‘The Orville: New Horizons’ Soundtrack Released

While fans continue to await word of whether the cult hit sci-fi series “The Orville” will be renewed for a fourth season, Hollywood Records March 3 released the soundtrack for the show’s third season on all music streaming platforms.

Created by and starring Seth MacFarlane, “The Orville” ran for two seasons on the Fox network before moving to the Hulu streaming platform, where the third season, dubbed The Orville: New Horizons, debuted in 2022. Episodes later became available on Disney+.

The Orville: New Horizons Original Television Soundtrack contains more than four-and-a-half-hours of music, with selections from all 10 episodes from the season — a total of 72 tracks. The playlist mostly comprises the show’s original score, but also includes two songs from members of the cast: Simon & Garfunkel’s “Flowers Never Bend With the Rainfall” performed by Scott Grimes and Anne Winters in the episode “Domino,” and Grimes singing James Taylor’s “Secret O’ Life” from the finale, “Future Unknown.”

The score was composed by Joel McNeely, John Debney, Andrew Cottee and Kevin Kaska, and recorded with the Hollywood Studio Symphony at the historic Newman Scoring Stage at Fox Studios by Academy Award-winning sound engineer Shawn Murphy.

“These four composers have written the finest, most lush orchestral scores in television today. Enjoy their brilliant work. I know I do,” MacFarlane said in a statement.

In addition, composer Bruce Broughton recorded a new arrangement of his main title theme for “The Orville.”

A downloadable version of the album is available to purchase through online retailers — Amazon has it for $23.99, while the iTunes store has it for $24.99.

The soundtrack album was produced by Dan Goldwasser, McNeely, Debney, Cottee and Kaska, alongside executive album producers MacFarlane and Joy Fehily.

Soundtracks for the first two seasons were previously released on CD and online.

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At the “Orville” press event during the 2022 San Diego Comic-Con International, the show’s executive producer Brannon Braga and co-producer/editor Tom Constantino discussed the process of scoring the show, which begins with the editors temporarily adding pre-existing music.

“Seth is a human jukebox,” Constantino said. “Seth’s musical breadth of knowledge is beyond anything we’ve ever seen. So he takes our music, and then takes his own music and does a music pass with the music editors, and that sort of becomes the shorthand for the amazing composers we have.”

“The temp scores on this show are airable,” Braga said. “So much work goes just into the temp score. Then you get a composer coming in. And we don’t reuse cues; every single score is an original score for that episode, recorded with a full orchestra, a 90-piece orchestra that Seth supervises himself. It’s a really important thing to him. So much work goes into the score of this show.”

“We’re very blessed with our composers,” Constantino said. “Those guys should be doing every single ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Marvel’ movie that ever came along.”

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The Orville: New Horizons


Not rated.
Stars Seth MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, Penny Johnson Jerald, Scott Grimes, Peter Macon, J. Lee, Mark Jackson, Jessica Szohr, Anne Winters.

For its third season, Seth MacFarlane’s sci-fi series ‘The Orville’ moved to Hulu, where it gained a bigger budget and a lot more creative freedom.

However, the series manages to retain its charm despite some flashier visual effects and an expanded scope. That’s because the core of the show continues to be its likable main characters and their camaraderie.

The show takes place in the early 25th century and follows the adventures of the U.S.S. Orville, an exploratory vessel of the Planetary Union.

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With the series’ second season having concluded on Fox in April 2019, fans had to wait more than three years before the new episodes finally arrived in early June under the “New Horizons” banner. Much of the delay was due to the pandemic, but the creative team put the time to good use updating the show’s sets and costumes for a 4K presentation. Even the show’s aspect ratio was slightly adjusted to give it more of a cinematic widescreen feel.

Rest assured, this isn’t a reboot by any means. Ongoing storylines pick up where they left off, with the first episode dealing with the continuing threat of the Kaylon, the race of robots who have vowed to wipe out all biological species in the galaxy, and how the crew continues to resent Isaac (Mark Jackson), the Kaylon crewmember who initially betrayed the Union before turning on his people and being given a chance to continue to serve on the ship for a shot at redemption.

To that end, the show introduces a new character, Ensign Charly Burke (Anne Winters), the ship’s new navigator who hates Isaac because her previous ship was destroyed by the Kaylon.

The series continues to operate out of the “Star Trek” playbook, which is to say mixing space opera with a dose of social commentary that sparks discussion without being preachy (which is more than can be said about “Star Trek” nowadays).

The show’s visual style continues to mesh modern CG effects with an aesthetic that is more-or-less evocative of ’50s sci-fi serials. Perhaps the biggest shift in the switch to Hulu is that the series, often accused of being a “Trek” parody, has toned down its overt humor to shed some of that reputation. The biggest drawback to this approach was that the humor made it easier to overlook some questionable plot points (or outright plot holes) that would seem more egregious if the presentation was meant as serious drama. Still, the emotional authenticity of the character dynamics and tightly constructed season-long story arcs end up making this a minor quibble.

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The transition to streaming also brings with it much longer episodes than a conventional broadcast format. Instead of typical 42-minute episodes, most of “New Horizons” episodes are over an hour each, which a couple that are long enough to be the equivalent of two-parters had they been broadcast. So while the season is nominally 10 episodes long, from the consideration of runtime it’s more like 14 or 15, around what the first two seasons were.

One of the planned episodes ended up not being filmed due to the pandemic, so MacFarlane adapted it into a digital novella, Sympathy for the Devil, that is available through Audible and other online retailers.

Another highlight is the show’s music, where the score is big and cinematic, paying homage to the likes of Jerry Goldsmith, James Horner and John Williams. But the show also finds plenty of excuses to get its cast to sing, particularly Scott Grimes. There’s also a surprise performance by a special guest star whose appearance proves just how outside the box this show can get.

Following the completion of “New Horizons” on Hulu, all three seasons became available to stream on Disney+ as well. Here’s hoping “The Orville” gets renewed for season four.


‘Stranger Things,’ ‘The Boys, ‘The Orville’ Still Lead on Parrot’s Digital Originals Demand Chart

Netflix’s supernatural thriller “Stranger Things” remained No. 1 on Parrot Analytics’ digital originals U.S. rankings the week ended Aug. 12, as well as Parrot’s list of overall TV shows. The series had a 7.6% drop in demand expressions, the proprietary metric Parrot uses to gauge a show’s popularity, giving it 142.7 times the demand of an average series.

The Amazon Prime Video superhero series “The Boys” remained No. 2 on the digital originals chart. It had a 12.9% drop in demand expressions to give it 35.2 times average demand.

Seth MacFarlane’s sci-fi series “The Orville,” which made the transition from the Fox network to Hulu for its third season, remained No. 3 on the digital originals chart. It had a 1.5% rise in demand expressions to give it 35.1 times average demand. The show’s third season finale arrived available Aug. 4, and all three seasons became available on Disney+ as well as Hulu Aug. 10. Meanwhile, the show’s fans have engaged in various online efforts to support the show being renewed for a fourth season.

Rising a spot to No. 4 was Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building.” It had 33.1 times average demand after a 2.7% rise in demand expressions. The second season finale arrives Aug. 23.

The Disney+ “Star Wars” series “The Mandalorian” slipped to No. 5 on the digital originals chart with 32.9 times average demand after a 4.8% drop in demand expressions.

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A “digital original” is Parrot’s term for a multi-episode series in which the most recent season was first made available on a streaming platform such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu or Disney+.

The top non-streaming overall TV series in terms of online demand was “SpongeBob SquarePants,” at No. 2 with 70.5 times average demand.

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Media Play News has teamed with Parrot Analytics to provide readers with a weekly top 10 of the most popular digital original TV series in the United States, based on the firm’s proprietary metric called Demand Expressions, which measures demand for TV content in a given market through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites. Results are expressed as a comparison with the average demand for a TV show of any kind in the market.


Sci-Fi Series ‘The Orville’ Heading to Disney+ Aug. 10

SAN DIEGO — The Jan. 23 Comic-Con panel for the sci-fi series “The Orville” included an announcement that all three seasons of the series would be available for streaming on Disney+ starting Aug. 10.

The first two seasons originally aired on Fox and are available to stream on Disney-run Hulu. The 10-episode third season, dubbed “The Orville: New Horizons,” premiered as a Hulu original June 2 and concludes Aug. 4.

“The Orville” was created by Seth MacFarlane, who also stars on the series as Capt. Ed Mercer, commander of a starship that explores the galaxy in the 25th century.

“I’m thrilled to bring all three seasons of ‘The Orville’ to Disney+. Making this show has been one of the most satisfying experiences of my career, and I’m immensely grateful to Disney for providing us the opportunity to expand our Orville community further. I can’t wait for new audiences to experience this series,” MacFarlane said.

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The cast also includes Adrianne Palicki, Penny Johnson Jerald, Scott Grimes, Peter Macon, J Lee, Mark Jackson, Chad L. Coleman, Jessica Szohr and Anne Winters.

All 36 episodes will continue to be available to stream on Hulu.

No announcement was made as to whether the series has been renewed for a fourth season.

‘The Orville’ Moving to Hulu for Season 3

Seth MacFarlane’s comedic science-fiction series “The Orville” is moving to streaming service Hulu for its third season in 2020.

MacFarlane, who created and stars on the series about a starship crew 400 years in the future, announced the switch during the show’s San Diego Comic-Con International panel July 20.

The series debuted in 2017 on the Fox broadcasting network, where it has aired 26 episodes over two seasons. Fox renewed the show for a third season, but according to reports the complicated production schedule for the new season meant it wouldn’t be available in time for use as a mid-season replacement, so the decision was made to move it to Hulu.

The series is produced by Fox Television, which was acquired by Disney as part of its buyout of most Fox studio assets. Disney also owns Hulu, which already offers the first two seasons. The Fox network was not included in the sale.

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“‘The Orville’ has been a labor of love for me,” MacFarlane said. “My friends at the network understood what I was trying to do with this series, and they’ve done a spectacular job of marketing, launching and programming it for these past two seasons. But as the show has evolved and become more ambitious production-wise, I determined that I would not be able to deliver episodes until 2020, which would be challenging for the network. So we began to discuss how best to support the third season in a way that worked for the show.

“To my new friends at Hulu, I look forward to our new partnership exploring the galaxy together.”

The second season is nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Science-Fiction Television Series and an Emmy for Outstanding Special Visual Effects.

The Orville: The Complete First Season

Seth MacFarlane’s slick sci-fi throwback invites comparisons to “Star Trek” with its very nature, but pokes fun at sci-fi platitudes every chance it gets while still fully embracing them with a charming mix of humor and earnest storytelling.

DVD Review:

Sci-Fi Comedy;
$29.99 DVD;
Not rated.
Stars Seth MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, Penny Johnson Jerald, Scott Grimes, Peter Macon, Halston Sage, J. Lee, Mark Jackson.

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Seth MacFarlane is flattering the heck out of “Star Trek.”

MacFarlane, a hardcore “Star Trek” fan who parlayed his fame into appearing as an extra in two episodes of “Star Trek: Enterprise,” has often said in interviews, and repeats the assertion in the DVD’s bonus materials, that he always wanted to make a sci-fi show that embraced the idea of an optimistic future for mankind, not unlike “Star Trek.”

Of course, MacFarlane is also the creator of “Family Guy” and Ted, a reputation that brings with it the expectation of a certain type of off-the-cuff humor.

“The Orville” presents a typical sci-fi future that serves as an obvious stand-in for the constructs of “Star Trek” — namely an enlightened Earth-centric interplanetary alliance, a fleet of starships devoted to exploration, and the alien enemies they encounter. Paradoxically, the show is eager to lampoon the platitudes of “Trek” while at the same time fully embracing them.

The series is set 400 years in the future, and starts with a Planetary Union officer named Ed Mercer (MacFarlane) flying back to his apartment after a hard day’s work only to discover his wife in bed with a blue alien (who, it turns out, is played by Rob Lowe in a cameo that is revisited with a fuller guest appearance in a later episode).

A year later, with his life and career spinning out of control, the fleet offers Mercer the captain’s chair of the mid-size exploratory vessel U.S.S. Orville, which he accepts as a chance to move past his troubles. The only hitch is that his now ex-wife (Adrianne Palicki) is assigned as his first officer. Resentments aside, they still work well together, as she’s doing her best to atone for what she did.

With the introduction of the rest of the ship’s senior staff to establish the requisite quirky personalities that will serve the show’s needs, the mission can get underway.

From there, “The Orville” begins its tricky balancing act between being an homage to “Star Trek” and a parody of it, from aping the general style of the legendary franchise to referencing very specific scenes (the ship’s launch from spacedock is heavily inspired by the departure of the Enterprise in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, down to a guy in a spacesuit waving goodbye).

“The Orville”

The show even uses the same camera angles for the establishing shots of the ship that were a staple of the “Next Generation” era of “Star Trek.” In its second episode, “The Orville” introduces an old-school opening title sequence that is practically a shot-by-shot re-creation of the “Star Trek: Voyager” main credits, showcasing adventures of the ship encountering various galactic phenomena while the cast’s names fly by to the strains of a lush musical score.

Enhancing the connection to “Star Trek” is the fact that many of the producers, directors and crafters of “The Orville” are former “Trek” staffers bringing those old sensibilities to the new show.

For the most part, though, the show pokes fun at the tropes of “Star Trek” or reframes them using current sensibilities, stepping back from the “Star Trek” depiction of an evolved humanity (which the “Star Trek” franchise itself began to poke a stick at once Gene Roddenberry’s involvement diminished).

The look and feel is very reminiscent of the fictional series at the heart of “Galaxy Quest,” another sci-fi “Trek” homage comedy to which “The Orville” is often compared.

The show has a distinct visual style, loading the screen with color and glossy visual effects that strike the right balance between verisimilitude and a cartoonish sense of fun, from the title starship looking like a bottle opener to crewmembers who are essentially just talking blobs of goo.

Jokes typically involve pop-culture references, comments on the mundane vagaries of life, or clever sight gags. The constant pop-culture references do expose a gap in the writing in that there doesn’t seem to be any pop culture between now and when the show is set. (A similar problem shows up in Ready Player One.)

For his part, MacFarlane is essentially playing himself as if he were Capt. Kirk, the ultimate self-referential fantasy fulfillment. McFarlane has too much respect for “Star Trek” to do a full-on parody, so he’s trying to settle on a laid-back approach akin to co-worker office banter, rather than go full tilt comedy and just stuff the frame with gags like an Airplane or Naked Gun.

In many ways, “The Orville” plays like a sci-fi version of MacFarlane’s A Million Ways to Die in the West, which surrounded a lampoon of Western stereotypes with the trappings of a traditional cinematic epic. (“The Orville” is also an excuse for MacFarlane to reunite with some of his West cast, with guest star turns from Liam Neeson and Charlize Theron.)

The show’s breezy style stands in contrast to the earnestness of its storytelling, which may be why its makers seem to have trouble in interviews and Q&A’s explaining exactly what the tone is supposed to be. Many episodes are even topical with their exploration of modern issues and parallels to current events.

That’s probably why so many fans of “Star Trek” from its 1990s heyday love the show so much, as it fills their need for the simple, eager thoughtfulness the franchise used to be known for, rather than the over-produced, action-based noise that has taken over since it was rebooted.

Some of the high-concept morality plays also bring to mind episodes of the parallel-reality series “Sliders,” particularly an episode centered on an Earth-like world that has structured its society around the dictates of social media reactions.

The tonal shift is a major reason why critics have been stingy in their appreciation of the show, with most of the major criticisms come from people who never really embraced “Star Trek” the way its fans do — for not only its message, characters and settings, but despite its idiosyncrasies, inconsistencies and even its flaws (and, in many cases, love it because of those things).

They also complain that the show’s shifts between comedy and drama make it hard to follow, but I find it’s easier to just accept it all as comedy, especially the parts that try to be serious. It’s like performance art, with the joke being how much they’re trying to present serious sci-fi during insanely absurd premises. It’s kind of like when Andy Kaufman would upend his set by just reading The Great Gatsby all night. The intense commitment to the material is the joke. This isn’t a sci-fi show with an optimistic view of the future. It’s an homage to fans of such shows.

In the framework of its brand of existential comedy, “The Orville” goes to great lengths to put its audience in the mindset of watching a “Star Trek” show, only to completely obliterate the seriousness of televised sci-fi. The comedy isn’t always just in the jokes or the dialogue. It’s in the fabric of the show and the situations it presents as seriously as it can.

First, it basically takes Starfleet and staffs it not with a stuffy crew of humanist explorers driven by idealism, but with regular people. That gives us a “Star Trek”-style show in which the ship’s crewmembers are basically fans doing cosplay — complete with whatever side remarks and jokey banter fans might make while watching a “Star Trek” show together.

Characters often behave as if they know they’re on a sci-fi show, and that seems to be the intention. For example, in one scene an alien character is shown sitting on an egg — not unusual in the “Star Trek” sense of celebrating the diversity of alien biology. But then the show doubles down on the gag by showing the character’s naked backside on top of the egg. It’s not funny because it’s an alien hatching its young, it’s funny because we all know it’s an actor who was subjected to heavy makeup just to be put in a ridiculous situation for a cheesy gag. That’s the whole point.

In another episode, the captain and first officer are captured by a technologically superior alien race and placed in a zoo to be gawked at by strangers. Eventually, the officer responsible for rescuing them is given a commendation, the ship leaves and the episode ends with hundreds of sentient beings left behind in captivity with nary an ounce of further concern from anyone on the Orville, or any subsequent episode dealing with trying to free them. Since the template for these kinds of shows really only requires worrying about the main characters, ancillary concerns suggested by the episode tend to fall to the wayside.

The not-fully-developed plotting gives the show a lot of its charm, as stories may lead to unanswered logistical questions that are so obviously sitting there without the show seeming to care if anyone asks. That’s why it’s so great as a “Star Trek” pastiche. Episodes might raise questions they never intend to address, but viewers aren’t meant to think the show really thought things through too much to begin with. It’s lovingly poking fun at how and why we take things like “Star Trek” so seriously to begin with.

For as much as the show is trying to be “Star Trek,” it’s the contrast with “Star Trek” that makes it so brilliant. The more it takes itself seriously, the funnier the show becomes on a meta level, and thus more endearing.

The DVD set presents all 12 first-season episodes spread across four discs. All the bonus materials are on the fourth disc, comprised mostly of short promotional featurettes covering various aspects of the show in a minute or two. These include “Designing the Future,” “The Orville Takes Flight,” “The Science of ‘The Orville’: Quantum Drive,” “The Science of ‘The Orville’: Alien Life,” “Crafting Aliens,” “A Better Tomorrow” and a “Directed By” featurette that that focuses on Jon Favreau directing the first episode.

The making of the show is further covered in a five-minute “Inside Look” featurette.

There’s also an eight-and-a-half-minute “The First Six Missions” montage that recaps the first six episodes with some very serious overtones and music.

The most interesting extra is the 35-minute “‘The Orville’ at Paleyfest 2018” video of a Q&A with the cast, writers and producers that offers a lot more insights into the mindset that goes into making the show.

The second season of “The Orville” premieres Dec. 30 on Fox.

“The Orville”

Fox Launches ‘The Orville’ on DVD Dec. 11

The first season “The Orville” will arrive on DVD Dec. 11 from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

A comedic sci-fi adventure in the spirit of “Star Trek,” the series was created by and stars Seth MacFarlane, who plays the captain of the U.S.S. Orville, an exploratory spaceship 400 years in the future. The cast includes Adrianne Palicki, Penny Johnson Jerald, Scott Grimes, Peter Macon, Halston Sage, J Lee, Mark Jackson and Chad L. Coleman.

The DVD includes all 12 episodes from the first season plus several featurettes and highlights from the show’s presentation at PaleyFest 2018.