The name's Archer. Sterling Archer. A super spy who’s as deadly as he is juvenile and irresponsible. Add to this one of the most hostile workplaces you’ll ever see on TV, a spy agency run by his dominating mother. To this, also add his ex-girlfriend, another super spy, a ditzy receptionist, the genetic clone of a genius Nazi scientist, an HR representative with an eating disorder, and a socially awkward accountant, and you’ve got yourself a TV show that is as intriguing as it is infuriating.
If you’ve ever wanted to be a super spy, you’re exactly like most of us. When you see characters like James Bond or Ethan Hunt, dressed to kill, deadly and charming, it is impossible not to want to live that life. If you could only be let loose in that glamorous world, right? With no consequences? Archer lets you live that life, and with a lot more humor and fun. Think James Bond meets Arrested Development and hop the whole thing up on steroids. That’s Archer for you. It’s got plenty of references to sex, drugs, alcohol, and violence, and has no qualms about making race jokes.
Although it is an 'inappropriate animated show', it’s a very different beast than, say, the Simpsons or South Park. It’s been drawn much more intricately, and while each individual scene looks like a comic book strip come to life, the frames are further apart than you'd expect, and the animation has this really unusual and janky feel to it that's not as smooth as other shows. When it comes to cast, Archer stars some of the most talented voice actors out there; with names like H. Jon Benjamin, Judy Greer, and Jessica Walters, you will very quickly have a connection with all the characters, and will know what they’re like.
If you like constant rapid-fire one liners that leave you in splits, this is the show for you. There are very few serious moments, and the ones that are there are very quickly broken by Sterling Archer being the daft ignoramus that is Sterling Archer. His ability to not take things seriously is what makes this show, and is actually profoundly enviable. A bullet to the foot? Ran out of ammo surrounded while you’re surrounded by bad guys? In a crashing airplane with no parachute? Eh, could be worse. All in a day’s work.
Running jokes are aplenty, and once you go through a couple episodes you’ll start to guess what Archer is going to say and how he’s going to manage to turn everyone's life upside down. It’s weirdly liberating to put yourself in his shoes and be the most selfish, arrogant, and deadly, person on the planet. He’s a 6’2'' Dennis the Menace, built like a soldier, and with a gun.
Lana Kane, archer’s ex-girlfriend and super spy, is another very interesting character. She’s a far better spy than Archer, but is always in the shadow since Archer’s mother literally owns and runs the spy agency. She still loves Archer, but him being the overgrown child he is, she just cannot trust him with her feelings. She’s also one of the most badass female characters in any show I’ve seen, with her twin TEC-9s.
Judy Greer voices the ditzy secretary (minor spoiler — who’s also a billionaire related to the Tunt family, that owns most of the railroad in the U.S.) is one of the most critically acclaimed characters in the show. She’s unpredictable, addicted to sniffing glue, and very very into violence.
TV today gets repetitive. Having a unique premise and delivering on that premise can go a long way for the show, and Archer banks on this. Jessica Walters voices an amazing dominant Mallory Archer, and Sterling Archer’s childhood issues play a huge role in how he is today, and him being a deadly super spy just makes it all the more interesting. Imagine having your mother be your boss, all while you're the most feared spy and assassin in the world. That’s right, you can’t. Watch Archer and you won’t have to.
Archer takes the slick, suave, super spy stereotype and rips it to shreds. If you enjoy guns, explosions, cool gadgets and other spy movie tropes, this show will reel you in and subvert every expectation you might have in whatever way you'd least expect it. It’s on Netflix, and there’s multiple seasons of it. You’re welcome.