Created by Dan Harmon, the mastermind behind the cult sitcom Community, Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty is probably best described as a twisted, drunken Back to the Future. The series centers on the unlikely partnership between Morty (voiced by Justin Roiland), a shy 14-year-old and Rick (also Roiland), his genius yet offensive grandfather. The two regularly engage in what Morty’s father refers to as, “high-concept sci-fi rigmarole.”
As with most Adult Swim programs, Rick and Morty spends a lot of time being happily gross. Young Morty isn’t the brightest tool in the shed, so Rick is able to convince him to do all sorts of disgusting stuff, such as shoving giant seeds into his rectum during the first episode. This is not social commentary. In the midst of all the depravity, the two explore different dimensions and face off with monsters. The two are at least partly modeled on Doc and Marty from the Back to the Future films—a nod to the creator’s fondness for the storytelling style of 1980’s blockbusters—nonetheless, Rick and Morty’s bizarre adventures can be hilariously dark. One of the best episodes of the first season, “Rick Potion No. 9,” begins with Morty asking his grandfather for a love potion to use on his crush. The experiment culminates with the world’s entire human population being turned into deformed mutants. This leads Rick to exclaim, “Boy, Morty, I really Cronenberged the world up, didn’t I?” referring to David Cronenberg’s The Fly.
A majority of the episodes are based around parodying science fiction and fantasy stories. My favorite, Lawnmower Dog is a spoof of Inception and Nightmare on Elm Street, mixed with a dog-version of Planet of the Apes. “Ricksy Business,” is a titanic reenactment gone wrong (the boat misses the iceberg and doesn’t sink). Rick and Morty likely isn’t to everyone’s taste, but it’s truly unique and deserves credit for that.
Rick and Morty: Season One features 11 episodes on a single Blu-ray disc:
- Series Pilot
2. Lawnmower Dog
3. Anatomy Park
4. M. Night Shaym-Aliens!
5. Meeseeks and Destroy
6. Rick Potion #9
7. Raising Gazorpazorp
8. Rixty Minutes
9. Something Ricked This Way Comes
10. Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind
11. Ricksy Business
Presented in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio, Warner Bros. 1080p transfer shows a few instances of banding, but they are minor. Color and contrast look perfect and really pop. Line art is crisp and clean. There are no serious anomalies here.
The lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround track serves the series very well. Voices are clear as a bell and prioritization is perfect. LFE gives life to alien attacks, creature chases, etc. The rear speakers offer plenty of activity, though there isn’t much in the way of ambient effects.
English SDH subtitles are included.
Along with an UltraViolet copy,the following extras are available:
- Creator and Animator Audio Commentaries: The supplemental package kicks off with eleven fairly extensive audio commentaries; one for each episode, featuring co-creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland and several writers, directors and animators. Identifying references, Easter eggs and genre tropes is first priority, followed by overviews of the inspiration for the stories and specific jokes, a general look into the development of each episode and much more. Commentaries include:
- Pilot, with Dan Harmon, Justin Roiland and Ryan Elder
- Lawnmower Dog, with Harmon, Roiland and Ryan Ridley
- Anatomy Park, with Harmon, Roiland, Eric Acosta and Wade Randolph
- M. Night Shaym-Aliens!, with Harmon, Roiland, Ridley and Tom Kauffman
- Meeseeks and Destroy, with Harmon, Roiland, Ridley and Bryan Newton
- Rick Potion #9, with Harmon, Roiland, Ridley and Stephen Sandoval
- Raising Gazorpazorp, with Harmon, Roiland and Ridley
- Rixty Minutes, with Harmon, Roiland, Ridley and Newton
- Something Ricked This Way Comes, with Harmon, Roiland, Elder and Pete Michels
- Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind, with Harmon, Roiland, Ridley and Sandoval
- Ricksy Business, with Harmon, Roiland, Ridley and Michels
- Special Guest Commentaries: There are three additional commentaries featuring a variety of special guests, themselves fans of the series. Tracks include “Rick Potion #9,” with The Simpsons‘ Matt Groening, Al Jean, J. Stewart Burns, Max Pross, Matt Selman, Jon Kern and Tom Gammill; “Rixty Minutes,” with The Walking Dead‘s Robert Kirkman and Scott M. Gimple; and “Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind,” with Adventure Time‘s Pendleton Ward and Kent Osborne.
- Behind the Scenes (HD, 19:08) A bad behind-the-scenes piece, featuring a fake host, irritating interviews, irritating questions, dismissive answers by the creators, immature gags, bathroom tours, corner urination, haunted office stories, etc. Skip it.
- Deleted Scenes (HD, 6:46) The episode selection menu houses a selection of storyboarded deleted scenes for the pilot, “Anatomy Park,” “M. Night Shaym-Aliens!,” “Meeseeks and Destroy,” “Rick Potion #9,” “Rixty Minutes” and “Ricksy Business.”
- Animatics (SD) A full-length animatic is available for each episode.