From the jump, Seth MacFarlane’s new hour-long Fox series, The Orville, has been a beast serving two masters, as the urge to fill its scripts with Family Guy-esque sex jokes and asides warred with what seemed like a pretty sincere attempt to recreate the basic beats of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Now, MacFarlane is saying that the show’s second season—which it received back in November—will double down on its more serious elements, while also being at least a little bit longer than the first.
According to Slashfilm, that declaration came out of a longer conversation at the TCA press tour today, shortly after a table read of a new Family Guy episode. MacFarlane noted that he’s slowly picking up confidence in the idea that the sci-fi hybrid series doesn’t need to jam in jokes where they aren’t needed—a point proven out in some of its more successful first-season outings:
Tone was the biggest experimental part of it. What we found was that we can lean a little more heavier into the science fiction and not have to worry so much about knocking out a joke every page. The show is an hour and really can and wants to service its storytelling in a way that makes it a priority. The jokes come as they come, the comedy comes as it comes.
In any case, The Orville will reportedly have another 14 episodes to work out its kinks; that’s apparently the order the series received from Fox for its second year. (Up from 12 episodes for its first.) Meanwhile, MacFarlane is already apparently having to fend off Family Guy writers who want to make an Orville gag on their own series, in what feels like a pretty apt metaphor for the show’s conceptual struggles: “We’ll have to see,” MacFarlane said. “For me, I live with everything I ever do being compared to Family Guy so my first instinct is to let that be its own thing and keep it separate. It’s to be continued.”