×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TV Review: ‘Rick and Morty’

Animated series from Dan Harmon, Justin Roiland playfully goes back to the future

With:

Voices: Justin Roiland, Chris Parnell, Sarah Chalke, Spencer Grammer

Manic but more focused than a lot of Adult Swim fare, “Rick and Morty” is an amusing animated construct from actor-producer Justin Roiland (who, impressively, voices both title characters) and “Community’s” Dan Harmon. Built around the adventures of a mad scientist and his shell-shocked grandson – his “little helper,” as Rick calls him – the show avoids some of the traps associated with the genre, actually telling stories beyond just the customary rat-a-tat gags and pop-culture references. In terms of the elusive sweet spot of channel-surfing young guys, it’s one of the better-realized recent Adult Swim offerings.

Feeling a bit like “Back to the Future” on acid, Rick is certainly a colorful sort, with a wild mane of hair, prone to stammering and burping and bouts of panic – sometimes all in the same sentence. His reluctant sidekick, Morty, has missed a lot of school lately, much to the chagrin of his squabbling parents (Chris Parnell and Sarah Chalke).

“You gotta do it for grandpa!” Rick implores the kid, even as he drags him into one life-threatening, fantastic sci-fi situation after another in places like Dimension 35C, one of the many parallel universes to which the gadget-inventing Rick can travel.

Rick’s universe-trotting gets better in the second episode, which features an elaborate “Inception” spoof, as the central duo leap into various layers of dreams, including a “legally safe knockoff” of a certain long-fingernailed horror-movie heavy. A “B” plot, meanwhile, involves Rick gifting the family dog with speech, which yields a pretty clever assortment of unintended consequences.

As with the “Family Guy” episodes that will provide “Rick and Morty’s” lead-in, Adult Swim often seems overly reliant on simply being frenetic at the expense of being witty. While “Rick and Morty” isn’t necessarily the stuff dreams are made of, in its buoyant flights of fancy, it does betray a welcome attempt to dream just a little bigger.

TV Review: 'Rick and Morty'

(Series; Adult Swim, Mon. Dec. 2, 10:30 p.m.)

Production:

Produced by Solo Vanity Card, Starburn Industries, Harmonious Claptrap and Williams Street.

Crew:

Executive producers, Dan Harmon, Justin Roiland, James A. Fino, Joe Russo II; producer, J. Michael Mendel; supervising director, Pete Michels; director, John Rice; writer, Ryan Ridley; editor, Lee Harting; art director, James McDermott; character design lead, Carlos Ortega; casting, Ruth Lambert, Robert McGee. 30 MIN.

Cast:

Voices: Justin Roiland, Chris Parnell, Sarah Chalke, Spencer Grammer

More TV

  • Five Takes on Canal Plus, Federation’s

    Just Days Left to Catch Canal Plus’ ‘The Bureau’ on MyFFF

    The most lauded of titles on this year’s MyFrenchFilmFestival, UniFrance’s online showcase featured by over 50 OTT services around the world, may not be a film but a drama series. With four seasons aired, and a milestone in world sales on a French TV show, slow-boiling espionage series ‘Le Bureau des légendes’ (“The Bureau”) is [...]

  • Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith

    Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith Dies at 78

    Walt Disney Archives founder Dave Smith, the historian who spent 40 years cataloging and preserving the company’s legacy of entertainment and innovation, died Friday in Burbank, Calif. He was 78. Smith served as Disney’s chief archivist from 1970 to 2010. He was named a Disney Legend in 2007 and served as a consultant to the [...]

  • TV Writer Christopher Knopf, Former WGA

    TV Writer Christopher Knopf, Former WGA West President, Dies at 91

    Prolific Emmy-nominated television writer Christopher Edwin Knopf, former president of the Writers Guild of America West, died in his sleep of congestive heart failure on Feb. 13. He was 91. Knopf was born in New York and attended UCLA, leaving during his senior year to join the Air Force during World War II. He finished [...]

  • Jussie Smollett The Black AIDS Insitute

    Jussie Smollett Case: Two Suspects Released Without Charges as New Evidence Emerges

    After two days of questioning, the Chicago Police Department announced Friday evening that it has released two suspects in the Jussie Smollett case without filing charges. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said that detectives had developed new information in the case. Police no longer consider the men to be suspects. “Due to new evidence as a [...]

  • GOTHAM: L-R: Guest star Cameron Monaghan

    TV News Roundup: Fox Drops 'Gotham' Final Season Trailer (Watch)

    In today’s TV news roundup, Fox released a new trailer for an upcoming episode of “Gotham” and Disney has announced the cast for its upcoming “High School Musical” series.  FIRST LOOKS Showtime released a new trailer and the official poster for the upcoming fourth season of “Billions,” premiering March 17 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. In [...]

  • Chris Rock

    Chris Rock to Direct Kenan Thompson Comedy Pilot at NBC

    Chris Rock has come onboard to direct the NBC single-cam comedy pilot “Saving Kenan,” Variety has learned. Rock will also executive produce the pilot, which stars “SNL” mainstay Kenan Thompson. Thompson will play a newly widowed dad determined to be everything for his kids while begrudgingly letting his persistent father-in-law become more involved in their lives [...]

  • Peak TV Saturation TV Placeholder

    Apollo Global Management Buys Majority Stake in Cox TV Stations

    Private equity giant Apollo Global Management has cut a deal with Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises to buy a majority stake in Cox’s 13 TV stations as well as three newspapers and a handful of radio stations in Ohio. Apollo has been in the hunt for broadcast TV stations for some time. Cox’s station group, which includes [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content