Good news, fellow Orvillians! Not sure if that’s what fans of The Orville are actually called, but, let’s roll with it. According to Hulu’s head of scripted originals, Jordan Helman, the best Star Trek series that isn’t technically Star Trek could be coming back for its third season sooner rather than later.
Whatever Happened to The Orville Season 3?
The Orville hit a fairly long hiatus after its second season finished in April 2019. The road to excellent television is seldom smooth, but I don’t know if there’s a single production that hasn’t been hit hard by the past year and a half.
While production on the third season started in October 2019, it hit a roadblock in March of 2020 once the pandemic hit. At the time, about half of the season was already completed, obviously with more still left to go. They got back to shooting in December of 2020 and had to hit the breaks again this January when Covid struck again. After all of this back and forth, they were able to resume shooting in February and have, presumably been able to continue (safely!) since then.
According to Deadline, Helman said:
“The past year and a half has been complicated on a variety of levels as it pertains to production. I can’t share a launch date, but we’re really excited about what we’ve seen thus far.”
Helman further said, in regards to the future of the series, that the “future of the show remains an open conversation and there have been no conversations otherwise.” Fingers crossed this means a fourth season, but season 3 would be just glorious, thank you!
The series moved from Fox to Hulu in 2019 in anticipation of its third season.
Welcome Aboard The Orville
If you’re unfamiliar with The Orville, here’s everything you need to know.
The hour-long series was created and written by Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy, A Million Ways to Die in the West) as an unabashed love letter to Star Trek. Set 400 years in the future, it takes place aboard the U.S.S. Orville, a mid-level exploratory spaceship that sets out to chart as-yet uncharted space. Antics invariably ensue — sometimes silly, often touching and eye-opening.
Along for the ride is an excellent crew: Deep Space Nine veteran Penny Johnson Jerald is the ship’s chief medical officer, Dr. Claire Finn; Scott Grimes is helmsman Lt. Gordon Malloy; J. Lee is Lt. Cmdr. John LaMarr, the Orville’s navigator-turned-chief engineer; Peter Macon is perhaps the fan-favorite, Lt. Cmdr. Bortus; MacFarlane is Captain Ed Mercer, and Adriane Palicki is the Orville’s First Officer, Commander Kelly Grayson. Admittedly, this is just the tip of the Orville’s crew manifest, and they’re all incredible. Just don’t step on Yaphit (Norm MacDonald).
It started out with MacFarlane’s signature sense of humor (which appeals to some and not others, let’s be honest) front and center, poking fun at itself and its theoretical predecessors. But while its tongue was firmly in cheek from the get-go, it progressively evolved into a serious science-fiction show off its own well-earned merit. As MacFarlane said at the TCA’s in 2018:
“The show was experimental in a lot of ways. Tone was the biggest experimental part of it. What we found was that we can lean a little more heavier into the science fiction and not have to worry so much about knocking out a joke every page.”
That really is the best way to manage your expectations for the series. It starts with a lot of humor packed into each episode, progressively recognizing it doesn’t have to try quite so hard to keep audiences interested. The Orville winds up offering some of the best non-Star Trek episodes outside of DS9 (in this relative Trek neophyte’s opinion).
Orvillians (let’s just keep it going, why not?) have a lot to look forward to if — fingers crossed — season 3 is as close as Helman seems to suggest.
We’ll keep you updated on the series’ third season as more news comes our way.
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