Archer is a half-hour animated comedy series created by Adam Reed for the FX network. The first season premiered on Thursday, September 17, 2009, the show carries a TV-MA rating. Frequent Adam Reed collaborator Matt Thompson is the Executive Producer.
The inspiration behind 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 Via de la Plata in 2008. His basic pitch was, "what if James Bond was played by Charlie Sheen as Charlie Sheen?" Being a longtime "rabid fan" of FX Network and its original programming, he pitched his idea to the network. They accepted it and ordered six episodes, along with an additional four scripts.
Set in a unique universe at the International Secret Intelligence Service (ISIS), suave master spy Sterling Archer deals with global espionage, a domineering, hypersexual, late middle aged mother/boss Malory Archer, his agent ex-girlfriend Lana Kane, and a less-than-masculine code name—"Duchess." It was supposedly chosen at random by the agency's ISIS mainframe computer but in fact is the name of his mother's deceased dog, of which she has a disturbingly erotic photograph with herself similar to the Rolling Stone cover with John Lennon and Yoko Ono in bed. On the surface, Sterling Archer is a classy, devilishly-handsome spy reminiscent of James Bond. He is skilled in "improvised" combat and Krav Maga, as well as small firearms, Scuba diving and "Honey Pot" (blackmail through seduction).
Although he is sometimes capable of being charming and is highly regarded in the field, Archer is in fact destructively bitter and has a habit of charging outrageous expenses (such as prostitutes and $900 turtlenecks) to his ISIS account. His less appealing qualities include masked "mommy-issues," jealousy towards Lana's now ex-boyfriend and coworker Cyril, raw male-chauvinism, dehumanizing treatment of his elderly butler, and his frequent verbal assaults on everyone in his path. Everyone at ISIS allegedly hates him, however the office is repeatedly noted to be a "hostile work environment" anyway by coworkers as insults fly in every direction.
List of Archer episodes Edit
- Main article: Episode Guide
Archer's first season consisted of 10 episodes, airing between September 2009 and March 2010, The FX Network ordered a 13-episode second season of Archer which aired between January and April 2011. FX announced that they renewed Archer for a 13-episode third season, which aired from September 2011 and March 2012. A fourth season was ordered for thirteen episodes and began on January 17, 2013 and ended on April 11, 2013.
Techniques and trademarks Edit
Due to the extreme amount of control Adam Reed has over his show, he has been able to continue some long running jokes and keep a consistent style and pacing. Some of the conventional methods of story telling include:
Oftentimes characters will foreshadow the upcoming events of the episode. This occurs often, occasionally a character will suggest something that seems outrageous, only to have it come true later in the episode.
The show makes many references back to things that occur in previous episodes and seasons. This brings a sense of reality to the show because many shows tend to forget things that happened in the past. Though some animated comedy shows use callbacks occasionally, Archer uses them much more frequently.
For example, in "Jeu Monegasque," Ray hits Le Chuffre with Malory's purse. After the hit he suggests that Malory carries buckles inside them. This is a callback to "Mole Hunt," in that episode Malory hits Archer with the purse and Archer asks the same question.
Quick cuts Edit
Many times scenes are connected by lines of dialogue in clever ways. A character might be finishing a line of dialogue, only to cut to the next scene before the dialogue is complete. However the character in the next scene will often finish the previous line of dialogue. Occasionally, the next line is accurate and sometimes it's just done to be funny.
For example, in "El Secuestro," Malory and Lana wonder if Cheryl has been kidnapped. They almost rule it out because the blast doors should be down. However, they realize Archer and Ray had to open them to leave the garage. Malory says, "They aren't dumb enough to leave the door wide open. Are they?" Quick cut to the next scene where Archer yells, "Yes!" at Ray in an argument to get Ray to take off his turtleneck.