×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

How Allegorical Stories and Social Issues Aid in ‘The Orville’s’ Success

Seth MacFarlane already knew how to make audiences laugh from years of animated comedies such as “Family Guy,” so when it came to “The Orville,” what he really wanted to do was make them think.

“I had done the ‘Family Guy’ ‘Star Wars’ parody — I didn’t really want to do that again,” he says. “What I really wanted to do [was] some serious world-building, and develop characters that you really cared about, and create some real stakes.”

At first, viewers were a bit flummoxed. “Seth more than anyone was kind of playing with that tone at first. It was very tricky — it was a real high-wire act,” says executive producer Brannon Braga, a veteran of “Star Trek” series, as well as MacFarlane’s revival of the science series “Cosmos.”

But then, a breakthrough: as “The Orville” leaned even further into fantastical premises and allegorical stories, the audience came back for more and reviews began to glow. The second season of the series is averaging 3.25 million total live viewers and a 0.76 in the coveted 18-49 demographic.

The show has not shied away from social issues, star Adrianne Palicki points out, including the two-part “Identity” story in which it is revealed that Isaac comes from a race that committed a genocide. “I’m learning, not just as an actor, but as a human, also, as I’m reading these scripts,” she says.

MacFarlane considers those episodes “a real turning point” for the show.

While “The Orville” has not been officially renewed, MacFarlane is still looking ahead to how it can continue to evolve the genre. “What’s exciting at this moment is … now armed with a fully formed identity for this show, we’re playing in this universe and really just letting it flourish and blossom,” he says.

More TV

  • AMERICAN HORROR STORY: 1984 -- Pictured:

    'American Horror Story' Recap: '1984's' 'Final Girl' Revealed

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Final Girl,” the finale episode of “American Horror Story: 1984.” The final episode of “American Horror Story: 1984” is appropriately called “The Final Girl,” a reference to the term given to that one (usually virginal) young woman who manages to survive the massacre in most [...]

  • Lady Antebellum and Halsey53rd Annual CMA

    Halsey Puts the Extra Lady in Lady Antebellum in Elegant CMA Awards Medley

    Halsey is increasingly proving herself a woman for all seasons in her varied TV appearances and awards show collaborations, and Wednesday’s CMA Awards telecast was no exception, as she ingratiated herself into the country vocal trio Lady Antebellum for some flawless four-part harmony on a medley of two of their respective hits. She and Lady [...]

  • The Bachelor

    TV News Roundup: ABC Announces Premiere Date for 'The Bachelor' Season 24

    In today’s TV news roundup, ABC announced the premiere date for “The Bachelor” Season 24, while Showtime set a date for Eddie Griffin’s new comedy special. CASTING Freeform announced that it has cast the pilot for “Last Summer.“ Chiara Aurelia will star as Jeanette and Mika Abdalla will star as Kate in this “unconventional thriller” about [...]

  • Mandalorian Pose Stranger Things

    'The Mandalorian,' 'Pose,' 'Stranger Things' Among Nominees for Top TV Publicity Campaign

    The Disney Plus series “The Mandalorian,” three other streaming series, and two FX series have been nominated by Hollywood union publicists for the year’s top publicity campaign. “Catch 22,” “Fosse/Verdon,” “Pose,” “Stranger Things” and “When They See Us” picked up the other nominations. The nominees for the International Cinematographers Guild Publicists’ Maxwell Weinberg Award for [...]

  • Paradigm's Liz Morentin portrait session in

    Paradigm's Executive VP of Communications Liz Morentin to Exit Agency

    Liz Morentin is stepping down from her role as executive vice president of communications at Paradigm, Variety has learned. According to an individual with knowledge of the situation, Morentin’s departure was amicable and she will stay on at the agency through the end of the year to help with the transition. No replacement has been named at [...]

  • Writers vs Agents Packaging War WGA

    Abrams Artists Agency Signs Writers Guild Deal

    In a major triumph for the Writers Guild of America, the Abrams Artists Agency has signed the WGA’s Code of Conduct, allowing the agency to return to representing WGA members again. Chairman Adam Bold made the announcement Wednesday, saying that the agency wants to put its clients back to work. He also noted WGA West [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content