Adrianne Palicki first drew attention as one of the stars of Friday Night Lights, a beloved but low-rated football drama. Since then, she’s worked steadily, most recently as one of the stars of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Currently, Palicki’s starring in friend Seth McFarlane’s passion project, The Orville, a Fox series that serves as a tribute to MacFarlane’s favorite sci-fi show.But The Orville isn’t just a Star Trek send-up. Over the course of half a season, MacFarlane and the cast have been able to give us some surprisingly nuanced storytelling that lives right alongside the kind of slapstick, sh*t-taking comedy you’d expect. We chatted with Palicki about doing comedy with a seasoned pro like MacFarlane, sex scenes with Rob Lowe, and that one storyline from Friday Night Lights we still can’t get over.
Thank you for making a sci-fi show set in space that doesn’t involve any armageddon nonsense.
Right? Isn’t it nice to have a good optimistic feeling when you’re [watching this].
Especially since I’m worrying about the world ending in real life all the time right now, so I don’t want to see that on TV.
It’s coming, it feels like it’s coming.
You’ve been friends with Seth MacFarlane for a long time. What was his pitch to you for this show? Secretly I’m hoping it was just that first scene when we meet Kelly and she’s getting it on with a blue alien played by Rob Lowe.
Yeah, that’s actually what sold me on the whole thing. I’m not kidding. First of all, I was rolling, but also I’m like, “How does she come back from this?” And to play that character and to take on that challenge, was why I wanted to do this.
The show has really evolved from the pilot.
I read a few of the scripts before we started shooting the pilot, and the pilot is like every show. It’s a way to introduce people and characters and the idea, but it’s not going to be what the show is usually. I think now that we have the time and space and people really, really love these characters, thank God, [Seth’s] able to delve into every specific character.