The ongoing mission of The Orville is to explore a new television frontier in comedy and engaging sci-fi adventure and the second season of the Fox series proves the commitment to that quest by doubling down on intense action and interstellar peril.
The meld is an uncommon one and even Jon Cassar, one of the show’s executive producers, said he was initially confused by it when first approached about joining the project. Joined on stage at Deadline’s The Contenders Emmys by fellow executive producers Seth MacFarlane and Brannon Braga, Cassar explained that as a veteran of drama franchises it took him some time to understand the somewhat alien concepts presented by The Orville.
“Brannon brought me on because we worked on 24 together and he said, ‘I’ve got this comedy’ and I’m like, ‘I’m the king of torture, you sure you’re getting the right guy here?’ And he said, ‘No, because the drama is where we really want to be.'”
Cassar got on board quickly once he understood the planned trajectory of The Orville and now he reflects on the unexpected lessons in comedy he’s gleaned from the multi-talented MacFarlane. Cassar also said he’s built a bond with the show, its universe and its intrepid crew, an ensemble led by MacFarlane himself in the role of Captain Ed Mercer.
“I think that’s the fun of this kind of storytelling,” Cassar saiid. “You start with characters and there’s so many of them that it takes a while. I think that’s what’s great about the second season. I think you really start to lean into every character and know more about them and there’s some big surprises. The storytelling part of it for me is the best thing.”
The Orville is also putting distance between itself and the Starfleet universe that inspired it in so many ways. MacFarlane acknowledged that Star Trek’s pioneering success was a starting point for some aspects of The Orville but now has a bridge that stands on its own.
MacFarlane offered an animated comparison: “Family Guy is a good analogy.At the beginning, of course Family Guy was influenced by The Simpsons. Every animated show in primetime since the late 1980s has been influenced by that show heavily. Because they figured it out, they cracked the code, they did it right. So you just try to start by learning from what your predecessors have figured out and then take it off in its own direction. So at certain point that’s kind of what’s happened with this show so we kind of let it tell us where it wants to go.”
To watch our interview at Contenders Emmys just click on the link above.
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