I was never a massive fan of Rick and Morty, and I think over the years of slow seasons and declining quality I never really did catch up to it, especially as the show became harder to find here in the UK since it was not airing straight to typical streaming services. Rick and Morty had a very, very strange impact on society in its earliest seasons, to the point where a simple sauce led to people going utterly insane and lining up in McDonald's and causing havoc. Looking back at that weird pre-pandemic era, it certainly is strange. But what is also quite strange is how fast the interest Rick and Morty had simply went away. Of course long season production led to this, but it is also evident that the creators themselves got a little bored and wanted to do something more.
Solar Opposites is more or less the same idea in regards to Rick and Morty, featuring Justin Roiland, but not Dan Harmon. Though in this comedy animation which features pretty much the identical style and general dysfunctional family under a science fiction foundation remains the simplicity of Rick and Morty, almost more interesting and with more structure. It is hard to not compare the two creations given their many similarities, and few differences, but alone Solar Opposites stands out. Though still falling very easily into the adult animation genre that Netflix in particular seems to have really chased hard as a result of the success of Ricky and Morty. There is no doubt that the show influenced streaming services as they threw money at everyone and everything that offered an adult animation series with similarities to Rick and Morty. Hulu being no exception to this chasing of the trend(s).
What interests me now, however, is what impact Solar Opposites now has. With the hype of Rick and Morty having disappeared and the adult animation trend itself having exhausted itself, now appears to be the best time to get into the show. Having no expectations and now external hype left from the industry's prior interests.
Though given Solar Opposites is made by Rick and Morty's Justin Roiland, it is difficult to not to continue making comparisons between the two here in regards to the structure and characters of the show. Displaying a dysfunctional family living happily within society that otherwise rejects them. Though this is due to the fact that this family is not ordinary, as the show's title suggests; this family is an alien one. Sent to Earth having escaped their home planet which faced destruction. This alien family lives out in the open with humans, owning a regular house -- albeit with its upgrades and secret rooms and laboratories -- and goes as far as having the alien children attend regular school, without any changes to their appearances to mask what they really are.
This is met with characters that are rather cynical of human life and society, often rejecting its ways and struggling to adapt and abide by its expectations and standards. For example, on of the child aliens goes as far as shrinking his human foes down and creating a human version of an art farm within his bedroom walls, slowly adding to it over time. This creates some fun scenes and jokes in which the humans captured begin to get some screen time, where references from other films and shows are used to create this exaggerated world in which humans are now placed into this wasteland dystopia in which survival is a struggle. Though from the perspective of our aliens, it's just some human ant farm.
Many of the jokes in the show are quite similar to this, taking advantage of society's weirdness and pointing it out with a magnifying glass from the perspective of aliens. These aliens of course being totally void of empathy and riddled with their own weirdness in typical Rick and Morty-esque fashion. Though it doesn't get too weird, thus far at least. It remains relatively tame on the weirdness in comparison. Though its greatest similarity to Rick and Morty would be its animation style. This style is identical to Rick and Morty, taking the exact same character designs and style from the show to the point where these two families could be living within the same universe (or world in this case regarding these shows). Though that is not the case, just a comparison.
Truthfully, I don't really enjoy this type of animation anymore given the aforementioned oversaturation of simplistic adult animation series which were churned out by steaming services to follow. What was once simple and more original is now incredibly tame and certainly overdone. One could say that they had the first move and thus the right to continue it, but part of me feels like this show is just another random idea one of the creators had while being offered a big bag of cash from competition to create something new, again cashing in on something already established and hot. This is not to say the animation itself is bad, the budget is there for sure. And if you have seen Rick and Morty then you definitely know what to expect entirely from Solar Opposites in both visuals and narrative. That said, I am enjoying this show a lot more than I did Rick and Morty's more recent seasons. Solar Opposites seems a bit more fresh and offering something a bit different in regards to the general idea following an alien family now living on Earth, trying to fit in but also not really putting in any effort to do so. I can make the comparison to Dan Aykroyd's Coneheads film which held a very similar premise as it followed aliens that lived on Earth in a regular neighbourhood but had some very glaring differences that made their everyday interactions both difficult and full of humour. I have no doubts this had some influence on the creators with this show.
While I am enjoying Solar Opposites so far, I do have a few concerns regarding where it might go, and whether it can maintain the quality it has without ending up following the same direction of oversaturation and a degradation of qualify like Rick and Morty. While this show certainly does not have the same interest, it does have the same quality in budget and writing. And with an idea like this, there certainly is only so much you can do before you run out of ideas and jokes, and thus quality. I would like to think the show ends on a high note without overstaying, but it certainly would not surprise me if it fails to, particularly if interest in the show does eventually build.
It is not a bad show so far, but it certainly lives in the shadow of something bigger. And that shadow could easily lead to its own demise. Even then, this is a show you could easily binge through and then move on from, but also a show where too much of it in such little time and make you start to feel a bit frustrated. As typical of the quirky and often cringeworthy writing that comes from Justin Roiland. It certainly happened with Rick and Morty.
Another concern is how it tells its jokes. Many are fine, but there is a clear reliance on pop culture references and copying elements from big animations and films. For example the first episode utilises elements of the Akira film, and when you do jokes like these, they can quickly become overdone and stale. There needs to be a little more, which cycles us back to the issue of narrative and how this show may seek an ending. Will it crumble before then? Or will it know when to ease down the jokes and pursue and ending? Or will it end suddenly? I guess I will have to find out in time. For now, it is worth sticking around and finding out with a somewhat loose watching schedule.