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Trivia / The Orville

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  • Actor Allusion:
    • The cowboy outfit Ed wears in "About a Girl" is very similar to the costume Seth MacFarlane wore in A Million Ways to Die in the West. According to Seth... 
    • Victor Garber, who played Admiral Halsey in the pilot, had been the warden of the Klingon prison colony Rura Penthe in a Deleted Scene from Star Trek (2009).
    • Brian George (Richard Bashir on DS9 and Ambassador O'Zaal on Star Trek: Voyager) had a guest role in the pilot.
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    • Steven Culp (Major Hayes on Star Trek: Enterprise) plays an alien publicist in "Majority Rule".
    • Brian Thompson, who had several guest spots across the Trek franchise (being one of the biggest go-to "scary badass" guest actors of the '90s), plays an antagonist in "Into the Fold."
    • Robert Picardo (the Doctor program on Star Trek: Voyager) plays Alara's father.
    • As noted in the Main page, co-star Penny Johnson Jerald had a recurring role on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
    • MacFarlane himself made a cameo appearance as a crewmember in Star Trek: Enterprise.
    • John Billingsley (Phlox, the doctor from Star Trek: Enterprise) plays a guest character with a grudge against Alara's father.
  • Actor-Shared Background: Ed's bad experience with pot as revealed in "Command Performance" Note  is also really what happened to Seth MacFarlane, and is in fact the reason he no longer smokes it in real life.
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  • Channel Hop: The Orville will hop from Fox to Hulu for its third season. Word of God is this is so the crew can take the time they need to properly build up their ambitions for the season without worrying about a January deadline.
  • Creator's Oddball: This is the only serialized live action show that Seth MacFarlane has created, as opposed to his animated works, Family Guy, American Dad!, and The Cleveland Show. It also takes place in a serious setting that just happens to have a lot of jokes sprinkled into it, rather than just being a constant joke machine.
  • Descended Creator: As is typical of Seth MacFarlane works. MacFarlane plays the protagonist, Captain Ed Mercer.
  • Doing It for the Art:
    • MacFarlane made the show primarily due to his dismay at the Darker and Edgier direction the sci-fi genre had taken, as an attempt to bring back a sense of optimism to it. It's worth repeating that The Orville was not created as an intentional counterpoint to Star Trek: Discovery; a year-long delay in Discovery's release resulted in the two shows going head to head.
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    • A lot of the space shots are done with practical effects on a large model of the Orville, despite the technical difficulty (each shot requires at least six passes with a motion-controlled camera), to give the ship a solid on-screen presence that CGI can't achieve.
    • As seen by his use of Neil deGrasse Tyson as a scientific advisor on Family Guy, and his executive producer credit on Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, Seth MacFarlane has a massive amount of respect for space and the exploration thereof, which comes through in the show constantly.
  • Dueling Shows: It's shaping up to rival Star Trek: Discovery. One is a Work Com IN SPACE! heavily influenced by Star Trek and one plays it completely straight, both with a cast of veteran character actors, and both with vastly superior special effects to any previous Star Trek series. The fact the release of Discovery was delayed by nearly a full year resulted in the unintended scenario where The Orville debuted only two weeks before Discovery, leading to much head-to-head comparison of the two series.
    • Expressed here as a variation on the "Distracted Boyfriend" meme.
  • Genius Bonus: The ship is named "The Orville" in reference to Orville Wright, one of the two Wright Brothers who pioneered heavier-than-air flight; Mercer has a model of the Wrights' plane on display on his desk.
  • Looping Lines: Mark Jackson plays Isaac in the same way all the other actors play their characters - that's him in the full-body costume (he describes himself as a "puppeteer" and it is similar to Big Bird and other full-body Muppets) and he speaks all of his dialogue on-set (how his voice naturally sounds captured by live mics can be heard on the series gag reel). However, because the costume muffles his voice, he is forced to re-record all of his dialogue in ADR.
  • Production Posse: The show's production cast and crew are a marriage of production posses: an increasing number of Star Trek alumni as well as actors, writers, and producers from Seth MacFarlane's other projects.
  • Real-Life Relative: Much of the cast are made up of Seth MacFarlane's personal friends:
    • He has been friends with Scott Grimes for over 20 years, although of course the two have since worked together in American Dad! and then Family Guy. MacFarlane had to fight for Grimes to be cast as Malloy, a role he wrote specifically for him, who wasn't cast until the two submitted an informal screen test to network executives.
    • MacFarlane has also been friends with Adrianne Palicki for over 10 years, the two having met at an Entertainment Weekly party and then campaigned for Barack Obama together. Again, Palicki was his first choice for Grayson, and given her ample and recent experience in the genre and on network television, she was presumably a much easier sell to network executives.
    • Although he technically met J. Lee when he started working as an intern at Fuzzy Door Productions, the two became fast friends (they, along with Grimes and Palicki, are all part of the same social circle). Lee being even more obscure than Grimes (a veteran TV actor since childhood), MacFarlane couldn't even offer him the part informally, persuading Lee to go through the formal audition process before he was cast.
  • Recycled Set: Ed and Kelly's offices are the same set with the furniture rearranged.
  • Romance on the Set:
    • Seth MacFarlane and Halston Sage were in a relationship during the first season.
    • Scott Grimes and Adrianne Palicki were revealed to be dating when the cast appeared at ComiCon, and eventually got married but then separated just months into the marriage.
  • Schedule Slip: Rather than a regular yearly schedule, new episodes come out approximately every year-and-a-half due to the scale of Seth MacFarlane's ambitions for this show. This contributed to The Orville's Channel Hop to Hulu, as an online streamer simply has to release episodes rather than find space in a broadcast schedule.
  • Scully Box: Seth MacFarlane is one inch shorter than Statuesque Stunner Adrianne Palicki but he's an inch taller due to his boots in the show.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: The show is effectively a more comedic version of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Despite Seth MacFarlane's presence, it's also mostly a dramatic story. Given the involvement of so many Star Trek alumni, it's arguably got as much title to being a Star Trek show as the official ones by Paramount.
  • Technology Marches On: Since the communicator from Star Trek: The Original Series predicted/inspired the cell phone, it appears that the commscanner every crewmember has is an Expy of the smartphone by combining the functions of a communicator and a tricorder/scanner.
  • What Could Have Been: According to Midnight's Edge, Seth Macfarlane pitched a new Star Trek series to CBS in 2014, which would have been a sequel to the TNG era. But it was obviously rejected. It's likely at least some elements of this pitch made it into The Orville.
  • Word of God:
    • According to Supervising Producer Andre Bormanis (also a long-time Star Trek science advisor), the fuzzy material that covers the Orville's bulkheads is organic matter that absorbs the carbon dioxide exhaled by the crew and releases oxygen back into the ship.
    • Seth MacFarlane says that Bortus is actually speaking English, rather than speaking his native tongue while using a translator, and his stilted demeanor comes from not being fully comfortable communicating in his second language.
  • You Look Familiar: Michaela McManus played the Krill Teleya in Season 1 and returned, sans alien makeup, to play the human Lieutenant Tyler in Season 2. Oddly enough, there's a reason for this: Tyler is Teleya under extensive surgical alteration, as revealed in "Nothing Left on Earth Excepting Fishes".
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