on 30 October 2011
Archer is a wonderfully absurdist frolic for strictly adult audiences. Fundamentally this show is a giant spoof of 1960s spy thrillers; a spoof made for decidedly 21st century sensibilities. It's the show Get Smart would have been had all the characters been perpetually high on crystal meth.
However you felt about season one, you'll probably feel the same way about season two. Personally, I love it! I don't think season two is actually any better than season one, but I don't think the quality has dropped at all either. So long story short, what we get here is more of the same. But without, I should stress, the show becoming merely repetitive.
If you haven't seen season one yet, I would suggest you begin at the beginning rather than just plunging in here. Season two does pick up pretty well exactly where season one left off. It'd be overstating things to say that this show is story-driven; it's more like a comedic improv act than that. But unlike most of Cartoon Network's [adult swim] cartoons, Archer does have a definite continuity. It's not like Aqua Teen Hunger Force where characters regularly die or get horribly mutilated only to be back again as normal the very next episode. In this universe when things happen, they've happened, and subsequent episodes do build on what's gone before.
In fact, in many ways this show is a whole lot like a more grown-up version of the original [adult swim] lineup. The sense of humor is certainly no less deranged. Things are as amoral and as brutal as ever. The difference is that the descent into anarchy is now played out on a much larger, more elaborate stage. What's more, given the success of the [adult swim] franchise, we're now watching shows with real budgets. This means that we can finally move beyond art lifted from old Hanna Barbera cartoons and into a world all our own. A jet-age, pop-art world that's smart, sexy, and at times just plain disturbing. Every bit as disturbing, say, as accidentally stumbling upon your mother's vibrator...
Not that I'm giving away any spoilers, you understand.
I'd never do that to you.
on 24 April 2012
Before we get into the show itself, another quick word of warning. Once again, for some unknown reason, Fox has released these DVDs in a bizarre Region 2 NTSC format. In case you put these discs in your player, and the picture comes up monochrome and striated, that's why it does that. Seriously, who's in charge of deciding the format on these things, a ring-tailed lemur on heroin? But if you have a relatively modern TV/DVD combi, XBox, or computer that you can play DVDs on, you shouldn't have too much trouble getting the discs to play properly. Any other issues or problems pertaining to the format that you have personally experienced would be most welcome as comments at the end of this review.
Anyway, Sterling Archer, the world's biggest jerk of a secret agent is back, along with the rest of the dysfunctional crew at the ISIS spy agency. Watch in awe and embarrassment as they try to cope with guarding a German industrialist's nymphomaniac sociopath teenage daughter from terrorist kidnappers, Mallory Archer's decision to sell ISIS to the highest bidder, determining whether or not Sterling is the father of the wee baby Seamus, guarding a gas pipeline from an eco-terrorist and surviving in an alligator-infested swamp, a plot to kill off the last remaining members of an RAF squadron, the deadly chaos brought on by one man's insecurity, babysitting a Hollywood actress who's tagging along to get inspiration for her role as a spy in her next film, the onset of breast cancer and tracking down an Irish gang that's profiteering from a chemotherapy scam, the kidnapping of one of their office staff, a series of colossal foul-ups in Monaco involving casinos, a pay-off, and the Grand Prix, and a botched mission into Russia that leads to some very unexpected developments.
You'll learn more about the secret backgrounds of not just Sterling Archer and his mother, Mallory, but also ISIS staff members agent Lana Kane, secretary Cheryl (Or is it Carine, or Carol, or what?), Head of HR Pam, Ops Center Controller Ray, butler Woodhouse, comptroller Cyril, and top boffin Dr. Krieger. It's not so much a can of worms that's opened up with these revelations, it's more like a 55-gallon oil drum of worms. Worms with teeth. Teeth, and . . . wait . . . I had something. Never mind. Massively stylish and crammed full of action, cool jazz, and women with not much clothing on, this is spy spoof comedy at its best. Also Peter Serafinowicz doing a damn good Michael York impression.
As far as special features go, they're all fun, and consist of a behind-the-scenes documentary explaining the tragic story why "Archersaurus" never made it beyond the pilot episode, a fan-letter Q&A session with Archer himself (in which he also pitches his book "How to Archer," also available here on Amazon), Archer's shout-out to some American troops in Afghanistan, what would happen if Archer found out that he was actually a short, balding, bearded guy who looks startlingly like voice actor H. Jon Benjamin, and the "Archer" panel at the San Diego Comic Con, where you get to meet the people behind the show and get some interesting questions answered, plus a hint of what's to come in "Archer" Season 3.
If you liked "Archer" Season 1, this is more of the same, only a bit edgier and more emotional. If you've only seen a couple of episodes of this show on 5* (and considering their broadcast schedule seems to be determined by drunken chimps throwing darts randomly into a list, I'd be amazed if you saw more than a couple of episodes on 5*) and liked them, I can highly recommend both Seasons 1 and 2 in full on DVD. If you're a fan of envelope-pushing adult cartoons such as "Family Guy" or "The Venture Brothers," or fast-paced comedy or the spy-film genre in general, I think you'll get a massive kick out of this as well.
on 11 April 2012
I waited an age for this dvd to come out, the tv showing on UK's Ch5, was low key, so without SKY hard drive box or TIVO i kept missing the odd episode, and it wasnt viewable on CH5 catchup system either, the episodes were so funny, the writing as sharp as ever, building on the great foundations of humour and characters of series 1. Now i bought the dvd for series 1 which was in the shops 48hrs after the last episode was shown on tv, ever wanting to keep a "library" of re seeable films and programmes, but with series 2 it took about 4-5 months before it was on sale on amazon, but waiting to see again some episodes and viewing some for the first time too- it was well worth it. on Fb their site reports that series 3 has already been shown on the USA FX channel, no news yet of the UK release, and i bet we must wait a year at least to get the dvd of series 3- if it ever comes out! - i'n thinking here of the BBC's refusal to contemplate a release of Mongrels 2...nothing is certain in life, but one thing is- and thats a good laugh when viewing Archer....!
on 19 July 2012
A great transfer for this wonderful cartoon series - great picture, really capturing the distinctive style, and great sound.
Slightly annoying 'season play' feature that seems to cause problems on some BD machines, because it keeps track of where you left off (if you set it playing in that mode).
Overall, great, but could do with more extras - e.g. snippets of the voice cast doing their thing, more interviews. There are some here, but there are plenty more available on YouTube etc. that would have been nice to see included in this package.
on 14 March 2014
absolutely love this show.
its an intelligent adult animated comedy. it has some risky jokes and often goes where you think it didnt dare to. the voices and characters are great - well considered and it allows for a lot of different plotlines and variation.
i love the fact it is a story so the events of previous episodes and series are continued and brought up again - almost always for the right reasons.
it has a high replay factor too as there are so many quick hidden jokes that you'll only notice upon repeated viewings.
highly recommended to any one who isnt easily offended.
on 27 February 2014
If you are an ardent Archer fan, this is more of the same with laughs and spy adventures ahoy. Mor development of all characters, a riotous laugh from beginning to end.
If you have never seen Archer, where have you been and why havent you seen Archer. Its smart, clever, disturbing, adult oriented, patiche full, hilarious. I cannot recommend strongly enough.
on 5 April 2012
Lana ... Lana ... LANA! The hard-drinking acerbic Wunderspion and associated dysfunctional drones make a highly welcome reappearance to entertain anyone and everyone with a functioning sense of humour. It's not all low brow humour though - nooooooooo! There are some satisfyingly complex and intelligent plots to be enjoyed, notably the episode where Archer is diagnosed ... No, I won't spoil the fun.
More of the same, then, which is no bad thing; for me it's like another visit to my favourite restaurant. My only quibble is with the sound; it varies between the menu, the episode and the titles to such an extent that it's essential to keep a hand hovering over the remote control if you want to maintain a reasonable volume level. However, in the grand scheme of an `Archer' blu ray this is akin to complaining that a chocolate cake is not exactly symmetrical: entirely trivial. Although while we're nit-picking let's hope we've seen the last of `Archersaurus' in the extras.
on 3 January 2013
So funny I nearly bust a rib watching this. Its sexy, stylish, funny and violent what more could you want. Lana Kane WOW what a sexbomb she can rescue me from danger any time especially if she is in her undies.
The creator of this series called it 'Arrested Development meets a spy spoof'. a pretty good sun up. This has some of the absurdist, insane
feel of 'Sealab' or 'Venture Brothers', but also grounds it in richer characters.
By nature this kind of wild, raunchy, ribald, gross, un-PC, very clever joke a second romp is going to be a hit or miss affair, but the batting average in 'Archer' is surprisingly high, and a lot of the wordplay is really sharp.
The show grows each season, getting ever funnier, and having the characters and situations branch out in some great unexpected ways. From what started out in season 1 feeling like it would be a one joke idea that would quickly wear out, this somehow found a way to transcend and use the audience familiarity with the characters not to just repeat the same jokes, but to walk a great tightrope of giving what is expected, but then finding a way to just push it one step further.
Another big plus here is the voice acting. The whole cast is terrific, as are the many guest stars that show up. The fun they all seem to be having doing the show is infectious, and they manage to give their characters a surprising amount of range. Special credit has to be given to H. Jon Benjamin, along with the writers, for making the egotistical idiot of a lead not only very funny, but somehow also likable enough that he never wears out his welcome.
If you like animated insanity, this is very much worth checking out to see if it's for you.
on 15 April 2015
I found this to be hilarious! Loved every episode. Fairly dark and risky humour but perfectly delivered. A definite watch. I happened across episode 1 season 1 online and immediately ordered all available seasons. Trust me. Watch that episode and you should be sold.