Star Trek Star Jonathan Frakes Would Very Much Like to Appear on The Orville

Star Trek: The Next Generation star Jonathan Frakes has directed one episode of Seth MacFarlane's The Orville. Next time, he'd like to appear in front of the camera. Speaking to, Frakes says he wants to follow in the footsteps of fellow Star Trek actors Marina Sirtis, John Billingsley, and Robert Picardo, who have each played roles on The Orville. "I keep waiting for a phone call. I am available. I've got a beard," Frakes says, going on to say he'd be willing to play pretty much any character they'd have him on to play. "I would just like to be, just like I hoped and dreamed of being on [The Big Bang Theory], there's certain things, the absurdity factor, like the Pez dispensers and the garden gnomes, certain benchmarks we all want to reach."

The Orville is jumping from Fox to Hulu in its third season. Frakes talked a bit about how the show resembles Star Trek: The Next Generation and he says he expects creator Seth MacFarlane will have more creative freedom thanks to the move.

"He really went for it in terms of people from Next Gen," Frakes says of how MacFarlane staffed The Orville, referring to Star Trek veterans like Brannon Braga and Marvin Rush. "And I think, if I'm not mistaken, the audience was surprised that Orville was as serious as it was. I mean, it's wonderfully funny, but it's no Family Guy, certainly. I think Seth's a wonderful storyteller and he loves him some Star Trek and he really wanted to be the captain of a spaceship and God knows he made Fox enough money that he can be. And now that he's on Hulu, he has more freedom to play and not be limited by time, not be limited by censors, so I think he's in the best of all possible worlds at the moment."

When the move to Hulu was announced, MacFarlane said in a statement, "The Orville has been a labor of love for me, and there are two companies which have supported that vision in a big way: 20th Century Fox Television, where I've had a deal since the start of my career, and FOX Broadcasting Company, now FOX Entertainment, which has been my broadcast home for over 20 years. My friends at the network understood what I was trying to do with this series, and they've done a spectacular job of marketing, launching and programming it for these past two seasons. But as the show has evolved and become more ambitious production-wise, I determined that I would not be able to deliver episodes until 2020, which would be challenging for the network. So we began to discuss how best to support the third season in a way that worked for the show. It's exactly this kind of willingness to accommodate a show's creative needs that's made me want to stick around for so long. I am hugely indebted to Charlie Collier and FOX Entertainment for their generosity and look forward to developing future projects there. And to my new friends at Hulu, I look forward to our new partnership exploring the galaxy together."


The Orville Season Three is expected to debut on Hulu in late 2020.