Here's Dan Harmon’s Other TV Venture

Slate's Culture Blog
July 23 2013 1:40 PM

Here's Dan Harmon’s Other TV Venture

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Dan Harmon at the 2013 Comic-Con in San Diego

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

When Season 5 of Community returns with a reinstated Dan Harmon as its primary creative force later this year, it won’t be the only series the controversial showrunner will have on the air. During his year away from the NBC niche hit, Harmon found the time to create a Back to the Future-inspired animated comedy for Adult Swim.

Harmon and co-creator Justin Roiland previewed Rick and Morty, which has been ordered for 10 episodes, at Comic-Con San Diego this past weekend. (“I was between jobs,” he cracked when asked why he chose to work on the show.) The series follows Morty, an awkward teen, who’s frequently dragged along into the scientific misadventures of his kooky lab coat-sporting grandfather Rick. The strains of Back to the Future running through the show are obvious immediately: In addition to the former's name, the latter’s wild hair seems to have been raided from Doc Brown’s personal stylist.

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This preview for Rick and Morty doesn't show off Harmon's best work—the jokes and gags are only moderately clever, and the reel’s clips are slapped together in a way that's a bit confusing if you're expecting a polished trailer. And depending upon how one feels about it, the fact that a few of the storylines are “leftovers” from Community may not be all-too encouraging.*

Still, it does hold a certain charm in its manic tone, one of the best aspects of Community, and it features a talented voice cast, including Chris Parnell and Sarah Chalke. It’s unclear whether fans of either Back to the Future or Community will be pleased with Rick and Morty, but Harmon’s involvement should be enough to make it worth checking out.

Update, July 23, 2013: Roiland has clarified his statement from Comic-Con regarding the storylines in Rick and Morty: "I promise that the comment about Rick and Morty plot lines being Community left overs was a joke! Trailer WAS rushed!"

Aisha Harris is a Slate staff writer.

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