Adult Swim’s fiercely popular series Rick and Morty just concluded its highly-acclaimed third season, yet another romp through genre tropes with plenty of fourth-wall-breaking and winks at the audience. If you’ve never seen the show, it centers on Rick Sanchez, an interdimensional-travelling scientific genius who goes on adventures with his grandson Morty Smith, with the rest of the Smith family—Morty’s older sister Summer, disillusioned mother Beth, and wholly incompetent father Jerry—sometimes along for the darkly hilarious ride. Co-creators Justin Roiland—who voices both Rick and Morty, in addition to dozens of other characters—and Dan Harmon—whose previous show Community was similarly inclined to break open genre conventions to see what makes them tick—have a bonafide hit on their hands, delivering the highest ratings in Adult Swim history.
Most episode titles contain some kind of pop culture reference—“Big Trouble in Little Sanchez,” “The ABCs of Beth,” or “The Rickshank Rickdemption”—but those don’t exactly correspond to the many, many homages and commentaries on beloved science fiction, fantasy, and adventure stories littered throughout the series. This video essay isn’t a complete index of all the biggest and most obvious visual and dialogue references in the show, but it’s a a great survey of the major films and television shows that Rick and Morty plays with in its best episodes.