Charlize Theron's Orville Episode Helped Turn Seth MacFarlane's Show Around

The Orville is Seth MacFarlane's sci-fi comedy that took a few episodes to find its feet, which it did with Charlize Theron's "Pria" episode.

the orville charlize theron pria

The Orville took a few episodes to find its feet, which it did with Charlize Theron's guest appearance. Star Trek is a classic TV series that debuted in 1966 and the franchise has continued with numerous spinoff shows, movies, video games, novels and so forth. The brand hit something of a quiet period following the end of prequel show Star Trek: Enterprise in 2005, and it took another twelve years for the next show Star Trek: Discovery to arrive.

During this time, J.J. Abrams rebooted the movie franchise with 2009's Star Trek, which took the classic crew of Kirk, Spock, Bones, etc and split them into a new timeline. In spite of the success of this rebooted franchise, fans criticized the move towards flashy action and lack of thoughtful sci-fi that characterizes the best of Star Trek. Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy) is a huge Trekkie, and his series The Orville premiered around the same time as Star Trek: Discovery. While reviews for The Orville's first season were mixed, it's now considered a great sci-fi comedy that is more like classic Star Trek than Discovery is.

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Related: Star Trek: Discovery Makes Fun Of Decades-Old Enterprise Problem

For some critics, an issue with early episodes of The Orville was the focus on MacFarlane's Captain Ed Mercer himself, while the other crew members had more comic potential. The series is considered to have turned itself around with episode 5's "Pria," which featured a guest appearance by Charlize Theron. MacFarlane and Theron previously worked together on comedy A Million Ways To Die In The West, and the set up for "Pria" has Mercer and The Orville rescue Theron's pilot after her ship becomes trapped in the gravitational pull of a star. Mercer quickly falls for her, but it's discovered she has ulterior motives in mind for the ship and its crew.

the orville charlize theron seth macfarlane

The "Pria" episode showed The Orville works best when its mixing comedy with emotion and exploring an interesting sci-fi theme. In this case, it turns out Pria is an antiques dealer from the 29th century who comes back to the claim The USS Orville - which was supposed to be destroyed in a dark matter storm - for private collectors in the future. Mercer becomes smitten with Pria so he refuses to see she might not be trustworthy, which makes her betrayal sting all the more. The episode also features a wacky subplot where Malloy and Isaac play pranks on one another.

In keeping with The Orville's homage to the franchise, Star Trek: The Next Generations' Jonathan Frakes directed "Pria" too. Charlize Theron is a lot of fun during her guest role, though given how the way it ends, it's doubtful she will reappear. The episode marked something of a turning point for The Orville, where it went from a show with potential to one that started to find its feet.

Next: Mark Jackson Says The Orville Is For 'Disgruntled Star Trek Fans'

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