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Archer - Season 1 [DVD] [NTSC]
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Suave secret agent Sterling Archer is the world's most dangerous spy, but political intrigue and global crises are nothing compared to the sexual tension and human resources crises at the intelligence agency where he works. Archer must deal with his overbearing, oversexed mother--who is also his boss--and his femme fatale ex-girlfriend who seems to be sleeping with everyone except him. Embezzlement, mind control, hangovers and demented double crossings--they're all in a day's work in this outrageously raunchy animated comedy.
- The original unaired Archer pilot
- The making of Archer
- Deleted scenes
- Unaired network promo
A terrific animated show that’s been flying under many people’s radar to date, Archer is the story of a suave secret agent, and one whose encounters vary from many others that you’ve seen on the small screen. For Archer works for his domineering mother, has little interest in being a spy, and has an obsession with Burt Reynolds.
If you’ve not guessed it already, Archer is a very different kind of spy show. And it’s an exceptionally funny one. With a style that mixes in old technology with cutting edge gadgets, and jokes that have a habit of edging very close to the knuckle, it’s hardly family viewing. And even when you’ve got over the novelty value of what Archer is trying to do, there’s enough substance there to keep you interested.
Archer inevitably won’t be to everybody’s taste, but for those who do tune in to its style and sense of humour, it’s a show that’s very, very hard to resist. And one that’s capable of inducing some serious belly laughs. Well worth a try.--Jon Foster
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Adam Reed, who brought us the tedious admin details, uncomfortable interpersonal relationships, and frequent hilarious foul-ups that can plague the day of the average supervillain / superhero in "Frisky Dingo" does the same to the superspy genre in "Archer" to great effect, except with greatly improved animation and cool 1960s Spy Film-style jazzy theme music.
Suave(ish), handsome, and deadly, Sterling Archer is the world's most dangerous spy. It also helps that his alcoholic, man-hungry harpy of a mummy runs the ISIS espionage agency where he works. Because although he's the world's most dangerous spy, he isn't the world's most EFFECTIVE spy. That title is more deserved by the unbearably sexy and competent Agent Lana Kane, who also works for ISIS . . . and is Sterling Archer's embittered ex. Archer himself, if he completes a mission, it's more as a result of sheer coincidence than anything else, because although he's highly trained and dangerous, he's as much a danger to himself and his allies as he is to his enemies. And the rest of the ISIS crew are even worse.
Malory Archer runs the agency, but only when it can fit into her busy schedule of binge-drinking, seducing men, and one-upping her neighbours. Malory's PA, Cheryl (Or is it Carol? Or Cristal? Or Carine? Whatever.) has an unhealthy fixation on Archer, as well as an unhealthy attitude towards love in general. The Head of Human Resources, Pam, takes a deep interest in the staff of ISIS and listens to all their problems, which then become workplace gossip within seconds. Cyril, the nerdy comptroller for ISIS, drives the other characters crazy with his neuroses and interpersonal relationships. Dr. Krieger, the gadget-man, is Just Plain WEIRD. And the guys in the Ops Center are uninterested and distracted at best, downright snarky at worst, which is kind of a drawback when you're in the middle of a firefight and need extraction. Whether they're fighting bad guys, competing agents, or each other, the ISIS crew will get the job done. Eventually. With lots of collateral damage and injuries.
Ten episodes (spread over two discs) filled with high-risk missions, sex, office politics, sex, explosions, weird sex, shocking secrets and awkward moments, the laughs come at you at a fast and furious pace. Bonus features include an unaired promo, deleted scenes, a behind-the-scenes Making Of featurette, and the "Original Unaired Pilot" episode, starring one of the best animated cartoon dinosaurs I have ever seen. (I recommend watching that one last.) While it's true that repeated viewings may lessen the shock value of some of the laughs, you may catch things you missed the first time around. Unless you have an eidetic memory, and give plenty of time between repeated viewings, you should still get very good laugh value from this set.
Espionage. Murder. Sex. Comedy. Stuff blowing up. And a dinosaur. Can it get any better than this? Probably . . . but not by much.
The series is just as much about Archer's misfiring relationships with his mother and co-workers as the latest mission. Mallory, who gives Archer many of his characteristics is as liable to fiddle an all-expenses paid trip as her son whilst hitting the bottle, buying expensive furs and having casual sex with enemy agents. Second in line agent Lana is a former girlfriend of Archer's and much comedy comes from their sniping relationship, which continues even when trying to escape from enemy agents, as she expresses frustration at Archer's self-centred way of prioritising things, and displays foot-stomping childish jealousy that he gets the best assignments. The rest of the cast are chiefly ISIS backroom staff, and all the funnier due to their severe personality traits. Pam is the overweight HR lady, totally unsuited to the role as she gossips uncontrollably and has a high sex drive, having casual relationships with her co-workers regardless of gender. Cheryl is Archer's secretary, though Archer frequently gets her name wrong; and as the series proceeds she goes off the rails more and more. Cyril is ISIS' comptroller and good at his job but due to personal issues, including an addiction to sex, means he cheats on girlfriend Lana frequently then goes into remorse.
What makes this series so funny is that writing the character's personality traits doesn't explain how wonderful the interfaces between these emotionally damaged ISIS workers are. The sniping, the oneupmanship, the arguing, the self-centredness all make for tremendous, original stories. The bitchiness and resulting put downs are always sharply written. Often deeply personal arguments take place at the same time as Archer is trying to extracate himself from the latest sticky situation - there could be a fierce gun battle going on and yet Archer and Lana are having a very personal debate about Archer's childish behaviour the previous weekend. Archer's imbedded superiority complex, treating the rest of the cast very evidently like underlings and how they bite back is laugh out loud stuff. The support cast are all well-rounded, and their flaws are skillfully written into the episodes. In fact the minor characters are the stroke of genius - even top secret agencies need back office staff. A very enjoyable show with superior writing.
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