Seth MacFarlane’s Star Trek doppelgänger The Orville is coming back to FOX for season 2 this December, and the network has a new trailer teasing its return. Season 1 of the series delivered in the ratings department, but not so much with critics, many of whom found the show’s attempts at humor to be flat and incongruent, while its efforts to imitate the look, tone, and structure of Star Trek to have stunted the show’s efforts to find a voice of its own. Nevertheless, the series was successful enough to garner a second season, and after more than a year from when the first season ended, The Orville will return for more space-faring adventures.
Adventure seems to be the key selling point of season 2. That’s a distinct change from the first season, which seemed to be a little unsure at times if it wanted to be a comedy, a drama, a sci-fi adventure series, or a spoof on Gene Roddenberry’s classic television series. Narrowing the focus down a bit is certainly in the series’ best interests, and from what’s on display in the new trailer, The Orville is touting itself less as a goof on Star Trek and more as a successor to the series itself.
“New missions, epic adventures” is pretty much all FOX needs to say to get fans of this show watching, and it might even improve the series’ favor among critics, if it can deliver. The new trailer certainly makes it look as though The Orville is taking its sci-fi storytelling more seriously, as there’s but a single joke (well, joke is being generous) in the entirety of the 30-second ad, but one elephant-nosed alien saying, “Man, this is bitchin’” is a fairly harmless reach for some tonal variance.
That The Orville returns to television at the end of December seems a little odd, given that the network probably could have used its ratings punch earlier this fall. But it may all end up working in the show’s favor, as the long delay between seasons likely won’t hurt the show’s status with fans, and the end-of-the-year premiere date ostensibly makes the sci-fi series the feather in FOX’s late 2018 cap.
It will be interesting to see how the new episodes are received from a critical standpoint, and to learn whether or not The Orville discovered what it wants to be in the interim, or if it’s still content trying to be a little bit of everything.
The Orville premieres Sunday, December 30, 2018 on FOX.