tek's rating: ½

Archer, FX, Thursdays 10pm (reruns on Comedy Central)
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This show was created by Adam Reed, who has worked on various shows on Cartoon Network's "adult swim" programming block, and it definitely has the look and feel of one of those shows (especially Frisky Dingo, which Reed co-created). It's set at the International Secret Intelligence Service (ISIS), which is run by Malory Archer, who used to be a field operative. (She's voiced by Jessica Walter of Arrested Development, and Malory seems to have a lot in common with her character on that show, Lucille Bluth.) But the main character, obviously, is Malory's son, Sterling Archer, who is currently a field operative himself, and fancies himself a James Bond type. Though there is the implication that he only holds his position because his mother is the boss. Certainly, he's very self-centered and arrogant, and seems mostly interested in just living an extravagant, jet-setting lifestyle.

But the show is set mainly at ISIS headquarters. Other characters include Lana Kane, an ISIS agent who used to date Sterling. At the start of the series, she's dating Cyril Figgis, the ISIS comptroller. Other ISIS employees include Malory's secretary, Cheryl; the HR director, Pam; an intelligence analyst, Ray; and a scientist, Dr. Krieger. And then there's Woodhouse, Sterling's elderly butler, who is devoted to his boss, despite being treated badly by him. We also sometimes see people who work for a rival spy agency called ODIN, including its head, Len Trexler, and its top agent, Barry Dillon (who hates Archer). Plus there is Nikolai Jackov, the head of the KGB (which whom Malory has had an ongoing affair for decades). Anyway, it seems like at the start of the first season, for awhile, I wasn't sure if we'd ever actually see any field work, but we eventually did. It's kind of cool I guess, but mostly the characters talk and act exactly the same way in the field that they do in the office or anywhere else: totally unprofessionally and absorbed in their neurotic personal issues. Or whatever. Except that on missions they also have to worry about shooting people and getting shot at, and stuff.

So, I dunno what else to say. It's not a show for kids, definitely has some very adult themes, and can be crude. Mostly it's a mix of raunchy office comedy and family dysfunction, and strained relationships. Definitely a funny show, though, and it can be pretty clever at times, and very casual. I wasn't big into it at first, but it grew on me over time, especially in the second season.


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