Fox // 2012 // 286 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Daryl Loomis (Retired) // January 20th, 2013
It's pretty hard to stay anonymous when you're the world's greatest secret agent.
When we last left the ISIS team, Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin, Bob's Burgers) was left alone and devastated as Katya, his new Russian defector wife, gave up her own life to save his from an attack by rival cyborg agent, Barry. It was a tragic end to a second season that was a wild thrill ride filled with babies, computer viruses, a cancer scare, and a whole lot of sex jokes. But now, the team is back for a third year, so get ready for thirteen of the sexiest, spyinest, craziest animated show on television...plus, Burt Reynolds!
Heart of Archness: This three episode mini-movie begins two months after Katia's death. Archer has disappeared without a trace and, desperate to find him, Mallory (Jessica Walter, Play Misty for Me) enlists ex-lover and former ISIS agent, Rip Riley (Patrick Warburton, The Tick) to find him. He locates him easily enough, but getting him back is a whole other fight.
The Man from Jupiter: Now returned, Archer is back to his old self, at least until he discovers that Mallory is dating his hero, Burt Reynolds (Gator, voicing himself). He can't stand the thought, so Archer kidnaps him to break up the relationship. Unfortunately, Burt's film persona is more real than Archer could have imagined.
El Contador: Mallory, with a lack of effective agents, promotes ISIS accountant Cyril Figgis (Chris Parnell, Walk Hard) to field agent, sending him along with Archer and Lana (Aisha Tyler, Balls of Fury) to capture a drug lord.
The Limited: The ISIS gang boards a train to transport a Canadian revolutionary fighting for a free Nova Scotia back to Ottawa and the RCMP agents he escaped. The incompetent Cyril is guarding him, however, so he gets away, which leads to a chase across the train looking for both him and a runaway ocelot.
Drift Problem: For his birthday, Mallory gives Archer a sweet new spy car, complete with dashboard bar. It's stolen almost immediately, though, so Archer plans a rampage against the Yakuza to get it back.
Lo Scandalo: Archer and Lana are summoned by a hysterical Mallory to her house, where they find a dead, latex-clad Italian Prime Minister and have to figure out what happened while thwarting the police.
Bloody Ferlin: Ray (Adam Reed, Frisky Dingo) takes Archer and Cheryl (Judy Greer, Arrested Development) to his small southern town so he can help his little brother (Jack McBrayer, Forgetting Sarah Marshall), who is fighting the local cops over his pot farm.
Crossing Over: Mallory's ex-lover, KGB leader, and potential Archer father, Nikolai Jakov (Peter Newman, Thundercats) defects to the US, putting his lives in the hands of ISIS. Archer, who is tasked to protect him, has unfortunately discovered the insane sexual prowess of HR director Pam (Amber Nash) and gets Jakov murdered by cyborg Barry (Dave Willis).
Skin Game: Doctor Krieger (Lucky Yates) has a surprise for Archer: the rebirth of his dead wife, Katya. She's a cyborg now and Archer has a big problem with this, but finds it an advantage when cyborg Barry returns once again.
Space Race: In a two-parter, the ISIS team is hired to head into the skies to save a space station that has been overtaken by mutineers, but the mutineers aren't exactly who they seem.
What's really there for me to say about the third season of Archer? It is, at this point, my favorite animated program currently on television, and expertly combines graphic sex jokes, espionage antics, and workplace comedy in some of the most absurd and hilarious ways possible. Without spoiling anything for those who neglected to watch the season when it aired, Adam Reed and company wrap up plenty of old storylines while starting new ones and taking others into completely different directions.
The real calling card of the program, though, is the voice acting, which is as phenomenal as ever. H. Jon Benjamin has the perfect voice for Archer, so much that I really can't wrap my head around seeing him elsewhere, whether that's Bob's Burgers or his Comedy Central show. The rest of the cast is almost as good, with Jessica Walter as one of the true highlights and Chris Parnell really bringing his Cyril Figgis character into its own this time around. While, in this season, there aren't a ton of guest voices, the casting of Patrick Warburton and Burt Reynolds are both comedy gold. The chemistry is there amongst everybody and, though the plots are ridiculous and fun, the overall performances are really what make the show great.
The third season is the best yet in the Archer catalog. If you've yet to check out the show, now is the time. From the mini-movie that opens the season (and aired months before the season officially premiered) to the absurd outer space conclusion, there's hardly a weak moment in the entire season. Raunchy, gross, and plainly hilarious, there are few shows on television I appreciate more than Archer, and I anxiously await the ISIS antics of the fourth season.
These thirteen episodes of Archer: The Complete Season Three arrives on two discs from Fox. It's a solid set overall, though it has fewer substantial extras than previous sets. The 1.78:1 anamorphic image is broadcast quality, with excellent colors and firm, well-defined edges. The transfer is essentially perfect, as a newly made animated show should look. The surround sound is great, as well, probably faring even better than it did on broadcast. There's good separation throughout the spectrum, very clear and bright dialog, and solid use of the rear channels.
The extras are good, though not quite as numerous as in previous sets. Disc one features three audio commentaries, on El Contador, Drift Problem, and Lo Scandalo. Each of them finds Adam Reed with various members of the cast. They aren't the most informative commentaries in the world, but they're fun and engaging, though with a little more wedding talk than I personally care to hear. Disc two's features are short, but sweet. It opens with an enhanced version of the Heart of Archness trilogy, which combines the three episodes and adds in a few (very few) jokes. I was excited to see this on the disc, but it isn't different enough to make it worth very much. It continues with a series of short vignettes featuring Sterling Archer in various situations. "Book-on-Tape Fail" is exactly what it sounds like, with Archer doing a terrible job reading his book. "Cooking with Archer" features Alton Brown joining with our superspy to create a cholesterol bomb; Brown turns out to be pretty tough, though, and it doesn't end well for Archer. "Gator 2-Trailer" is Archer's homemade vision to sell his dream of the final film in the "McKlusky" trilogy and is hilariously awful. Finally, Archer presents to Comic-Con what they will find in Season 4 of the show, only to be thwarted by the wind created by the fact that he's speaking from the edge of the Grand Canyon.
This was a great season of Archer and the disc is equally strong. It's a great ramp up to the fourth season, which has just now begun, and fans owe it to themselves to own this set. If you've never seen the show, now is the time, because the third season is the best work they've done yet. It isn't for everyone, but if you like spies, sex, and workplace comedy, Archer: The Complete Third Season is highly recommended.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 286 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Extended Footage