The Adult Swim animated series Rick & Morty follows mad scientist Rick Sanchez and his grandson Morty as they travel through the multiverse to smuggle precious seeds, create love potions, sell weapons, and go to the arcade. The show's comedic high points come when Rick deals with the unintended consequences of Morty's, and the rest of his family's, actions.
The alcoholic, antisocial Rick offers lessons not just on stubborn individualism and the problems that arise from underestimating complexity, but on family and friends as a steering force in life. The Back to the Future knockoff, originally titled "Doc and Marty," takes on some of the oldest, truest, and, yes, most tired sci-fi cliches in refreshingly new and funny ways, with stories that reveal a lot about human nature and the world around us despite their outlandish premises—a hallmark of good science-fiction storytelling.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Unintended Consequences".