LGBTQ ally and actor/producer/director Seth MacFarlane has announced the return of his successful Emmy-nominated sci-fi series “The Orville: New Horizons.” The program will premiere Thursday, June 2, now (with an ongoing weekly episode release) on the streaming network Hulu.
The series originally debuted on the broadcast network Fox. Although the Star Trek-inspired series was a hit and initially slated for renewal, production came to a halt with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. During that time, MacFarlane accepted the offer to move the series to the streaming network Hulu.
Set 400 years in the future, “The Orville: New Horizons” finds the crew of the U.S.S. Orville continuing their mission of exploration, as they navigate both the mysteries of the universe and the complexities of their own interpersonal relationships.
The ensemble cast includes MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, Penny Johnson Jerald, Scott Grimes, Peter Macon, J. Lee, Mark Jackson, Chad L. Coleman, Jessica Szohr and Anne Winters, among others.
Produced by 20th Television and Fuzzy Door, the series was created and written by MacFarlane, who also serves as an executive producer, along with Brannon Braga, David A. Goodman, Jon Cassar, Jason Clark and Howard Griffith.
For LGBTQ fans of the program, there’s some exciting news: the gay, transgender and non-binary characters from the first two seasons will be returning for the latest, continuing the ever-growing population of LGBTQ roles on television.
In those roles are Peter Macon, who plays Bortus, the ship’s alien second officer and Lieutenant Commander; and Chad L. Coleman, who appears in the role of Klyden, mate to Bortus and co-parent of their female-hatched child Topa (Blesson Yates), who was forced in the show’s second season by the planetary government of the couple’s home world Moclus to be physically altered so that she could be raised as a male child.
Regular viewers of the series will recall controversy arose among characters of the Orville crew, many who felt it was unjust to force the child to undergo gender change at such a young age only to meet cultural requirements of the planet Moclus, a male-dominated world, where females exist rarely and are looked down upon.
Historically, children born female on Moclus were immediately surgically altered to be male. The impact of Bortus’s shipmates’ concerns lead him to believe individuals should be free to be themselves – whatever gender they are born into or realize of their own accord – but without Moclan culture and government forcing the decision upon them.
The story was indeed a complicated one, but evident of MacFarlane’s support of the struggles faced by the trans community.
If you’re interested in revisiting the two previous seasons before the debut of the latest or you haven’t seen the series but your interest is piqued, season one and two are currently available for streaming on demand on Hulu.