Slash Film

For those who mainly know Seth MacFarlane for his work on “Family Guy,” the relative success of “The Orville” was a bit of a surprise. The sci-fi comedy is actually quite thoughtful and interested in tackling serious issues without too many fart and vomit jokes. Season 3 in particular garnered mostly positive reviews for its growing confidence and maturity. Despite what MacFarlane’s “Ted” movies might’ve suggested, it turns out the comedian actually is interested in telling stories with some emotional depth behind them. 

In the early stages of making the first season, Seth MacFarlane recalls navigating the expectations behind his name with the people at Fox, where the show originally premiered. “They were really generally supportive of what the show was,” he said in an interview with Decider. “The only objection I had was that the show was launched as a hard comedy. They really leaned into the jokes.” 

You can see this in the original trailer for the first season, which is mostly just a non-stop string of set-ups and immediate punchlines. It gives off the impression that this is meant to be a parody of “Star Trek,” which is definitely misleading. As MacFarlane put it, “They really presented it as a sitcom in space, which it wasn’t.”

Finding Its Voice

“It was a show that was attempting to tell serious sci-fi stories while cracking jokes at the same time, and … that’s not really something that is sustainable,” Seth MacFarlane told Decider. “I think in a movie it is. I think you can do that for an hour and a half.”

The reason the first season of the show got so many mixed reviews seemed to be a direct result of the show’s struggle of balancing the humor and the drama. At first, the two tones seemed to be at odds with each other, but as the show went on they started blending together more seamlessly. When “The Orville” moved to Hulu, the show was given more freedom with its pacing and tone than they had on Fox, which might’ve been the best thing for them. As MacFarlane explained, “To keep people coming back and to really make them believe that these stakes are real, the characters have to believe that the stakes are real, and if the characters believe that the stakes are real, the characters aren’t going to be making jokes when the stakes are high … that’s just the fundamental math of it.”

There is no Season 4 announced yet for the show, which is a shame considering “The Orville” has only gotten better with time. “We stopped pressuring ourselves to try and make this thing something it wasn’t,” MacFarlane said. “The Orville” was never just a sitcom in space, and taking the time to make that clear was the best decision the writers ever made. 

Read this next: Sci-Fi Masterpieces With Endings We Love To Complain About

The post Fox Didn’t Quite Understand What Seth MacFarlane Was Aiming For With The Orville appeared first on /Film.

/Film – ‘Slash Film: Fox Didn’t Quite Understand What Seth MacFarlane Was Aiming For With The Orville’
Author: Michael Boyle
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November 25, 2022

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