Archer


Archer Information

Archer is an American animated sitcom television series created by Adam Reed for the FX network. A preview of the series aired on September 17, 2009. The first season premiered on January 14, 2010. 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". Reed conceived the show's concept while walking along the Vía de la Plata in 2008. He pitched his idea to the FX Network, which accepted it and ordered six episodes, along with an additional four scripts. The show ended its first season on March 18, 2010, and the second season premiered on January 27, 2011. 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. On March 29, 2011 it was announced that FX Network had ordered a 16-episode third season of Archer. 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. On February 23, 2012, FX ordered a 13-episode fourth season of Archer which premiered on January 17, 2013. On February 27, 2013, FX ordered a fifth season consisting of 13 episodes.

Premise

Set at ISIS, the International Secret Intelligence Service (cf. SIS, ASIS, CSIS, NZSIS, U.N.C.L.E.) in New York City, suave and incredibly self-centered master spy Sterling Archer deals with global espionage; his domineering, emotionally-cold mother/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, secretary Cheryl Tunt, and Applied Research head Doctor Krieger); as well as a less-than-masculine code name: "Duchess" (after his mother's deceased Afghan Hound).

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 hair styles, 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 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 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, 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 asked what year they think it is but are unable to answer.

Episodes

See List of Archer episodes for more information

Characters

See List of Archer characters for more information

  • Sterling Malory Archer (H. Jon Benjamin), codename: Duchess, is 184 lb, 6'2", 36 years old, and is considered the world's most dangerous secret agent. He is extremely egotistical and self-involved. Though he shows proficiency in stereotypical spy skills—weapons, driving, martial arts—his only real interest in the job is the opportunity to enjoy a jet-setting lifestyle full of sex, alcohol, thrills, lacrosse, fast cars, and spy toys.
  • Lana Kane (Aisha Tyler) is the top female agent at ISIS and Archer's ex-girlfriend. A tall, beautiful woman, she is a competent and deadly agent but is constantly frustrated that she is treated as the number two ISIS field agent because Archer's mother runs the agency. The fact that she is tall and has abnormally large hands are often a source of fodder for jokes at her expense. Her name is reminiscent of Lanacane, a pharmaceutical company that produces anti-itching cream.
  • Malory Archer (Jessica Walter), Sterling Archer's mother and the head of ISIS, is a self-centered alcoholic who regularly hatches half-baked, invariably disastrous schemes to use the agency's resources to her own personal advantage. She has staged a false assassination attempt on a U.N. official to secure a lucrative government contract, called in fake threats to restaurants and air ships in order to get reservations and cabin berths, sent ISIS agents to blow up an oil pipeline in Turkmenistan, assasinated the Prime Minister of Italy and tricked the ISIS staff into disposing of the body, and assisted a coyote syndicate so she could use the reward money to redecorate her office.
  • Cyril Figgis (Chris Parnell) is the comptroller of ISIS. Cyril is portrayed as quite competent at his job, but is plagued by a number of personal issues. He's eventually promoted to secret agent, but is incredibly incompetent at that. He was Lana Kane's love interest at the beginning of Season 1, but due to residual trust issues from her relationship with Archer (and her finding out Cyril was cheating on her repeatedly), she refused to call Cyril her boyfriend or say she loved him.
  • Cheryl Tunt (Judy Greer) is Malory's secretary. In the pilot episode, she was portrayed as a lovesick, ditzy secretary frequently taken advantage of by Archer, but that side of her character was gradually phased out as her behavior became more and more unhinged: she has pyromaniac and sadomasochistic tendencies and is often sniffing or swallowing rubber cement. She is an heiress to a railroad fortune.
  • Pam Poovey (Amber Nash) is ISIS's Human Resources Director. A gossipy pot smoker who is the brunt of many jokes regarding her weight. She serves as a foil for most of the members of the cast, often calling them out on their zany schemes. Though not a field agent, she is a trained drift car racer and bare knuckle fighter, with over a dozen kills under her belt (represented on her back, along with the third verse of Lord Byron's poem "The Destruction of Sennacherib" in tattoo form). Among her other interests are graffiti, directing amateur tentacle porn, and cock-fighting with siamese fighting fish.
  • Mr. Doctor Algernop Krieger (Lucky Yates), is the head of the ISIS applied research department. He spends most of his time working on projects to facilitate his kinky sexual fantasies. It is discovered he shares blood ties to Adolf Hilter, being one of the "Boys from Brazil". He has an affinity for Rush and in one episode is shown to own a drum kit identical to that of Rush drummer Neil Peart. He is not an actual doctor, however Doctor is his first name.
  • Ray Gillette (Adam Reed) is an openly gay intelligence analyst and one of the few competent members of ISIS. Along with Pam and Lana, he serves as the voice of reason on the show. Raised in an impoverished part of West Virginia, he was once an ordained minister as well a bronze medalist in giant slalom. He spent most of season three pretending to be paralyzed after being injured on a rescue mission, but was paralyzed for real following a space shuttle crash at the end of the season. In season four he receives bionic legs, allowing him to walk again.
  • Woodhouse (George Coe, Roy McCrery in flashbacks) is Sterling's long-suffering British valet who patiently accepts the unending stream of abuse hurled at him by Archer, in part due to Archer's resemblance to a pilot friend of his from World War I whom Woodhouse had an unrequited crush upon. His name is a tip to the Jeeves and Wooster creator P.G. Wodehouse.

Production

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, while 3D background models are made by Trinity Animation in Kansas City, Missouri. 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.

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. The character drawings are based on Atlanta-area models; they coincidentally resemble some of the voice actors in the series. As Chad Hurd, the lead character designer for the series, noted, the end result resembles "a 1960s comic book come to life." Television critics have also compared the show's overall visual style to that of the drama series Mad Men, as well as noting that lead character Sterling Archer, in particular, bears a substantial resemblance to Mad Men's protagonist Don Draper. 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". 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, and can be compared to Reed's former shows for Adult Swim, Frisky Dingo and Sealab 2021. Driven by rapid-fire dialogue and interaction-based drama, the series is "stuff[ed]...with pop-culture references" 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".

Relation to other media

Arrested Development

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. 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", 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). Both shows also frequently use callbacks and catchphrases. Walter stated in an interview that she became interested in Archer after her manager saw the pilot script describing Malory as "Think Jessica Walter in Arrested Development" and sent her the script.

Sealab 2021 and Frisky Dingo

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. 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.") which seems to further cement the lineage between the two shows.

Bob's Burgers

The fourth season of Archer included a crossover episode with Bob's Burgers, as both shows share H. Jon Benjamin as their lead voice actor (Sterling Archer and Bob Belcher).

Reception

The show has seen positive reviews, scoring a 78/100 on Metacritic for its first season, 88/100 for its second, indicating "universal acclaim", and 75/100 for its third. Entertainment Weekly called it a wittily raunchy spy spoof, 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." The show has been nominated for a 2010 Emmy and a 2012 Annie Award.

DVD release

DVD NameRegion 1 release dateRegion 2 release dateRegion 4 release dateBlu-ray release dateEpisode count Discs Additional content
Season 1 December 28, 2010May 2, 2011March 2, 2011December 27, 2011102 An allegedly unaired Archer pilot (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 2 December 27, 2011May 7, 2012February 29, 2012December 27, 2011132 Archersaurus - Self Extinction; Ask Archer; Semper Fi; L'espion Mal Fait; ISIS infiltrates Comic-con.
Season 3 January 8, 2013March 13, 2013132 Commentaries 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

Awards

In 2010, H. Jon Benjamin was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Voiceover Performance. On July 17, 2010, Archer won the NewNowNext Award for "Best Show You're Not Watching". 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 Award. It won the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Animated Series in 2012.




This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Archer_%28TV_series%29" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.
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