Adrianne Palicki On The Thoughtful Space Comedy Of ‘The Orville’ And That Forgotten ‘Friday Night Lights’ Storyline

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.