Fans that were waiting for the first season of FX’s Archer to hit Blu-ray can finally rejoice, as all ten episodes are here in high-definition perfection in Fox’s Archer: Season 1. While its unique style of humor may not be for everyone, those who decide to give this animated spy comedy a chance are sure to get a comical kick out of the daily activities of the hapless employees of ISIS. If you enjoy shows like The Office and Get Smart, then you’re in for a treat with this instant classic.
For those unfamiliar with the series, Archer follows the day-to-day adventures of Sterling Archer (voiced to comedic perfection by H. Jon Benjamin), a laid-back, wise-cracking spy that’s always ready to shoot first and crack one-liners later, and his co-workers at the spy headquarters ISIS (Secret Intelligence Service). Archer’s mother Malory (Jessica Walter) is the boss, so you can already imagine the comedy and drama that ensues from that alone (she gives Archer the code name “Duchess” after a dog she loved). But when you thrown in all the zany co-workers that are always looking for a way to not do their work and get over on one another, you have one hilarious show. There’s Agent Lana Kane (Aisha Tyler), Archer’s ex-girlfriend that still has feelings for him but won’t admit it, her new boyfriend Cyril (Chris Parnell), the comptroller that’s always trying to keep ISIS from falling apart financially, Malory’s lovesick secretary Cheryl (Judy Greer) that’s always looking for love in the wrong places, and human resource manager Pam (Amber Nash) that’s always looking for food, alcohol, and sex where ever she can find it.
It’s really one of those shows where you have to watch it to better understand its humor. But to me it comes off as a twisted Get Smart and The Office mix, with deadpan humor, sex, and violence thrown in.
The transfer of the show to Blu-ray looks great, as every detail and color from the sharp looking artwork shows up perfectly here. While the Flash-style animation takes a little getting used to due to its slight jerkiness, once you do, you’ll see that it’s all part of the series charm. The sound is just as great, as the 5.1 DTS-HD audio makes sure that every gunshot, explosion, and quip is heard perfectly.
The special features here are good, but could have been better. There’s a twenty minute “Making Of” featurette that mostly deals with the animation of the show. Here, you get to see how the show is made scene by scene. There’s also about two-minutes of “deleted scenes” which are mostly quick jokes and quips that were cut from some of the episodes, and the “Original Unaired Pilot” that’s pretty much the same as the regular pilot, but with one twist that runs through the entire episode. It would have been nice to have some cast and crew interviews here, but hopefully we’ll get some on the next season set or some future full-series compilation.
While its crude humor and animation style won’t appeal to everyone, those willing to give the zany world of Sterling Archer a try might find what they like, and that’s on full-display in the first Archer: Season 1 Blu-ray collection. Its deadpan humor and raunchy, violent action may come off as a twisted step-child of The Office and Get Smart, it’s really one of those types of shows where it pays to be a longtime fan to better appreciate the whole package. If you’re up to the task and willing, I can highly recommend this set for those who enjoy twisted comedy and action, as it rarely gets better than this.