We are truly in an era of adult cartoons. I don’t mean sexually explicit ones (although those are bountiful as well), but rather ones that are the fruit of [adult swim]’s loin. The network (or sub-network/animation block, whatever you want to call it) has really gone above and beyond when it comes to spawning shows that range from uncomfortably awkward to ones that are hilarious and down right stupid. While the most popular “adult” cartoons (Family Guy, The Simpsons, etc.) are certainly not something six year olds should be watching most of the time, shows like Venture Bros. and Metalocalypse are shows that should just not be watched any anyone unless they’re over 17. Basically what I’m getting at is Archer is a filthy show and it should be watched only by adults. Oh and it’s on FX, not [adult swim], so don’t go looking for this latest endeavor from Adam Reed and Matt Thompson on that network.
ARCHER The Complete First Season arrives on DVD from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment on 28 December, 2010. FX’s original animated half-hour comedy series premiered 14 January, 2010. The show is set at the International Secret Intelligence Service (ISIS), a spy agency where espionage and global crises are merely opportunities for its highly trained employees to confuse, undermine, betray and royally screw each other. TIME Magazine’s James Poniewozik wrote “If you want your action parody and office sitcom all in one, Archer may well be the spy you’ll love.” Of course, he loves mother (aka The Boss) so we’re suspicious of his motives.
My exposure to Archer occurred one night when I was watching It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I was told to “stay tuned” for a secret preview of something or another and up popped Archer. I really didn’t watch anymore of the show after that simply because I was already watching too much already (that and the animation style kind of irked me a bit). But now with the DVD set I can sit down and watch it in its entirety (which didn’t take long—ten twenty-two minute episodes whiz right by)…which is exactly what I did (obviously).
If you’ve been a fan of this adult toon genre for awhile then the names Adam Reed and Matt Thompson should be familiar. They’re the minds behind SeaLab 2021 and Frisky Dingo, the former being the more popular of the two, and really SeaLab kind of helped define the [adult swim] network. It was either that or Space Ghost re-runs that you were watching (and then eventually Venture Bros.). In any case the duo went with FX for their latest toon and it features the same deadpan, uncomfortable and incredibly awkward humor that they’re known for. Mix in H. Jon Benjamin’s voice as the lead of Sterling Archer and you have a show that people will already watch based on the talent alone.
The show itself is a kind of mash up of 60s style with modern technology (but still dated in some regards…it’s whatever they want to do, basically). Throw in a still active Soviet Union and current day references and you have a show that’s both familiar and yet present day. It’s definitely an interesting show to behold because of that and it makes for entertaining situations. What’s really great about the show though is just how self-absorbed everyone is; these are some of the greatest spies in the world, yet they’re all really just in bed with each other (in disturbing combos at times) and…well, that’s it really. It’s kind of like The Office and Get Smart rolled up into a really raunchy R-rated comedy. There’s no better way to describe it than that.
Overall Archer is a very dirty show but it’s also quite hilarious at times. It’s off-putting at first simply because of how vulgar it is, but if you can get into the show and accept that kind of humor…then you’re really solid when it comes to this one. With it returning for a second go-round in a few weeks, this will no doubt (hopefully for the fans at least) be a show that sticks around awhile. Recommended.
This is a single disc release in a two disc Amaray case inside of a clear plastic amaray case. It’s a tidy looking box set and features a very colorful front cover. Menus are simple and easy to navigate and the video and audio is what you’d expect from a modern show. There is some banding on the colors occasionally, but nothing that’s overly distracting. Audio is a DD5.1 mix and is more than enough for such a dialogue driven show.
Un-aired ARCHER pilot
“Making Of” production shorts
The un-aired pilot is an…interesting expedition to embark on. It’s a bit hard to sit through as well, but it’s still pretty entertaining. The Making-Of is about twenty minutes in length when combined together and is worth checking out if you’re a fan. There are some deleted scenes and TV promos as well, but all in all that’s it—not a huge amount of extras and commentaries would be nice…but hopefully if it continues on we’ll get richer sets in the future.
Archer: The Complete Season One is now available on DVD.