If you’re as big of a Rick and Morty stan as I am, it was a loooooonng four months between that interstellar snake fiasco and the trailer for the remaining episodes of Season Four. This came one week after the debut teaser trailer for Solar Opposites, created by Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland and Mike McMahan, and left many fans wondering if the critically acclaimed series had been neglected in favor of a new, but seemingly familiar one. Based on the initial reactions of the trailer (including my own), it looked as if Roilan had made a clone of Rick and Morty with aliens subbing in for people. In fact, my joke was that the creator, who is known to drink for the sake of his art, must have had a few more than way too many and developed a whole other show in its place. Thankfully that wasn’t the case, and now we have episodes of Rick and Morty and Solar Opposites running at the same time. But make no mistake, Solar Opposites more than carves its own space in the realm of irreverent, animated sci-fi shenanigans and contends for Rick and Morty’s crown rather than just polishing it for them.
On the surface, Solar Opposites shares a number of similarities with its spiritual predecessor. The show revolves around a constructed “family” of aliens who crash on Earth after an asteroid destroys their utopian home planet. Consisting of Korvo, Terry, their adolescent-aged “replicants” Yumyulack and Jesse, and the world-ending Pupa, each episode revolves around their chaotic misadventures as they try to adjust to Earth and their human neighbors. Like Rick and Morty, there is wacky sci-fi gadgetry abound and the characters often leave unprecedented levels of violence and destruction in their paths. However, the show puts a fresh spin on the “aliens terrorizing Earth” trope by having them do it inadvertently (most of the time), and with intentions of being welcomed into the human community rather than with the reckless abandon of a drunken mad scientist. The characters are vastly different than those of the Sanchez/Smith family, with Korvo quickly differentiating himself from Rick despite both being scientific geniuses voiced by Roiland. Where Rick is nihilistic and cares little to none about how others perceive him, Korvo becomes anxious and confused in response to his new surroundings and has a strong desire for others to like him. There is no sheepish, Morty-like character, as co-lead Terry (voiced by Thomas Middleditch) is the fun but careless simpleton and the replicants (voiced by Sean Giambrone and Mary Mack) represent more of the traditional sitcom role for children. Even the Pupa embarks on its own separate story arcs, sort of in the same mold as an otherworldly Perry the Platypus from Phineas and Ferb. Oddly enough, the alien family are more stable than the human family in Rick and Morty and exhibit actual signs of love and growth, rather than pit dive deeper into their own disfunction.
Over the course of eight episodes, Solar Opposites throws its characters into typical Earthly situations like bullies, bigotry, stress, puberty, gender roles, and misplacing your wallet, letting the madness unravel as they cluelessly navigate through our strange world. The voice cast is incredible and carries the show just as much as its eclectic stories. There is even something of a show-within-a-show that runs throughout the season and carries a more consistent plot thread than the actual show, and the bulk of the seventh episode is dedicated to the plight of the “people within the wall”. Roiland could have probably pitched the secondary storyline as a drama to a premium network and gained some real traction, it’s that interesting. All in all, the series proves that it is much more than Rick and Morty filler and even surpasses its parent show in some ways. Embracing the similarities while still distinguishing itself as something different, Solar Opposites is yet another outlet for Roiland’s beloved insanity and has a future as bright as the night time skies of planet Schlorp. All eight episodes are available to stream now on Hulu!