In two seasons Seth MacFarlane's space comedy The Orville has grown into a show that knows how to deal with serious issues and still have a laugh. It's become a welcome break from the glut of weighty and serious-minded sci-fi available today.
The actors and the characters they portray are largely to thank for this: the cast is able to swing from buddy comedy to morality play to action movie with ease. Critics found it confusing, but the public ate it up. Now that we know our new favorite space dramedy is coming back for a third season, it's about time we dug deep into each character's personality.
9 Captain Ed Mercer - ENFJ, The Protagonist
Fittingly, the Captain of the Orville is an ENFJ, the Protagonist. Ed's a natural leader: Passionate, charismatic, and inspiring. We see over and over again how reliable he is, as both a friend and a leader, and his Intuition helps him in his role as Captain.
His Extraversion and Feeling traits make Ed generally very empathetic and friendly, which helps him be tolerant of cultural differences. When he struggles with tolerance, as he sometimes does with the traditions of the Moclan people, he actively seeks to learn more rather than insist that his way is the only right one. Like many ENFJs, Ed can struggle with self-confidence, which we see most when he's worried about "only" getting the command because of Kelly. But ultimately, Kelly is a good balance for him: When he is too trapped in those Feeling or Judging traits, Kelly can help him see things logically or change course.
8 First Officer Kelly Grayson - ESTP, The Entrepreneur
As Ed's right hand in command, Kelly needs to be able to balance out his weaknesses. They're both Extraverted, which makes communication easy for them, although several years of marriage probably helped them practice that too.
Kelly is probably close to 50/50 on the Observant/Intuitive scale (S/N), as she is highly practical and watches everyone around her, but she also is very open-minded and picks up on the most subtle shifts in people, as she does with Pria. She's bold and perceptive, and very popular. Kelly is sociable and loves to let loose, which we especially see when young-Kelly-from-the-past joins present-Kelly on board the Orville in season 2. She can be impatient and defiant, traits that help her get out of the camp she's imprisoned in on Regor 2, but also means she often takes extreme stances and acts rashly.
7 Dr. Claire Finn - INFP, The Mediator
Since she is a scientist, most people would probably guess that Claire is an INTP, but she is first and foremost a doctor, not an analyst. Combining Intuitive and Feeling traits make her a warm and safe harbor for people who are hurting, physically or emotionally, to seek out. Claire is a bit reserved and private herself, and occasionally takes things very personally, as she does when Isaac's betrayal is revealed.
Her whole relationship with Isaac is telling, in fact--Mediators often struggle to settle down because they are forever searching for a more perfect partner. That Isaac can actually adapt to her requests for change (and doesn't mind doing so!) makes him perfect for her. You know, until he sells out the whole crew. Claire may be shy at first, but she will always be loved and respected anywhere she goes.
6 Lieutenant Gordon Malloy - ESFP, The Entertainer
Ed's longtime friend and pilot Gordon Malloy is the epitome of an Entertainer personality type. He is generous, he's kind, and he's the first person on the crew we'd expect to spontaneously burst into song and dance. Malloy loves to have a good time and anyone who is with him is probably having a good time too.
But he's not shallow--that Observant trait helps Malloy see issues between people, especially Ed and Kelly, and the Feeling and Prospecting traits make him look for ways to help them. His love for a good time means he sometimes forgets duty or doesn't realize when he needs to be serious, but Malloy is great in an emergency and isn't overly sensitive. Long-term planning isn't a strong suit, and he can get bored or distracted, so Ed and John LaMarr are very good friends for Malloy to keep around.
5 Lieutenant John LaMarr - ISTP, The Virtuoso
LaMarr is a hands-on person. Anytime there's a problem on board the Orville, he can be seen physically digging into things, wielding his vast knowledge expertly. Learning how things work is a joy for him, and he never forgets a tool he's learned. LaMarr's quiet and doesn't put himself forward, which deceives people into thinking that he's very average, but he's actually incredibly intelligent, which Kelly finds out when she looks over his Union Point tests.
Like many Virtuosos, LaMarr has been stubbornly hiding in plain sight because he doesn't like the limelight. He wants to get to do the work and not worry about the politics and management that come with a leadership role. But once Kelly encourages (forces) him to try more despite his loud protests, he finds that his kindness, level-headedness, and expertise make him a leader people want to follow.
4 Lieutenant Alara Kitan - ISFJ, The Defender
It might be a little too on the nose to say that Alara is a clear Defender personality when she's literally the Chief of Security, but hey--her personality makes her good at her job. Alara is physically strong, but she is much more than that. She's both extremely sensitive and very analytical, and though quiet, reserved, and more than a little stubborn, Alara is nevertheless surrounded by a family and crew that love her.
Alara is hardworking and imaginative, though when combined with the stereotypical perfectionism of Defenders (as well as their tendency to take everything personally), that can be destructive. We see this especially when Alara invokes Directive 38 and locks herself in the Simulator for some truly terrifying self-flagellation after a crewmember dies. People like Alara need friends like Kelly and Claire to keep them sane, so it's no wonder they grew close before Alara left the Orville.
3 Lieutenant Commander Bortus - ISTJ, The Logistician
Autonomous, fact-based, and straightforward: Bortus likes to know the rules of the game, and he sticks to them unless deeply emotionally moved to change them. This trait often comes into interesting conflict with his Moclan heritage. On the one hand, he accepts when his mate Klyden tries to kill him as that's the traditional Moclan divorce practice, but the wedge in their relationship begins because he does not wish to follow the Moclan tradition of sex reassignment surgery when their child is born female.
Bortus works with passion toward his goals and he is a competent leader, though he may seem emotionally distant. In truth, Logisticians like Bortus feel things very deeply, but struggle to communicate those emotions. When he can retain his honest and direct approach without being judgmental or unreasonably blaming himself, Bortus is at his strongest.
2 Lieutenant Yaphit - ENFP, The Campaigner
Yaphit has been aboard the Orville a long time, pre-dating Ed, Kelly, and Malloy. That can make him a bit arrogant and even complacent, to his detriment. All that Feeling and Intuitive energy means that his emotions often get the best of him, as they do when he quickly intuits that LaMarr is being tested to take over as the Chief of Engineering and furiously approaches Ed about it.
But Yaphit can also be funny, clever, and curious. Shirking all the worst stereotypes about engineers, Yaphit is extremely Extraverted and is always up for a good time, as we see when he dances in the Simulator. His Prospecting traits help him adjust to change quickly, and he quickly sees that promoting LaMarr was the right choice. We don't get to see much of Yaphit due to the high expense of rendering him for each episode, but the episodes he shows up in benefit from his classic Campaigner enthusiasm and energy.
1 Lieutenant Talla Keyali - ESTJ, The Executive
Talla joins the Orville to replace Alara as Chief of Security. Unlike Alara, Talla doesn't struggle with a Xelayan family who looks down on military endeavors, which probably contributes to her more Extraverted traits. She does struggle with being too sensitive and feeling lonely aboard the Orville, but Talla's fierce dedication, her clear (if sometimes rigid) ideas of right and wrong, and strong will quickly make her valuable to the crew.
She has a hard time relaxing and expressing emotion, but she is very engaging and loves getting to know people. Once people learn her nuances, they find her to be a warm, patient, and deeply loyal friend. Her natural leadership skills and stubborn beliefs might bring her into conflict with Ed or Kelly, which could be an interesting character arc to drive story in season 3.