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The Orville at Paleyfest

Attendees at The Orville panel at Paleyfest were treated to the season 1 finale and a Q&A with the entire main cast and executive producers–though it seemed Seth McFarlane (Captain Ed Mercer),  Penny Johnson Jerald (Doctor Claire Finn), and Peter Macon (Lieutenant Commander Bortus) did most of the talking. No one was saying much about season two, but Jerald did say that Claire will “get to do everything” and that she, Jerald herself, “works with extraordinary people.” The panel presented a pleasant look at the behind-the-scenes of one of the most intriguing and enjoyable series to come out of the 2017-2018 season.


HOLLYWOOD, CA – MARCH 17: Cast of The Orville attends PaleyFest LA 2018 honoring The Orville, presented by The Paley Center for Media, at the DOLBY THEATRE on March 17, 2018 in Hollywood, California, © Brian To for the Paley Center

While The Orville draws a great deal from the Star Trek franchise, this is also a show, according to McFarlane, which presents a “hopeful blueprint.” Showrunners are “not out to win awards, but just out to make stuff that [McFarlane] would watch on TV.” McFarlane also spoke on the variety of tone of episodes and said that “tone dictates story.”

Cast member Adrianne Palicki  (Commander Kelly Grayson) added that “fans are most important. So supportive.” And that The Orville came “in a time where we need smart TV.” The Orville is so varied with its characters, due to the nature of the anthology style series, much akin to The Twilight Zone.

Jerald spoke briefly about her Christian beliefs and said how important it is to be “part of the light in the room.”  I’ve attended many different panels about TV shows, but this one was particularly insightful about story and character development, with all of these very smart people who know exactly what they are trying to convey in their writing and acting–something which does not always seem to be the case. 

Actor J Lee (Lieutenant Commander) John LaMarr) said that in the story creating process, they “throw stuff at the wall” and the show intended “to be a mirror to what we deal with anyway.” Jerald agreed. She liked how the show “starts the conversation. A very needed conversation” and added that “fans are smarter than people think.”


Executive Producers Cherry Chevapravatdumrong, Jason Clark, David Goodman, Brannon Braga, and Seth MacFarlane attend PaleyFest LA 2018 honoring The Orville, presented by The Paley Center for Media, at the DOLBY THEATRE on March 17, 2018 in Hollywood, California. © Michael Bulbenko for the Paley Center

It’s a very different experience for a viewer to watch a show where the writers know that he or she is smart enough to understand the characters and storyline, and The Orville is a show that achieves this brilliantly. I was left feeling really satisfied by this panel, and got to see first hand how much of an amazing person Penny Johnson Jerald is in person–which I had no doubt: she played one of my favorite characters on Star Trek: Deep Space 9: Captain Kasidy Yates-Sisko.

Watch most of the panel now from the Facebook Live recording:


PFLA 2018 | The Orville Cast + Creatives

Hey, The Orville fans! Have FOMO about missing out on the #PaleyFest event with the cast & creative team? Fear no more. Watch the FULL PANEL here on our Facebook page.

Posted by The Paley Center for Media on Saturday, March 17, 2018


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