Overview

Archer has been a popular yet controversial workplace comedy for many years. It has some unique humor that is like Marmite; you either love it or you hate it. This means that it is not a show for everybody.

The show, which makes use of animated storylines, first aired on September 17 2009, with the latest episodes (at the time of writing) airing in 2019. There have been 10 seasons of Archer on television so far and season 11 has been confirmed for 2020 or 2021.

Archer won multiple Primetime Emmy Awards in 2016, including Outstanding Animated Program. The show has also won several Critics’ Choice Television Awards.

Premise

Archer is a humorous series that focuses on the International Secret Intelligence Service – also known as ISIS. The fictional agency is based in New York and the series follows the lives of eight secret agents, primarily Sterling Archer.

As the protagonist, Archer loves women and drinking, perhaps only keeping his job because his mother is the director of ISIS. His love interest is Lana Kane. While the age of this series is deliberately vague, there are some references to historical events in the show, perhaps being set in the Cold War era.

While the espionage activities and missions of the agents are often the focus in episodes, Archer is loved for its character personalities and relationships. Indeed, it is supposed to be a comedy and an animation to provide amusement as a primary function.

Cast and characters

There are eight main actors in Archer and their voices are used in the show. These include:

  • H. Jon Benjamin – Sterling Malory Archer
  • Jessica Walter – Malory Archer
  • Aisha Tyler – Lana Kane
  • Judy Greer – Cheryl Tunt
  • Amber Nash – Pam Poovey
  • Chris Parnell – Cyril Figgis
  • Lucky Yates – Dr. Algernop Krieger
  • Adam Reed – Ray Gillette

There are also some notable guest voices on Archer. These include:

  • George Coe
  • Jeffrey Tambor
  • Christian Slater
  • Jon Hamm
  • Allison Tolman
  • Ona Grauer
  • Dave Willis
  • Bryan Cranston
  • Burt Reynolds

Filming locations

Archer is an animated show. This meant that voice sessions were recorded by the actors. This was not done at group recording sessions, as this would be difficult with all of the actors’ schedules. Instead, they would be solo recording sessions. Normally, the voiceovers would be recorded in Atlanta, Los Angeles or New York studios, depending on where the actor was based.

Trailer

Each season of Archer has its own promotional trailer. These have been made to provide some comedy and give viewers a look at what scenes will be coming up. They let the audience know if they want to make a mental note to check out the latest episodes when they come out. Again, you will be able to tell straight away if the humor is going to be for you.

Production

Archer was developed by Adam Reed and Matt Thompson after the cancellation of their show Frisky Dingo. Reed created the character Archer after a vacation to Spain, based on how he would have liked his own experiences to play out.

On August 18 2009, Adam Reed introduced FX to the concept of his comedy show and it was commissioned for six episodes. The pilot was called Mole Hunt and it was a success. Seasons one through seven were first aired on FX. Seasons eight to 10 were then originally aired on FXX. Since then, the cable television network Comedy Central has retained broadcasting rights for Archer. This means that they are able to show episodes and this is where future seasons will be aired. In addition, Archer can also be streamed on Amazon Prime and Hulu, as they have purchased rights that began in 2018.

An episode takes around three weeks of scriptwriting to come to life. Adam Reed is the main writer and his script draft is given to the team of producers and art directors for feedback. This allows them to develop the characters and show concepts into the Archer we know today. The characters for the show are created in Adobe Illustrator by 150 artists from Floyd County Productions. It all starts with a storyboard, which is the first step towards bringing this animated comedy to life.

Episodes and reception 

Archer is a comedy that is not for everybody. The quick humor and arrogant protagonist mean that some people love the show while others find it distasteful at times. There can be insensitive jokes made by the characters in Archer.

That said, this is an animation that is popular, touching on important and cultural topics in a way that is supposed to be humorous. In addition, it has also been praised for the literature references that it includes. While they may not be obvious at first, there are a lot of people who study each episode to find them. This might be something of interest to viewers who like to read.

In total, 110 episodes of Archer have been shown on television. Each episode is around 30 minutes long. There are 10 seasons and each one contains between eight and 13 episodes for you to watch. Since they are short, this often means that people watch them back-to-back and binge-watch due to the humor.

Season 11 of Archer is in the works at the time of writing. While work on the show was due to begin in May 2020, this date has had to be changed due to the coronavirus pandemic. This means that Archer will hopefully be created in 2020 and it might be released later in the year or in 2021.

The most popular seasons of Archer based on average viewing were:

  • Season One
  • Season Four
  • Season Five

There is no doubt that the early seasons attracted more viewers than the latter ones. Indeed, some have criticized the last few seasons as being lazy with their use of humor and falling short of the standard they would expect from the show. While this may be an indication that the show producers are running out of ideas for the characters, it could also be down to changes in today’s society. Indeed, this is not the most politically correct animated comedy. Despite this, season 11 has been confirmed.

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