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Archer: Danger Island Season 9
Archer headed into its ninth season and approached the (still?) magical 100-episode mark but placing its characters into an interesting environment. Long ago Sterling Archer moved from the government espionage in a Mad Men era to the same practice in the Miami Vice 80s, to a film noir backdrop in Season Eight. In Season Nine? Well, it's different, in that it's set in the late 1930s and the only parallel I could remotely relate it to would be Raiders of the Lost Ark.
In Season Nine, the characters you've grown to love play similar character but not exact ones. Archer (H. Jon Benjamin, Bob's Burgers) and his mother Mallory (Jessica Walter, Arrested Development) retain their names. From there, Cyril (Chris Parnell, 21 Jump Street) is now a German spy named Siegbert Fuchs, Lana (Aisha Tyler, Balls of Fury) is now Princess Lanaluakalani. Pam (Amber Nash) is still Pam but Cheryl (Judy Greer, Jurassic World), is named Charlotte. As for Krieger (Lucky Yates), the smart but very fetish-y scientist? He's now a talking parrot, and that's the biggest shock of all.
At this point, Archer is less about fan service and more about show creator Adam Reed's desire to crack the joke. And I understand this to same degree for the show because having some new vein of exposition to set up is a waste of time to Reed when he could just be filling that with jokes. And because the characters' first encounters with one another do have some shorthand for the viewer, Reed capitalizes on it and it generally works well.
The elevation in the Season is for Yates, who as a parrot gets more of a chance to be at the forefront of the show after stealing scenes for so long, and Yates is up to dealing with things as he sees fit and does it superbly. It's not that he was a revelation, but the chance to get him into more A storylines paid off in a lot of laughs for him and lots of times with Archer and Pam.
The next season of Archer will be its tenth and by most accounts probably its last (Reed has said as much), and in its penultimate one, finds a new vein to tap that is fun for them and if longtime fans enjoy it also, more the better. It's not the best Season but lots of us have invested a bunch at this point, may as well enjoy the ride, right?
Eight episodes spread over the 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen disc and consistent with their broadcast presentation and quality. A couple of the more subtle graphics effects look good and I hadn't seen them before, but the colors pop during viewing whether it's the darkness and explosions. The material still looks good after all these years.
Dolby Digital 5.1 surround that also continues to be consistently solid when I sporadically check in on the show. Gunfire is crisp through the soundstage, booms bring a little bit of low end, the dialogue requires little compensation and sounds well-balanced and strong. Not much to complain about when watching these episodes.
A four-part look at the Making of the show, with art inspiration, writing, animation and voiceover, runs about 15 minutes and is a brief and informative look at the show with occasional jokes from the cast on how things have changed through the years. "Crackers' Costumed Playthings" is, a look of sorts at new Krieger.
I've checked in and out with Archer over the last couple of years and seeing that they've hit that mystical century mark for episodes is encouraging and a note, the specific ep was damned hilarious. The jokes hit more than they miss and they manage to retain their tethered character's essence while remaining devoted to the era with which they are dropped in. I would perhaps give a slight nod for new fans of the show to this, but longtime fans should definitely check it out if they haven't.