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Meet 'The Orville' costumer designer Joseph Porro

Photo: FOX
"The Orville" airs Sundays on FOX. The show is a live-action, one-hour space adventure series set 400 years in the future that follows The U.S.S. Orville, a mid-level exploratory spaceship. Its crew, both human and alien, face the wonders and dangers of outer space, while also dealing with the problems of everyday life. 

Seth MacFarlane stars as the ship’s Captain, Ed Mercer, and Adrianne Palicki as Mercer's ex-wife.  Also starring are Penny Johnson Jerald, Scott Grimes, Peter Macon, Halston Sage, Mark Jackson and Chad L. Coleman.

TVMusic Network was invited to visit the set and was very impressed with the amount of detailing there went into designing the two-story set. The set has a mess hall large enough for at least 50 people or should we say life forms, a captain's office and a bridge-like "Star Trek" deck where the crew takes flight. 

What was the most impressive on the set that day was the time and focus that was put into the design of the costumes. Costume designer Joseph Porro has been designing costumes in Hollywood for 30 years.  The Hollywood vet has worked on a number of shows, including "Salem." Now the idea of a sci-fi show was something as a huge fan of the genre, jumped at the opportunity to work on despite the challenges. 

"Nothing is more difficult than designing a sci-fi show one hour episodic that's not sequential," Porro set during a tour of the costumes.  "Every single week we have to create a whole new alien society, and then the following week all that stuff goes into storage." 

Porro says that it a tough job but it is also rewarding. 

"It's been a challenge, and it's been, also, incredibly rewarding," he said.  "It's fun to do all these different planets and different people and try my best...hopefully, it worked, I made them look good and made them interesting to your eye."

Porro's designs are made with delicate fabrics from China. 

"The other thing that's unique about 'The Orville' is I shop all my fabrics in Guangzhou and in Suzhou.  Every fabric you see here is fabrics you cannot find in the United States.  And the market there is several million square feet.  It takes a week and a half to go through the market.  So we shipped tons of fabric, not pounds, tons of fabric from China here. So we make everything here.  All our principal wardrobe is made here.  I have a great department. Because of the competition right now, I was only able to get five [seamtresses.]  I could have used five more.  So we're working really hard in that room to produce this stuff as quickly as we do.  
What's also challenging for Porro is that each week there are different tribes and races which means new costumes had to be made every week. Something that is different from previous shows that he's worked on. 

"I'm a sci-fi nerd, and I know all the other [sci-fi shows] and they're nonsequential, meaning that if you're on a planet 100 years in the future, you will design and make your background tribes, and that's what you will see all year long, the same tribes," Porro explained.  "I have to throw my tribes away after one episode and start a new tribe.  It's really hard.  And my last show is a period show, 'Salem' with Brannon Braga, one of our producers, and at least my background people, which I made, I could use them every week, and I just had to build the pretty dresses on the leads.  But this is hard.  And it's fun.  It's a lot of fun." 

To catch the costumes of "The Orville," check it out Sundays on FOX.