claire to have sex with Yaphit (although he declines to confirm if his pheromones were the reason for Grayson's original affair).
  • Brian George as Doctor Aronov, the leader of the Epsilon II science station
  • Jeffrey Tambor as Ben Mercer, Ed Mercer's father
  • Holland Taylor as Jeannie Mercer, Ed Mercer's mother
  • Jonathan Adams as the Moclan arbitrator
  • Robert Knepper as Hamelac
  • Giorgia Whigham as Lysella, a barista in "Majority Rule" who helps rescue John on a planet where public votes determine a person's social status; Lysella learns of the crew's alien origin when she sees Alara's ears and subsequently provides them with understanding of how to rig public support in John's favor.
  • Liam Neeson as Jahavus Dorahl, captain of a derelict multi-generation ship in "If the Stars Should Appear"
  • Charlize Theron as Pria Lavesque, a time-traveler from the future who attempts to steal the Orville in "Pria"
  • James Horan as Sazeron, the Krill high priest on the Krill destroyer Yakar
  • Michaela McManus as Teleya/Lt. Janel Tyler, a Krill teacher serving on Krill destroyer Yakar, who has developed a particular focus on Mercer after he destroyed her ship
  • Steven Culp as Wilks
  • Brian Thompson as Drogen, a survivalist on a planet where Finn, Isaac and Finn's children crash in "Into the Fold"
  • Ralph Garman as Kanoot, a karaoke announcer on the Orville
  • Robert Picardo as Ildis Kitan, father of Alara Kitan
  • Molly Hagan as Drenala Kitan, mother of Alara Kitan
  • Candice King as Solana Kitan, sister of Alara Kitan
  • John Billingsley as Cambis Borrin, the angry father of one of Ildis Kitan's students
  • Jason Alexander as Olix, an alien bartender on the Orville
  • Patrick Warburton as Lt. Tharl, an alien who temporarily takes over Alara Kitan's position when she goes back to her home planet. His species has a second esophagus that resembles an elephant's trunk, to make it easier for them to eat large amounts.
  • Bruce Willis as Groogen (the Katrudian "flower alien," uncredited)
  • Tim Russ as historian Dr. Sherman, who presents a 2015 Earth time capsule to the crew in "Lasting Impressions"
  • Leighton Meester as Laura Huggins, a time capsule contributor from 2015 simulated in "Lasting Impressions"
  • Marina Sirtis as a school teacher on board the Orville
  • F. Murray Abraham as a Planetary Union hearing speaker
  • Tony Todd as a Moclan delegate


Series overview

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Season 1 (2017)

See The Orville (season 1) for more information

Season 2 (2018-19)

See The Orville (season 2) for more information



MacFarlane originally wrote The Orville as a spec script, which was given a 13-episode order by Fox on May 4, 2016, making it the first live-action television series created by MacFarlane, as well as his first live-action show on television. Following the project's greenlight, MacFarlane stated, "I've wanted to do something like this show ever since I was a kid, and the timing finally feels right. [...] I think this is gonna be something special." According to MacFarlane, The Orville was inspired by The Twilight Zone and Star Trek. He was also encouraged to sell the series due to the success of Guardians of the Galaxy and Deadpool.

On November 2, 2017, Fox renewed the series for a second season. On November 15, it was reported that one of the thirteen episodes for season one would be held back and instead air during the second season due to a gap in broadcast dates caused by the broadcaster's lengthy Christmas programming. It will be a sequel to "About a Girl".

On December 10, 2018, it was reported that the California Film Commission had approved $15.8 million of tax credits for a potential third season.


On July 29, 2016, MacFarlane's role was revealed to be Ed Mercer, the captain of the Orville, while Adrianne Palicki had been cast as Kelly Grayson, Ed's ex-wife and the newly appointed first officer of the Orville, and Scott Grimes, who voices Steve Smith on American Dad! (another show created by MacFarlane), was cast as Gordon Malloy, Ed's best friend whom he has assigned to pilot the Orville. On August 19, Peter Macon and J Lee were cast as series regulars. On October 31, Halston Sage and Penny Johnson Jerald joined the cast. On December 8, Mark Jackson was cast. On April 3, 2017, Chad L. Coleman was added as a series regular and Larry Joe Campbell was cast in a recurring role.

At San Diego Comic-Con in July 2017, MacFarlane said that Charlize Theron would guest-star in an episode. The two had previously co-starred in A Million Ways to Die in the West. Theron appeared in the series' fifth episode, "Pria".

On February 12, 2018, Jessica Szohr was cast as a regular for season two. On February 21, Chris Johnson was cast in a recurring role.


On August 24, 2016, Jon Favreau signed on to direct the pilot. Production on the pilot episode began in late 2016, and the rest of the episodes began filming on March 27, 2017. Production wrapped on August 23, 2017. Star Trek veterans Jonathan Frakes and Robert Duncan McNeill, who have directed episodes within the Star Trek franchise, have each directed an episode of The Orville. Four episodes were directed by Brannon Braga, a long-time Star Trek alum who began as an intern on Star Trek: The Next Generation, was producer of Star Trek: Voyager, and co-created Star Trek: Enterprise. Filming for the second season began on February 26, 2018, and Frakes and McNeill have each returned to direct another episode. Production for the second season concluded on October 16, 2018.

Visual effects

Studios hired to work on the visual effects of the show include Tippett Studio, CoSA VFX, Pixomondo, Crafty Apes, Fuse FX, Eight VFX and Zoic Studios.


The show uses a 75-piece orchestra for the music in each episode, written by several different composers, such as John Debney, Joel McNeely and Bruce Broughton, who wrote the show's theme and composed the score for the pilot. MacFarlane said "We score it like a movie" and "We really put as much into that as we do into the effects." A soundtrack album for season 1 was released by La-La Land Records on January 22, 2019.


On May 15, 2017, the Fox Broadcasting Company released the first trailer of The Orville as part of their upcoming slate of television series including the X-Men series The Gifted and the supernatural sitcom Ghosted. To promote the series, Fox organized a panel at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con on July 22 featuring cast members Seth MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, Scott Grimes, Penny Johnson Jerald, Peter Macon, Halston Sage, J. Lee, Mark Jackson and Chad Coleman, and producers David A. Goodman and Brannon Braga. In addition, Fox established an Orville Space Training Station at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Law with a "Cryopreservation program" for fans.

On July 22, 2018, Fox released the trailer for the second season of The Orville at the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con. To promote the series, Fox sponsored a series of Orville-themed pedi-cabs for people attending the San Diego Comic Con. In addition, Goodman moderated a Q&A panel on July 21 at the Comic Con alongside cast members MacFarlane, Palicki, Jerald, Scott Grimes, Braga and Jon Cassar.

To promote the series, Dark Horse Comics will be releasing a spinoff four-issue comic book set between the first and second seasons of The Orville. The comic book will be written by series executive producer and writer David A. Goodman, illustrated by David Cabeza, and colored by Michael Atiyeh. It will be released on July 17, 2019. The first storyline "New Beginnings" deals with Captain Mercer and Lieutenant Gordon responding to a distress call from a lost Union ship while Commander Grayson has to contend with a domestic dispute between Bortus and his spouse over their son's education. The second storyline "The Word of Avis" deals with the Orville crew investigating an Union ship heading into Krill space.


The Orville is available in the United States on the Fox website as well as the Hulu, Amazon Prime, and iTunes streaming platforms. In Canada, The Orville airs on CityTV (former home of Star Trek series Star Trek: The Next Generation to Star Trek: Enterprise). In the United Kingdom, the series is available on Fox UK's streaming service. In Australia, The Orville is available on the television channel SBS Viceland and streams on SBS on Demand. In New Zealand, the series is available on the free TVNZ OnDemand streaming service.


Critical response

Season Critical response
Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
1 31% (52 reviews) 36 (36 reviews)
2 100% (12 reviews) 77 (9 reviews)

Season 1

For the first season, the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 31% approval rating, with an average rating of 5.22/10 based on 52 critic reviews. The website's consensus reads, "An odd jumble of campiness and sincerity, homage, and satire, The Orville never quite achieves liftoff." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 36 out of 100, based on 21 reviews, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".

Liz Miller writing for IndieWire compared the series to Star Trek, calling it a rip-off and "bankrupt: creatively, morally, and ethically." She criticized the lack of creativity, the blatant imitation, and was surprised that the show is "uninterested in being a comedy".

Tim Surette at TV Guide says, "The truth is, The Orville was never going to win over critics because it's a throwback and goes against everything modern television is. It's not that The Orville doesn't know what it wants it to be, as critics assume, it's that it wants to be a little bit of everything".

Season 2

A 100% approval rating for the second season was reported by Rotten Tomatoes, with an average rating of 7.5/10 based on 12 reviews. The website's critic consensus states: "Fun, focused, and surprisingly thoughtful, The Orville's second season makes good use of its talented crew."

Nick Wanserki of The A.V. Club praised the season's first episode "Ja'loja" for its character-driven drama and focus on low-stakes plots which built upon the first season's efforts to develop the crew of the Orville into a group of people that the audience cared about. Liz Shannon Miller of IndieWire awarded The Orville a B rating; expressing hope that the series could evolve into a character-driven "dramedy" set in space, which she described as something unique that could make the show worth watching. Ryan Britt of Den of Geek praised the second season for playing to its strengths as a sitcom and addressing the "wonkiness" of the first season.

Kevin Yeoman of Screen Rant opined that the series "had found its footing and maybe its identity in telling smaller, more character-driven stories, that better serve its sometimes confounding mix of sincerity and irreverence."

Will Harris of The Verge similarly noted that the two-part episode "Identity" demonstrated the series' ability to downplay its humor and "hold its own with any of the more traditional science fiction properties out there."

Audience response

In the October 15, 2017 episode of The Angry Joe Show, "The Orville Mid-Season Angry Review", host Joe Vargas noted the gulf between the response to the series among critics and viewers, contrasting the Rotten Tomatoes' 19% approval rating from professional critics to the 91% viewer approval rating. Vargas compared this to Star Trek: Discovery, which received an 83% rating from critics but a fairly low audience score of 54%, and stated "Star Trek fans"?at least the ones that watch my show"?like The Orville way more than they like Star Trek: Discovery. Tim Surette of TV Guide also wrote about the critic-to-viewer Rotten Tomatoes rating, noting the balance had shifted to 21/93, and that its Metacritic score was 36% approval from critics, and 82% from viewers. As a critic himself, Surette notes that, as a throwback, The Orville is an anomaly in modern television, and found showrunner David A. Goodman's admission that MacFarlane wants to vary between serious or dramatic and lighter or comedic episodes a potentially dangerous or risky strategy, but concedes that the show's viewers appear to like it for that reason.


After its premiere on Sunday, September 10, 2017, the show moved to Thursday nights at 9 p.m. In its first broadcast in the new time slot, The Orville became Fox's highest rated Thursday 9 p.m. broadcast in two years. After taking into account DVR and VOD, The Orville was Fox's most-viewed drama debut since the premiere of Empire in 2015.

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Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result
2018 International Film Music Critics Association Awards Best Original Score for Television Bruce Broughton, John Debney, Joel McNeely, Andrew Cottee
Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Best Special Make-Up Effects - Television and New Media Series Howard Berger, Tami Lane, Garrett Immel
Publicists Guild Awards Maxwell Weinberg Publicist Showmanship Television Award Erin Moody
Saturn Awards Best Science Fiction Television Series The Orville
Best Actor on Television Seth MacFarlane
Best Actress on Television Adrianne Palicki
Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a TV Series - Recurring Young Actor Kai Wener

Home media

Season 1 of The Orville was released on DVD on December 11, 2018.

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "The_Orville" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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