Archer is an American animated television series created by Adam Reed for the FX network. A preview of the series aired on September 17, 2009. The first season premiered on January 14, 2010. The show carries a TV-MA-LSV rating.
The inspiration for Archer came to Reed while in a cafe in Salamanca, Spain. Finding himself unable to approach a beautiful woman seated nearby, Reed conjured up the idea of a spy who “would have a perfect line”. Reed conceived the show’s concept while walking along the Vía de la Plata in 2008. He pitched his idea to the FX Network, which accepted it and ordered six episodes, along with an additional four scripts. The show ended its first season on March 18, 2010, and the second season premiered on January 27, 2011. The season 1 DVD was released in Region 1 on December 28, 2010. On December 17, 2010 the first season of Archer also aired in Germany on Comedy Central Germany. On March 29, 2011 it was announced that FX Network had ordered a 16-episode third season of Archer. A three episode special dubbed “The Heart of Archness” was aired in September 2011. Ten new episodes from season 3 began airing on January 19, 2012. No mention has ever been made of the last three episodes ordered but never produced, making it a 13-episode season. On February 23, 2012 FX ordered a 13-episode fourth season of Archer.
Set at ISIS, the International Secret Intelligence Service (cf. SIS, ASIS, CSIS, NZSIS) in New York City, suave but incredibly self-centered master spy Sterling Archer deals with global espionage; his domineering, hypersexual mother/boss, Malory Archer; his ex-girlfriend (and fellow ISIS agent), Lana Kane; and his other ISIS co-workers (including fellow agent Ray Gillette, accountant Cyril Figgis, Human Resources Director Pam Poovey, secretary Cheryl Tunt, and Applied Research head Doctor Krieger); as well as a less-than-masculine code name: “Duchess” (after his mother’s deceased Afghan Hound).
The show has an unusual style and ambiguous time setting, in which technologies/clothing styles and historical backdrops of different decades coincide. The characters wear 1960s clothing and hair styles and several episodes feature references to the Soviet Union as a current nation and to Fidel Castro as the current leader of Cuba. Similarly, the second episode of the series shows a very young Sterling receiving a letter from Malory about Operation Ajax, which occurred in 1953, though the same episode includes a reference to Dane Cook, who was not a well-known figure until the 2000s. Woodhouse’s involvement in World War I also implies the show is not set in modern times (the last surviving World War I combat veteran died at age 110 only months after an episode depicting Woodhouse and several other members of his specific squadron as still living). The technological sophistication within the series varies, with characters using computers that are dated (e.g. reel-to-reel mainframe systems, dot-matrix printers and punchcards), but also cell phones, GPS devices, and laser gunsights. In addition, modern day insults are prevalent (such as “suck it”, “screw you”, and “douche bag”). This ambiguity is explicitly recognized in the season 3 episode “Lo Scandalo”. (Malory: “What year do you think this is?” Archer: “I, uh, yeah. Exactly. Good question.”) Adam Reed was asked about the conflicting style, and concluded, “I just think it’s ill-defined.”
Learn more about the concepts, principles and symbolism behind the subliminals found in this television series: