Archer (TV series)

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Archer
Archer 2010 Intertitle.png
Title card
GenreAction
Adventure
Espionage
Dramedy
Black comedy
Sitcom
FormatAnimated series
Created byAdam Reed
Voices ofH. Jon Benjamin
Judy Greer
Amber Nash
Chris Parnell
Aisha Tyler
Jessica Walter
George Coe
Adam Reed
Lucky Yates
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes49 (and 1 unaired pilot) (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Adam Reed
Matt Thompson
Producer(s)Neal Holman
Eric Sims
Casey Willis
Bryan Fordney
Running time19–21 minutes
Production company(s)Floyd County Productions
Radical Axis
FX Productions
Broadcast
Original channelFX
Picture format16:9 HDTV
Original runEpisode 1 sneak peek:
September 17, 2009 (2009-09-17)
Official:
January 14, 2010 – present
Chronology
Related showsBob's Burgers
Frisky Dingo
Arrested Development
External links
Website
 
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Archer
Archer 2010 Intertitle.png
Title card
GenreAction
Adventure
Espionage
Dramedy
Black comedy
Sitcom
FormatAnimated series
Created byAdam Reed
Voices ofH. Jon Benjamin
Judy Greer
Amber Nash
Chris Parnell
Aisha Tyler
Jessica Walter
George Coe
Adam Reed
Lucky Yates
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes49 (and 1 unaired pilot) (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Adam Reed
Matt Thompson
Producer(s)Neal Holman
Eric Sims
Casey Willis
Bryan Fordney
Running time19–21 minutes
Production company(s)Floyd County Productions
Radical Axis
FX Productions
Broadcast
Original channelFX
Picture format16:9 HDTV
Original runEpisode 1 sneak peek:
September 17, 2009 (2009-09-17)
Official:
January 14, 2010 – present
Chronology
Related showsBob's Burgers
Frisky Dingo
Arrested Development
External links
Website

Archer is an American animated espionage comedy television series created by Adam Reed for the FX network. A preview of the series aired on September 17, 2009.[1] The first season premiered on January 14, 2010.[2] The show carries a TV-MA-LSV rating.

The inspiration for Archer came to Reed while in a cafe in Salamanca, Spain. Finding himself unable to approach a beautiful woman seated nearby, Reed conjured up the idea of a spy who "would have a perfect line".[3] Reed conceived the show's concept while walking along the Vía de la Plata in 2008.[4] He pitched his idea to FX, which accepted it and ordered six episodes, along with an additional four scripts.[5]

Premise[edit]

Set at ISIS, the International Secret Intelligence Service in New York City, suave and incredibly self-centered master spy Sterling Archer deals with global espionage; his domineering, emotionally distant mother and boss, Malory Archer; his ex-girlfriend (and fellow ISIS agent), Lana Kane; and his other ISIS co-workers (including fellow agent Ray Gillette, accountant Cyril Figgis, Human Resources Director Pam Poovey, dimwitted secretary Cheryl Tunt, and Applied Research head Doctor Krieger); as well as a code name: "Duchess" (after his mother's deceased Afghan Hound).[6]

Time period[edit]

The show's time setting is comically anachronistic, deliberately mixing technologies, clothing styles and historical backdrops of different decades. The characters wear 1960s clothing and hairstyles, and many episodes feature references to the Soviet Union as a current nation — yet in the fourth season episode "Once Bitten", Turkmenistan is an independent nation rather than a Soviet republic — and also contains references to Fidel Castro as the current leader of Cuba. The show frequently uses pop culture references which are contemporary to the 2010s, yet character backstories place them at older events — such as Woodhouse's service in World War I, or Malory's involvement in various espionage events of the Cold War era — which would require them to be much older than they are if the show were actually set in the 21st century. The technological sophistication within the series also varies, with characters using dated computer technology (e.g. reel-to-reel mainframe systems, desktop computers resembling very closely the Apple Lisa, dot-matrix printers and punchcards) and making surveillance recordings on cassette tape rather than digitally, but also using modern devices such as cell phones, GPS devices, and laser gunsights. This ambiguity is explicitly recognized in at least two episodes, in which characters are unable to answer when asked what year they think it is. The fifth season, entitled "Archer: Vice", attempts to emulate the aesthetic of Miami in the 1970s and 1980s.

Episodes[edit]

The show's first season ran from January 14 to March 18, 2010, and the second season premiered on January 27, 2011.[7] The season 1 DVD was released in Region 1 on December 28, 2010. On December 17, 2010 the first season of Archer also aired in Germany on Comedy Central Germany.[citation needed] On March 29, 2011 it was announced that FX Network had ordered a 16-episode third season of Archer.[8] A three episode special dubbed "The Heart of Archness" was aired in September 2011. Ten new episodes from season 3 began airing on January 19, 2012.[9] On February 23, 2012, FX ordered a 13-episode fourth season of Archer[10] which premiered on January 17, 2013.[11] On February 27, 2013, FX renewed the show for a fifth season consisting of 13 episodes.[12]

Characters[edit]

Production[edit]

Screenshot from Archer TV series.

Each episode of Archer takes a couple of months to produce following the completion of the script. The show is mostly animated by Reed's Floyd County Productions in Atlanta, Georgia,[16] while 3D background models are made by Trinity Animation in Kansas City, Missouri.[17] Originally, Radical Axis housed the show's animation staff for Season 1, but the crew has since moved to their own facilities close to Emory University.

From left to right: Aisha Tyler, Adam Reed, H. Jon Benjamin, Chris Parnell, Judy Greer and Amber Nash at Comic-Con International in 2010

The artistic style of the series was designed to be as realistic as possible, so the character designers used as much reference material as they could.[18] The character drawings are based on Atlanta-area models; they coincidentally resemble some of the voice actors in the series.[19] As Chad Hurd, the lead character designer for the series, noted, the end result resembles "a 1960s comic book come to life."[20] Television critics have also compared the show's overall visual style to that of the drama series Mad Men,[21] as well as noting that lead character Sterling Archer, in particular, bears a substantial resemblance to Mad Men's protagonist Don Draper.[22] The artwork is also similar to the original Jonny Quest cartoon series penned by artist Doug Wildey in the 1960s.

Stylistically, the show is a mix of several different time periods; show creator Adam Reed described it as "intentionally ill-defined", noting that the show "cherry-pick[ed] the best and easiest from several decades".[19] Numerous plot details arise from contemporary culture, such as affirmative action and sexual harassment complaints.

Archer is influenced by the early James Bond films, as well as OSS 117, The Man from U.N.C.L.E and The Pink Panther,[19] and can be compared to Reed's former shows for Adult Swim, Frisky Dingo and Sealab 2021.[18] Driven by rapid-fire dialogue[23] and interaction-based drama, the series is "stuff[ed]...with pop-culture references"[24] and features an anachronistic style, using fashion from the early 1960s, a mix of 1980s-era and modern technology and a political status quo in which "the Cold War never ended".[19]

Relation to other media[edit]

Arrested Development[edit]

Jessica Walter, Jeffrey Tambor, David Cross, and Judy Greer previously starred in the Fox critically acclaimed comedy series Arrested Development. Since both shows largely revolve around feuds and rivalry disputes between family members, Archer has been described by its creator, Adam Reed, as "James Bond meets Arrested Development".[25] There are also notable similarities between the characters played by Greer, Walter and Tambor. Of particular note is Archer's relationship with his mother, which parallels somewhat Buster Bluth's relationship with Lucille Bluth, including the fact that both sons refer to her as 'Mother' and are still under great parental influence as adults. Judy Greer's character is a "lovelorn secretary",[26] Walter is the wealth-wielding matriarch and Tambor, while not the husband, is her long-lost passion interest and possibly Sterling's biological father as well (which is similar to Tambor's secondary role on Arrested Development, Oscar).[27] Both shows also frequently use callbacks and catchphrases. Walter stated in an interview that she became interested in Archer after her manager sent her the pilot script describing Malory as "Think Jessica Walter in Arrested Development".[28]

Sealab 2021 and Frisky Dingo[edit]

Just as some series voice-actors have worked together previously, notable people on the Archer animation and production teams (such as Adam Reed and Matt Thompson) were also cooperatively involved in several shows for Adult Swim, most notably Frisky Dingo and Sealab 2021. All three shows share similar animation styles; a trademark which initially began with Sealab's cut-and-paste juxtaposition of vintage cartoon clips and modern dialogue, was modernized with computer animation for Frisky Dingo, and continues with essentially unchanged appearances for some characters in Archer. The show also shares numerous stylistic and character development similarities with its two predecessors.[18] One of the supporting characters from Frisky Dingo, Mr. Ford, makes a cameo appearance in "Drift Problem", the seventh episode of Season 3 of Archer, repeating one of his Frisky Dingo catchphrases ("My ass is everywhere.").

Additionally, the season 4 finale (Sea Tunt: Part II) included a nod to Sealab 2021 (a show that series creator Adam Reed previously worked on[29]), featuring an underwater research laboratory with an insane commander named Captain Murphy (Sealab 2021 revolved around an underwater research laboratory with an insane commander named Captain Murphy). The character bore a heavy resemblance to the aforementioned Sealab 2021 character both in appearance and mannerisms. He is later killed by an off brand soda machine, which is the central plot of an episode of Sealab 2021. As a tribute to Harry Goz, the actor who played Captain Murphy in Sealab 2021, the soda machine dispenses Goz soda in the Archer episode.[30][31]

Bob's Burgers[edit]

The fourth season opening scene had Archer working in Bob's Burgers, under an assumed identity. Both shows share H. Jon Benjamin as their lead voice actor (Sterling Archer and Bob Belcher).[32] The two-part season finale of season four also stars Bob's Burgers actors Eugene Mirman and Kristen Schaal.[33]

Reception[edit]

The show has seen positive reviews, scoring a 78/100 on Metacritic for its first season, 88/100 for its second, indicating "universal acclaim", 75/100 for its third, and 80/100 for its fourth.[34] Entertainment Weekly called it a wittily raunchy spy spoof,[35] and the Miami Herald referred to it as "a millennial (and very much R-rated) Get Smart that acerbically and hilariously plays on our post-9/11 fears that 'U.S. government intelligence' might be a grim oxymoron."[36] The show has been nominated for a 2010 Emmy and a 2012 Annie Award.[citation needed]

DVD release[edit]

DVD nameRegion 1 release dateRegion 2 release dateRegion 4 release dateBlu-ray release dateEpisode countDiscsAdditional content
Season 1December 28, 2010[37]May 2, 2011[38]March 2, 2011[39]December 27, 2011[40]102An allegedly unaired Archer pilot titled Archersaurus (essentially the first episode with Archer replaced by a human sized velociraptor), an unaired network promo, deleted scenes, a six-part "The Making of Archer" featurette, bonus episodes from The League and Louie.
Season 2December 27, 2011[41]May 7, 2012[42]February 29, 2012[43]December 27, 2011[44]132Archersaurus - Self Extinction; Ask Archer; Semper Fi; L'espion Mal Fait; ISIS infiltrates Comic-con.
Season 3January 8, 2013[45]March 13, 2013[46]132Commentaries on "El Contador", "Drift Problem", and "Lo Scandalo "; extended version of "Heart of Archness"; Audio Book Fail; Cooking with Archer; and trailer for Gator 2
Season 4January 7, 2014[47]February 5, 2014[48]13

Book[edit]

How to Archer: The Ultimate Guide to Espionage and Style and Women and Also Cocktails Ever Written (ISBN 9780062066312) a how-to book "written" by Sterling Archer was released January 17, 2012.[49]

Awards[edit]

In 2010, H. Jon Benjamin was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Voiceover Performance.[50] On July 17, 2010, Archer won the NewNowNext Award for "Best Show You're Not Watching".[51] Archer was nominated for and won Best Animated Comedy Series at the 2012 Comedy Awards.

Archer was also nominated for Best Comedy Series at the 2011 Critics' Choice Television Awards. It won the 2012 Critics' Choice Television Award and 2013 Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Animated Series.[52]

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ Toomey, Johnathon (2009-11-16). "FX quietly plans sneak-peek of animated Archer". TV Squad. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  2. ^ Joyce Eng. "FX Sets Midseason Schedule". TVGuide.com. 
  3. ^ Brophy-Warren, Jamin (2010-01-11). "New FX Series "Archer" Puts an Animated Twist on the Spy Genre". Wall Street Journal. 
  4. ^ "Jan. 14 Thurs. 10 PM". FX Network. p. 4. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  5. ^ Zahed, Ramin (2009-08-18). "FX Orders 6 Episodes of Archer Toon". Animation Magazine. Archived from the original on 16 January 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  6. ^ "FX Official Site: About the Show". FX. Retrieved December 8, 2009. 
  7. ^ http://www.thrfeed.com/2010/02/fx-renews-archer-.html
  8. ^ Ward, Kate. "It's official: 'Justified,' 'Archer' renewed at FX". Inside TV. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 29, 2011. 
  9. ^ Nehra, Pete. "Aiesha Tayler on Sklarboro Country". Interview Podcast. Earwolf.com. Retrieved July 8, 2011. 
  10. ^ Surette, Time. "FX Renews Archer for Season 4". TV.com. CBS Entertainment. Retrieved February 23, 2012. 
  11. ^ Nova, Sasha. "Archer season 4 Premier Announced". boomtron.com. Retrieved November 29, 2012. 
  12. ^ Seat42f. "FX Renews Archer For A Fifth Season". Retrieved 27 February 2013. 
  13. ^ Lloyd, Robert (January 14, 2010). "'Archer': The new cartoon on FX is more office comedy than spy spoof". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 17, 2013. 
  14. ^ Archer, Season 2, Episode 10.
  15. ^ tie-in book How To Archer: The Ultimate Guide to Espionage and Style and Women and Also Cocktails Ever Written by Sterling Archer, p. 27
  16. ^ "Archer Crew". FX Network. Archived from the original on 31 December 2009. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  17. ^ "Local Animators Ready for Cable Debut with 'Archer'". FOX4 News. January 5, 2010. 
  18. ^ a b c Exclusive: Adam Reed On The Origins Of FX's 'Archer'
  19. ^ a b c d Reed, Adam (2011-02-24). Interview with Vlada Gelman. The A.V. Club. http://www.avclub.com/articles/adam-reed,52336/. Retrieved 2011-02-24.
  20. ^ Hurd, Chad (2009-11-21). "Hey Everyone!". FX Network. Archived from the original on 1 February 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  21. ^ "Spy Spoofing in Archer". Animation World Network, January 14, 2010.
  22. ^ "FX spy satire 'Archer' a bull's-eye". New York Daily News, January 14, 2010.
  23. ^ Miller, Michael (2011-01-25). "Spy guy Archer returns in TV’s saltiest show". Toledo Free Press Star. Retrieved 2011-03-04. 
  24. ^ Tucker, Ken (2011-01-27). "'Archer' season premiere review: Is this the best (adult) cartoon on TV?". Ken Tucker's TV. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2011-03-04. "Creator Adam Reed and his collaborators stuff every half-hour with pop-culture references that zip by as quickly as Archer’s snow-mobile did this evening." 
  25. ^ Levin, Gary (July 16, 2009). "FX's 'Archer': Bond meets 'Arrested Development'". USA Today. Retrieved Sep 15, 2010. 
  26. ^ Lee, Allyssa (Jan 6, 2010). "Jeffrey Tambor, Jessica Walter to Reunite on 'Archer'". TV Squad. Retrieved Sep 15, 2010. 
  27. ^ Ausiello, Michael (Jan 5, 2010). "Exclusive: 'Arrested Development' reunion coming to FX (but there's a catch)!". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved Sep 15, 2010. 
  28. ^ "Jessica Walter PCM interview". Pop Culture Madness. Retrieved December 18, 2011. 
  29. ^ Archer's Adam Reed
  30. ^ Archer, Season 4: Jon Hamm’s deadpan brilliance and an intense underwater escape make for the perfect season finale.
  31. ^ Archer Season Finale Review: TEOTWAWKI in Sealab 2021
  32. ^ Next 'Archer' season will include a 'Bob's Burgers' crossover episode -- EXCLUSIVE
  33. ^ The Futon Critic - Listings: Archer, S4E12
  34. ^ "Metacritic reviews". 
  35. ^ "EW Archer review". 
  36. ^ "Miami Herald Archer review". 
  37. ^ Archer - Season 1 DVD Information | TVShowsOnDVD.com
  38. ^ http://www.play.com/DVD/DVD/4-/17493614/Archer-Season-1/Product.html
  39. ^ Archer - The Complete Season 1 (2 Disc Set)
  40. ^ Archer - Season 1 DVD Information | TVShowsOnDVD.com
  41. ^ Archer - Season 2 DVD Information | TVShowsOnDVD.com
  42. ^ Archer - Season 2 [DVD] [NTSC]: Amazon.co.uk: H. Jon Benjamin, Judy Greer, Amber Nash, Chris Parnell, Aisha Tyler: Film & TV
  43. ^ Archer - The Complete Season 2
  44. ^ Archer - Season 2 DVD Information | TVShowsOnDVD.com
  45. ^ Archer DVD news: Announcement for Archer - Season 3 | TVShowsOnDVD.com
  46. ^ http://www.jbhifionline.com.au/dvd/dvd-genres/tv/archer-season-3/678901 Archer - Season 3 JBHIFI
  47. ^ http://www.cinemasquid.com/netflix-instant/movies/titles/archer-season-4/7957a63b-bcce-438c-a1a1-f0e226e84e06
  48. ^ "Archer Season 4 on DVD". EzyDVD. Retrieved December 28, 2013. 
  49. ^ "How to Archer: The Ultimate Guide to Espionage and Style and Women and Also Cocktails Ever Written By Sterling Archer". HarperCollins. Retrieved April 30, 2013. 
  50. ^ 2010 Emmy Nominations: Outstanding Voice-Over Performance
  51. ^ 2012 NewNowNext Awards | Vote for Everything New, Now and Next in Pop Culture | Logo TV Awards
  52. ^ NBC, 'Community' top Critics Choice Awards - Entertainment News, TV News, Media - Variety

External links[edit]