One week after announcing new movies based on some of its most popular shows from the past, Adult Swim has revealed that more nostalgic projects are in the works. Yesterday the network announced four new digital short series based on Adult Swim shows Rick and Morty, Robot Chicken, Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell, and Aqua Teen Hunger Force—which, if you forgot, ended in 2015, one year shy of its 15th anniversary. Each of the shows will run from eight to 10 episodes in length, and will be available across Adult Swim’s global online platforms. Three of these shows are true spinoffs, so let’s run those down before getting into the fourth and final show, and what it means for the program it’s based on.
First up, Rick and Morty’s all-purpose superhero team parody The Vindicators will star in their own online series. The Vindicators were largely all dead by the end of their first appearance, of course, so expect some kind of space-time shenanigans to set this one up—or perhaps a spate of new characters picking up the mantle. Okay, nope, scratch that second point—the press release makes a point of listing the team as Supernova, Vance Maximus, Alan Rails, Crocubot, and Noob Noob, pretty much all of which are officially dead. So yes, either we’re about to take a trip to Retcon City, or else you can expect this short to take place before that Rick and Morty episode. Or maybe—just maybe—it’s a cartoon and thus continuity doesn’t mean a damned thing. We’ll find out when the show, which is being executively produced by Erica Rosbe, Sarah Carbiener, Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland, launches.
Robot Chicken’s spin-off will focus on the character Alabama Jackson, who’s played by Donald Faison of Scrubs fame. Jackson is “a smooth-talking time traveler who lands in exactly the wrong place at the wrong time, every time”—so not exactly the Indiana Jones parody I was expecting, but probably still close enough. Faison’s the creator, and the stop-motion animated series will be produced by Stoopid Buddy Stoodios.
Aqua Teen Hunger Force fans won’t have to wait for the film to get another taste of the classic show. Aquadonk Side Pieces comes out later in 2021, with each episode focusing on one of the Aqua Teens’ villains or ancillary characters. Expect appearances from MC Pee Pants, The Frat Aliens, Handbanana, and of course The Mooninites, among others. Like the original show, Aquadonk Side Pieces was created by Matt Maiellaro and Dave Willis, who, as Space Ghost Coast to Coast writers, were with Adult Swim years before Adult Swim officially existed.
Finally, Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell: The Animated Series sounds less like a spinoff and more like the new normal for the long-running live-action series. Co-created by Willis and Too Many Cooks creator Casper Kelly, Your Pretty Face envisions Hell as a soulless, soul-crushing corporation that punishes its tormented employees through sheer bureaucracy and corporate nonsense. Billed as the show’s official fifth season, it will return with its stars in tow, including Henry Zebrowski as the demon Garry, and Matt Servitto as Satan. In the press release Kelly and Willis sound upbeat about the switch to animation: “We are thrilled to expand the Pretty Face universe into animation, especially since it will be animators sweating over their Cintiqs (alt. drawing tablets?) rather than us sweating in a humid Georgia August swamp battling mosquitoes while covered in red make-up. We just hope the bosses will let us release the ten-hour Snyder cut of Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell: The Animated Series,” the two are quoted as saying.
No firm dates have been revealed for any of these shows, but with the recent shuttering of Adult Swim’s streaming operations and the general uncertainty around WarnerMedia properties during the just-announced merger with Discovery, there were legitimate reasons to worry about the future of Adult Swim. It’s good to see there’s still some life in the old channel yet.