Hulu’s new ‘toon “Solar Opposites” will benefit from the fandom of “Rick and Morty,” Adult Swim’s extremely popular animated series that’s stamped itself into pop culture and even has its own line of merchandising — the mark of a keeper.
“Solar Opposites,” premiering Friday, springs from the minds of “Rick and Morty” co-creator Justin Roiland and Mike McMahan, an ex-writer’s assistant on the show. They’ve whipped up a fun, cleverly written and (yes) even topical series that stands apart from “Rick and Morty” — and, like its predecessor, hits its mark by carving out a unique niche in the crowded animation field.
The series, originally created for Fox before moving to Hulu, centers around a group of aliens — Korvo (Roiland), Yumyulack (Sean Giambroni), Terry (Thomas Middletich, “Silicon Valley”) and Jesse (Mary Mack) — dispatched to find and ultimately conquer another world after just as their home planet Shlorp is destroyed by an asteroid. After landing on Earth, they’re trying, with mixed results, to fit into their town while protecting Pupa, a blobbish, slimy infant supercomputer who will one day take over the planet.
The aliens don’t disguise their appearance; their presence is taken for granted by the townspeople. Some of them accept the newcomers and others resort to prejudice and bigotry — while their crashed spaceship, which sits atop their roof, causes headaches for the neighborhood homeowners association who want it painted to match the house’s exterior. It’s also impetus for Korvo, who’s miserable on Earth, to fix the the spaceship so he and his crew can leave as soon as possible. (He describes Earth as “a human-infested craphole.”) While Yumyulack shares Korvo’s disdain for earthlings, Terry and Jesse are enjoying their new lives and trying to assimilate with their classmates at James Earl Jones High School. It’s been difficult, given their principal’s disdain for them and Terry’s habit of miniaturizing his classmates for his personal collection. Jesse just wants to find a human boyfriend.
The pop-culture shoutouts fly fast and furious here, including references to Amazon’s Alexa, Kentucky Fried Chicken, actor Channing Tatum, neo-Nazis and “Law & Order” guru Dick Wolf. One note: parents would be well-advised to keep the kiddies away from “Solar Opposites,” since it’s targeted for an adult audience. F-bombs, “mature” material and cartoonish violence, some of it graphic, are liberally sprinkled throughout.
That being said, the eight-episode first season of “Solar Opposites” will appeal to both fans of “Rick and Morty,” vis-a vis its animation style and aesthetics, and to newcomers in the market for something fresh and original. It’s already been renewed for a second season on Hulu, and I have a hunch that’s just the start of what should be an impressive run.