Warning: the following contains spoilers for “Archer” Season 7 and Season 8
BY NOAH CASTAGNA
The eighth season of “Archer” picks up in a literal “dreamland” as we explore the noir fantasies of coma-bound protagonist Sterling Archer. Set in 1947 Los Angeles, the season promised the same snark and spy-action flair of previous seasons in a new noir murder-mystery sandbox for the characters to mesh together in. Despite a different environment and genre, the new season simply solidifies the series’ staleness.
I’d like to start off by clarifying something: this season doesn’t completely turn me away from “Archer” like later seasons of other series have. It’s still fun to jump into wacky scenarios with the show’s dysfunctional cast of characters, and the animation and voice work has never been this polished. If the show had just stuck to its roots of late-night raunch and snappy dialogue in a new noir environment, it would have come out a stronger season overall.
But showrunner Adam Reed attacks “Dreamland” as he attacked previous lackluster seasons- by trying to shoehorn in one season-long arc. It sticks out in the case of Season 8 especially because this is the shortest season yet, consisting of eight 18-minute episodes.
Reed tries to do way too much in the short span of the season, teasing storylines that are not fully explored (like Archer’s WWII flashbacks), dropping one of the best characters for seemingly no reason and resolving other plot points in incredibly frustrating, short-sighted ways (the murderer is revealed to have no motive in killing Woodhouse, simply doing it “for fun”).
To top it all off, the cliffhanger from Season 7 is never resolved; Archer does not wake from his coma, and we are left with a subpar finale that doesn’t answer any questions fans have held onto for months (in an episode ironically titled “Auflösung,” German for “resolution”). I won’t say the ending scene was a waste- Archer’s monologue at Woodhouse’s grave is a great character-building moment and a moving tribute to voice actor George Coe.
But when it begins to dawn on you that the entire season amounts to just a nice tribute, you can’t help but walk away from the season the same way that Archer walks away from his partner’s grave: saddened and unsatisfied with how everything unfolded.
Featured image courtesy of Archer television series
- Clean and sleek animation.
- Strong as always voice acting.
- Boring moments throughout.
- Rushed storylines and a generally weak plot.
- Unsatisfactory conclusion with little resolution.