Archer (2009) - The Complete Season One DVD Review: the spy who slayed me

Known for creating Adult Swim cult hits Sealab 2021 and Frisky Dingo, Adam Reed has now created the funniest spy spoof since Get Smart in FX's Archer.  The first season is available on DVD and ranks as my favorite TV comedy of 2010. 

archer

The series is a crazy mix of Cold War spy games crossed with bizarre, modern-day office politics.  The title character is Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin, whose voice work I have been a great fan of since his days on Dr. Katz), a mix of James Bond and Inspector Clouseau.  He works for ISIS and his boss is his mother Malory (Jessica Walter), which complicates things especially when it's hinted that his father is an enemy agent. 

Adding to the awkwardness in the workplace, his former girlfriend Agent Lana Kane (Aisha Tyler), the hottest-looking animated female on TV, is dating meek ISIS comptroller Cyril Figgis (Chris Parnell).  Though he denies it, Sterling still has feelings for Lana.  Cyril thinks Lana shares them, which she doesn't, although admittedly, that's hard to believe when she was involved in a threesome with Archer while on assignment.  It becomes a love --"love" might not be the right word -- quadrangle when Malory's secretary Cheryl (Judy Greer) has kinky sex with Cyril in order to make Sterling jealous, though since he can never remember her name, that may not be a good plan. 

Sterling's adventures find him protecting a UN Chairman, seducing a homosexual Cuban agent, and taking a job with rival agency ODIN.  The characters and plots are wonderfully unpredictable, and the series' sense of humor is wild, risqué, and definitely earns the Mature Audience rating.  The artwork is very well done, using a lot of thick, bold lines and a vibrant colors. 

In addition to the 10 episodes from Season One, the two-disc set includes the original unaired Archer pilot with a different actor that skewed too old, along with pilots for FX series The League and Louie.  There is also an Unaired Network Promo; The Making of Archer (21 min), a rather dry feature that takes viewer through the following aspects: 3D, Animation, Art Direction, Backgrounds, Illustration, Storyboards; and Deleted Scenes (2 min)

If it meshes with your sensibilities, Archer is an extremely funny show.  The second season premieres on January 27th at 10:00 on FX.

By Gordon S. Miller

About the author

Gordon S. Miller is the artist formerly known as El Bicho, the nom de plume he used when he first began reviewing movies online for The Masked Movie Snobs in 2003.  Before the year was out, he became that site's publisher.  Over the years, he has also contributed to a number of other sites as a writer and editor, such as Blogcritics, FilmRadar, and High Def Digest.  He became the Editor-in-Chief of Cinema Sentries upon its inception in 2011.

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2 Comments
On: Thursday, January 27, 2011
Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader" said:

Everything about this show sounds amazing. I watched it for about five minutes once and wasn't drawn in but based on your review El B I need to give it another show. 

Was just thinking this week too based on Parnell's return in a small role on 30 Rock too that he's an amazing talent so good seeing him back in biz here. 

On: Thursday, January 27, 2011
Gordon S. Miller said:

It's a winner in my book.  I don't think it will spoil anything if you catch tonight's premiere and then go back and seek out the S1 episodes

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