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Seth MacFarlane’s ‘The Orville’ Hopes to Brighten Up the Sci-Fi TV Universe

On Wednesday, The Paley Center for Media hosted day eight of its annual PaleyFest Fall TV Previews for Fox’s new sci-fi series, “The Orville.” Created by Seth MacFarlane, “The Orville” follows the adventures of Ed Mercer (MacFarlane) and his crew aboard one of Earth’s space fleet vessels as they explore the cosmos.

MacFarlane and castmates Adrianne Palicki, Halston Sage, J. Lee, Mark Jackson, Penny Johnson Jerald, Peter Macon, and Scott Grimes were joined by executive producers Brannon Braga and David Goodman on the panel.

“Working with comedy and science-fiction is a challenge because every time it’s a reinvention as to how the comedy fits into the narrative; it’s a learning process,” MacFarlane said. “I’m someone who tends to be a punching bag for the critics, so it’s great to see such a positive response from the fans — which is really all that matters.”

He added, “Science fiction nowadays tends to be very noir and dark and not very inviting. We wanted our show to be brighter and more comfortable, something that draws viewers in.”

Goodman, who has worked with MacFarlane on “Family Guy,” said that the show pays homage to classic science fiction series and brings a sense of optimism and aspiration that isn’t often seen in modern sci-fi programs.

Many of the panelists noted that MacFarlane’s exploration of contemporary social issues like gender, race relations, and politics, coupled with the show’s novelty, will make it even more appealing for viewers.

“This whole world came from Seth’s brain and heart, yet he was still so collaborative and interested in other people’s ideas and what we wanted to bring to our characters,” Sage said. “‘The Orville’ is completely different from any of his other projects. The show is more character-driven than genre-driven, so it’s not strictly a comedy or a drama every week.”

“The Orville” premiered Sept. 10 on Fox and episode two will be released on Sunday, before moving to a new time on Thursdays at 9 p.m.

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