There is a lot Orville producer Jason Clark loves about the show, and one of those is the sense of humor it brings to the future. Something fellow producer and lead actor Seth MacFarlane called a “tonal experiment of sorts” during a panel at Comic-Con.
Watching The Orville is a novel experience because it is unlike any other show. MacFarlane is famous for his comedic adult animation programs, so it is no surprise his venture into science fiction would be funny. The thing is, it is more than just amusing. It is also dramatic at times, even poignant, and with great visual effects, a wide array of elaborate aliens and high-end production overall it is also good science fiction.
The problem arises when you try to pigeonhole the show into a genre, which is impossible to do because the show crosses so many boundaries. It is sort of like an edgier Star Trek Next Generation with more blatant political commentary and a healthy helping ofFamily Guy in the mix.
Fox Broadcasting Co. Entertainment president Michael Thorn described The Orville as “a series full of optimism, drama and [MacFarlane’s] trademark humor.”
“I love the fact that in the future we have a sense of humor,” says Clark.
Clark has been working closely with MacFarlane for several years. He is president of MacFarlane’s Fuzzy Door Productions, and along with MacFarlane is one of the producers of the last two seasons of National Geographic’s Cosmos series.
“I think about it this way,” Clark continued. “Do I believe 400 years ago that it was all serious or were people making jokes? I saw this incredible special about Shakespeare. In the language of the time, and also in the understanding of the language of the time, it was incredibly humorous.”
“I think the vision of the future should be the same. We should be able to enjoy the moments. We should laugh. It is one of the great things we can do.”
Clark’s sentiments seemed to be shared by the creators of Star Trek Discovery, who may or may not have been inspired by Orville. The first season of Discovery was bleak and intense. However, the trailer released at Comic-Con for the second season ends with a very Orville-like scene in which an alien sneezes on a fellow crewmember. Does this mean there will be more humor in the next season of Discovery? Star Trek is no stranger to comedy after all.
Perhaps humor is just one more way science-fiction can help us understand ourselves and more accurately speculate about what it will be like to live in the future.
“I love the fact that we can take science-fiction and use it as an opportunity to reflect back on ourselves and what are our social issues today,” says Clark.
“I don’t struggle with the humor. I kind of celebrate it and enjoy it because it gives me the sense that even though it is far off in the future, we are still the same human beings that we have always been, which is fun.”
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