By Drew Henderson// Staff Writer
“Archer” returned on April 5, rebooted and retooled as “Archer: Dreamland.” This is not the first time the series has gone through a major change, with the former group becoming drug smugglers during the fifth season, retooled as “Archer Vice,” then going back to being spies for the CIA during the sixth, to forming their own private detective agency in the seventh season that premiered last year. But throughout all these reboots and status quo shake ups, “Archer” has always remained the same show about some of the most selfish people in the world, trying to do some good (for themselves mostly) and getting paid in the process, but mostly focusing on that last part.
This year, “Archer: Dreamland” takes up where we left off, with Archer remaining in a coma from the last season finale. During this small time in the present, there is a small tribute for a character who’s voice actor died before the beginning of the seventh season went into production, and it is touching. After that, we transition into Archer’s coma dream, “Dreamland,” a 1940’s Los Angeles that feels like noir movies of the past.
Many characters have changed roles, too. Archer is a hard boiled detective searching for his partner’s killer, while other characters such as Pam, Kriger, Mallory and Lana have became mob bosses, bartenders, club singers and corrupt cops. Yet, these changes do not affect the characters you have come to know in the past eight years. Mallory and Archer still have the same mother and son dynamic, Kriger is still Kriger, and Pam is looking to be one of the major players with Archer in this season, helping him even bust a human smuggling operation. Despite these character changes and status quo shifts, this does not mean the humor has disappeared with the new noir tone. “Archer” is still one of the funniest shows on television. Even though the jokes are a bit low this first episode, there are still some laughs with most of the high points going to the banter between Kriger and Archer, and the somewhat dark humor of Archer and Pam’s scuttle with the human traffickers. The season’s story is shaping up to be exciting too, with Archer’s quest to find his partner’s killer being interrupted by Cheryl wanting to put a hit out on herself. Even though this year’s season of “Archer” is shorter, a total of eight episodes, “Archer: Dreamland” is shaping up to be one of the best seasons of Archer yet. Catch Archer Dreamland every Wednesday at 10 p.m. on FXX and FXNOW.