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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Rick and Morty: The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)
Rick and Morty: The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)
Warner Bros. // Unrated // June 7, 2016 // Region A
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ryan Keefer | posted June 9, 2016 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
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P R I N T
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The Show:

If you ever wondered if someone could make an animated show using inspirations from Back to the Future, sprinkle in a heaping tablespoon of Men in Black, and give it a dusting or two of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and you'd probably have Rick and Morty, the show on Adult Swim co-created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon, the latter of whom was responsible for the NBC cult comedy Community (yes, it's that, speaking as a devotee). But there are some really special things that go on in the show that burst out from the genre labels I've halfheartedly tossed at it.

The show's two main characters are Rick Sanchez, a brilliant scientist with tendencies that lean towards mischief and alcohol. His grandson is Morty Smith (both characters are voiced by Roiland) and the two travel through the Universe with the show following them in the process. They also spend a fair amount of time at home because Morty is a kid with responsibilities to his family, like being a kid and going to school, and Rick lives with the family. The family includes Jerry (Chris Parnell, Archer), the now-unemployed husband, his wife/Rick's daughter Beth (Sarah Chalke, Archer), and their oldest child Summer (Spencer Grammer, Greek). There tends to be friction between Summer and Morty about affection from Rick, though Rick's ‘love' is less a begrudging acceptance to bring someone along on his adventures, and there tends to be conflict between Jerry and Beth about Rick's place in the household, and Rick hates them all, in various ways it seems, despite sharing the same roof with them.

Rick and Morty combines several elements from familiar storytelling devices into one really well done show. Generally it perpetuates character arcs at the right times for a show, while balancing standalone moments in their lives, and those moments are hilarious throughout the course of the show. However, in the second season there is a sense of showing Rick some of the things that a being should cherish, be it friendship, family, or time spent with a loved one. By the end of the second season, Rick seems to realize that he has none of these things and, early on the season, is almost suicidal or even fatalist, and the way the season leaves Rick is poignant yet understandable. Balancing that against the background of interdimensional adventures is fascinating.

It helps even more that said adventures are just as hilarious. Following Season One gems such as "Lawnmower Dog" and "Meseeks and Destroy," Season Two brings even more great installments. "Mortynight Run" features a fart cloud (voiced by Flight of the Conchords Jemaine Clement) and a bug-like assassin (Andy Daly, Eastbound & Down), and a moral choice Morty has to make; "Total Rickall" is a bottle episode with a metropolitan zip code's worth of gimmick characters culminating in a "Where's Waldo?" experience for Rick. The best of the bunch in this run may be "Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate," which may have you screaming for a comeback by Jan-Michael Vincent by the end of it. Trust me, it's a good thing. The universe is so assumed and matter of fact that the laughs prove to hit harder for the viewer and the environments Rick and Morty wander into are just fun to experience. That it wraps up character storylines with a pseudo-epiphanous moment by a key character is a nice bow on top of the package.

Television in 2016 continues to be on the upturn in terms of either performance or storytelling quality. And the animated Rick and Morty has just a right to claim some of that turf for itself like any other show out there. Harmon and Roiland are aware of their characters' respective humanities and bring them out at perfect moments, all the while weaving their way through moments where you are laughing yourself to tears, or rewinding a scene to catch something that you miss in it. It's an animated sci-fi show that just happens to be one of the best television efforts out there.

The Blu-ray:
The Video:

The ten-episode Season Two run is all on one disc, presented in 1.78:1 widescreen and uses the AVC codec for high definition. As I understand it the show is drawn and illustrated digitally and when viewing it on media you skip the step of broadcast episodes, and thus the picture looks sharp and the colors are a tad more vivid than they did when they first aired. The colors are consistent with no moments of noise or saturation, and the images are as pristine as can be given the type and recency of the source material. It reminds me of when Toy Story first came out to DVD in terms of seeing just how noticeable the improvement was from airing to video, and I came away just as impressed.

The Sound:

Dolby TrueHD 5.1 for all of the episodes, which makes better than expected use of the soundstage. There are a lot of intergalactic chases after Rick and Morty and they include channel panning and directional effects smartly and effectively, putting the viewer in the middle of the action. The ample gunfires throughout Season Two have laser shots whirring by and explosions that possess a decent oomph to them in the low fidelity moments. Dialogue is consistent throughout and requires little in the way of user compensation, and as far as TV shows go, it's one of the better sounding ones I've heard recently. A quick note, the shows are uncensored, so enjoy a bleep-free world.

Extras:

So Harmon, Roiland and co-producer Ryan Ridley provide commentary on each episode, with a rotating fourth person for each one, usually that episode's writer, director or show producer Dan Guterman. There is a variety of information here, such as the musician that was approached to first voice "Fart," or watching guest star Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) kissing her hand passionately, or impressions of director Brett Ratner. Sure, more detailed things like original scene intentions or character motivations are mentioned, but there are some fun and funny nuggets in these tracks. Three guest commentaries are a nice enhancement, starting with Erik Wolpaw, Jay Pinkerton and Gabe Newell (on Episode 2), who are two writers, and the creator of, the video game studio Steam. They discuss character development and choices, and the differences in the process of the product, and it proves to be a more interesting track than expected. The next is with Harmon friend Abed Gheith and WWE superstar Seamus (episode 4), and they talk about the characters and some origin stories from Seamus' end. The last is with Sal Governale and Richard Christy on episode 6. The Howard Stern show writers don't really add anything of note to the experience, not because of their employer, just that the track is kind of boring. Oh, and digital copies via Ultraviolet for the portable fan in your life.

After that, you have sketch animatics for each episode (including two on the first one) and two deleted animatic sketches (2:11), one of which is a perfect. A Season Two premiere party featuring the music of Chaos Chaos (43:13), who handles the music for much of the show, is next.

Final Thoughts:

Get Schwifty, or rickety rickety wrecked son, because the second season of Rick and Morty is here and is better than the first. It still has the humor that fans know, but shows its heart a little more in the season and some of the episodes are among the best television offerings out there. Technically, the disc looks and sounds great, and the extras are decent, though don't measure up to the first season. Nevertheless, binge this with pride.

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