Rick and Morty: The Complete Seasons 1-4: A Fantastic Collection of the Show Thus Far (Blu-ray)


The Show:


There seems to be very little that I could add to my review of the fourth season of "Rick and Morty" in regards to my thoughts on the show as a whole. That being said, I would reiterate its genius in how the various writers are able to take a couple of very basic set-ups (a brilliant inventor/scientist and his nephew going on adventures, with other family members providing much of the b-story material) and turning it into one of the most wild, unpredictable, and hilarious shows every made. It's one of those shows where you can try to describe it in mere words, but they wouldn't begin to do it justice, as it's something you really need to experience to be able to appreciate just how crazy (and wonderful) it is.


Instead what this is going to be is more of a "highlights reel" or basically a look at some of my favorite episodes from the series (I'm going to try my best to stick to just two per season), which seems rather appropriate for a collection containing all four seasons of the show thus far. So sit back, relax, and let's take a stroll down memory lane, jumping all the way back to 2013 when the madness first began.


Most people would probably assume that it was the pilot that really launched the show and gave us the first taste of what it was going to be like. However, while the pilot was a fine start, I'd have to say that it was more so the second episode ("Lawnmower Dog" by Ryan Ridley) that truly set things in motion. It involves the family dog gaining sentience through one of Rick's inventions, subsequently leading him and other dogs to try to take over the world. Surprisingly though, this could be seen as the b-side to the episode, with the main plot involving Rick and Morty "incepting" the latter's math teacher for a better grade. This leads to a bizarre series of adventures through various minds, including a memorable visit with "Scary Terry" (a delightful Freddy Kruger knockoff), ultimately giving you the first real glimpse at just how strange the show was going to get.


There are several other strong episodes in this season, including "Anatomy Park," "Meeseeks and Destroy," and "Rick Potion #9", but I'd be remiss not to bring up "Rixty Minutes" (by Tom Kauffman and Justin Roiland), otherwise known as the "Interdimensional Cable" episode. There isn't really a solid plot to the episode, though there is a minor side-story about the choices some of the family have made, but the main reason the episode is so particularly memorable is the completely random series of shows & commercials that the family flips through as they navigate their souped-up cable system (and a pair of interdimensional goggles showing alternate realities). Yes, the episode basically comes down to a series of sketches, but seeing glimpses of things as ludicrous as "Ball Fondlers," "Gazorpazorpfield," and "Quick Mysteries" makes this one of the most memorable episodes of the entire series.


Moving on to season two, the first episode that really jumps out is "Total Rickall" (by Mike McMahan) which involves parasites invading the Smith household. The problem is, who's real and who's not? With the house on lockdown, everyone is trapped inside as Rick and the family try to figure this out, leading to a fantastic (and utterly random) parade of goofy characters that provide the episode's endless source of amusement. Just like with the inexplicable random nature of the sketches in the cable episode, this roomful of oddities will have you wondering where on Earth McMahan came up with them.


While it would be easy to include a multitude of episodes this season, including the other Interdimensional Cable episode or "Look Who's Purging Now" (which has our two adventurers visiting a purge planet), the other that sticks out most, at least from a stylistic point of view, is actually the first episode of the season "A Rickle in Time" (by Matt Roller), which involves the creation of multiple timelines after Rick restarts time, leading our characters to be in a quantum-uncertain state of existence. It's really hard to imagine the massive amount of work that went into this episode for the design aspect alone, which has the screen splitting into a plethora of boxes to represent the various timelines, some having the same actions occur, while others have slightly different events, with timing being a big factor throughout. This is one where it's not necessarily the writing that makes it memorable, though it's still excellent, but rather the visual trip it provides as Rick, Morty, and Summer try to set everything right again.


For season three, there's no better place to start than with "Pickle Rick" (by Jessica Gao), the infamous episode that won the show its first Emmy. The plot involves Rick changing himself into a pickle in order to avoid going to a family counseling session, and while it does get him out of the session, it ultimately gets him involved in one hell of an adventure. Without going into too much detail, the brilliance of this episode lies in how it builds up the complete absurdity of the situation. Anyone not having seen the episode would naturally ask, "If he's a pickle, what can he do?" The answer is "plenty". By the end of the episode, you're left breathless not only because of the sheer enjoyment of the adventure, but also because of having laughed throughout at its total insanity.


Again, there were a few other great episodes to choose from, including "The Rickshank Redemption" (involving Rick's escape from prison) and "Morty's Mind Blowers" (involving some of Morty's erased memories), but the one that sticks out the most as far as I'm concerned is "The Ricklantis Mixup" (by Dan Gutterman and Ryan Ridley), which gives us a look at what various Ricks and Mortys are doing at the Citadel. It follows several intertwining plots, including a pairing of a Rick and Morty as cops, a Morty running for President, and a group of Mortys trying to find a Wishing Portal. It's hardly an action-packed episode, but the writing is quite strong, giving us several compelling stories and characters to follow in this brief 20-ish minutes. It feels unlike most of the other episodes of the series, and ultimately stands out as one of the very best (a conclusion that the fans have apparently concurred with given its remarkably high rating).


As far as season four goes, I would simply point you to my previous review, which delves into my personal selections for the season's best episodes. Again, I tried to limit myself for this review given the number of great episodes that could've been discussed, so don't take these as a list of the only episodes worth watching. Like with any show, some episodes are better than others, and these are just what I feel to be some of the very best the show has had to offer thus far.


"Rick and Morty" remains one of the most curious creations that has ever come to television. I said it before, but sometimes you really have to wonder if the writers are on some kind of special substance when coming up with some of the things they put in here. After all, who in their right mind would dream up someone turning themselves into a pickle and going on a wild adventure? But that's just one of the many situations that can be thrown at this kooky collection of characters. This show provides a canvas in which practically anything can happen, and they just happen to have the writers who are crazy enough to be able to fill it. As we head into a fifth season, we can only imagine what wacky adventures Rick, Morty, and the family will get into next, and like everyone else, I certainly can't wait to find out.


Video/Audio:


"Rick and Morty: The Complete Seasons 1-4" features the first four seasons of the show, presented in 16x9 transfers of outstanding quality. The animation is bright and beautiful on Blu-ray, with every frame looking perfectly sharp. The 5.1 Dolby TrueHD audio is likewise marvelous, giving you the dialogue, score, and sound effects in excellent quality. Overall, the show looks and sounds stunning, which will no doubt please its legions of fans.


Special Features:


Season One

Commentaries for Every Episode

Animatics for Every Episode

Behind the Scenes

Deleted Scenes


Season Two

Commentaries for Every Episode

Animatics for Every Episode

Deleted Animatic Sketches

Rick and Morty Premiere Party Featuring Chaos Chaos


Season Three

Commentaries for Every Episode

Animatics for Every Episode

"Inside the Episode" for Every Episode

Exclusive "Inside the Recording Booth"

Origins of Rick and Morty, Part 1 & 2


Season Four

A Day at Rick and Morty: Inside Season 4

"Inside the Episode" for Every Episode

Creating Snake Jazz

Directing Rick and Morty

Samurai and Shogun

Prop Process

Character Creation

Animation Challenges


As you can see, this collection offers a plethora of extras, including a multitude of commentaries (which mysterious drop off for season four), animatics (again, vanishing for season four), and tons of behind the scenes featurettes about the making of the show. Simply put, there are plenty of fascinating goodies here for all "Rick and Morty" fans to enjoy.


Conclusion:


After four outstanding seasons, "Rick and Morty" remains one of the very best shows on television (animated or otherwise), thrilling viewers week after week with the titular duo's zany, compelling adventures, and giving them multiple laughs along the way. This collection, containing the entirety of the show thus far, is perfect for fans who don't already have the individual seasons, and not only features all 41 episodes in excellent quality, but also a generous helping of bonus features for each season, ultimately making this an easy recommendation for your Blu-ray shelf.


Score: 4.5/5


Available on Blu-ray/DVD starting tomorrow.


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