Hands down, one of the best comedic shows on television is Archer. I honestly don’t think I’ve laughed at any show this hard, ever with the small exception of one scene in an episode of Deadwood. It’s the only television show that I’ve bought a mug for.
Archer is a show that’s been filled with satire, sarcasm, dick and fart jokes and witty dialogue for five seasons now and the most amazing thing isn’t just how good the show is but how good it is while completely avoiding jumping the shark with a drastic change in setting.
For those of you haven’t caught an episode, Archer is about secret agent Sterling Archer and his crew of ragtag secret agents, Hitler cloned scientists, accountants, bum fighting HR people and their adventures. They all work for ISIS, ran by his mother, Mallory. It should be noted that Mallory has left her son with more then a few issues.
Now if you haven’t seen any of season 5, there might be a little bit of a spoiler coming up:
At the beginning of season 5, we discover that ISIS has been operating illegally since it’s inception, making the agents guilty of treason. Now out of the spy game, the agents have to try and make ends meet. Luckily they have a little bit of a windfall as the ISIS folks decide to sell the literal ton of cocaine they’ve been sitting on and become a drug cartel.
And they do it incredibly badly.
But the thing that’s impressed me about Archer: Vice (yup, they even added a subtitle to match the change in direction) is that the show changed a incredibly big part of it’s structure and it didn’t begin to suck. Not only that, the move even seems to make perfect sense.The characters seem ready made for this lunacy despite not being particularly good at it and that speaks to the talent of the creative staff of the show.
How many other shows can you think of that can change a setting or a major plot piece and are still good? Not very many.
There characters are pretty much as they have been. They weren’t rebooted, they just changed jobs… well except Pam is now addicted to cocaine. But the show is just as good. The wit is just as sharp as ever. It seems that the key was to stay true to the characters. After doing that, everything else just fell into place. It’s a lesson that a lot of comic writers should probably learn.
Look at Daredevil. Mark Waid has turned the surroundings of the character on it’s ear. He changed up villains and even the setting but has stayed true to the character and because of this, the book has done well.
Not that Waid took his cues from Archer… at least I don’t think so.
Although, that’s a team-up I’d be curious to see.
If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!