ByPaul V. Rea, writer at
Paul V. Rea is a journalist addicted to all TV genres, contributor at, and creator of @paulvrea on Twitter.
Paul V. Rea

Seth MacFarlane is launching a comedic version of Star Trek called The Orville on Fox this September. The new space opera has sci-fi fans buzzing. Unfortunately, given the network’s track record with genre programming, MacFarlane’s new show may be doomed from the start.

Launching The Orville

The Orville is a live-action, hour-long series set 400 years in the future. MacFarlane is commanding officer of an exploratory starship, and the show promises to present all the comic and horror elements of life in space. Everything about it sounds like fun, like a real-life version of the TV show from the movie Galaxy Quest.

Fox is giving MacFarlane every opportunity to succeed. The first two episodes of land in the best time slot the network has to offer — right after football on Sundays — September 10 and September 17.

Fox Has Commitment Issues

While they seem entirely on board with the show for now, has a fickle history of bailing on science fiction shows. The studio has quickly dumped a ton shows in the past decade alone.

Fox Science Fiction Shows Canceled Season 1

  • 2016 — Second Chance
  • 2015 — Minority Report
  • 2014 — Almost Human
  • 2012 — Alcatraz
  • 2011 — Terra Nova
  • 2010 — Past Life

Fox Science Fiction Shows Canceled Season 2

  • 2016 — Wayward Pines
  • 2013 — Touch
  • 2011 — Human Target
  • 2010 — Dollhouse
  • 2009 — Terminator (The Sarah Connor Chronicles)

The last time the network had a science fiction show survive for more than two seasons was the better part of a decade ago. FRINGE debuted in 2008. Before that it appears The X-Files from 1993 and Sliders from 1995 would be Fox’s only other multi-season genre successes in the past 20 years.

More Short-Lived Sci-Fi From Fox

  • 2002 — Firefly
  • 2001 — The Lone Gunmen
  • 2000 — FreakyLinks
  • 1999 — Harsh Realm
  • 1997 — The Visitor
  • 1995 — Space Above and Beyond
  • 1995 — VR.5
  • 1994 — M.A.N.T.I.S.
  • 1993 — Brisco County Jr.
  • 1989 — Alien Nation

Set Course For Adventure

NFL Football Sundays are the best possible place to debut The Orville, as live sports programming is pretty much the only thing that draws viewers to watch TV in real time. However, given Fox's track record, one has to wonder if the viewing audience is a bit fearful of embracing new sci-fi on Fox knowing that their newly-beloved show will likely fall victim to capricious cancellation.

Will you watch The Orville when it debuts on September 10, or will you wait to see if Fox can commit to more than one season?


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