Speaking of the Writer-Agent War, did you know that David A. Goodman, President of the Writers Guild of America West is also David A. Goodman Executive Producer of The Orville? And that’s a subject on which he also has a lot to say?
by Anthony Pascale
The second season of The Orville concluded last week with the time-bending episode “The Road Not Taken.” TrekMovie had a chance to talk to executive producer David A. Goodman who wrote the episode and we walked about the finale, the second season in general, and what’s next for the show. We also talked a bit about Star Trek as Goodman is a former writer/producer on Star Trek: Enterprise and he has also written a number of Star Trek books.
What goals did you have going into the season that you feel the second season of The Orvilleachieved?
We had a couple of goals at the beginning of the year. Seth [MacFarlane] really felt strongly – and we all agreed – that even though Seth’s brand is comedy, people who tuned in to this show were okay with this show being serious. There were obviously light character moments throughout, but we definitely went away from the harder-edged humor. There are always comedic elements of humor in our show. There is always strong character comedy in the show and how people relate. But now, we really felt that this show lives in the space of doing serious drama and serious issues with this light touch in it, but that we don’t need to lean into the comedy as heavily as we might have earlier in the first season.
The other big takeaway after the first season was that we set up this universe, it is our own universe, and people like to play in that universe. People like to have continuity from one episode to the next and build out our alien species. So, for instance, we went back to the Moclans a couple of times this season and really explored stuff that we started early in season one. And we got to see our Union Council chamber and our Union president and built out the admirals. We had these great guest star admirals: Ted Danson, Ron Canada, Kelly Hu, and of course Victor Garber, who has been our central admiral. This season really filled in the details of our universe.
And then it was really getting into nuts and bolts of where our characters really lived. So, Ed and Kelly and making sure we kept that central dynamic fresh and alive and fun and interesting. So, we have Kelly with a boyfriend and Ed dating younger Kelly. That was what I think fans and what we as writers really enjoy about these characters. We also felt like Gordon needed more screen time this year. We really didn’t give him his own episode last year, so Scott [Grimes] got two really big episodes and he is a terrific actor and that character is so much fun. And I think the Claire/Isaac relationship was something we started talking about at the beginning of the season and we wanted it to play out the way it did and we were so happy getting to watch Mark Jackson and Penny [Johnson] act with each other, and her boys, who are both such terrific child-actors. In all of that way, we are filling in the details of our universe both in a broad sense and in a small sense.