September 2017 is shaping up to be a big month for Star Trek fans. The main event, of course, is the September 24 launch of Star Trek: Discovery. The series premiere will air on CBS, but subsequent episodes will be released on CBS All Access, the network’s streaming service. Based on what’s been released so far (and its TV-MA rating), Discovery looks to be a darker, grittier Trek, more in line with Deep Space Nine’s Dominion War arc than Voyager’s holodeck misadventures or The Next Generation’s “Captain Picard Day.” For those looking for the lighter side of Trek, you might find it, or at least its essence, in the Seth MacFarlane-helmed The Orville, premiering this Sunday, September 10 on Fox.
MacFarlane, best known as the creator of Family Guy and American Dad, is an avid science fiction buff. He co-produced Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, the 2014 follow-up to the beloved Carl Sagan series, and he won a Saturn Award for “Blue Harvest,” Family Guy’s riff on Star Wars. “It’s the aspirational, optimistic side of sci fi that I was always drawn to,” MacFarlane told Fanboy Planet’s Derek McCaw. “I don’t think that’s really existed for the past 20 years.” The Orville aims to follow in the footsteps of classic Trek, which MacFarlane says served as “a blueprint for what we can do if we get things right.”
The rest of Orville’s behind-the-scenes team also has serious sci-fi chops. Joining MacFarlane as producers are Star Trek’s Brannon Braga, Iron Man’s Jon Favreau, and Futurama’s David A. Goodman. Individual episode directors include Braga, Favreau, TNG’s Jonathan Frakes (Commander William Riker), Voyager’s Robert Duncan McNeill (Lieutenant Tom Paris), and seasoned Trek director James L. Conway.
The Orville, set 400 years from now, follows the titular exploratory spaceship and its crew, led by Captain Ed Mercer (MacFarlane). The two-part premiere will air on Fox at 8 PM Sunday, September 10 and Sunday, September 17. Regular episodes air on Thursdays at 9 PM beginning September 28.
What do you think? Can the Orville follow in the footsteps of Voyager, the Defiant, and the various starships Enterprise? Let us know in the comments!
Images: Fox Broadcasting