The Orville

The Orville is an American science fictioncomedy-drama[1][2][3] television series created by and starring Seth MacFarlane as series protagonist Ed Mercer, an officer in the Planetary Union’s line of exploratory space vessels in the 25th century. The show, which is inspired by several science-fiction sources, but mainly the original Star Trek as well as its Next Generation successor (both of which it heavily parodies and pays homage to), follows the crew of the starship USS Orville on their episodic adventures.[5][6]

American television series
This article is about the U.S. science fiction TV show. For other uses, see Orville (disambiguation).

The Orville
Created by Seth MacFarlane
Theme music composer Bruce Broughton[4]
Country of origin United States
Original language English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 26
Executive producers
Running time
  • 43–45 minutes (season 1)
  • 48 minutes (season 2)
Production companies
Original network Fox (seasons 1–2)
Picture format HDTV720p
Audio format 5.1 surround sound
Original release September 10, 2017 (2017-09-10) 
present (present)
External links

Produced by Fuzzy Door Productions and 20th Television, The Orville premiered on September 10, 2017, and ran for two seasons on Fox. A third season is due to be released on Hulu on March 10, 2022.[7] Season one received generally negative reviews from critics, while season two was better-received. The show had relatively successful ratings on Fox, becoming the broadcaster’s highest-rated Thursday show as well as Fox’s “most-viewed debut drama” since 2015.

. . . The Orville . . .

The Orville is set on the titular spacecraft: USS Orville (ECV-197), a mid-level exploratory vessel in the Planetary Union, a 25th-century interstellar alliance of Earth and many other planets. The show consists of adventures encountered by the ship’s crew, usually involving planet exploration and visits to various parts of the galaxy.

Series creator, star, and co-producer Seth MacFarlane in 2012
  • Seth MacFarlane as Captain Ed Mercer, who commands the Orville.[8][9][10] Mercer was an up-and-coming officer, on the fast track to commanding his own heavy cruiser by age 40. Following the end of his marriage due to his wife Kelly’s adultery, he is cited for being lax in performance of his duties and for being hung over while on duty. Despite this, he is informed that the Orville, a mid-level exploratory ship, needs a new commanding officer, and that he is the man for the job.[9]
  • Adrianne Palicki as Commander Kelly Grayson, first officer of the Orville and Ed Mercer’s ex-wife.[8][10] The two divorced after Mercer caught Grayson in bed with an alien, triggering Mercer’s year-long emotional crisis. Unbeknownst to Mercer, Grayson personally appealed to Admiral Halsey, asking him to give her ex-husband a command, insisting that, despite personal setbacks, he deserved it. Grayson asked that her involvement remain confidential. When Grayson is assigned as the Orvilles first officer, she and Mercer agree to set aside their differences, to work as a team, and stay friends.[9]
  • Penny Johnson Jerald[10] as Doctor Claire Finn, chief medical officer on the Orville, holding the rank of lieutenant commander. She has expertise in molecular surgery, DNA engineering and psychiatry. These exceptional credentials gave her her choice of assignments on heavy cruisers. Instead, she 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 that she felt that he could use her assistance on his first command, he misinterprets this as indicating her lack of confidence in him, although she denies this.[9] She never found the ideal person to marry, and she chose to become a single mother. Her two sons, Marcus and Ty, travel aboard the Orville with her.[11] Although she repeatedly rebuffs Lt. Yaphit’s advances,[12][13] they become physically intimate in “Cupid’s Dagger,” after falling victim to a Retepsian sex pheromone.[14]
  • Scott Grimes as Lieutenant Gordon Malloy, the helmsman of the Orville and Mercer’s best friend.[8][10] 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 maneuver, damaging the vessel and losing cargo in the process. Mercer specifically requested Malloy’s assignment to the Orville, despite Admiral Halsey’s lingering concern over Malloy’s history of sophomoric pranks.[9] 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 will demonstrate in a Moclan court that males are not always intellectually superior to females.[12]
  • Peter Macon[10] 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, but against Bortus’s, the infant undergoes a procedure to transform it into a male following a controversial legal ruling on their home planet.[12] This development, and the attitudes prevalent among Moclans toward females that Klyden himself harbors, subsequently persist as a source of tension for the couple,[15] and is a sensitive matter for Bortus in particular,[16] who harbors resentment over it.[17] 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.[15] Among the unique aspects of Moclans’ biology is that they urinate only once a year,[9][10] 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 also have incredibly strong jaws and digestive systems which allow them to eat almost anything, from any meat and plants, to many kinds of metal and chemicals.[18] Moclans reproduce by laying eggs, which must be incubated for 21 days by a parent.[12] Politically, Moclus enjoys considerable political clout because it is a weapons manufacturer on which the Union depends.[15]
  • Halston Sage[10] as Lieutenant Alara Kitan (seasons 1–2, special guest star after “Home”), 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,[9] and crush a solid block of titanium or reshape it into a sphere with her bare hands.[12] 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.[19] 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.[20]
  • J. Lee as Lieutenant (later Lieutenant Commander after “New Dimensions”) John LaMarr.[10] He is navigator of the Orville for most of the first season. He and Malloy strike up an immediate friendship in the first episode.[9] Though intellectually gifted, he learned while growing up to hide his intelligence and settle for modest ambitions 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.[21]
  • Mark Jackson[10][22] as Isaac (named after Isaac Newton),[23] 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,[6][9] 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.[24] After returning to Kaylon-1, the other Kaylons engage in a campaign of genocide against biological lifeforms; Isaac chooses to side with the Union and betray his own people.[23]
  • Jessica Szohr as Lieutenant Talla Keyali (from season 2), the ship’s second Xelayan Chief of Security, who replaces Alara Kitan after her resignation in season 2.[20]
  • Anne Winters as Charly Burke (season 3).[25]

. . . The Orville . . .

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. . . The Orville . . .