As part of the festivities of 2020’s ComicCon at Home, members of the cast of Archer met for a panel from their homes. Producer Casey Willis, Chris Parnell (Cyril Figgis), Aisha Taylor (Lana Kane), Judy Greer (Cheryl Tunt), Amber Nash (Pam Poovey), and Lucky Yates (Dr. Krieger) phoned in for the funniest Zoom meeting I’ve seen all year. And I’ve seen so many of those in the last few months, but this one provided a welcome relief from the stress of my modern workplace.
For those unfamiliar or curious about the show, Archer follows handsome intelligence operative Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) who works for his mother, Malory (Jessica Walter), at an intelligence agency at some ambiguous point in the Cold War. He works alongside on-again/off-again girlfriend, field agent Lana; nerdy accountant Cyril; bomb specialist Ray(Adam Reed); insane secretary Cheryl; mad scientist Krieger; and HR head Pam. An episode of Archer is filled with speedy, smart dialogue and loads of literature and history jokes. It’s that rare kind of show that makes you feel smarter for rolling on the floor laughing.
However, just listening to several members of the cast banter and chat was a blast. Part of the fun of Comic-Con panels is seeing familiar actors be themselves. The actors, it turns out, too miss Comic-Con. The fans were greatly missed by all. Amber and Aisha recalled some of their favorite cosplays including a fan built Jagermeister dispenser from way back. They also shared some of their pet peeves from fans (refrain from screaming LANA! please), but mostly they miss seeing the great cosplays that people put out.
Another topic was the particular longevity that has blessed Archer. Two production team members met on the set of Archer and have a 9-10-year-old child now apparently because that’s how long this show has been around. One of the advantages of animated shows over live-action is the infinite number of ways that the show can go. Archer has been an old-timey noir, a pulpy adventure at sea, and most recently, a voyage to the stars, all in addition to its main theme of espionage. The characters, too, adapt with every new iteration, changing jobs, abilities, genders, and Pam even becomes an extraterrestrial in season 10.
Additionally, the Archer season 11 release date was announced. Archer comes back to FX on September 16, 2020. Chris, Aisha, and Amber went into detail about the extreme care that was taken in recording their final lines of the seasons – lines which were recorded in a studio where all engineers and personnel kept six feet apart from the actors and everything was thoroughly sanitized. In this season, Archer is out of his coma and back to his normal world. Everyone on the panel was excited to see what the spy agency formerly known as ISIS has been up to. These characters have moved on and built lives while Archer dreamed up the last three seasons in a coma. Now, the formerly athletic Archer is walking with a cane, but he overcame cancer so he should be able to cope with whatever the coma could possibly throw at him.
Getting back into a classic comedy will be a welcome relief from everything that’s been happening in 2020. And really, Archer does number among the shows that I would consider a modern classic considering how few shows there are out there like it and also its eleven seasons. Much like its adaptational setting, it’s also the kind of show that’s friendly to viewers who’ve seen it a million times or are just starting in with the latest airing. Catch up by watching Archer on Hulu and watch the new season this fall on FX.