Despite obvious resemblances to both “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Galaxy Quest,” those involved in Seth MacFarlane’s new Fox sci-fi dramedy series “The Orville” aren’t worried about being sued for copyright infringement.
Set four centuries from now, “The Orville” follows the human and alien crew of a ship that tackles the battles, politics and workplace drama that comes with traversing the galaxy.
The ‘Trek’ comparisons are apt as MacFarlane is a notable TNG fanboy, while veteran Trek producer Brannon Braga is on the crew. About potential legal issues, Fox TV Group chairman/CEO Dana Walden says:
“We’re not really concerned. We obviously have a big legal team. We vet things, so it’s not like we’re just flying by the seat of our pants out here. Seth’s intention is to do something that clearly pays homage to Star Trek, that clearly was inspired a lot by Star Trek.”
Certainly the cast and crew involved have a mission with the new series, and that is to fill the ‘aspirational sci-fi’ hole that “Star Trek” firmly occupied but has since abandoned to chase a more “Star Wars”-style audience with the film reboots and the upcoming “Star Trek: Discovery” series. MacFarlane says:
“I miss the…aspirational place Star Trek used to occupy. They’ve chosen to go in a different direction… They can’t all be Hunger Games. There is some space for aspirational… I miss the optimism. I’m tired of being told everything is going to be grim and dystopian…I miss the hopeful side of science fiction.”
Asked about comparisons to “Star Trek: Discovery,” MacFarlane says both shows “could not be more different” tonally and the Trek franchise is “continuing in the new direction they’ve chosen to go with that franchise; we’re more old school.”
“The Orville” premieres on FOX on September 10th.