Welcome to the Far Off Future Year of 20 Years Ago: ‘Archer 1999’ Wearily Kicks off Season 10 with “Bort the Garj”

It’s now been three years since Archer radically switched formats and became a serial anthology after seven years of being a spy comedy. Sometimes it’s worked and other times it hasn’t. Arcs start strong, but then they peter out at the end. Honestly, I haven’t been the biggest fan of this change, but I’ve always given it a chance and this season will be no different even though I want a friggin’ resolution to the “Archer is Shot” plot they ended season 7 with. Is Archer dead? Alive? Comatose? Tell us!

This season, the show is going 70’s sci-fi in a setting that is one half Alien and one half Buck Rogers. Pam is now a large alien because, haha, Pam is fat. Ray is now a male escort because, haha, he’s gay. Kreiger is now a robot… because… I guess. Archer and Lana are divorced co-captains of a spaceship, Mallory is an artificially intelligent holographic computer, and Cyril is Cyril.

What I like about turning this show into an anthology is that it can really hit the ground running because, no matter what their forms are from season to season, we already know these characters by heart. The problem is that the seasons have switched to episodic arcs and that leaves every single episode without resolution. I wouldn’t mind seeing a season of “Coma Archer” be told with self-contained stories like the show used to do when it was a spy show.

Take “Bort the Garj,” for example. Funny? Sure, but the show is showing fatigue despite the radical change in setting. There were no laugh out loud moments, merely “Oh, that was amusing” reactions in my head. Even the easy jokes like Pam being gross and inappropriate were strangely missing.

This disappoints me. Archer used to be an incredibly funny show, but now it just seems like its treading water as its creators wait for it to die. It’s not terrible, not by a long chalk, but it is tedious and, for a season premiere to have such an amazing lack of energy is never a good sign.

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Written by Jason Gaston

Father, teacher, writer, photographer, artist, actor, male model, and inventor of the semicolon.

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