Why Orville and Penny Johnson Gerald both hate and compare to “Star Trek”


“Orville: New Horizons is finally out after a long wait, and Hulu subscribers can enjoy new episodes of the series they’ve been following since it was on Fox. Seth MacFarlane’s live-action show has gained fans in the Star Trek fandom who have compared it to classic parts of the franchise such as The Next Generation. As it turns out, one prominent actor is related to both franchises, and Penny Johnson Gerald “hates” comparisons between the two series.

CinemaBlend recently spoke with Penny Johnson Gerald, who plays Dr. Claire Finn in “Orville” and Kasidy Yates-Sisko in “Star Trek: Deep Space 9.” Given her connection to both franchises, I asked if she thought that “Orville: New Horizons has successfully avoided comparison with Star Trek at this stage. The actress shared her thoughts on this:

To be honest with you, I thought that in the first season we could definitely say that we were separated from him. Someone will say, “Oh, is this Star Trek? Is it fake?” And, in fact, I just hate it when people say it’s fake. It wasn’t a farce. We really worked. It was like “Star Trek” in the sense that this is the future, you have a team, it is led by a captain, and you enter into the life or machinations of this team. So I guess any future ship-like show will be compared to Star Trek because it sets the standard.

Penny Johnson Gerald didn’t like the idea that some consider “Orville” a funnier version of “Star Trek,” and she certainly has a right to the fact that the Fox series that became Hulu stands out by this point. At the same time, she noted that there are similar elements between the two shows, which I believe have played a big role in the series attracting Star Trek fans over the years.

When “Orville” moved on to the second season, Penny Johnson Gerald said she noticed that the similarities between him and “Star Trek” even more disappeared. The actress spoke about the key difference she saw between the two shows that really sets them apart based on her experience:

In the second season, I never thought about Star Trek, and I’m Trekkie. I just never did. As if these people are so human, most of them, and the life and situation they are talking about is not far from what is happening right now. The difference in Star Trek was this: “Imagine if this happened.” In “Orville” it happens, and it’s still happening in the future, but there’s a different attitude to the same thing that we’re familiar with. And I think that’s probably why it’s really different from Star Trek.

The former Star Trek: Deep Space 9 actress and the current star of Orville: New Horizons have proven themselves well. “Star Trek” tends to solve modern problems with the futuristic thinking of a society that has worked to solve many of humanity’s problems, whereas “Orville” often feels like people from our era have directly penetrated into the future.

Of course, just because Penny Johnson Gerald doesn’t appreciate comparisons between the two doesn’t mean Star Trek fans won’t see what they like about this franchise in Orville. The series has an episodic space adventure style that harks back to the more classic “Star Trek” adventures and debuted on Fox shortly before the launch of the serialized series “Star Trek: Discovery”.

“Orville: New Horizons” certainly seems like the series’ greatest step forward in establishing its own legacy in science fiction, although there is always the question of how long this trip will last. Speaking with the cast, CinemaBlend learned that although season 4 of “Orville” is not off the agenda, it seems that the audience and fan participation will play a role in its extension or cancellation.

We’ll have to wait and see if this update happens and if Seth MacFarlane’s series manages to step out of the shadow of other franchises as season 3 continues. “Orville: New Horizons” broadcasts new episodes on Hulu (opens in a new tab) on Thursdays. Tune in to see what adventures the team will get into, especially with so many uncharted territories ahead.