As television shows get older, changes are made. These changes spice up a series, add new characters, change location, etc… We’ve seen it in pretty much every series that’s hit the airwaves, Buffy goes to college, Veronica Mars becomes a P.I., The Brady Bunch kids start a variety hour, change is a necessity.
There are few shows who have rebooted more than Archer. In it’s fifth season, dubbed Archer Vice out now, the Scooby gang leave behind their espionage careers and turn… turn to the dark side. The gang attempts to become masters of the criminal element. Right as season five starts ISIS is disbanded when the FBI discovers that Malory Archer (Jessica Walter) never got actual permission from the government to do any actual espionage work. Apparently, you need a permit for espionage… And I thought that was just for parking in Los Angeles? Who knew?
This sets the characters off to seek new employment and career opportunities. When a pile of cocaine is discovered, it seems to point the way to drug running. I mean, if you can’t engage in international espionage why not be a drug runner?
To be honest, Archer has never been about plot, it’s about the characters and how they interact with one another. Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) could be a drug runner or an animal trainer, it wouldn’t really matter as long as his rag tag team is with him. The ludicrous self absorption of each character is hysterical, and the more outlandish their surroundings the better it becomes.
The fact that the gang are now on the wrong side of the law does provide some new and fun opportunities, who doesn’t love a good drug running joke? Watching Pam Poovey (Amber Nash) getting hooked on cocaine and eating it like hungry schoolgirls devouring a bag of popcorn while watching a matinee of Twilight. Pam gets even perkier than usual and just bops around in the background of each scene.
Cheryl (Judy Greer) decides that now that ISIS is gone she should be a country music singer, sadly she’s completely tone deaf. Ray Gillette (Adam Reed) is her vocal coach, which clearly he’s been hiding over the years. When Malory sees via hidden camera that Cheryl can sing like a bird, she wants to market her. You can take the girl out of ISIS but you can’t take ISIS out of the girl.
I’ve actually enjoyed this season of Archer the most. I love absurdity and over the top situations. Archer has always been this way, but this season it’s really been given a full license to shine. The banter between Sterling and Malory is the best it’s ever been, and the jokes surrounding Lana’s (Aisha Tyler) pregnancy have been great.
The change of scope and plot of the series, while in lesser hands could have come off like a cheap gimmick but here, it’s invigorated the show. Adding new life into the characters, the cracking dialogue and the absurdity make this season of Archer my favorite yet!
Archer is one of the most distinct animated series on television. It’s no surprise then, that the blu-ray version of the series pops. The detail is striking and if there are any encoding issues, I didn’t see them. There are so many cool little details that might be missed just watching the show on network television. One of the reasons I love blu-ray and watching a series like this is HD is for these little details.
Sadly, the bonus features are a little lacking. There are a couple small featurettes, Midnight Blues music video, Cherlene Tunt Interview on Wake Up Country and Old Pam Poovey.
Overall, I think you should definitely pick up this season of Archer. The new setting is really a boost to the series, and I’m telling you the smart and witty dialogue is given so much more room to breathe.
Archer: The Complete Fifth Season is out now on blu-ray!