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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Comedy > Spy > Satire > Archer - The Complete Season Four (2013/Fox Blu-ray)

Archer - The Complete Season Four (2013/Fox Blu-ray)

Picture: A- Sound: B Extras: C Episodes: A-

Hands down one of the best animated series (perhaps even better than most live action for that matter) on television today Archer in its Fourth Season remains one the funniest, inventive, and utterly ridiculous series out there... and I mean OUT THERE!

For those uninitiated Archer: The Complete Season Four continues to follow the daily happenings of Sterling Archer (voiced by H. Jon Benjamin) and his crew of fellow ISIS [International Secret Intelligence Service] team members. Acting more like a band of misfit children with guns, drinking problems, and licenses to kill; the members are ISIS are moderately controlled and overseen by Archer's overbearing mother Malory (voiced by Jessica Walter). The ISIS members are well trained, but with their overwhelming personal issues taking center stage it is amazing that anything gets done. Every episode has ISIS mixed up in a tale International espionage that like a Rube Goldberg device ALWAYS starts in seemingly unbridled chaos, but always ends up on top. When I say on top that does NOT mean they got the job done; it just means they came out alive... well most of them.

Season Four hosts the same kind of inner turmoil that we have come to know and love from Archer, but every season seems to outdo the last. In Season Four the team is tasked with stopping a Papal assassination, homicidal cyborgs, get mixed up with a reality cooking series, and even find themselves in the depths of an undersea laboratory in a brilliant spoof (homage?) to Sealab 2020 (2021?).

Whereas we see the ISIS team face many enemies head on, as always, their biggest enemy are themselves. With constant bickering, near fatal injuries, liberal gun use, liberal alcohol use, liberal drug use, liberal sexual advances and enough debauchery to make Nero blush the tasks assigned to ISIS are merely a loose framework to foot the bill and get their rocks off. And it is fantastic!

The series is so, so smart! What may seem like a smattering on vulgar humor and fart jokes to the untrained eye (which there are plenty of) is actually a brilliantly orchestrated action comedy with overwhelming wit and humor. Show creator Adam Reed assembled a brilliantly talented voice cast including but not limited to Aisha Tyler, Amber Nash, Chris Parnell and so many more that catapult the series to the next level as they execute the material with astonishingly controlled chaos.

Archer: The Complete Season Four on Blu-ray again goes above and beyond in terms of video quality. The 1080p 1.78 X 1 Widescreen presentation is again astounding as image is nearly pristine. The blacks continue to be deep and inky which frame the bright, bold color palette perfectly. Previously I had criticized the series due to the lack of texture due to the flash video stylings of the series; I will back track to say the smooth, crisp lines and awesome detail make up for that lack of texture; plus it is just the style. The sound on Archer is again excellent in its 5.1 DTS HD-Master Audio lossless track that uses the whole speaker range as Archer and crew attempt to save the world and concurrently destroy it. Panning effects blast across the whole speaker range and dialogue is spot on; well done.

The extras are disappointingly scant as they only offer 2 special features. Extras are as follows:

  • Fisherman's Daughter (3 minutes)

  • Archer Live! (20 minutes)

    • A very amusing extra that has the cast of Archer in front of a live audience reading lines from a script while concurrently delivering insanely funny improve. Very reminiscent of Always Sunny Live.

Archer is a wonderful series that viewers can jump into at any point with ease; though to get the best understanding of the characters and story development I recommend starting with Season One.

- Michael P. Dougherty II


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