The Orville has had some wild episodes in its first two seasons and has tackled some things even the program's inspired predecessor Star Trek would've tip-toed around. With that said, it's a valid question which of the show's episodes has been the most difficult to do so far. Luckily San Diego Comic-Con is the place to get answers for that, and CinemaBlend was there front and center when creator and star Seth MacFarlane gave an answer during the show's panel.
The most challenging episode of The Orville wasn't one that dealt with controversial issues (something its creator knows a fair bit about), but a major action-packed episode in Season 2. Seth MacFarlane explained that the big battle against the Kaylons was the most challenging thing the show has done, and may not have happened had he not had some talented people ready to help.
You know probably when it was written, probably ‘Identity, Part II’ because it scared the hell out of me when I was writing the second part of that. We had this massive space battle. If I had had to direct it myself I probably would have written it a lot smaller, but I was like Jon [Cassar, the director] will take care of it. But yeah, I gotta give it to ‘Identity.’
The Kaylon invasion and the massive battle that ensued was the most challenging episode The Orville has done to date, and Seth MacFarlane admitted he wouldn't have written it had he been the director of the episode. Luckily, it was frequent 24 and Terra Nova director Jon Cassar on the episode, so MacFarlane pulled the trigger and potentially further changed the trajectory of the series in the process.
The battle, loss of life, and stakes were pretty extreme for The Orville, which gave Seth MacFarlane pause. The series can be pretty dramatic, but there's always a balance of comedy that can be thrown in to keep things light. This plot was an episode where The Orville was taking itself pretty seriously, and MacFarlane (who has worried about this in the past) wondered about how the show's loyal fans would respond to that.
It scared the hell out of me the whole time because I wasn’t sure if fans were ready to accept that level of serious sci-fi.
There were no widespread complaints from The Orville's viewership, and the series even scored a monumental achievement and got its first Emmy nomination for use of special effects, so things worked out all right. Now The Orville will have a chance to up the ante in its first season on Hulu, which may grant some added creative freedom. It's hard to imagine the show will change that much tonally, so we'll just have to wait and see what this move means.
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