Early Shots: Archer

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[Before we start I believe that all props and credit should land squarely in the lap of Mr Rob Buckley for introducing me to this particular show as it's one I would never have discovered myself.]

You a fan of the spy genre? Enjoy your James Bond served with a twist rather than a shake? Maybe you love shows like Sea Lab, Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law or The Venture Brothers. Or you adored the tongue in cheek style of the "No One Lives Forever" series of games.

Well if you're one of those, or someone who enjoys quality adult orientated (NO! Not that kind of adult) cartoons then you'd be doing yourself as serious favour and get over to FX then give "Archer" a serious going over.

Archer is a semi-realistic art style cartoon about a secret agent codenamed "The Dutchess" but known to everyone in the organisation by his real name - Sterling Archer. Archer (voiced by H. Jon Benjamin ) is a colossal jerk of such a spectacular magnitude that it's hard not to love his attitude. He comes across as a mix between Gary Cole's Harvey Birdman and Stephen Colbert's Phill Ken Seben (Both from the afformentioned Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law), saddled with a massive ego that is only dwarfed by the insecurities inflicted on him by his boss slash mother Malory (Jessica Walter).

Archer's co-workers include not just fellow spy (and ex lover) Lana Kane (Aisha Tyler) but also ISIS's accountant Cyril (Chris Parnell) who is now dating Lana thanks in part to his *ahem* special qualification and Malory's secetary Carol Cheryl Cristal Carol (Judy Greer) a young woman who is equal parts desperate and disturbed plus others, including Archer's butler Woodhouse (George Coe) - who I suspect is named in tribute to the author of the Jeeves and Wooster books, one P.G. Wodehouse.

Archer is a spy comedy which plays heavily on not only the absurdities of the spy genre but also the fun of an office environment for such a high action field. A lot of ISIS staff (described adeptly as drones at one point) are involved in the mundane aspects of spying, the paperwork and so forth. And this is a source of at least some of the humor alongside Archer's own absurdities.

It's almost redundant to say that the voice acting is phenomenal in this show, Judy and Jessica are both alumni from Arrested Development and if anything they're funnier here as they've had more time and practice. Though it is fair to say that the characters they are voicing here do have some traits in common with Lucille Bluth and Kitty Sanchez that is not a slight at their talent or hilarity. Chris Parnell himself is also no stranger to sitcoms, you might know him best as Doctor Leo Spaceman (that's pronounced Spa-Che-Man) from 30 Rock and Jon Benjamin has honed his craft with numerous voice overs before now.

Needless to say "Archer" is a phantasmal show and one which will probably burn brightly before departing from our screens with just a few episodes, but you really, really should check it out if you're the least bit interested because it is quite figuratively side-splitting in every aspect and totally gorgeous to watch to boot.

Still not enough to wet your appetite? See what Rob thought about the show.

Archer's website is located here.

(If you enjoy The Venture Bros, Chuck, Burn Notice, Arrested Development or Harvey Birdman you may enjoy this.)


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