I know it’s been divisive these past two seasons, but I’m a fan of the freewheeling anthology adventures of Sterling Archer and company that saw them through Dreamland and Danger Island. There’s an American Horror Story appeal to seeing people you know (albeit animated) trying on new skins and personas with each iteration, and for a farcical comedy like Archer I like how each season has essentially ended in a bundle of loose ends without much care for the usual structure or catharsis that comes with the finish of an arc. Nothing ends, anymore. It all just bleeds into each other.
Also, the fact that these writers can still scrounge up fresh material out of Lana’s hands is mesmerizing.
Honestly, I can’t say if I ever want Archer to wake up, and this trailer for Archer: 1999, the interstellar season teased at the end of Danger Island, is a great showcase of why. It’s just all so liberating. Every year is a new costume party, and everyone’s tipsy and playing a part, but you know who they are. Danger Island saw Krieger as a parrot, and now we’ll get to see Pam (personal favorite) as whatever the hell that thing is. It looks like it should suit her very much. Archer gets to dick around as a space captain, skewering the sci-fi genre through a litany of gags, and Malory gets to face-off against some weird robo-ostrich. There’s also an alien colosseum--and man it feels like they just knocked over the toy chest on this one and are mixing all the playsets together. I love it.
One thing I will note, though, is that characters always having to re-introduce themselves to each other was eating at my patience, and it looks like whatever cryo-stasis the team underwent should mean that they all at least know each other already in 1999, and their interactions feel more natural (especially between Archer and Lana) and seems to be the closest step toward Archer proper we’ve had. Does this mean he’s beginning to wake up? God, I hope not. Just the thought of having to go back to the Figgis Agency and its femme fatale Hollywood murder angle drips disappointment into my guts.
There’s just this great sense of refreshment that a series that was likely running too long and getting too twisted around itself has been willing to find such a convenient reset button for the time being. Other shows I loved have gotten away from me with plots that have become increasingly bendy and lore evermore complex. Like Venture Bros, where the gap between seasons is way too long for me to remember what’s going on, and I’d rather just wait until it’s all said and done and re-watch the series as a whole than go back and wear out myself trudging through the previous seasons until they’re a chore to watch just so I get catch every reference and callback. Archer found a way around that, and I admire it.
Archer: 1999 will premier on FXX on May 29, 2019, and I for one can’t wait to watch it come (phrasing, boom).