Season Six of the animated show Archer found the characters and show in what has been termed an ‘unreboot' of sorts, bringing Sterling Archer back into more of his spy realm for longtime fans and admirers of the show. Creator Adam Reed has felt the urge to tear down arcs and some mythologies of the show and built them back up in other environments. Consider it akin to Louis C.K. and his redoing his standup material every so often, keeping him lean and hungry. That's perhaps what Reed's going for.
Season Seven isn't the Miami Vice backdrop of Season Five, but it does put the characters into a new setting without completely letting go of past associations with their spy agency or in the case of Season Six, the CIA. Archer (H. Jon Benjamin, Bob's Burgers) works for a private detective agency headed by Cyril (Chris Parnell, 21 Jump Street), with Archer's mother Mallory (Jessica Walter, Arrested Development), his possible kind of wife Lana (Aisha Tyler, Balls of Fury) accompanying him. Don't worry, Pam (Amber Nash Cheryl (Judy Greer, Jurassic World), Ray (series creator Adam Reed) and Krieger (Lucky Yates) come along for the ride. Instead of working in New York, the group is centered in Los Angeles this time. The season focuses on a Hollywood starlet who first hires the Agency to retrieve a disc with sensitive information on it, then the Agency has to protect the starlet from threats by outsiders.
The show has represented a bit of a change compared to past versions, which explore some of the motivations of one or some of Sterling, Mallory and Lana. It mainly focuses on the events in front of these characters and how they react to them. A recurring voice in Season 7 is Patton Oswalt (Ratatouille), who plays a producer named Alan Shapiro. Along with Oswalt is John O'Hurley (Seinfeld) who is Ellis Crane, and they serve to help further the story arcs in front of the former ISIS ensemble. Those arcs start with a surprise and end on a cliffhanger of sorts, and the characters we meet along the way in Hollywood are fun to check out.
The show doesn't completely run away from Archer's backstory, as "Deadly Prep" features a couple of people from Archer's lacrosse playing prep school days, and "Motherless Child" include an appearance by Archer's father Ron Cadillac (voiced by Walter's real-life husband Ron Liebman) as a client wants Archer to help find his birth mother. And it doesn't run away from Archer's legacy of juvenile jokes, occasional obscure references in jabbing at co-workers, and his prodigious functioning alcoholism. There is also some more interdependency between Archer and his co-workers, culminating in the hilarious "Double Indecency."
For the notable moments within the season, there isn't anything that stands out for the season overall. Which is to say Season Seven of Archer was solid but not overly memorable. When one considers a Top 10 of laughs within the season, I would be pressed to try and slot anything from this season in it. Sure, it's nice to hear the familiar voice of a recent Oscar winner within the first few minutes of the season, but notable guest stars in the season are fairly marginal (I've named just about all of them) and don't really do much other than make the viewer say ‘hey, it's (so and so)!' and the season long arc just doesn't hold attention over the course of 10 episodes. I think Reed may have known this also, in retrospect.
Season Seven of Archer throws itself into a slightly different challenge, but with mixed results. There are some things here that make longtime fans of the show laugh here and there, and the effort by Reed to continuously refresh his show is admirable, but even as one who enjoyed the restarts in Seasons Five and Six, feel myself underwhelmed by Seven.
The ten-episode seventh season of Archer is spread over two discs with the results looking vibrant for an animated project. Colors are reproduced well with little in terms of saturation or distortion problems. Looks good, not jaw-dropping when considering the source material.
Dolby Digital 5.1 surround comes with each of the installments. Considering the show has a lot of gunfire and explosions, the sound stage is fairly broad and dynamic, and even includes subwoofer engagements with the grenade explosions in the first episode and doesn't really waver after that. Channel panning and directional effects are present and effective, and dialogue is strong in the front of the theater also. All in all it was what I expected.
So "Archer Reviews Bond" is where the titular character shares his thoughts on the Bond films (and Bonds) through the years, lasting about five minutes and running two too long. There is also a script reading with the cast on one of the episodes, done at Comi-con, on a boat. A little less fun when you can see their faces, I think, but it's 75 minutes long and has a few extracurricular chuckles.
The seventh season of Archer has some laughs, but not the gutbusters of past seasons. I commend Adam Reed for wanting to do more with the show, but this season isn't up to past experiments of Archer, to say nothing of past seasons as a whole. Technically it's fine, and the supplements are decent. If you're looking to start in and binge Archer, I'd put this season fairly low on the list.