No one quite knew what to expect when Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane announced plans for sci-fi series The Orville, but the show’s surprisingly earnest homage to Star Trek and other sci-fi series — mixed with MacFarlane’s signature humor, of course — proved to be a hit with audiences. Just seven episodes into its first season, Fox has officially renewed the series for a second season.
Created by MacFarlane, The Orville chronicles the cosmic adventures of the crew of the U.S.S. Orville, an exploratory vessel in the 25th century. MacFarlane himself leads the cast as Ed Mercer, the ship’s captain, who leads an eccentric crew that includes his ex-wife Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki), helmsman Gordon Malloy (Scott Grimes), security officer Alara Kitan (Halston Sage), chief medical officer Claire Finn (Penny Johnson Jerald), second officer Bortus (Peter Macon), navigator John LaMarr (J. Lee), and science officer Isaac (Mark Jackson).
“Once again Seth has struck a powerful chord with viewers,” said Michael Thorn, Fox Broadcasting Company’s president of entertainment, in a statement accompanying the renewal announcement (via Variety). “He has delivered a series full of optimism, drama and his trademark humor. We want to thank him and the rest of the talented cast, as well as the producers and crew, for an incredible first season. We can’t wait to see where The Orville travels in the second.”
During a panel for The Orville held at New York Comic Con in October, MacFarlane offered a hint of where he’d like to see the series go in its second season.
“I think next season we’re going to deal with Isaac,” he said. “There are character arcs that are introduced in this season that I think are going to go a long way.”
The Orville is the first new series of the season on Fox to earn a renewal from the network. Although the series wasn’t received well by critics, it was a bona fide hit with audiences, quickly becoming the network’s highest-rated Thursday show in the 9 p.m. time slot and the most-viewed drama premiere for Fox since the debut of Empire in 2015.
Currently in the midst of its first season, The Orville will conclude its debut season with its 13th episode later this year.