Who is Lisa Banes? At the start of tonight’s new episode of The Orville, you likely saw a tribute dedicating the episode to her memory.
Banes, just like Norm Macdonald, is an extremely talented performer who unfortunately passed away prior to the show arriving on Hulu. She plays the part of Speria Balask in today’s “Gently Falling Rain,” and is currently set to also appear in at least one more episode later on in the season. She has in total appeared in dozens of films and TV shows, and is perhaps best known for Gone Girl. Some of her other TV credits include Nashville, Royal Pains, One Life to Live, Six Feet Under, and NCIS. She was also an acclaimed stage performer.
Tragically Banes died last year in a hit-and-run that generated some headlines around the time. Even though this was her first year aboard The Orville, clearly Seth MacFarlane and the entire creative team wanted to make sure that she was properly honored before even getting into today’s new episode. Title cards often air following new episodes, but this show has made the decision to place them before their installments, likely as a way to further acknowledge the person who was lost. These tributes also make sense tonally for a show like this, which can cause you to feel sentimental and reflective. The Orville may be science fiction, but it also allows you to think about yourself and those most important to you. We have seen that time and time again.
Title cards are one of the most important ways a show can honor someone beloved behind the scenes. They will be included in all subsequent airings, and they allow viewers to learn more about the person behind the work. Banes clearly had an impact on everyone involved at The Orville, and many of the cast and crew were likely fans long before she ever signed on for her role.
Our thoughts and condolences go out to Banes’ family and loved ones during this difficult time. We hope that this tribute can serve as some source of comfort. (Photo: Hulu.)