The Orville is unashamed about how heavily Star Trek influences it. Creator Seth MacFarlane is a known Star Trek fan. He works on the show with several others who worked on Star Trek in one incarnation or another. He even puts that love of Star Trek in front of the camera with guest appearances from the likes of Star Trek: Enterprise’s John Billingsley and Star Trek: Voyager’s Robert Picardo. This week’s episode of The Orville, “Lasting Impressions,” adds another Star Trek: Voyager cast member to the list of guest stars that Star Trek fans are sure to recognize. SPOILERS for the episode follow.
In “Lasting Impressions,” the Orville is tasked with taking a time capsule to a museum. The capsule dates back 400 years, to the year 2015 on Earth. The time capsule includes an iPhone that belonged to a woman named Laura Huggins. The phone has her photos, videos, and text message from her life. Lt. Malloy uses the phone to recreate Laura’s life within the ship’s simulator. He enters the simulator to get to know Laura and falls in love with her.
The scientist who stewards the time capsule while aboard the Orville is Dr. Sherman, who is played by Tim Russ. Star Trek fans will remember Russ as Lt. Cmdr. Tuvok from Star Trek: Voyager. Tuvok was the Vulcan head of security aboard the Voyager and a close friend and advisor to Capt. Kathryn Janeway. Russ doesn't play a huge role in the episode, but he'll be a welcome addition for Star Trek fans anyway.
Star Trek: The Next Generation star and director Jonathan Frakes will also contribute to the new season of The Orville. At a convention, Frakes spoke about the series in comparison to CBS All Access's Star Trek: Discovery.
“The Star Trek that we have has really found its voice, and Discovery has really found its voice," Frakes explained earlier this year. "And The Orville has filled in a void. For a lot of people, The Orville is their new Star Trek because it does tell stories like [The Next Generation], and it’s got wild humor in it.
"[Seth MacFarlane] clearly wanted [The Orville] to look like [The Next Generation]," Frakes added. "So, he hired the cinematographer [Marvin Rush] and the camera operator, and Brannon Braga, who wrote First Contact among other things that are fabulous. Robbie Duncan McNeill, one of our wonderful directors from Voyager, James Conway, who directed a bunch of great Next Gen episodes; he hired me. He filled the room with Next Gen people so that the show would look and feel like it. I think he did it."
What did you think of Russ's appearance on The Orville? Let us know in the comments. The Orville airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on FOX.
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