Friday, April 22, 2011

Archer - Season 2

The first season of Archer was fun, but I thought it a bit lacking in comparison to Adam Reed's previous work on Adult Swim. There was strong potential, but a little too much reliance on shock humor rather than genuinely funny moments. Season two did a great job of pushing the show forward though, still keeping its FX edge (including some gags that I'm a little surprised made it on the air, even with it being animated), but improving every aspect of the show, from the consistency of the one liners to the intelligently interwoven plot lines to the continued development of the entertaining cast around H. Jon Benjamin's Sterling Archer and all of their messed up relationships. It was pretty much vintage adult cartoon humor all season long.

It's hard to put my finger on exactly what I thought was good about the show this year and not so great last year. It's not like they flipped a switch, because I do think they got better as they went along in season one. The level of raunchiness in the comedy is pretty much the same, I guess it just seems less the racial/homophobic/whatever material early on was propping up the dialogue, while over time it's merely become an element of writing that's strong on its own merit. They didn't have to shy away from it to make the show better, they just had to really figure out the characters, and at this point I think they have. The actors all nail their roles every week (you almost never see actors used to live action do so well in the voice booth), and they found a great balance between Archer and Lana going on globe-trotting, world-saving missions and everyone just killing time screwing around at headquarters. Not every episode was a total winner, but I definitely felt like it was just a much more consistent and entertaining show. I'm looking forward to a few episodes airing alongside the next season of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia this Fall.

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