When Seth MacFarlane brought Ted to theaters in 2012, it was the first time his fans got to see what he could do in live-action after years of witnessing his sense of humor come alive through animated shows like Family Guy and American Dad. Now, audiences will get to see him put his creative mind behind live-action situations on the small screen, as Fox has put in a straight-to-series order for MacFarlane’s as-yet-untitled new project, which will be a comedy, a drama and a sci-fi adventure.
The science fiction elements in Untitled Seth MacFarlane Project will be much more than just an alcoholic alien living in the attic with an assortment of costumes. (Ricky Spanish…) The hour-long episodes will be set 300 years in the future and will center on a group of space explorers with presumably quirky and distinct personalities. These folks make up the crew of the Orville, a middle-line ship in Earth’s Interstellar Fleet, and they’ll be taking on many different challenges and ordeals from threats both outside the ship and within.
Beyond just creating, writing and executive producing this new show, Seth MacFarlane will also be a part of the main cast. (We all got to see his acting chops in A Million Ways to Die in the West, and if nothing else, he definitely knows how to deliver his own jokes.) No other cast members were announced by Fox’s Dana Walden and Gary Newman, but you can bet it’ll be a star-studded set, given how many celebrities MacFarlane has crossed paths with in his career. And we’ll have to assume that there will be either a robot or some other kind of anthropomorphized character to shake up the human being population.
These are the earliest stages of this new project, and MacFarlane’s creative team will have quite a while to put it all together, as Fox isn’t looking to bring it to the schedule until the 2017-2018 season. Does that mean we’ll get a big assortment of expensive special effects to go with the laughs and the thrills? Can’t tell just yet, but I’m sure the network is comfortable throwing all the money at MacFarlane that they can spare, especially since Family Guy isn’t the ratings draw that it used to be.
I’m a sucker for space shows, which don’t come around all that often on broadcast networks in primetime, and one that meshes both comedy and drama together is definitely up my alley. I loved Yahoo’s short-lived Other Space, but there wasn’t any drama involved there, and I’m not quite down with the sporadic humor of most current spacefaring dramas. I wouldn’t have expected Seth MacFarlane to be the person to put such a project together, but I couldn’t be more intrigued now that it’s happening.
MacFarlane is currently behind the scenes as an executive producer of Starz’s stellar live-action comedy Blunt Talk, so maybe that got him interested in telling non-animated stories for his next endeavor. And Fox has been taking some strange chances with its comedies lately, such as the animated/live-action comedy Son of Zorn from Lego Movie directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, perhaps buoyed by the success of unlikely standout Last Man on Earth. Sadly, we have over a year to wait and see if this will be a perfect marriage of the minds.