‘The Orville’ Star Mark Jackson Talks Science Fiction, ‘Star Trek,’ And A Brighter Future

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The journey of The Orville has begun, and one of its most interesting crew members is a fully robotic science officer named Isaac.

Isaac is played on Seth MacFarlane’s new sci-fi comedy series by British actor Mark Jackson, who not only provides the character’s voice but actually performs within Isaac’s robot bodysuit.

ComicBook.com spoke to Jackson about The Orville, genre-blending, Star Trek, science fiction, and why fans should expect the unexpected from Isaac.

How does it feel to be part of what, by all accounts, is Fox’s biggest premiere since at least 2015, with Empire?

Mark Jackson: Yeah, it’s a huge pleasure. I was speaking to Seth yesterday, and the ratings for the second showing were really good, as well. So, it seems like things are going pretty well. Yeah, I mean, we all hoped it would be a big hit. A lot of work went into it. A lot of money went into it. It had a sort of buzz around it. So we were all hoping that it would come out well, and yeah, really pleased that it has.

Was there ever a moment of doubt? Not necessarily because of the actual product itself, but because, sci-fi on network television is always a gamble.

MJ: I’m a big fan of sci-fi anyway. So, I’m probably blinded to any possibilities of it not doing well. Because this is exactly the kind of show that I’d watch, even if I wasn’t in it. You know? But, yeah, I think we’re all aware that it’s something different to what’s on at the moment. That it was a mixing of genres that aren’t necessarily seen mixed together very much. So, yeah, I think there was a not necessarily doubt, but apprehension, which makes the success of it, so far, all the more wonderful.

One of the things that I’ve noticed in the reactions to The Orville, is even the people who really like it are a little bit taken aback by what it is. Because it seemed like Fox was selling it almost as a pure comedy. How would you describe what The Orville is and what it’s meant to be?

MJ: The Orville is a show set 400 years into the future. It takes our world now and transports it along a trajectory that is hopeful. That is inspiring. That allows us to imagine a future where we have no been in a nuclear holocaust. Where we are not having to eat our own children to survive, which is quite appealing, I think, to the audiences. Certainly to me, as a sci-fi fan. The Orville is there to provide a better future for us, I think.

It is a combination of comedy, and there’s a combination of drama, and sort of good…

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