After an agonizing wait where it seemed the future of Rick and Morty was in doubt, Adult Swim announced on Thursday that the network had renewed the hit series and ordered an additional 70 episodes. This is bad, to me, not because Rick and Morty is a bad show, but because 70 episodes is so, so, so many episodes! By committing to that many episodes, Rick and Morty might be giving us too much of a good thing and runs the risk of that good thing becoming a “meh” thing.
Rick and Morty is a very good show. Sure, it has a reputation for having some toxic fans, but Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland’s series is one the funniest and smartest shows on TV. It deserves to get at least one more season, but Adult Swim just made a huge, huge commitment. Is Rick and Morty still going to be good seven seasons from now? It doesn’t really matter, because it’s happening.
Right now, there are 31 episodes of Rick and Morty, all of which premiered between 2013 and 2017. The new order will more than double the amount of Rick and Morty that exists in the world. Assuming the show will stick with 10-episode seasons, this will take Rick and Morty to Season 10. A 70-episode order gives Rick and Morty plenty of time to run out of steam. Does anybody want to see Rick and Morty end with a whimper?
There aren’t many shows that need 10 seasons. Most TV shows go on too long. Archer, a similar adult-audience cartoon, is a great show. But, the FX show had its Season 9 premiere last month, and is anybody really talking about it? Certainly not the same way they were talking about the first couple seasons. That’s the thing about shows that go on for a long, long time. They don’t all get terrible. (Although, some certainly do. I’m looking at you, late seasons of Dexter, House, and Heroes.) Most simply just fade away.
Roiland and Harmon (especially Harmon) are great at making TV. They might be able to pull this massive commitment off! On social media, the pair seem very excited. “More Rick and Morty coming. Looking forward to all the tweets asking where it is!” Roiland tweeted. What happens, though, if fans get bored of Rick and Morty 40 episodes from now and stop tweeting questions about where it is? What happens if Roiland and Harmon get bored of making it?
The 70-episode order is assurance there won’t be another instance where the future of Rick and Morty is in doubt. The showrunners, Adult Swim, and fans can all prepare for what’s probably going to be seven or more years of stories. It also means there aren’t really any off ramps or chances to re-evaluate if Rick and Morty has run its course. Maybe it won’t — I can totally see a world where Rick and Morty’s 100th episode is as good as its 10th — but if that’s not the case in our corner of the multiverse, we’re locked into 70 more episodes regardless.
Part of what makes great TV so exciting is its scarcity. By committing to that 100-episode syndication milestone, Rick and Morty is ensuring that the world won’t be lacking Rick and Morty. Fans are getting everything they want and more. Rick Sanchez would probably warn about the dangers of too much of a good thing.
Rick and Morty Season 4 doesn’t have a premiere date yet.