Rick and Morty, the absurd adult animation created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon, premiered in Dec. 2013 and has just aired its fifth season, with a sixth already greenlit for expected release in summer 2022. The science fiction sitcom follows the misadventures of Rick, a cynical genius and gifted scientist, and his kindhearted but dimwitted grandson Morty, who attempt to balance everyday life with intergalatic endeavors.
Rick and Morty has gained major traction over the years and has been praised for its originality, creativity, and humor. Ever since, the addictive brilliance behind Rick and Morty has been referenced, but never truly replicated. Until the sixth season airs, Rick and Morty fans will be hungry for more. Here are some like-minded shows to fill that void until another batch of episodes lands on Adult Swim.
The satirical fantasy sitcom Disenchantment is the latest product of Simpsons and Futurama creator Matt Groening, hence the identical animation style. Set in the medieval fantasy world of Dreamland, Disenchantment follows Bean, a rebellious princess, her naive elf companion Elfo, and her destructive “personal demon” Luci on their whirlwind (and often disastrous) adventures. Disenchantment features the voices of Abbi Jacobson, Eric André, and Nat Faxon as Bean, Luci, and Elfo, respectively, with John DiMaggio and Tress MacNeille co-starring.
For its sardonic humor and outrageous concept, Disenchantment is a must-see substitute to curb those Rick and Morty blues, especially given that its creator has a reputation for producing hit animated shows. You can watch it now on Netflix.
Airing in 2018, Final Space was created by Olan Rogers but was tragically canceled after three seasons due to the proposed merger of WarnerMedia and Discover announced in 2021. The space opera series revolves around an oddball astronaut named Gary Goodspeed and his immensely powerful alien friend Mooncake, focusing on their intergalactic adventures as they repeatedly save the universe from impending doom. After befriending Mooncake, Gary discovers that they are being pursued by the sinister Lord Commander, who seeks to exploit Mooncake’s powers for interplanetary destruction.
Over the years, Final Space has garnered a smaller following than Rick and Morty, but its fanbase is passionate and loyal. Overall, Final Space is far less “meta” than Rick and Morty, but it makes a fine replacement for a fresh perspective on space-related mishaps. The series stars Olan Rogers as Gary/Mooncake, David Tennant as the Lord Commander, Coty Galloway as Avocato, and Steven Yeun as Little Cato.
You can catch Final Space on Netflix.
Adopting the dark comedy that makes Rick and Morty so diabolical, Paradise PD focuses heavily on adult humor as its primary tactic for plentiful laughs. Created by Waco O’Guin and Roger Black, Paradise PD premiered in Aug. 2018 and used the trademark animation style that resembles cult classic animated shows like Family Guy and American Dad. The series stars Dana Snyder, Cedric Yarbrough, David Herman, Tom Kenny, Sarah Chalke, and Kyle Kinane as incompetent members of a small-town police department where crime runs rampant.
Paradise PD’s witless force consists of Chief Randall Crawford, the unrelenting Gina Jabowski, the morbidly obese Dusty Marlow, the perverted senior citizen Stanley Hopson, the cowardly Gerald “Fitz” Fitzgerald, the drug-addicted dog Bullet, and Crawford’s son Kevin. Throughout the series, the department locals attempt to balance life struggles and relationships with crime-stopping responsibilities. Featuring strong language, substance abuse, and sexual references, Paradise PD practically mimics Rick and Morty‘s underlying themes. You can watch it on Netflix.
Primarily set in Hollywood, BoJack Horseman follows its titular protagonist, a washed-up sitcom star (voiced by Will Arnett) who seeks to regain celebrity relevance with an autobiography. Besides the obvious stresses of writing an autobiography, BoJack also has to contend with his agent Princess Carolyn, roommate Todd Chavez, and former rival Mr. Peanutbutter, played by Alison Brie, Paul F. Tompkins, and Aaron Paul, respecitvely.
BoJack Horseman saw its sixth season premiere in Jan. 2020, six years after its original release in 2014. Influenced by legendary animated sitcoms like Futurama and South Park, BoJack addresses many sociopolitical issues, though perhaps not in such a cynical way as Rick and Morty, since it prides itself on political correctness. The series was praised for its accurate depiction of substance abuse, depression, sexual identity, and more, making it less insensitive than Rick and Morty, but just as outrageously funny. You can stream it now on Netflix.
Harley Quinn became a pop culture icon after her debut in Batman: The Animated Series. She was introduced as nothing more than a sidekick, intended to be featured in one episode, but audiences loved her so much that she has made recurring appearances in Batman material ever since. Jump forward several years later and Harley Quinn has a live-action counterpart in Margot Robbie, not to mention her very own solo series on HBO Max. Harley Quinn follows the misadventures of its titular antihero and her best friend (and later girlfriend) Poison Ivy after leaving her former boyfriend, Joker.
Much like the others, Harley Quinn was praised for its dark humor, animation, and voice acting. The Big Bang Theory‘s Kaley Cuoco takes the helm as Harley Quinn, supported by Lake Bell as Poison Ivy and Alan Tudyk as the Joker. Harley Quinn has been incredibly self-aware, even being described as “for the gays” and offers positive LGBTQ+ representation via Quinn’s romantic attraction to Poison Ivy and Clayface being openly gay. Like Rick and Morty, the Harley Quinn series turns stereotypes on their heads and refuses to follow strict expectations. You can watch it now on HBO Max.
Masterminded by Matt Groening, Futurama aired on Fox in 1999. The series was envisioned by Groening in the mid-1990s while he was working on The Simpsons. Futurama has produced over 100 episodes across seven seasons and has since been solidified as a timeless animation. The series follows the adventures of the professional slacker Philip J. Fry, who is cryogenically preserved for 1000 years and revived in the 31st century. Fry finds work at an interplanetary delivery company, working alongside the one-eyed Leela and alcohol-dependent robot Bender. Billy West, Katey Sagal, and John DiMaggio provide the voices for Fry, Leela and Bender, respectively.
Futurama uses the backdrop of a futuristic environment and deliberate neglect for continuity to the advantage of running gags — a technique used frequently in Rick and Morty, especially as many of its episodes fail to remain consistent in a firm timeline. Originally, Groening argued with Fox regarding the taboo and inappropriate themes in Futurama, the backlash from which Rick and Morty creators Roiland and Harmon almost certainly would have experienced. You can watch Futurama on Hulu.
Everyone knows Family Guy. The sitcom centers around the Griffins, a dysfunctional family consisting of parents Peter and Lois, their children, Meg, Chris, and Stewie, and their anthropomorphic pet dog, Brian. Family Guy exhibits much of its humor in the form of metafictional cutaway gags that often lampoon American culture. Rick and Morty can also be described as metafictional, as it always references reality (including relevant world problems at the time of airing) and continuously breaks the fourth wall.
As seen in both Rick and Morty and Family Guy, emphasis is often placed on gags that make reference to social phenomena and/or modern cultural icons. Additionally, Family Guy has been described as “nasty but extremely funny,” which can also be said of Rick and Morty. Another similarity is that both animated sitcoms have weathered retaliation for controversial themes and scenes. Check out Family Guy in all its glory on Hulu.
Unlike the other animated shows on this list, Big Mouth centers around adolescent children in a disgustingly detailed coming-of-age sitcom. Exploring the ups and downs of puberty, Big Mouth follows Nick, Andrew, and Jessi, three pre-teens who tackle the individual struggles of growing up. To make matters worse, the trio is haunted by the offhand teachings of their “Hormone Monsters,” Maurice and Connie.
Big Mouth was created by Nick Kroll and Andrew Goldberg, for whom the main characters are named. They also provide the voices for Nick and Andrew, respectively, and Kroll voices many other main and recurring characters. What Big Mouth does differently than other shows is depict real-life coming-of-age experiences, reportedly including Kroll’s first kiss and Goldberg’s parents waxing his mustache. Despite operating on an entirely different wavelength than Rick and Morty, Big Mouth shares a similar sense of humor, addresses social and political issues, and self-references on multiple occasions. You can catch all the laughs on Netflix.
More in the family-friendly entertainment category than the others on this list, Gravity Falls steps away from crude jokes and adult humor and focuses on the unpredictability of mystical adventures. Created by Alex Hirsch for the Disney Channel and Disney XD, Gravity Falls was made to appeal to a much younger audience. The series follows the adventures of Dipper Pines (voiced by Jason Ritter) and his twin sister Mabel (voiced by Kristen Schaal), who are sent to spend the summer with their great-uncle (or “Grunkle”) Stan (voiced by Hirsch) in Gravity Falls, Oregon, a mysterious town filled with paranormal happenings and unexplained mysteries.
The series has attracted a broad and passionate fanbase and is considered an influence for many animated shows that followed it. Gravity Falls was inspired by Hirsch’s own childhood experiences and his relationship with his own twin sister growing up during their summer vacations. The main trio, Dipper, Mabel and Stan, are all based on Hirsch’s own family members, thereby grounding the series in reality. While Rick and Morty and Gravity Falls both tell tall tales of unfathomable adventures, they counteract one another in the age-old debate of the supernatural against the scientific. You can watch Gravity Falls on Disney Plus and Hulu.
Solar Opposites, featuring the same animation style as Rick and Morty, was created by Justin Roiland and Mike McMahan. Airing in 2020, the series currently consists of two seasons and is awaiting its third. Solar Opposites centers around a family of aliens from a better world who must take refuge in middle America, and a parallel storyline follows a society of humans shrunk by the replicant Yumyulack and imprisoned in a terrarium known as “The Wall.” The series stars the voices of Justin Roiland, Thomas Middleditch, Sean Giambrone, and Mary Mack.
Like its predecessor, Solar Opposites is ridiculously hilarious and oddly charming, relaying the struggles of everyday life while somehow making them extraordinary. Overall, the show doesn’t stray too far from the template set by Rick and Morty, but still remains true to its own stand-alone identity and lacks the need to use association as a crutch. For Rick and Morty fans, Solar Opposite may be the next best thing you can watch, and it’s available to stream now on Hulu.