The Orville, a sci-fi comedy from Seth MacFarlane that pays heavy homage to Star Trek, is carving its own path.

uInterview founder Erik Meers recently caught up with Adrianne Palicki and Penny Johnson Jerald to discuss working with MacFarlane and how The Orville stands out from iconic sci-fi shows.

“One thing about Seth is that he does wear many hats, but he is very clear about what he doesn’t know and that takes a really smart person and a person who’s feeling okay in their own skin,” Johnson said. “To say ‘You know, I’m not sure about this, but…’ That’s my takeaway from Seth. He’s really good at what he doesn’t know … to be able to identify that, but he knows a dang lot. I mean, oh my god, he’s freaking brilliant, but for someone to be able to expose themselves and that nakedness of not knowing, I think is just so honorable to me.”

Palicki agreed.

“When Penny and I get together to do a scene which are some of my favorite scenes on the show to get to do, our girl talk will evolve and we’ll even talk to him, and we’ll be like, ‘We would do this’ or ‘We wouldn’t do that.’ He’s like, ‘You guys do you. I can’t tell you what you guys would be doing, so have fun.’ I think that informs a really fun relationship between the two of us. To go back to what you were saying, he’s like, ‘I don’t know so much about the gal conversation, so I’m going to trust you over here.'”

The atmosphere and trust on set is something that Jerald and Palicki believe sets the show apart from similar shows like the original Star Trek and even Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, which Jerald was a part of in the 90s.

“The biggest difference between working on The Orville as opposed to Deep Space Nine is that The Orville is not rigid and I say that specifically on set,” Jerald revealed. “We’re free, we’re free to be ourselves. Again, we laugh, we joke, but we do the work. On Deep Space Nine, the set was not that way. It was like doing Shakespeare with these thespians who just took themselves so freaking seriously. We dotted our i’s and crossed our t’s. Now on The Orville, we dot our i’s and cross our t’s, but we have fun. It gives the license to actors or people behind the scenes to be a contributor to the project.”

“The content of the show has always been unique in the sense that you know that little comedy element really shifts,” Palicki added. “Critics were like, ‘I don’t know what it is,’ for a bit, but here we are. The show’s now critically acclaimed and it does separate itself from the pack of like Star Trek or Deep Space Nine because of that subtle comedy.”

“Most people like it better,” Johnson cut in. “When I go and meet the sci-fi friends and they’re like ‘Thank you so much for being a part of The Orville, we like it so much better than I have to receive that and I’m part of this Star Trek franchise. It’s truly our own.”

The Orville New Horizons is coming to Hulu on June 2.

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