Sunday, January 17, 2010

FX takes a page from Adult Swim with Archer

     FX has a new cartoon series called Archer, created by Adam Reed (Sealab 2021, Frisky Dingo).  After watching the first two episodes this past Thursday night, it would have been right at home with Cartoon Network's Adult Swim.  In humor and animation style, it was reminiscent of The Venture Brothers or Sealab 2021, two wonderful classics.  What sets the series apart from those others, though, is the well known voice cast behind the zany characters.

     The show is a James Bond spoof, with Sterling Archer, (voice acting heavy H. Jon Benjamin) codename Duchess, as the international title spy.  Archer has serious mommy issues, not made any better by the fact that his mother, Malory (Jessica Walter channeling her Arrested Development character, Lucille Bluth), is his boss at the secret agency.  He also has to work with ex-girlfriend and fellow spy, Lana Kane (Aisha Tyler, 24, Ghost Whisperer), whom he has not gotten over.  Her current boyfriend, the geeky comptroller Cyril (Chris Parnell, 30 Rock, Saturday Night Live) is also a part of the team.  Rounding out the series regulars is Judy Greer (Arrested Development, Miss Guided) as secretary Cheryl.  There are also several other funny characters who have sticking-around potential, including Fat Carol and butler / nanny Woodhouse.

     In the first episode, Archer has to train Cyril, as Malory hopes that if she can make Lana's new boyfriend tough, she can keep Archer and Lana apart.  It appears Archer's odd relationship isn't entirely one-sided.  Malory shined in this episode, playing most of it blind as Cheryl and Fat Carol pretty much did whatever they wanted to run the spy operation.  It was followed immediately by a second episode, where Archer tries to break into his own agency and cover up his abuse of expense reports.  Each made me laugh out loud several times.

     Six episodes have been ordered, as well as four additional scripts, should the first six get decent ratings.  They appear to be stand alone episodes, so you can jump in next week without having seen the first two, which I highly recommend you do.  The first two episodes of Archer will re-air tonight at 11pm, and new episodes first run on Thursday nights at 10pm

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