Sunday, January 8, 2012

Archer The Complete Season Two arrives

     Now out on Blu-ray and DVD is Archer The Complete Season Two. In this second batch of episodes, thirteen in all, FX's Archer really finds its stride. The season opens with "Swiss Miss," in which Malory (Jessica Walter) attempts to find more money for ISIS. Unable to save the company, she sells it to ODIN in the next episode. Luckily, this new ownership doesn't last long. Other highlights include "Tragical History," where Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) tries to make Cyril (Chris Parnell) look like a hero, "Stage Two," in which Archer is diagnosed with cancer, and "El Secuestro," where Cheryl (Judy Greer) is outed as being rich. Finally, in the season finale, "Double Trouble," Archer decides to marry Katya (Ona Grauer), only to see her sacrifice herself to save him from old foe Barry (Dave Willis). 

     Archer takes on longer stories in the second season, rather than the one shots that populate season one, though some stand alone episodes remain. From Archer finding love, to Malory dealing with financial trouble, there is a serial aspect to the animated episode. In fact, Archer's grief over Katya carries into a special three-part miniseries that aired this past fall, prior to season three beginning later this month. It deepens the characters, and makes the fans care about them more. Sure, Archer is an animated comedy, and most of those don't need continuity. But perhaps that's why Archer stands apart as being so good; it isn't afraid to delve into emotion, albeit with a serious comedy bend.

     That's what Archer is: a truly unique series. Part James Bond-esque spy adventure, part zany workplace comedy. The characters are, across the board, well developed, and voiced by very talented actors. The stories are fresh and hilarious. It really makes this a must-see series, and kudos to FX for branching out into animation, and doing it so well.

     The special features are few, but rich in Archer The Complete Season Two, a big improvement over last year. "Archersaurus - Self Extinction" is a follow up to the "Original Unaired Pilot" from The Complete Season One. The Archersaurus, plagued by reviews of his pilot such as "It's just the first episode with a dinosaur," which admittedly, this reviewer jumped on that band wagon, is depressed, and falls into a life of depravity. Tortured and homeless, Archersaurus is taken in by Krieger (Lucky Yates), and comes to an unfortunate fate. It's a mockumentary that is every bit as funny as an Archer episode.

     This theme of doing what the show does best, and treating the series as reality, continues in the other featurettes. "Ask Archer" is five minutes Archer answering clever and creepy fan mail. "Semper Fi" is Archer's failed attempt to send a message to our troops. "L'Espion Mal Fait" finds Archer, after surgery, sporting a look very similar to that of voice actor Benjamin, much to the horror of all of Archer's friends and family. Each of these are very tongue in cheek, and contain the same vein of humor found in the episodes.

     Finally, "Isis Infiltrates Comic-Con" is made up of segments from Archer's panel at San Diego Comic-Con. It's amusing, but as it is a panel of live actors fielding audience and moderate questions, it's not as laugh-out-loud funny as the other bits, but it's still worth watching, and have some funny jokes.

     Archer The Complete Season Two is well worth the purchase. Please buy it today.

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