If Michael Scott actually got the chance to make Threat Level: Midnight, I imagine it would look something like this. FX’s new animated comedy comes from the creator of Frisky Dingo and Sealab: 2012, and if you’re a fan of that Adult Swim style of humor, you’re almost guaranteed to like this one. The show – the latest in a long line of spy parodies – centers around Sterling Archer, who works for the International Secret Intelligence Service. When not dealing with global intrigue, he’s dealing with his boss, who also happens to be his mother, and his ex-girlfriend, who he sees every day at work.
I like Adult Swim, but some of their shows (I’m looking at you, Aqua Teen Hunger Force) seem like they’re geared more toward being as wacky and zany as possible than they are at making any sort of sense. Wacky is good, but when not taken in moderation it gets old quick. From what I’ve seen so far, Archer looks like it’ll do a much better job of keeping itself focused on what it is – an international intelligence agency populated by sometimes over the top but still real world stereotypes – rather than ride the Silly Train of the tracks. While Archer’s plot seems ridiculous, its humor always stays grounded in reality. This isn’t Top Secret.
A big part of that premise isn’t that Archer is incompetent at his job, but that he’s a womanizer, incredibly arrogant and immature. When you pair this with his pissed off ex-girlfriend, his overbearing mother and the agency’s HR rep, the humor is witty, sometimes irreverent and always laugh-out-loud funny. It’s definitely R-rated, and as such fits in perfectly on FX, who also airs our dearly beloved It’s Always Sunny. And with a cast featuring H. Jon Benjamin, Chris Parnell and Jessica Walter, you know they know their business.
The first two episodes air tonight at 9 and 9:30 CST. You’ll want to set your DVRs.