“The Orville” Soars Into New Horizons

“The Orville: New Horizons” lives up to its new subtitle as MacFarlene and company manage to create of the best sci-fi shows of recent years.

“The Orville: New Horizons” Season 3 Review


  • Set 400 years into the future, “The Orville” follows the crew of the USS Orville of the Planetary Union led by Cpt. Mercer (Seth MacFarlene) and Commander Grayson (Adrianne Palicki).
  • Following the events of Season 2, war between the Kaylon and the Planetary Union rages on.
  • This forces the crew: Dr. Finn (Penny Johnson Jerald), Lt. Mallory (Scott Grimes), Lt. Bortus (Peter Macon), Lt. Commander LaMarr (J. Lee), and the robot Isaac (Mark Jackson) to try and adapt in this new world.


the orville new horizons
(The Orville: New Horizons – “Gently Falling Rain”Episode 304Bruce Boxleitner, Victor Garber, Lisa Banes, Scott Grimes, Seth MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, and Anne Winters; Photo by: Hulu)

Pulling quadruple-duty, Creator Seth MacFarlene and company expands the series by creating new character dynamics and story arcs.

The show has also moved away from its comedic roots, in favor of a much more grounded drama. Now, that’s not to say “The Orville” has always been a comedy show, since as early as the first season, the show has always managed to dive into the dramatic. But what MacFarlene did, alongside former Trek alums Jonathan Frakes and Brandon Braga, was find a sweet spot between the humor and the drama. Which not only provides thrills, but also relevant social commentary and character development.


(The Orville: New Horizons – “Electric Sheep” – Episode 301 – Isaac (Mark Jackson) and Ty Finn (Kai Wener), Photo by: Hulu)

However, displaying that character development, are the performances from the cast.

MacFarlene, Palicki, Grimes, Szohr, and Lee are great with each actor getting a moment to shine in the season. But, the standouts for the season Macon, Jerald, and Jackson, as all three had storylines that progressed the main storyline even further.

With Macon’s Bortus, we continue to dive deep into his relationship with his spouse Klyden (Chad L. Coleman) and his child Topa (Imani Pullum), who begins to feel some changes. This results in Macon delivering some pathos within Bortus, especially as his relationship with Coleman’s Klyden becomes impossible.

Which leads us into Jearld’s Claire, who displays confliction and grace as she and Isaac begin to re-work their relationship. It’s through this, where we see the show’s heart. That despite everything, things can get better and people can improve. A prime example is Jackson’s Isaac. Jackson balances displaying new dimensions for the character, while keeping the core of them in tact.


the orville new horizons

For the visuals, Season 3 takes a step-up courtesy of VFX companies Crafty Apes, Fuse FX, and Pixomodo.

Mixed in with cinematography from Jeffrey C. Mygatt and Stephan J. Liveweaver’s production design, Season 3 harbors a movie-like quality. The planet and ship designs feel far more unique and believable than in previous seasons. Even if it’s for a second, the settings still feel like a step-up from the California desert.

And speaking of this step-up, the better visuals isn’t just exclusive to the digital effects. It also extends to the practical make-up effects done by the legendary Howard Berger. A prime example of this, is Isaac and the Kaylon’s newest look. Rather than looking like a man in a suit, Berger and company make the character actually feel like a robot from the 23rd century.


Taking a step-up in overall quality, MacFarlene and company delivered an impressive season of television.

Him, Braga, and Frakes found a sweet spot displaying much humor, drama, and tragedy within the storylines. And while everyone was great, the three standout performances in Macon, Jerald, and Jackson, propelled the main storylines even further. Combined this with the movie-like quality from the practical and digital effects, and Season 3 of The Orville managed to create some New Horizons for itself, easily becoming one of the best sci-fi shows of recent years.

Score: 4 out of 5

About Author /

Screenwriter/Film Critic/Co-Host of "A Conversation With Two Geeks | Located in Los Angeles, CA | Loves to talk about anything and everything within the world of Film and Television | Follow me on Twitter @JMartin3729 | Also, an alias!!!

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