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TV Review | Archer | Season 1


Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) and Lana (Aisha Tyler) plot to steal a diamond in Archer
 

Season Summary: Suave secret agent Sterling Archer is the world’s most dangerous spy, but political intrigue and global crises are nothing compared to the sexual tension and human resources crises at the intelligence agency where he works. (Archer Wiki)


If the images in this article aren't enough of a hint, Archer is definitely not a cartoon for children. In fact, the humour is often crude enough that a lot of adults probably won't enjoy it either! This isn't to say that the humour is childish, but it certainly takes advantage of being animation to get away with the characters doing and saying things that would probably get the show taken off the air if it was live-action.


My favourite character, Cheryl, is probably the shining example of this. She gets naked a lot, and usually because she wants, often being physically harmed in some way - again, because she wants to. And sometimes that harm is pretty graphic in its depiction too.


As for why she's my favourite character? It's because of the fantastic contrast between the fact that she is a typical ditzy secretary that you'd see in any number of sitcoms, but she's also a woman who knows exactly what she wants and isn't afraid to aggressively go after it.


And it's exactly that kind of characterisation that makes Archer so great: all of the cast could be reduced to simple stereotypes on first look, but there's so much more that gets added to them all so quickly that they continue to surprise throughout the season.


In fact, the only real disappointment I have with this first season is that it isn't longer! Ten episodes and each lasts only around twenty minutes, meaning that it's all over so soon that you're left desperate for more. Fortunately, you can just jump straight into following seasons rather than having to wait for months for the show to come back.

Cyril (Chris Parnell) and Cheryl (Judy Greer) engage in completely consensual behaviour as Pam (Amber Nash) watches in Archer

There's no real over-arching narrative either like later seasons, although characters do progress through their own little arcs. Still, you can pretty much revisit any episode whenever you want and it won't feel like you're dropping into the middle of something and missing out on a piece of the story.


As for the title character, Sterling Archer - known by the code-name 'Duchess' - totally looks the part of an American James Bond, with the drinking and womanising habits to go along with it. Come to think of it, he's also incredibly competent too.


The main difference between the pair is that Archer has to be as skilled as he is because he's also usually responsible for getting himself into danger - usually because of the drinking and womanising. Similar to Cheryl, he's more than a little dim, but still damn good at what he does.

Archer's first season is a fantastic debut effort, being extremely funny in some truly ludicrous circumstances and completely insane characters that you still get to to know and love, as they all have fully fleshed out personalities that should make each one a favourite for someone in the audience.

[9/10]

 
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