‘The Orville’: Why Is Season 1 So Short?

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The OrvilleFOX

The Orville

You might be surprised to learn that tonight is the Season 1 finale of The Orville. Yes, it’s already over until 2018. It will likely be nearly a year before we see the show again, since it will probably return to Fox for the Fall 2018 season. While many major TV networks’ shows last 20 episodes or more a season, especially the ones that start in the fall, this isn’t the case for this season of The Orville. Instead, we’re seeing a 12 episode season this year.

It’s not known yet if 2018 will bring a longer season for The Orville fans or not. Television networks often will have a shorter first season for a show, just to test the waters and see what level of interest is out there. Since The Orville has been bringing in solid ratings for Fox, it’s likely the station might want more episodes in Season 2. But it’s also becoming more and more normal for TV networks to only have half-seasons for their shows, focusing on a season taking place entirely in the fall or the spring. So it’s unclear at this point which direction Fox will go in Season 2.

Interestingly, The Orville Season 1 was originally supposed to be 13 episodes long, not just 12 episodes. But those plans changed partway through the season. Episode 13 was supposed to be the finale, but it was ultimately moved to Season 2. Episode 13 will now air in Season 2. Fox did something similar with Lucifer in Season 2, moving four episodes to Season 3, so this isn’t unprecedented. Some fans think this means we’ll end the season on a cliffhanger that could have been a two-part ending if the series hadn’t been renewed. But Fox hasn’t given any indication that this was the case.

The Orville‘s first season was never supposed to be a 22-episode season. It has extensive production and post-production, which include expensive visual effects, so Fox always intended the first season to be a limited season. However, it’s not known if Fox will continue on this track for Season 2 or if the network will want a longer season next time around.

Fans are hoping for a longer Season 2 because the show is really bringing back that nostalgic feel of Star Trek The Next Generation. And the characters are developing lives of their own, with fans really caring about what happens to them. The Orville feels like a real ship, with characters’ family lives on display, along with their lives outside of work just randomly appearing in the show. Remember karaoke night, shopping in the replicator room, or Finn’s kids showing up while Isaac was just walking down the hall? All of that breathes life and authenticity into the show.