Adam Reed’s animated spy satire series follows the (classified) adventures of Sterling Malory Archer (code name “Duchess” and voiced by H. Jon Benjamin), a mildly competent secret agent who’s really only in it for the sex, alcohol, thrills, lacrosse, fast cars and spy toys (in that order). Archer is an operative at the International Secret Intelligence Service (ISIS) in New York City, which is run by his alpha-female mother, Malory (Jessica Walter), a crass alcoholic who regularly conjures lame-brained schemes that exploit ISIS’s resources for her own personal advantage; constant office (and sometimes in-the-field) sexual tension is provided by Lana Kane (Aisha Tyler), Archer’s fellow agent and ex-girlfriend. As is to be expected (and as is perhaps unavoidable), Archer is alternately brilliant and tedious as it deconstructs the James Bond genre with a bit more wit and polish than, say, the Austin Powers movies; the real secret weapon here is veteran voice actor H. Jon Benjamin, whose droll sarcasm and stellar improvisational skills also brought both Coach McGuirk and Jason to life on Home Movies. Chalk Archer up as yet another creative endeavor born of sexual frustration; Reed came up with the idea for a “spy with the perfect pickup line” while in Spain after he couldn’t think of a way to approach a beautiful woman in a cafe.
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