The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2011
MPAA Rating: NR
Feature running time: 286 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Voices of: H. Jon Benjamin, Judy Greer, Chris Parnell, Amber Nash, Aisha Tyler, Jessica Walter
Directed by: Adam Reed
Music by: Michael Kohler
Written by: Adam Reed & Matt Thompson
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 27, 2011
"The world’s greatest not-so-secret agent is back"
Archer is set at the International Secret Intelligence Service (ISIS), a spy agency where espionage and global crises are merely opportunities for its highly trained employees to confuse, undermine, betray and royally screw each other. During Season Two, When he’s not busy foiling eco-terrorist threats, tracking down mysterious killers, or having sex in x-ray machines, suave master-spy Sterling Archer has his hands full with bikini-clad ninjas, Swiss nymphomaniacs, and paternity suits. Archer searches for the true identity of his father, battles breast cancer, and brings a sexy, ex-KGB agent home to meet his domineering mother.
Archer is an animated parody serial that is a little Bond, a bit more Get Smart and plenty of over the top edgy fun. Prior to receiving Season Two for review I have only caught glimpses of the show. My nineteen year old daughter is an avid watcher/fan so I asked her thoughts on the show. Being familiar with my writing style she opted to format similarly. Here is what she had to say:
Archer focuses on the inner-workings of ISIS—a mediocre secret spy agency grounded in New York City. A string of dysfunctional characters provides the comedic undertone of the series. The title character, Sterling Archer, is considered the world’s “most dangerous spy”- a legacy both ironic and often inaccurate. Archer is a ladies-man who always seems to have a drink in his hand. His self-absorption is driven by his crazy mother, Mallory Archer, who is the director of ISIS and equally selfish. Agent Lana Kane (Archer’s ex-girlfriend), ISIS comptroller Cyril Figgis, receptionist Cheryl Tunt, HR director Pam Poovey, outlandish Dr. Krieger and several others struggle to put up with the Archers’ selfish ways while making the agency a success.
Season 2 of Archer touches upon Archer’s more sensitive side, or at least what can be considered sensitive for him. He travels to Russia to discover the truth about his father—Major Nikolai Jackov of the KGB. He inadvertently becomes a father himself, battles a serious case of self-inflicted breast cancer, and almost gets married. While the season focuses on much of Archer’s personal life, he still maintains his arrogant personality traits and fails to kick some old habits. His rivalry with ODEN’s Barry Dillon continues, he still treats his butler Woodhouse very poorly, and he insists that Lana is still madly in love with him. In Season 2, we see that even though he is a capable spy, Archer’s hubris and poor decision-making skills continue to supersede his talents as a secret agent.
I was pleased to see some other characters were given a bigger part than they had in the first season. Agent Ray Gillette, one of my favorites, accompanies Archer on many of his missions. His homosexuality complements nicely with Archer’s “macho” persona and inspires a plethora of witty one-liners and humorous debates. The ISIS office drones—Cyril, Pam, and Cheryl (or Carol…or whatever she decides to call herself in a given episode)—are also given a larger role. The plot is connected in some respects, which include Mallory’s affair with Nikolai Jackov, Archer’s obsession with black turtlenecks, and the romantic tensions between Lana and Archer, but each episode can be viewed and appreciated in an individual sense. The season is riddled with witty one-liners and moments that would be surprising had they not involved such eccentric characters.
The corrupt and quirky characters are what make this show so great. Adam Reed and Matt Thompson have created characters that are funny, weird, and incredibly selfish. My favorites are Archer and Mallory. I find that Mallory’s dysfunctional relationship with her “darling Sterling” is the driving force behind the show’s humorous plot. Their similar personalities and extreme stubbornness provoke debates, fights, and a lot of laughs. Every character contributes to the show. While they are not family-oriented or charitable people, they are honest, funny, and certainly make for an interesting story.
I am not so sure that I share my daughter’s enthusiasm for Archer but I must admit that it provides laugh out loud naughty secret agent goofiness blended with the occasionally awkward interaction that can accompany inner office employment. It may not be for everybody but I get the feeling that if you get it you’re in for the long haul. Archer Season Two‘s 13 episodes are spread over two BD50 Blu-ray Discs with the bonus features located on disc two.
* Special thanks to Marissa Potts for her contribution to this review. *
The show contains adult themes, sexual content, language, and violence.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Archer Season Two comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 23 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.2 Mbps.
This video presentation features crisp, defining resolution that yielded razor sharp and stable images that looked superb in high definition. The secondary pastel color palette has excellent tonal depth and primary colors were deeply saturated and visually pleasing. The orangy reds, energetic blues, and deep black backgrounds replicated the feeling of looking at a comic book. Contrast and brightness balance is right on target which results in punchy whites and rich, stable blacks. The panel layouts have excellent dimension with definition that is rarely questionable. The 1.78:1 framing, deep splashes of color, dynamic blacks and razor sharp text all enhance the depth of image. It just looks great.
The show relies heavily on dialogue however its musical accompaniment and array of sounds keep the listening environment busy. Vocal reproduction is clear, well intonated and prominently placed within the front soundstage. The front three speakers have an open and detailed delivery with good channel separation and discernible directional correlation during panning sequences. Surround activity is limited to splashes of ambience and some discretely placed effects that occasionally broadened the soundstage. I didn’t detect any noteworthy low frequency content although I never felt that the presentation was lacking dynamically.
- (HD) Ask Archer - 5 minute Q&A with the man himself
- (HD) Anchisaurus: Self Extinction - 3 minute animated short
- (HD) Semper Fi - 2 minute animated short
- (HD) L‘espoin Mal Fait - 5 minute animated short
- (HD) Isis infiltrates Comic-con - 13 minute Q&A panel with the cast
- BD-Live Extra: Blu-ray highlight - Ask Archer
Set at the International Secret Intelligence Service (ISIS), a spy agency where espionage and global crises are merely opportunities for its highly trained employees to confuse, undermine, betray and royally screw each other, Archer is an animated parody serial that is a little Bond, a bit more Get Smart and plenty of over the top edgy fun. Season Two finds Sterling Archer and his cohorts continuing to fight the good fight amidst the trials and tribulations that make this quirky, animated and decidedly adult half hour show fun to watch. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century in a nicely balanced package that features excellent high definition video, crystal clear lossless sound and a fan friendly assortment of bonus content that features several exclusive animated shorts. Archer probably isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but if you enjoy a little edgy adult animated humor and secret agent action/turmoil it’s well worth checking out.
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JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Onkyo PR-SC5508 THX Ultra 2 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
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SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
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Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
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