I feel like I’ve been following the Archer series forever. It’s one of those weird comedy cartoon series that somehow never seems to disappoint. While I’d rather scoop out my own eyes than watch Family Guy and while Southpark is genuinely starting to piss me off, Archer always gets it right (see also, Rick and Morty). Don’t see it as a cartoon: see it as one of the better sit comes to come out of the US.
Archer Dreamland is season 8. At the end of the previous season, Archer had been shot by actress Veronica Deane and has fallen into a coma. In his coma, he dreams that he’s a PI. So far, so Life on Mars. He needs to find out who murdered his partner, Wodehouse (for those who haven’t seen the previous seasons, Wodehouse is usually Archer’s butler).
So, we’re off! We’ll temporarily abandon finding out what happened to Archer after he got shot in favour of this new noir adventure in the 1940s. We’ve got Mother as a crime lord, Krieger as the bartender at the Dreamland club which Mother runs, the local cops Figgus and Poovey, the rich society lady Charlotte Vandertunt (Cheryl!), Lana as a treasury agent undercover as a nightclub singer, and Dutch, who looks awfully like Barry from previous seasons.
In spite of the minor adjustments to the characters and their relationships with each other, and in spite of the new setting and situation, Archer Dreamland still contains all the same tropes and running jokes that you’d expect in any other season. It’s silly and fun most of the time with genuinely excellent acting and some unexpectedly dark twists. The season finale is especially alarming in this respect and I won’t spoil it but there were moments that genuinely made me flinch.
I think this is what makes the Archer series work in general, that balance between satire and high quality, emotionally-engaged storytelling is hard to get right, but Adam Reed seems to manage it just fine.
It was announced back in July that the next season would be called Archer: Danger Island and would take place on a South Pacific Beach in 1939, so it looks like we’re not getting out of Archer’s coma adventures quite yet. The question of the spy’s immortality will remain unanswered for at least one more season but I think I can handle that, knowing that the series is going to run until at least season 10.