TCA: Dan Harmon Talks Working for Adult Swim Versus NBC

The showrunner explains the difference between his animated series, "Rick and Morty," and "Community"

Dan Harmon returned to the Television Critics Association Press Tour in Beverly Hills on Wednesday, but not for NBC's "Community."

He was there to present his and co-creator Justin Roiland's new animated series for Adult Swim, "Rick and Morty." Though, it really didn't matter if the screen behind him read Adult Swim, NBC or NASA, this group of journalists are going to ask about "Community."

Since his most recent act of disobedience against his "Community" bosses at the network and Sony Television Productions (aside from a few words at Comic-Con), Harmon has kept his nose clean.

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What's the difference between working for Adult Swim and NBC?

"[Adult Swim's executive vice president] Michael Lazzo is a bona fide genius," Harmon answered. "He has the autononmy and the humility to critique a script as an individual. He never says, 'I don't think people are going to like this.' He never speculates about the masses, this opiate. And he never confuses the script for the finished product."

"On the NBC side, it's even better," he said, clearly using restraint. "Next question."

"Rick and Morty," which premieres this fall, will be part of Adult Swim's push into primetime programming. The animated series follows Morty, his family and his far out adventures with his inventor grandfather, Rick. 

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The series was influenced by British science fiction like "Doctor Who" and "The Hitchhiker's Guide to Galaxy." And while it can get pretty outlandish, Harmon and Roiland ground the series in the family and Harmon cross-applies something he learned from pulling off outrageous story lines on "Community."

"If the emotional dynamics resonate, then it actually doesn't matter," He said.