Like Star Trek, The Orville takes place in outer space and follows the crew of an exploratory starship. Recreating outer space in a believable way for television requires a certain mastery of the subject matter, and The Orville has a little extra help in that department from astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.
McFarlane is also an executive producer on Cosmos, the Tyson-hosted science series on FOX. Executive producer Jason Clark tells Screen Rant that means it's easy to know where to turn with science questions for The Orville.
"There is some crossover, in that Andre Bormanis and Seth MacFarlane, who's an incredible part of the Cosmos storytelling team, and then Andre, who's our science advisor, actually advises on both shows," Clark says. "So if we're on The Orville, we say 'Well, what would that black hole look like?' We call Andre, and he's meanwhile advising on Cosmos. So, we have the benefit of the Cosmos team to give us advice, right up to Neil, who we also call for advice on our science fiction show. And that's really a great benefit of doing both of them."
The Orville Season Two is currently in production. The series is adding Jessica Szohr as a new series regular and Chris Johnson in a recurring role in its second season. Star Trek: The Next Generation alum Marina Sirtis will guest star.
The Orville was Fox's biggest premiere since Empire and was soon renewed for a second season. The new season of The Orville will consist of 14 episodes.
"Once again Seth has struck a powerful chord with viewers," said Michael Thorn, President, Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company in a statement when the renewal was announced. "He has delivered a series full of optimism, drama and his trademark humor. We want to thank him and the rest of the talented cast, as well as the producers and crew, for an incredible first season. We can't wait to see where The Orville travels in the second."
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The Orville will return on Sunday, December 30th following a Sunday Night Football double-header. The series will then resume in its Thursday home following the conclusion of the NFL season.