Monday, September 21, 2009

Pilot Review: Archer

Archer (FX)
Premiered September 17 at 10:30pm

If you haven’t heard of this show and didn’t even know it was airing, you’re not alone. In a very peculiar move, FX decided two days prior to its airdate that it was going to premiere the show after “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” without telling anyone or promoting it at all. It came out on a few websites, which is where I read about it, but the express purpose of this seems to have been to see how fans of FX’s raunchy 10pm comedy would like this, while shelving the rest of the series for a January launch. I, for one, despise “It’s Always Sunny” and therefore this show really didn’t interest me in the slightest. It’s an animated series that follows a promiscuous spy who works for his mother. It’s purposefully inappropriate and crude at every turn, and to those who enjoy that kind of humor, it may be appealing. For those unimpressed, the show has nothing else to offer. It attempts to push the boundaries of acceptability as far as possible (perhaps taking a page on television regulations from “Nip/Tuck”), and as a result boasts an inane story secondary to its efforts to be outlandish and over-the-top. Worst of all, it’s just not interesting. The characters are too vulgar and vapid, which is not a good combination. Voicing by Jessica Walter, Chris Parnell, and Judy Greer is supposed to be a draw, but it’s just irrelevant. This show is terrible, and it doesn’t seem to have any merit. One reviewer suggests it deserves praise because it’s better than “Testees,” but, despite the seven angry comments I’ve received for trashing that show’s pilot, that really isn’t a compliment.

How will it work as a series? It’s unclear what Archer will do next and what kind of missions he’ll go on since he didn’t actually undertake anything major in the pilot. There’s plenty of opportunity for Archer to sleep with many women and alienate himself from that particular gender, but otherwise, this show doesn’t have many places it can really go, at least not anywhere indicated in the pilot.
How long will it last? This ultra-secret premiere was a bizarre move, and while it may have been designed to drum up talk about the show leading up to its January debut, I think it will fade pretty fast. FX is targeting the “It’s Always Sunny” demographic, and while people love that show, I don’t think this one will catch on. FX is pretty confident in it, however, and has already added four scripts to the six episodes produced, and therefore I think it will run out this season and then fade from television history.

Pilot review: F

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ooofah! An 'F'? Well it's obvious that you and I are coming from different places (I rather like 'Always Sunny') but I think you might have missed out on some of the show's strong points. Fans of the [adult swim] programs Sealab 2021 and Frisky Dingo will notice a similarity in style and humor. This is not suprising given that Archer was created by Adam Reed (co-creator of the above mentioned [as] programs). The dialog is snappy and the interaction between the characters is unconventionally hilarious. The spy theme and the relationship between the characters suggests a deep vein of material that could easily carry on for awhile. True there is some rather ribald subject matter here, but I personally feel that the show does a good a job of injecting a certain level of smarts to go along with the gross outs. In terms of voices, I think the real star here is H. Jon Benjamin as the titular character Sterling Archer. You might remember him as the voice of Coach McGuirk on Home Movies. I suggest that all fans of [adult swim] give this show a look. I laughed pretty hard!

Abe Fried-Tanzer said...

I'll admit that I'm really not the target audience for this show. Those who like Adult Swim are probably better suited to like this show.

Thanks for providing another point of view!

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