Directing The Orville was a galactic pain in the ass, and I loved every nanosecond of it.— Brannon Braga[1]

Brannon Braga is an American executive producer, director and screenwriter on The Orville. He directed the episodes About a Girl, Into the Fold, and Firestorm; and wrote the scripts for Into the Fold, Nothing Left on Earth Excepting Fishes, and Identity, Pt. 1 with fellow producer André Bormanis.

Background[edit | edit source]

Braga is best-known for his work on the Star Trek franchise, writing and executive producing for The Next Generation, Voyager, Enterprise, and co-writing the films Generations and First Contact. He started as an intern on The Next Generation until he worked up to executive producer.

After the cancellation of Enterprise, Braga wrote and produced for Fox television series 24 and Terra Nova. He executive produced Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey alongside Seth MacFarlane, creator of The Orville, for which Braga won a Peabody Award, Critics Choice Award, and Producers Guild Award.

The Orville[edit | edit source]

For years leading up to The Orville, MacFarlane tinkered with the idea of an episodic science fiction television series, occasionally bouncing ideas off of Braga and David A. Goodman by phone.[2][3] Braga personally missed the episodic stories he wrote for Star Trek: The Next Generation, but also wanted to write a show like M*A*S*H that peppered comedy into a serious drama.[4] Both Braga and MacFarlane felt those two aspects of storytelling had been absent from network television for almost two decades, and audiences were ready for a return.

"We had been chatting sporadically about doing this science fiction show together, and this particular idea, that there were certain elements he'd been mentioning to me for years," Braga later said to author Jeff Bond. "He gave me this script, and I kind of dread reading scripts, but this was hilarious and really original, but somehow familiar."[2] Unbeknownst to the two, MacFarlane had sold the script for The Orville to Fox in April, 2016, and, after finishing the two more episode scripts, enlisted Braga as an executive producer, director, and writer.

MacFarlane invited Braga to direct About a Girl: the first time Braga would direct a show with comedic elements. Braga recalled he was thrilled by the challenge because "it's hard to screw up a great script... It was my ship to wreck."[5] Yet he soon found the show to be the most difficult of his career.[6] Because The Orville fell into a hybrid genre that mixes comedy and drama, he was concerned about striking an appropriate balance between the two, settling on grounding the episode as a serious drama peppered with humor. Looking back on the season, Braga found directing was "a nightmare. There are a lot of moving parts: big set, ... big effects, and it's very intimidating."[5]

Braga was tasked with writing the eighth episode - what became Into the Fold - with co-writer André Bormanis. However, he was inexperienced with comedy scripts and "terrified" that he could not write a suitably funny episode.[7] It turned out that while he was responsible for adding jokes, most were removed by MacFarlane. Braga presented a draft to the writing team for a comedy pass, where the writers discussed the humor of the episode at length and helped peppering the script with humorous moments.[7]

While Braga recalled it relatively easy to write for Claire Finn, his great "challenge" was writing for Isaac. Braga worried that a faceless, relatively nondescript android could undermine the emotions evoked in the episode's more sensitive scenes. Fortunately, he was very pleased with actor Mark Jackson's performance.[8]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • MacFarlane cites Braga's writing for The Next Generation as a major influence from his childhood.[9]
  • Bragar has said, "We live in a dark time, and a lot of television's dark literally. Sometimes it's hard to see what you're watching, which is why I love Cosmos and The Orville, they're bright, welcoming futures."[10]

External links[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

  • "Directing the Orville:" Foreword by Braga in The World of the Orville, pages 6-7
  • The World of the Orville, pages 11, 127, 129, 141, 157

References[edit | edit source]

  1. The World of the Orville
  2. 2.0 2.1 Bond, Jeff. The World of the Orville. Titan Books. Pg. 11.
  3. Bond, Jeff. The World of the Orville. Titan Books. Pg. 8.
  4. Wright, Matt. "STLV17: Brannon Braga On How Kirk Should Have Died, ‘Star Trek: Enterprise’ Regrets And More". Aug. 11, 2017.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Brannon Braga in The World of the Orville by Jeff Bond. Titan Books. 2018. Pg. 7.
  6. "Brannon Braga & The Orville Cast Full interview 2017 Panel NYC convention". NYC ComicCon. Nov. 20, 2017.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Pascale, Anthony. "Interview: Brannon Braga On How ‘The Orville’ Pays Tribute To Star Trek While Setting A New Course". Sept. 14, 2017.
  8. "The Orville Fan Podcast w/ Brannon Braga (08)". Planetary Union Network. Nov. 5, 2017.
  9. "Seth MacFarlane and behind-the-scenes creative team: "The Orville" | Talks at Google". Talks at Google. Nov. 16, 2017.
  10. Tanavi P. "COSMOS: Producer/ director Brannon Braga on the challenges of writing science fiction.". YouTube. Oct. 20, 2018.
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