Set to premiere on Sunday, September 10th on FOX is The Orville, an hour-long sci-fi dramedy created by Seth MacFarlane (who also co-stars) and featuring a talented ensemble including Adrianne Palicki, Scott Grimes, Penny Johnson Jerald, Chad L. Coleman, J. Lee, Mark Jackson, and more. During the 2017 Comic-Con, Daily Dead briefly chatted with the trio of executive producers behind The Orville—Brannon Braga, Jason Clark, and David A. Goodman—and they discussed the balance of humor and heart in the new series, collaborating with MacFarlane, and more.

Some of Seth’s other shows often do send-ups on different aspects of pop culture. Will The Orville be something different? It’s not just making fun of Star Trek for an hour, I’m guessing.

Brannon Braga: Yeah, it's not making fun of shows like that at all. Or science fiction in general. It's its own thing. If anything, it's a loving tribute to that kind of storytelling. We're not really making fun of [it]. It's not that broad.

David A. Goodman: In a spoof, the jeopardy wouldn't be real, the dramatic elements wouldn't be real, and that's not true on [The Orville] at all. With The Orville, you're going to be invested in these characters, and their success, even though there are lots of moments of humor between them.

How are you guys balancing out the tone of the show?

Brannon Braga: Hopefully, we found a perfect balance between creating real stakes—emotional and physical stakes—and comedy. It's a balance we talk about every day, trying to get it just right. There's an episode this season that's a flat-out comedy, but some episodes are a little more serious. It won't be quite the same each and every week.

David A. Goodman: But even those straight comedy episodes have at the base of them a serious science fiction element, so we're always playing that. The writing staff is one-half comedy writers and one-half drama writers, because our intent always was to mix them up as best we can at every step of the way.

Is there anything you guys can attribute to the recent string of successful genre comedies we’ve seen as of late?

David A. Goodman: I think it’s because pop culture has become culture. Another thing is that audiences are becoming very comfortable in new worlds, too, so you can have a little more fun in those worlds. You don't have to stop and explain every step of the world. You put people in uniform on a ship, people get it. And I think people are going to really “get” what we’re trying to do here—or I hope they do [laughs].

Has it been a challenge at all to create a story of this scope for the small screen?

Brannon Braga: The ability to world build before now in television hasn’t been great. But now, you can do incredible worlds and visuals for a price that's actually doable. So, I think the fact that some of the best stories are being told on television now gives you the opportunity to do a lot.

Can you guys discuss bringing on your cast for The Orville?

Jason Clark: We are really blessed. We have incredible actors, and each one of them really fit the paradigm of what was written and what was the part. Finding somebody was difficult for a lot of these leads. It took a lot of work, so I applaud these guys and Seth for staying true to what they really wanted the character to be and finding cast that really expressed that.

Was there something in particular that made you guys want to do a sci-fi show in the first place?

Brannon Braga: That's really a question for Seth, because this is his brainchild and this is a show he's been wanting to do his entire life. He's a genre fan, he's a science fiction fan. He's a Star Trek fan, so it's a dream come true. There's nothing better than geeking out with all these guys, too.

David A. Goodman: We all share this love with Seth, so it really is a pleasure and it's not just me saying this to blow smoke. It is a pleasure to work with him to help see this vision all the way through. He has such a clear idea of what he wants and he is someone who is a complete collaborator on every level.


In case you missed it, check out our Comic-Con 2017 coverage hub for all of our news and features from San Diego, including Heather Wixson's roundtable interview with Seth MacFarlane.

  • Heather Wixson
    About the Author - Heather Wixson

    Heather A. Wixson was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, until she followed her dreams and moved to Los Angeles in 2009. A 14-year veteran in the world of horror entertainment journalism, Wixson fell in love with genre films at a very early age, and has spent more than a decade as a writer and supporter of preserving the history of horror and science fiction cinema. Throughout her career, Wixson has contributed to several notable websites, including Fangoria, Dread Central, Terror Tube, and FEARnet, and she currently serves as the Managing Editor for Daily Dead, which has been her home since 2013. She's also written for both Fangoria Magazine & ReMind Magazine, and her latest book project, Monsters, Makeup & Effects: Volume One will be released on October 20, 2021.