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Archer: Danger Island: The Complete
Season Nine (2018)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
DVD Released: 4/2/2019
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 4/16/2019
There are some people who don’t watch TV at all. (And man, will they ever rub that in your face.) Then, there are people like my friend Lisa who somehow watches every show on the air. I’m somewhere in the middle. I watch some shows here and there, but I’m prone to fall behind a few episodes and never bother to catch up. (And, I usually have a stack of Blu-rays to review.) One show which I used to watch regularly was Archer, and I’ve reviewed several seasons of the show here. However, I was surprised to see that Season 5 was the last one that I reviewed and that I’d completely missed Season 8. So, when Archer: Danger Island: The Complete Season Nine showed up for review, I knew that I had some catching up to do.
Archer: Danger Island takes place in 1938 and is set on a small tropical island. Sterling Archer (voiced by H. Jon Benjamin) is a pilot who ferrys tourist to the island, when his plane is working. He spends most of his time arguing with his sidekick, Pam Poovey (voiced by Amber Nash), and a parrot named Crackers (voiced by Lucky Yates). Archer’s Mother, Mallory (voiced by Jessica Walters), runs the local inn. A German man named Fuchs (voiced by Chris Parnell) comes to island, which heralds an invasion of Nazi soldiers who are looking for a legendary idol. Archer begrudgingly becomes involved in attempting to find the idol first.
For its first seven seasons, Archer took place in something which at least resembled the realistic present. However, Season 8, which was subtitled “Dreamland”, changed all of this, as it placed the characters in an old-fashioned film noir. The creators of the show have maintained this new trend by putting the familiar faces on an island in an old-fashioned action-adventure film. It should be noted that “Fuchs” is the familiar Cyril Figgis. Also along for the ride are “Charlotte” (voiced by Judy Greer), better known as Cheryl Tunt and Capitaine Ray (voiced by Adam Reed), who is…Ray. Again, I have not seen Season 8, so it was somewhat jarring to be dropped into a world where the characters looked like themselves, but had been changed here and there.
It’s not uncommon for television shows which have been on for several seasons to be labeled as stale. Therefore, it’s interesting to see the staff at Archer rail against obtaining that stigma by doing something so audacious. And, on the surface, it’s a neat idea. In the beginning, Archer was a straight-up spoof of spy movies, so Archer always had some sort of nifty gadget and technology played a big role in the show. Taking things back to 1938 means that this aspect of the series is gone and the focus shifts even more to the bizarre characters and their bizarre situations. And Danger Island doesn’t shy away from the tropes of this genre, as we get quicksand, dangerous jungle animals, and hostile natives. As noted above, Nazis also play a big role, as they are on a mission to help the “Fatherland”.
But, for all of the clever homage and anachronisms, Archer: Danger Island fails at its basic mission – it isn’t very funny. I’m not sure if it’s the subject matter or the fact that this is the show’s ninth season, but the humor found in the earlier seasons simply isn’t here, and it’s not just because there are no Myrtle Beach jokes. This show has always been snarky, but Danger Island is constantly mean-spirited, as the characters constantly hurl insults at one another instead of attempting to create clever humor. The appeal of Archer was always the comedy and not the stories, and, in that sense, Danger Island is not worth visiting.
Archer: Danger Island: The Complete Season Nine also hamstrings itself by only leaving room for a few guest voices on DVD courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. The DVD contains all eight episodes of the show’s ninth season. The show has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the transfer has been enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no grain or defects from the source materials. The colors look very good and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is good and the depth works well. This isn’t exactly HD broadcast quality, but it still looks nice. The DVD carries a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effect. There are some nicely placed surround sound effects here, mostly during the scenes in the jungle and the one scene aboard Archer’s plane. We also get some noticeable stereo effects which highlight sounds coming from off-screen.
The Archer: Danger Island: The Complete Season Nine DVD contains just a few extras. “Inside Look: Making Archer” (14 minutes) is a 4-part featurette which takes us inside of the studio to see the dialogue being recorded and to see how the animation is created. “Crackers’ Costume Playings” (4 minutes) is a short, which was clearly made for Comic-Con, in which Crackers the bird takes a shot at cosplay.
Review Copyright 2019 by Mike Long