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Rick and Morty Season 1

While anyone is yet to throw massive amounts of money at me to make a TV show — or anything else for that matter — I’m going say things in this post that are probably way off base. To make matters worse I’m going to make out like they’re accurate or based in some kind of fact. The reality is I’m an idiot who has a website and you should probably just ignore everything that I post here. Or say in person. Or via email. Or, ever.

Actually, I should maybe have posted that previous paragraph quite a few years ago, but whatever. It’s not like I have a time machine… [segue] …But you know who did have a time machine? Doc Brown! Yeah, the guy from Back to the Future [nailed it]. It always struck me that Back to the Future had all the elements to create an ongoing series and I firmly believe that the reason no such series exists is because Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd are irreplaceable (Yes, I’m aware of the animated attempt).

The premise of characters traveling around through time having all manner of adventures isn’t a new one. Bill and Ted did it, Sherman and Mr. Peabody, Doug Phillips and Tony Newman, Dr. Sam Beckett and Al, Elroy and Furious (in the unmade second season of Powers Cosmic), and of course Doctor Who and whoever he’s dragging around with him are all good examples. There’s a reason that so many instances of this format can be found; because the concept is an endless well of ideas. You can stretch the idea a little further to include any ‘vehicle’ which allows audiences to be transported away on adventures with characters they care about – it’s why Star Trek works, it’s why Star Gate works, it’s why Buffy had a Hellmouth to deal with, and why Sliders… did whatever Sliders was doing. The beauty of science fiction is that it can take you anywhere and it can do anything, but it is at its best when it takes us on those adventures in the company of characters that we care about. And that’s why the lack of MORE adventures featuring Marty and Doc seems like a massive missed opportunity – or an example of unfathomable self control on behalf of Back to the Future creators Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis.

Clearly I’m not the only one to think this. Back in October of 2006 Justin Roiland created a cartoon for Channel 101 titled “The Real Animated Adventures of Doc and Mharti.” What started as an attempt to bait Cease and Desist letters, after his previous Ch 101 series “House of Cosbys” was canceled, changed into something that Justin wanted to take further.

A little Google-fu will land you a copy of that original video, but let me save you some effort by informing you that it’s not very good. But the seed of an idea was there, sure it was borrowing from the formula used by Gale and Zemeckis, but it was worth pursuing.

Somehow Roiland hooked up with Community creator Dan Harmon and the series “Rick and Morty” was born.

Morty’s grandfather Rick is a brilliant scientist who has something of a drinking habit. Marty is an awkward kid who has self esteem issues. Their relationship mirrors the Doc Brown and Marty Mcfly only in passing, but the origin is obvious. Distinctly missing from Rick and Morty’s adventures is the Time Travel element — although Rick has a box labelled “Time Travel Stuff” on a shelf in the garage — because.. well, one suspects that Adult Swim weren’t as keen on the Cease and Desist bait concept as Roiland was in the Channel 101 days.

The thing is Rick and Morty works, and it does so on it’s own steam. The passing resemblance to the BTTF characters is quickly just a quirk of the show – of which there are many. Both characters are unlikable at first, in fact it’s taken me pushing a few friends VERY FIRMLY to stick with the show beyond the first three episodes. The adventures don’t take place in non-liner time, but they do cross dimensions, travel into dreams, get shrunk and injected into a human body, visit virtual realms, and come into contact with other versions of themselves. Science Fiction is used not just as a vehicle by Harmon and Roiland, but as another character within the Rick and Morty universe. If you stick with it the onion reveals some dark layers, but the tears, the tears will be from laughter. In fact one of my housemates almost stopped breathing during one episode as a result of a few well timed one liners.

I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a series (animated or otherwise) to combine science fiction and comedy in such a successful way. I don’t actually want to describe the content of the show much more than I already have, because it really is worth going on the adventure with this crazy scientist and his grandson (and their dysfunctional family) without too much of a preconceived idea about what you’re getting into, but lets say that Rick and Morty isn’t just funny, it’s kill your housemate funny.

The first season DVD/Bluray is available now! GET IT!

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