TV Review: “Archer” Season 4 – World’s Best Spy Show

Written by Jesse Gelinas April 29, 2013

Most of the ISIS family on "Archer"Sterling Mallory Archer. Codename: Duchess.

Quality animated comedy is in shorter and shorter supply these days. The days of “The Simpsons” is long gone. “Family Guy” has its moments, and “South Park” comes for such a short time each season. Animated comedy has a fine line to walk. It has to be adult, and yet kid-friendly. It has to be clever and cynical, while never losing its cartoonish charm. There are rules. Luckily, Sterling Archer doesn’t follow the rules. “Archer” blows that fine line away and sets a new bar for offensive comedy, coupled with great storytelling. Four years in, it’s powering forward and on its way to becoming a classic!

“Archer” follows the life of the world’s greatest spy, Sterling Mallory Archer, and his coworkers at ISIS (International Secret Intelligence Service). These include his boss and mother, Mallory, his ex-girlfriend Lana, and their sexual-deviant colleagues, Cyril, Pam, and Cheryl. Season 4 has our ragtag heroes battling the KGB soldiers, bionic killers, Mexican coyotes, papal assassins, and deep sea terrorists. All the while, Sterling continues to deal with his mother issues, finding love (or at least sex), and national security.

“The thermostat is becoming sentient. Oh God, That’s how ‘Maximum Overdrive’ started!”

As a cartoon, “Archer” isn’t overly unique. The animation is pretty, but simple. The main character is your standard narcissistic misogynistic action hero. That isn’t what sets it apart. The cast is second to none in the animated world. Every character is portrayed brilliantly, and not a single joke falls flat with perfect delivery. The references are just obscure enough to be clever, and not random enough to risk “Family Guy” territory. And thankfully, most of the humour actually comes from the plot. With a biting satire of fictional action stories, and real life government incompetence.

Sterling has forgotten who he is on the 4th season premiere of "Archer"

“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph Stalin!”

The best quality “Archer” has is its storytelling. The great thing about this spy comedy is that even if you were to remove every joke, you’d still have intelligent, intense spy stories. Every episode has a well-laid plot that moves along with great action and clever twists and turns. The humour is the focus, but the stories are the icing on the cake. The ability to deliver an intriguing new story in a half hour every week is impressive to say the least. You can tell the latest “Die Hard” to piss off. This is funnier, and better written.

“Predator only hunts in tropical jungles. I think… and desperately hope.”

Sterling Archer may not be a new kind of hero, but he’s never boring to watch. From the moment he wakes up and abuses his manservant, to the moment he passes out with a Russian hooker, you’re… hooked. Season 4 doesn’t waste a moment finding its stride and that sets it apart from previous years.

A coked-out Krieger rocks out on "Archer"

“Do you want ants? Because that’s how you get ants.”

Overall, the season is consistent throughout with an ass-kicker of a finale. It keeps you on the edge of your seat, laughing your ass off the whole time. Fans will not be disappointed, and their love for the ISIS team will only grow stronger. New viewers should be careful though, or you might find yourself burning through 24 hours of spy-comedy straight (as was my fate). Just tool up, strap in, and get ready. Because “Archer” is on a path straight back to the DANGER ZONE!

My Rating: 9/10

Poster for "Archer" season 4

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About Jesse Gelinas

After years attempting to escape the Matrix, Jesse has accepted his fate as a writer and Senior Editor. Now that's he finished with his film degree, it gives him something to do while waiting for the machines to get careless.

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