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Featured TV on DVD Review: Archer: Season Four

January 12th, 2014

Archer: Season Four - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

I've reviewed every season of Archer and from the first episode I was hooked. Personally I think the show has gotten better each season, last season even had good extras. Can the show continue to improve? Is the DVD or the Blu-ray loaded with extras?

The Show

Season three begins in front of Bob's Burgers. ... Already I love this season. (For those who don't know, Bob of Bob's Burgers is played by the same voice actor as Sterling Archer.) We meet Archer, who is married to Linda and a step-father to her three kids. While working on nights, three Russian assassins come in and try to kill him. His years of ISIS training kick in and he is able to take out his killers, but we then learn he isn't undercover, but he lost his memory. ISIS finally found him, but not until after he's gone on the run... to a spa. His mother, Malory Archer, wants him back, but in order to do that, Lana Kane and the rest will have to ease him back into the life. Because if he is confronted with being a spy, he could snap for good. So they have to trick him into believing he's really a spy. Meanwhile, the KGB are still after him. It's a great introduction to the season, especially if you are a fan of Bob's Burgers. If you are not, you should be.

In the second episode, The Wind Cries Mary, we learn Archer's best friend, Troy Luke, is dead. All the evidence points to Luke being a traitor who stole enough Uranium to build a dirty bomb, while killing a number of his fellow agents at the same time. However, Archer is not only convinced he's still alive, but was framed. The third episode, Legs, focuses on Ray Gillette (played by the show's creator, Adam Reed). After spending much of the third season pretending to be paralyzed, he was really paralyzed. After a particularly bad day, Doctor Algernop Krieger offers to give Ray robot legs. However, Archer has a problem with that. Barry Dillon, his nemesis, is an unstoppable cyborg, so he has a problem with them. Next up is Midnight Ron. Archer, having lost all of his money and his passport is stuck in Montreal. No one at ISIS is willing to help him out, but Ron Cadillac, his new step-father, drives up to help him out. Archer is not happy, because Ron is quite possibly the most boring person on Earth. However, there's more to Ron than it first looks. Vicious Coupling begins with, well, I won't say how it begins. The plot gets moving when Archer gets a call from Katya Kasanova. Katya was the only woman Archer truly loved, but on their wedding day, she was killed by Barry. Technically she was only mostly dead and Doctor Krieger revived her as a cyborg. They fell in love again, but since she was a cyborg, they were no longer physically compatible. She called Archer because Barry disappeared. (Barry's stuck on a space station, thanks to Archer.) Katya wants Archer to get Barry back. Archer agrees, because he thinks this is the first step to get Katya back. In Once Bitten, Archer, Ray, and Cyril Figgis are in Turkmenistan on a mission when Archer is bitten by a cobra with hallucinogenic venom. Anthony Bourdain has a guest role in Live and Let Dine. The ISIS crew are going undercover at his restaurant because there's some vague security threat. However, they are soon berated by Anthony Bourdain for not being great at their cover jobs. All of them except Archer.

Disc two begins with Coyote Lovely in which Archer, Lana, and Cyril go to the Texas / Mexican border to stop a human trafficker. However, this smuggler, Moreno, turns out to be a woman, a beautiful woman, and the mission goes to hell. Archer and Lana have to go undercover in The Honeymooners, as a newlywed couple. It doesn't matter what the mission is, you know it's going to go horribly. In Un Chien Tangerine, Archer and Lana are in Morocco to extract a member of a Moroccan canine unit. ... It's a dog. Meanwhile, Pam Poovey (Amber Nash) want to become a field agent. The Papal Chase is Pam's first run as a field agent. There will be an assassination attempt on the new pope and ISIS has been hired to protect him, but they need a plan. By some amazing coincidence, the Pope looks just like Archer's Butler, Woodhouse. The season ends with the two-part Sea Tunt. The United States lost a Hydrogen Bomb 8,000 feet below the ocean and ISIS is in a race to recover it before the Russians can. They need a deep-sea submarine, which they don't have. Fortunately, Cheryl Tunt has one, or to be more accurate, her brother, Cecil (Eugene Mirman), has one. So he, and his girlfriend, Tiffy fly to his research ship. They are all confused on why he's willing to help so freely. At first they think it is because he wants info on Cheryl, so he can declare her insane and take control of her half of the fortune. That's part of the plan. The real reason involves his undersea lab, which is controlled by Captain Murphy, who is threatening to launch nerve gas if his ecological demands are not met.

Like with Season Three, every episode of season four of Archer is incredible. There's not a single bad episode in the bunch. And like I said last time, it is the best animated show currently on TV.

The Extras

On the other hand, the extras are a little weak. There's a three-minute look at Fisherman's Daughter, a tentacle porn done by Doctor Algernop Krieger. There's also Archer Live!, a 20-minute featurette on a live event for the show that includes readings. It's very fun to watch, but overall there's not a lot of extras here.

The technical presentation is excellent. The level of detail is great, and the colors are even better. Blacks are deep, while there are no noticeable compression issues or digital artifacts. The 5.1 surround sound audio track is better than most TV on DVD releases. There's lots of gun fights and explosions and these make great use of the surround sound speakers. The dialogue is never drowned out by the effects, which is great as well.

The Blu-ray costs $6 or 31% more than the DVD, which is a good deal for a TV on DVD release.

The Verdict

Archer: Season Four is an amazing season for the best animated show on TV. On the other hand, the DVD and the Blu-ray have very little extras. It is still absolutely worth picking up, but I'm not 100% sure it is Pick of the Week material. That depends on the competition.

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Filed under: Video Review, George Coe, Ona Grauer, Judy Greer, Jon Hamm, Carla Jimenez, Ron Leibman, Timothy Olyphant, Chris Parnell, Aisha Tyler, Jessica Walter, Dave Willis, Kristen Schaal, H. Jon Benjamin, Lucky Yates