It's been years since The Orville aired new episodes, but Seth MacFarlane's fan-favorite sci-fi series is now airing new episodes on Hulu after leaving its original home on FOX. But with the third season episodes also comes a new title for the show, as it is now releasing new episodes under the banner The Orville: New Horizons. Now MacFarlane himself is opening up about the reasoning for the name change, and why it works for the new direction the show is taking on its new streaming home. Speaking to Collider, MacFarlane explained where the idea came from for adding New Horizons to The Orville's name.
"Adding a subtitle was actually Dana Walden's idea," MacFarlane says. Walden is the Chairman of Disney General Entertainment Content. "And I thought it was a really good one. That's my boss over at Disney who I've worked with and been friends with for a long time. That was her idea. And I thought it was kind of cool because it's not a reboot, it's a continuation, but it was just enough to tell the audience that we're expanding a little bit. That the scope is bigger. The show is more ambitious. It's going to feel more like a movie. It's maybe going to feel a little more special. And it seemed appropriate also because it's been a few years since we've been on the air and we've moved to Hulu and it's a 10-episode run as opposed to, a 13-episode run. I guess it's not that big a difference. It seemed like it was an idea that was pitched to me that I like."
The move to Hulu has allowed MacFarlane and his team to commit to a more dramatic tone, extend episode lengths, and include more visual effects shots. MacFarlane talked about these changes during a conversation with ComicBook.com ahead of the new season's debut.
"Certainly on a visual level, the visual effects work this year is, I think, comparable to anything I've seen on TV, particularly as the season goes on," MacFarlane said. "The team just did a hell of a job on all this stuff and I think people are going to be really shocked at the scope of this thing as the season progresses."
He continued, "From a storytelling standpoint, it's much better for me because the biggest issue I have with, particularly, the prevalence of streaming programming, there's some talented writers working on network dramas, but the problem is that you have to cut everything down to exactly 43 minutes. That's not how storytelling works. It doesn't. Not every story wants to be the same length and if you have a scene that's playing really great, that's emotional and you take your time with it. and it really makes the audience feel something, you may have to cut something down that really should not be cut down. Now, there's a discipline, at the same time, on the other side of things. You don't want to indulge yourself to the point at which you're boring your audience. But for a show like this, to be able to be cinematic and to take the time to set the mood is something you just can't do on a network because you're just so constrained by that time limit, and that, to me, more than anything else was the most satisfying thing about the move."
The Orville: New Horizons releases new episodes on Thursdays on Hulu. The first The Orville prose story, written by MacFarlane based on an abandoned episode from this season, releases later this month.