Oh jeez, it’s been rough since Rick and Morty ended. The emptiness grows even worse when you consider season four won’t be arriving for “like a really long time,” according to Adult Swim. Where can you turn to fill the void, beyond endless repeats of seasons one through three? We have some suggestions, and thankfully none of them involve Szechuan Sauce.
These 16 claymation shorts (which can be viewed on Adult Swim’s website, and/or through less-than-official YouTube reposts) run about 20 seconds each and cleverly insert Rick and Morty into famous scenes from classic science fiction movies, with a few horror titles thrown in there too (The Thing, The Fly, Ex Machina, Poltergeist, etc.) Much like the real show, they’re over too soon, but it’s still awesome to hear the characters putting their own spin on famously quotable lines. “Open the pod bay doors, Rick!” “I’m sorry, Morty... I can’t do that.”
The combination of offbeat genius and inter-dimensional travel (plus musical talent!) isn’t unique to Rick and Morty. If you’re suffering without a steady supply of new episodes, this 1984 cult favorite—about a snappily-dressed scientist/rock star/daredevil who travels between dimensions and battles evil yet inept aliens with the help of his ever-loyal Hong Kong Cavaliers—is well worth revisiting.
The second episode of Rick and Morty’s first season, “Lawnmower Dog,” introduced maybe the greatest Freddy Krueger homage (or “legally-safe knock-off of an ‘80s horror character with miniature swords for fingers instead of knives”) the world has ever seen: Scary Terry. Once he’s out of the boiler room and at home with his family, Scary Terry shows that he’s not such a bad guy after all, despite his fondness for calling everybody “bitch.” You’ll have no such reveal with the real Freddy, of course, but it’s the perfect season to rewatch 1984's A Nightmare on Elm Street and remind yourself who Scary Terry stole his act from.
That other animated science fiction show will soon be available for streaming in its entirety on Hulu—that’s 140 episodes and four movies, more than enough material to fuel an incredibly epic binge. The Matt Groening show hits the streaming channel on October 16, but if you don’t have a Hulu subscription, you can catch Fry, Leela, Bender, and company in programming blocks on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Saturdays on Syfy starting November 11.
In season three, episode two (“Rickmancing the Stone”), Rick, Morty, and Summer have a Mad Max-style adventure, where Summer finds romance (briefly) and Morty becomes the undisputed champion of something that suspiciously resembles the title fighting arena in 1985's Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. (There are Fury Road references, too, if you want to make it a double-feature.) Though it’s maybe the least-respected entry in the Mad Max series, Thunderdome has post-apocalyptic style for days and campily quotable lines—plus the obvious bonus of having Tina Turner play an excellently evil, excellently costumed wasteland ruler.
This Image Comics scifi series launched in May 2014. It’s written by Rick Remender with artist Matteo Scalera and colorist Dean White, and follows former Anarchistic Order of Scientists member Grant McKay and his “Dimensionauts” as they hop from dimension to dimension, discovering worlds across the deepest reaches of space. There’s obviously less snarky comedy afoot in these stories than in Rick and Morty—McKay has yet to visit anything like, say, Buttworld—but the various alien civilizations are vividly rendered in both text and artwork.
It isn’t the greatest Stephen King adaptation ever attempted, but this 1993 film does have the great Max von Sydow as the oily curiosity-shop proprietor who manipulates the town of Castle Rock into chaos and violence. The diabolical Rick and Morty version is voiced by Alfred Molina in “Something Ricked This Way Comes,” whose scheme is thwarted not by Sheriff Ed Harris, but by Rick, who spitefully opens the competing shop Curse Purge Plus! and puts the Devil out of business by rendering all his sinister wares totally harmless.
In case the Jan-Michael Vincent reference in season two, episode eight (“Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate”) went over your head—like it did Rick and Morty’s heads—here’s your chance to catch up on the actor’s best-known credit. The real star of this mid-1980s action show was the high-tech helicopter that it’s named for, but Vincent (who plays a pilot named Stringfellow “String” Hawke) is its main human character: a daredevil, a classical cellist, a physicist, and a man disdainful of undergarments. It’s time to Michael down your Vincents, y’all.
Despairing Rick and Morty fans can’t meet up for a game of Roy 2: Dave at Blips and Chitz (if only), and we can’t sample a Simple Rick’s Wafer Cookie (probably for the best). But we can engage in one activity that Rick Sanchez does better than most: consume booze! “We” being people who are are 21 and older, of course (depending on the country you’re in.) Show creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon haven’t been totally forthcoming about the contents of Rick’s flask, but they did spill a little during the Rick and Morty panel at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con. Harmon joked that it was “the coolant droplets from the movie Event Horizon,” which would be a bit difficult for the rest of us to sample, but Roiland suggested it’s top-shelf stuff: “From day to day it could be a nice Ketel One, maybe some Grey Goose, little bit of Hennessy X.O.” The latter will cost you an awful lot of flurbos, but it’s worth it.