Image courtesy of https://www.pinterest.com/tiffanyanngill/a-r-c-h-e-r/

For me, any show featuring the voice of H. Jon. Benjamin (Bob’s Burgers) is going to be entertaining but this aesthetically pleasing, animated comedy about the world’s ‘greatest’ secret agent is particularly special.

Sterling Archer (Benjamin) works for the unfortunately named ISIS (International Secret Intelligence Service), an espionage branch run by his cynical, overbearing mother, Malory (Jessica Walter). Aided by fellow spies Lana (Aisha Tyler) and Ray (show creator Adam Reed), along with underfoot, office accountant Cyril (Chris Parnell), boisterous head of HR Pam (Amber Nash), glue-fuelled assistant Cheryl (Judy Greer) and mad scientist Krieger (Lucky Yates), Archer and Co are embroiled in assassinations, cover-ups, mind-control, fake cancer drugs, space pirates and drug trafficking to name a few.

With characters like Archer’s elderly butler, Woodhouse (the late George Coe), nemesis Barry (Dave Willis) and recurring/guest stars featuring the likes of Jeffrey Tambor, Christian Slater, Bryan Cranston, Gary Cole, Patton Oswalt, David Cross and Patrick Warburton, the myriad of talent is just part of the appeal.

Even under the guise of occasional crassness, the comedy is reasonably clever, the plots interesting and the overall dynamics between the characters incredibly rewarding. With a stable fist four seasons centred on ISIS, the reformatting of the show for each of the subsequent seasons (having currently aired seven) allows the show to maintain originality, even if it sacrifices some of the initial charm that made ‘Archer’ great and lowers the overall rating for the show.

Dips in quality can be expected for a lot of shows though, and the most recent season has re-established ‘Archer’ as the energetically intelligent programme I know it to be. Set to continue until the tenth season there’s still plenty of ‘Archer’ to come (phrasing) and still plenty of time to catch up.

“I swear to God I had something for this . . .”

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