The Orville

2017-, Fuzzy Door Productions et al

Who knew that a cartoon producer, Seth MacFarlane, would stumble upon a winning formula that ultimately produced a better Star Trek than Star Trek? Now, to be fair, he didn't get there all at once; the first season was a near-disaster, with a 30% Rotten Tomatoes score. But he righted the ship and the second season earned 100%! The tricky part is that MacFarlane wanted to both parody and pay homage to Star Trek TOS and TNG, and his attempts in season one misfired badly. After considerable tweaking, things turned around for season two, and in fact the show is now more like a sci-fi drama with occasional comic elements.

The budgets have been healthy: season one cost $56 million, and season two cost $70 million. Eight studios were tapped for top-drawer visual effects, while the professionally-composed music was performed by a 75-piece orchestra. A parade of A-listers have paid MacFarlane a visit on his show, including Rob Lowe, Liam Neeson, Charlize Theron and Bruce Willis, while a number of Trek alums have both guested (Marina Sirtis) and directed (Jonathan Frakes). Yes, there will be a third season, although the pandemic has shut down production.

Incidentally, MacFarlane is more than just a multi-genre powerhouse; he's also a science junkie, and has been working with Anne Druyan, the late Carl Sagan's wife, on the Cosmos reboot.





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