Moving To Hulu Was An Uncertain Step For The Cast Of The Orville

"The Orville," a comedy series inspired by "Star Trek," is the story of a group of Planetary Union members who set off to explore new worlds in the 25th century. For two seasons the series created by Seth MacFarlane aired on Fox. After a three-year hiatus, lengthened by the global pandemic, viewers finally got a third season. This time around, the show was re-titled "The Orville: New Horizons," and it moved from Fox to Hulu.

MacFarlane explained the move from network to streaming in a statement at the time (via TVLine):

" ... 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."

Some of the cast members weren't originally happy with the relocation and changes, however. That included Penny Johnson Jerald, who plays Doctor Claire Finn, the chief medical officer for the ship. Johnson Jerald told media at the 2022 San Diego Comic-Con (via Digital Spy) that she wasn't originally sure audiences would travel along with the series to its new home, despite the fact that episodes were already airing the next day on the streamer, stating:

"I've been on shows where they move networks and the audience don't follow you, but with this show they do and with Hulu it affords you to really tell stories, more so than regular episodic television."

'I'm really happy about that'

Part of the reason she came around, in the end, is that the episodes were no longer constrained by network episode time limits. As Johnson Jerald put it:  "We are delivering movies to you and I am extremely happy about that. I was wrong to be upset about the move."

Her co-star Anne Winters who plays Ensign Charly Burke was also positive about where the show is going now: "Seeing the green screen come to life, every episode is fun for us to watch, too."

MacFarlane was happy about the idea of more time to delve into the story of each chapter. He told that this was really beneficial in terms of narrative. He explained:

"From a storytelling standpoint, it's much better for me because the biggest issue I have with, particularly, the prevalence of streaming programming, there's some talented writers working on network dramas, but the problem is that you have to cut everything down to exactly 43 minutes. That's not how storytelling works. It doesn't. Not every story wants to be the same length ... "

He makes a good point. Some stories take longer to tell, particularly with a show that started as something of a parody/homage. Now that viewers know and care deeply about these characters, it's nice to be able to spend more time with them, and dig more into the issues they face. A fourth season will depend on viewership, of course, but in addition to Hulu, the series has begun streaming on Disney+, potentially getting more views from people who may have missed it elsewhere. We'll keep you updated as soon as we hear anything about season 4.

All three seasons of "The Orville" are now streaming on Hulu and Disney+.