Rick and Morty: Season 1 (Blu-ray Review)
Release Date(s)2013-2014 (October 7, 2014)
Studio(s)Williams Street/Cartoon Network/Adult Swim (Warner Home Video)
- Film/Program Grade: A-
- Video Grade: A-
- Audio Grade: A-
- Extras Grade: A-
One of Adult Swim’s finest shows since The Venture Bros., Rick and Morty adopts the premise of Back to the Future and takes it to the next level. It follows the adventures of Rick Sanchez, an alcoholic, nihilistic mad scientist, his timid but optimistic grandson Morty, and the rest of the Smith family as they traipse their way to the farthest reaches of the universe and reality itself, making friends, enemies, and generally trying to survive Rick’s increasingly perilous escapades along the way. With three seasons in the can, a potential fourth season on the way, and ratings that continue to climb, Rick and Morty is more popular than ever with no signs of slowing down.
In all honesty, the reason you’re reading a review of one of this show’s earlier seasons is because I wasn’t all that keen on it initially. I’m always of the opinion that nearly everything is worth checking out at least twice, maybe even three times, before you can really get a sense of how you feel about it. Because of this, I’ve gone back and given books, movies, and TV shows that I originally disregarded or gave up on more opportunities to entertain me, which is what happened with Rick and Morty. I watched the premiere episode and it just didn’t click with me. I didn’t find it all that funny or appealing at first and, as a consequence, didn’t watch any further episodes. But after giving it some space (and being exposed to the infamous Pickle Rick episode from Season 3), I decided to give it another go. Thankfully, it proved to be a fruitful endeavor.
Looking at it from the outside in, Rick and Morty seems like a show that shouldn’t be as mega popular as it is. Let’s face it, we’ve seen shows of this sort before, mostly in live action form of course, but usually cancelled only after a season or two. With the merchandise it has spawned and its social media appeal, it continues to garner more fans. It’s both hilarious and clever, giving us a world of characters that get more and more amusing and interesting as the show goes on. For instance, Rick has the potential to be a completely disingenuous and unlikable character, and I’m sure for non-fans of the show, he is. He’s abrasive, rude, and completely horrible to the people around him. But somehow, he works, as does the show.
Season 1 of Rick and Morty comes to Blu-ray uncut and uncensored with an excellent A/V presentation. The show’s art style is well-represented in high definition with a beautiful array of colors and textures. Despite the modern nature of its animated renderings, nothing ever appears overly sharp but crisp enough for proper definition. Depth and detail are through the roof with vivid backgrounds, shading, and solid lines around characters and objects. Blacks are inky deep and both brightness and contrast levels are perfect. The only real issue, which isn’t really an issue at all, is some light haloing around the line art, which appears to be inherent in the source. If there are any other minor animation anomalies or encode issues, I didn’t spot any. For the audio, an English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD track is provided with optional subtitles in English SDH. It’s an excellent track with lots of surround activity and plenty of fidelity. Dialogue is always crisp and clear while sound effects and score feature excellent depth and occasional LFE. It’s also free of dropouts or other audio problems. So there are no real complains to be had about this well-produced presentation.
In the extras department, this release comes loaded for bear. There are audio commentaries on every single episode, some containing more than one. Pilot, Lawnmower Dog, and Raising Gazorpazorp feature Dan Harmon, Justin Roiland, and Ryan Elder; Anatomy Park features Harmon, Roiland, Eric Acosta, and Wade Randolph; M. Night Shaym-Aliens! features Harmon, Roiland, Tom Kauffman, and Ryan Ridley; Meeseeks and Destroy and Rixty Minutes feature Harmon, Roiland, Bryan Newton, and Ridley; Rixty Minutes also features another commentary with Robert Kirkman and Scott M. Gimple; Rick Potion #9 and Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind feature Harmon, Roiland, Stephen Sandoval, and Ridley; Rick Potion #9 also features another commentary with Matt Groening, Al Jean, J. Stewart Burns, Max Pross, Matt Selman, Jon Kern, and Tom Gammill; Something Ricket This Way Comes and Ricksy Business feature Harmon, Roiland, Pete Michels, and Elder; and last but not least, Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind features another audio commentary with Pendleton Ward and Kent Osborne. There are also deleted scenes for Pilot, Anatomy Park, M. Night Shaym-Aliens!, Meeseeks and Destroy, Rick Potion #9, Rixty Minutes, and Ricksy Business. In addition, there’s 19 minutes worth of behind the scenes footage and interviews (some of it taken seriously); full animatics for every episode; a 16-page mini-comic book insert entitled “The Good Morty”; and a paper insert containing a Digital HD code. Despite the amount of content here, the show’s trailers and TV spots, as well as the original short that inspired the show, would have been nice to have had as well (although the latter likely couldn’t be included for rights issues).
Endlessly quotable and fun, the future looks bright for Rick and Morty. It’s a terrific show with an amazing voice cast, beautiful animation, and hilarious dialogue and situations. If you were like me and you initially tossed it aside, give it another chance. It’s definitely worth your time, and this Blu-ray presentation of the show’s first season is an excellent way to experience it. Highly recommended.
- Tim Salmons