If you’re a Rick and Morty fans (and if you are reading this, you are) you already know: we are no where near getting a Season 4.
On Twitter — in a now controvercial tweet from co-creator Dan Harmon — there has been no movement made by Cartoon Network or Adult Swim to plan or order a fourth season of the network’s top rated show ever (more than 8 million people streamed the Season 3 premiere and that season’s finale was the most watched show in Adult Swim history).
I hear ya, tough spot. On one hand, it can be challenging, especially with crippling lazy alcoholism, to write a show that hasn’t been ordered by a network. On the other hand, the thought that fans like you pay the price…I mean…I’m gonna grab a drink https://t.co/mvn9nthxCE
— Dan Harmon (@danharmon) March 17, 2018
Keeping in mind that the above tweet was intended to reply to a fan complaining about the delay, the fact that the show hasn’t been ordered yet might set off some alarms. But set aside your impatience for a second. They might just be saving the show.
The Simpsons is in its 29th season (with 633 episodes and counting), and somehow still surviving on network TV. Family Guy, South Park, and other one-time cult adult cartoons have sputtered on through their teenage years and into mainstays and the product — many might argue — has suffered.
Rick and Morty is brilliant, funny and undeniably rewatchable. And it’s only aired 31 episodes in around five years. The social impact the series has made with such a small footprint is remarkable. And demand for the successful third season was spurned on by a year and a half (plus) delay between seasons. Does Adult Swim know what its doing?
Are Rick and Morty episodes being held back to create higher demand? It’s the opposite of the NFL — which is expanding Thursday Night Football from NFL Network onto FOX this season and continues to play games in Europe, air the NFL Combine and NFL draft to record viewers as they attempt to fully saturate the market for football (and two upstart leagues, the XFL and AAF set to debut in the next few years).
Rick and Morty is the opposite of oversaturated. And with a limited supply, fans just keep rewatching and crying out for more.
In the era of irreprecible on-demand viewing with an endless plethroa of Netflix and Amazon origional series meant for every niche, perhaps Rick and Morty and Adult Swim have struck a profitable business model.