Sunday, July 21, 2019

Where No Orville Has Gone Before

This week at the San Diego Comic-Con, Seth MacFarlane announced that his Star Trek tribute series The Orville would be jumping from Fox over to Hulu. The move came as quite a surprise, considering the Fox Network recently renewed the show for a third season.

The Orville's current status is a bit confusing, so I'll do my best to try and explain it. As I understand it, earlier this year Disney purchased Fox Studios, which owns The Orville. Fox Studios is a separate entity from the Fox Broadcasting Company, which actually airs the show. Disney also owns Hulu, so it appears they're simply moving the show they now own to the streaming service they own as well. Confusing!

Sadly, I'm not smart enough to know if this is a good thing or a horrible idea. 

Hopefully it's good news, as it should offer the series more flexibility. Unlike a regular network, Hulu doesn't have a set schedule. Meaning MacFarlane won't have any firm deadlines to meet, and can take his time polishing the episodes.

And because the show will no longer be on a network, there are no restrictions as to episode length. Right now Orville eps average around forty six minutes each. Once the show moves to Hulu, episodes can clock in at a full hour. Or more!

It also means no more network censorship, so MacFarlane can tell stories that wouldn't be possible on an over-the-air network. I'm OK with more adult storytelling, but I'm hoping this doesn't mean he'll be dialing up the profanity on The Orville. We all saw how well that worked for Star Trek: Discovery (aka STD) when they started peppering their episodes with pointless and unnecessary "sh*ts" and "f*cks."

Best of all, it means no more commercials interrupting the story every five minutes! That's gotta be a good thing, right?

On the potentially negative side, how do ratings work on Hulu? Do they even have ratings? Do more people watch Hulu than the Fox Network? Will Orville fans follow the show from free TV to a pay platform? I have no idea.

All I know is I don't have Hulu, and I really don't want to sign up for yet another streaming service just to watch one show. I have a feeling I'm not the only one who feels that way either.

I hope MacFarlane knows what he's doing here, and that this move will help and not hurt the show.

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