The Orville has had a pretty wild journey over the last three years, starting out on FOX, the relocating to Hulu where a lot more creative freedom (and a larger budget) opened the show up to new creative heights. But all anyone wants to know is whether or not that through all this, season 4 is coming.
Things are about to get even weirder with The Orville’s life-trajectory, and its next move may dictate how and when that fourth season happens. It’s been announced that all three seasons of the show are headed to Disney Plus on August 10, which will make it the third place it’s aired in its short lifespan.
Seth Macfarlane told TVLine that the odds are about 50-50 whether season 4 happens now, but that Disney Plus could be the deciding factor it needs for season 4 to be greenlit and produced:
“My hope is that when the show drops on Disney+, the people who haven’t yet discovered it will suddenly give it a chance,” MacFarlane said. “That’s a potential game changer for us.”
In many ways, The Orville feels like a good fit for Disney Plus, which is looking to expand its horizons beyond its current makeup of Star Wars, Marvel and kids programming. The Orville, at least by audience and critic scores, is currently one of the best sci-fi series on TV, and continued investment in it could make it a genuine rival to something like Star Trek over on Paramount Plus.
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The tricky part with The Orville has been selling the show, as it looks like a Seth Macfarlane-based parody of Star Trek, but it just isn’t that, at all. While it has comedic elements it has dramatically expanded in scope and the types of issues it tackles. And as it’s progressed, it’s gotten a bigger and bigger budget that has taken it from looking like an SNL skit to something rivaling any other major sci-fi production on TV.
I recently wrote about my own process going through seasons 1-3 of the show in about two weeks, which dramatically transformed my own perception of it, as I was not expecting to be as engaged as I was, nor to agree with the consensus that yes, there are few better sci-fi series on TV these days (especially now that The Expanse has wrapped).
In theory, this feels like it could be a potentially great fit for Disney’s catalog, but again, the tricky part may be building up that initial audience, and it’s going to take a lot of promotion and work in Disney Plus’s end to make sure people give it a shot.
We’ll see what happens, but hopefully those coinflip renewal odds will tip into The Orville’s favor once it arrives on Disney Plus and expands its audience yet again.