Jonathan Frakes has been busy as a director lately, directing episodes of both Star Trek: Discovery and The Orville.
Frakes was pleasantly surprised by The Orville. “I was afraid that it was going to be like Family Guy, and it’s not really, but it’s also not really as serious as Next Generation,” he said. “I think Seth [MacFarlane], and Brannon [Braga], and whoever else is involved in all this, they found a tone that clicks with this audience, either the millennial audience or the old school audience. Everyone is very pleasantly surprised at how well the show has been received. I’m happy to see the homage, and I’m happy to see success for whoever wants to steal good ideas. It was a very conscious, and I think quite successful, homage”
So what are the differences in directing The Orville and Discovery? “Stylistically, your responsibility as an episodic television director [is] when you do a show like The Orville, you want that show to look like Next Generation,” he said. “And when you go to Canada to do Star Trek: Discovery, they want that show to have the feeling, and look, and vibe of the J.J. [Abrams]-era Star Trek. Much more cinematic, a lot of crane work, and a lot of movement, a lot of dutch angles. On Next Generation, the traditional framing, and the things we became accustomed to as fans of the show, we see in [The Orville] because that’s the look.”
According to Frakes, fans are embracing both shows. “Orville‘s coming back for a second season, so is Discovery,” he said. “There’s room, obviously, in the fans’ hearts for both types of Star Trek.”