The Orville, Fox’s live-action hour-long space drama/comedy from Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, represents one of the more unique television hybrids currently airing. Showcasing Star Trek-like future-set science fiction space series tropes, The Orville has the creator in the lead role as Captain Ed Mercer alongside perennial onscreen femme-fatale Adrianne Palicki as XO Kelly Grayson.
The Orville premiered on Sept. 10 at 8 p.m., pushed back by the NFL game initially, eventually moving to Thursdays at 9 p.m. Eastern. Season 1 then ran for 12 episodes through December 7, 2017. Here’s a clip from the finale to hold you over until season 2.
The Orville Season 1 Episode Guide and Reviews
The Orville got a rocky start with some critics, but the show definitely found its fan base. Links to our reviews are included below along with episode titles, air dates, and descriptions.
In 2417, Ed Mercer is promoted to Captain of the U.S.S. Orville, but his enthusiasm is dampened when his ex-wife is assigned as his First Officer. (air date: September 10, 2017)
Alara must take command of the Orville when Ed and Kelly end up imprisoned in a replica of their old home. (air date: September 17, 2017)
Bortus and Klyden debate whether their newborn child should have a controversial surgery. (air date: September 21, 2017)
The crew encounters a vessel adrift in space that’s about to collide with a star. (air date: September 28, 2017)
Ed becomes smitten with the captain of a stranded ship, but Kelly suspects all is not what it seems. (air date: October 5, 2017)
Ed and Gordon are sent on a undercover mission to infiltrate a Krill ship and obtain a copy of their bible. (air date: October 12, 2017)
Kelly leads a team to find two missing Union anthropologists on a planet similar to 21st century Earth. (air date: October 26, 2017)
The crew set out to save Dr. Finn, her two sons, and Isaac after their shuttle gets thrown into uncharted space. (air date: November 2, 2017)
Tensions rise between Ed and Kelly when a familiar face comes aboard the Orville while the crew attempts to mediate a peace treaty between two warring cultures. (air date: November 9, 2017)
Alara questions whether she’s fit for her job when a fire breaks out on the Orville and a crew member dies. (air date: November 16, 2017)
The Orville gets damaged by a spatial anomaly causing harrowing effects to all living things. (air date: November 30, 2017)
The crew crash land on a planet from another universe; Ed and Kelly consider getting back together. (air date: December 7, 2017)
The Orville on the September 2017 Sci Fi Fidelity (at 18:05):
The Orville Cast
Entertainment Weekly announced that Charlize Theron will be joining her former A Million Ways to Die in the West castmate, Seth MacFarlane in the cast of The Orville. Details of her guest role are sketchy, but it appears her appearance will be for a single episode in the fall. Theron hasn’t appeared on television since she her guest arc on Arrested Development in 2005.
Seth MacFarlane plays Ed Mercer, a bitter skipper in the Planetary Union, whose new command the U.S.S. Orville has him stuck with his ex-wife as his first officer. MacFarlane is the creator of Family Guy and American Dad and The Cleveland Show as well as writer/director and voice star of the Ted movies and the 2014 Western comedy A Million Ways to Die in the West.
Adrianne Palicki plays Kelly Grayson, the Orville’s first officer, whose status as the skipper’s ex-wife will put the crew in the middle of comedic squabbles. The former Friday Night Lights and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. actress and star of David E. Kelley’s nixed Wonder Woman television pilot, has been part of an immense array of sci-fi films and televisions shows. She notably took a memorable villainess turn opposite Keanu Reeves in the celebrated 2014 action film John Wick and was the cinematic realization of the classic character Lady Jaye in 2013’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
Scott Grimes (E.R., Justified) plays Gordon Mallory, the Orville’s helmsman, whose repertory problems with authority should create an interesting dynamic since he’s also the best friend of its commanding officer Ed Mercer.
Peter Macon (Shameless, Bosch) plays Bortus an alien crewman and member of a single-sex species.
Penny Johnson Jerald (24, The Larry Sanders Show) plays Dr. Claire Finn, the Orville’s doctor and one of the most accomplished physicians in the Planetary Union.
Mark Jackson (The Royal Today, That Peter Kay Thing) plays Isaac, a pretentious android from a society of machines who believes that biological life-forms are inferior.
J. Lee (American Dad, Family Guy) plays John Lamarr, the Orville’s navigator who brings ace piloting skills and humor.
Halston Sage (Crisis, Goosebumps) plays Alara Kitan, a young security officer serving on the Orville who wields exceptional physical strength; a trait attributed to her home planet’s high gravity.
Chad L. Coleman (The Walking Dead, The Wire) plays a character named Klyden.
Norm MacDonald (Saturday Night Live, The Norm Show) voices Yaphit, a gelatinous creature.
Larry Joe Campbell (Best Friends Whenever, According to Jim) will play a yet-to-be-named recurring character.
The Orville Trailer
The first full trailer for The Orville premiered at this year’s SDCC! Check it out below:
The Orville Story
Per Fox’s official show synopsis:
“The Orville is a one-hour science fiction series set 400 years in the future that follows the adventures of the U.S.S. Orville, a mid-level exploratory vessel. Its crew, both human and alien, faces the wonders and dangers of outer space, while also dealing with the familiar, often humorous problems of regular people in a workplace…even though some of those people are from other planets, and the workplace is a faster-than-light spaceship. In the 25th century, Earth is part of the Planetary Union, a far-reaching, advanced and mostly peaceful civilization with a fleet of 3,000 ships.”
The Orville Crew
Seth MacFarlane, besides serving as star, is also the creator and executive producer of The Orville, mixing elements of sci-fi drama with his signature brand of sophisticated sophomoric humor.
Jon Favreau, director of Marvel’s first two Iron Man films and The Jungle Book, occupies the director’s chair for The Orville pilot.
The Season 1 directors pool also contains names such as Brannon Braga, James L. Conway, Jonathan Frakes, Robert Duncan McNeil and Seth MacFarlane himself.
The Orville Photos
MacFarlane provided the first cast photo of The Orville via tweet, showing the bridge of the titular ship with front-positioned primary stars in MacFarlane’s space skipper Ed Mercer and Adrianne Palicki’s first officer Kelly Grayson, both using unsubtle body language to represent the characters’ tensions, since they also happen to be a divorced couple. Pictured in the background left-to-right are Penny Johnson Jerald’s Dr. Claire Finn, Mark Jackson’s Isaac, Peter Macon’s Bortus, Scott Grimes’s Gordon Mallory, J. Lee’s John Lamarr and Halston Sage’s Alara Kitan.