Tag Archives: The League

Archer!

The DVD for the first season of Archer is here!

Welcome to the world of Sterling Archer, the cartoon intersection of Maxwell Smart and…probably Arrested Development‘s hapless Gob Bluth. Voiced by the wonderful H. Jon Benjamin, Archer drinks, swears and screws his way through the spy world much to the chagrin of everyone at ISIS, the international (lack of) intelligence agency where he works.

Where Man From U.N.C.L.E. poked fun at the James Bond legacy, Archer completely disembowels it. Sarcastic, rude and laugh-out-loud funny, Archer is all kinds of wrong and would probably be offensive in lesser hands, but the writing is so good that they get away with it.

Video: Archer Trailer

Archer boats great writing and pitch-perfect voice acting from the entire cast, which features Judy Greer, Chris Parnell, Aisha Tyler and Jessica Walter all but channeling her frustrated and sarcastic mother role from Arrested Development…as Archer’s mother and his boss.

I’ve seen the episodes on TV and was hoping for a wealth of bonus features on the DVD but it’s a pretty bare bones affair. All ten episodes are here, plus a few bonus clips and a “lost pilot” episode (don’t let anyone spoil that for you) plus promos episodes for two other FX series, The League and Louie.

But the price is low, and there are so many nested in-jokes and running gags that each episode demands multiple viewings. Normally I’d expect a show like this to air on Adult Swim, but FX has proven to be a daring channel in both comedy and drama. Season two starts January 27th, so get this and get caught up!

Archer official website at FX

Archer will shake you up *and* stir you up.

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Timothy Olyphant is Badass

The critical raves are Justified

Timothy Olyphant is badass. 

Olyphant has become one of those actors whose very presence in a cast legitimizes the project for me. Sure, his early career looks like most actor’s, a few romcoms, guest spots on bad TV shows, less than stellar plots. But lightning struck when he hooked up as part of the cast of Deadwood, certain to go down as one of the all-time classic series on television. He brings such charisma and strength to a role, when he’s onscreen it’s hard not to be completely captivated. 

John Hawkes, Timothy Olyphant, Keith Carradine

He’s always been good in a war-themed flick; the recent Stop-Loss and the underrated When Trumpets Fade being but two examples. Domed skull in Hitman. Convincingly appropriate in culture flicks like Go and Rock Star. But he really shines when given a character with inner conflicts who might be morally ambiguous; his supporting role on Damages was a standout. 

But after one episode of the new FX series Justified – hell, after one scene – I’ve come to the conclusion that Olyphant belongs under a cowboy hat. (And to think they almost cast Dermot Mulroney as the lead!) 


Justified is based upon an Elmore Leonard character from his story called “Fire In The Hole“, with Olyphant playing the lead character Raylan Givens. The original title of Lawman wasn’t available thanks to Steven Segal‘s latest abuse of his fifteen minutes of fame (isn’t that voucher beyond stale by now?). 

Writers include those who have worked on Karen Sisco (another Leonard-based show featuring Carla Gugino and Robert Forster) and Deadwood. And what tips the brim is that Elmore Leonard is directly involved as writer and producer. Show writers wear a bracelet that reads “What Would Elmore Do?“…now that is badass as well. 

Basic cable has started to kick the major networks’ asses with more and more quality actors finding great projects and first-rate material. Mad Men and Breaking Bad give AMC huge credibility; TNT struck gold with The Closer and USA may have found their replacement for Monk in White Collar

But FX has been on a serious roll the past couple of seasons adding drama like Justified and Sons of Anarchy and comedy shows Archer and The League. The majority of my must-see TV is on basic cable these days. 

If you have not jumped on the Justified bandwagon, I implore you to do so quickly and catch up; the third episode airs next Tuesday (March 30) at 10pm. Rich characters, great atmosphere, stellar casting (Walton Goggins!), adult themes…this one is a keeper. 

As scene-stealing Wes Krulik in Damages

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I Like To Watch

"Is there a TV upstairs? I like to watch."

So do a lot of people, apparently. Guess there is a bright side to an economic recession after all.

FOX is claiming its first-ever win in the Nielsen’s for the 4th quarter, as their viewership rose while CBS, NBC and ABC took a slight dip. Of course, FOX has a tendency to lie through their teeth stretch the truth on occasion, but with a lineup including heavyweights House and Bones plus the incredible success of Glee, I tend to believe this. (Plus the numbers came from the Nielsen Ratings…not that those or any other survey are any more accurate than an extrapolated small sample could be.)

And that’s before 24 starts revving its engine next month.

But almost as amazing is the rise in cable viewership and the number of channels setting all-time highs for ratings. FX lost The Shield and Nip/Tuck this year but has two big hits with Damages and Sons of AnarchyThe League also did very well, while It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia had its strongest season to date. AMC killed with Mad Men, of course, and has Breaking Bad coming back.

 USA in particular struck gold with The Closer and the final season of Monk, whose last episode now holds the record for the largest rating ever on basic cable. White Collar, the new series that rode Monk as a lead-in, seems to have charmed viewers as well.

But some disturbing news about one of my favorites, Better Off Ted, where ABC is burning off the remaining new episodes starting this Friday (a/k/a Television’s Graveyard) and then running double episodes on January 5th, 12th, 19th and 26th. Hopefully that’s just to clear the decks for Lost, which starts its final season February 2nd, and will occupy the same night and time slot. Glass half full over here.

Much more information at The Futon Critic.

30 years old this month; still prescient.

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Louie – Lucky Again

On a roll. Like buttah!

Louis C.K. is on fire this year. Still rolling through his most prolific period of writing and performing, he’s recorded a two-disc version of his 2009 show Hilarious earlier this year. That’s coming out soon even though people are still discovering 2008’s Chewed Up and 2007’s Shameless. That’s three solid new shows in three years while managing to juggle all his other activities.

And as previously announced, Louis signed a deal for a new show on the FX network. It’s never going to be as permissive as pay cable, where Louis was able to float scenes like this classic on Lucky Louie. But damned if FX hasn’t been pushing the boundaries of basic cable as far as they can stretch with Sons of Anarchy and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. (FX has to be my favorite network right now when you factor in Damages and six seasons of Rescue Me. Even The League is growing on me a bit, and the upcoming Archer looks great!).

And today, Louis launched his own plug for the show. This is just too funny. Warning: NSFW (of course).

HBO never should have cancelled Lucky Louie. But now that Louis C.K. is lucky enough to have another shot, here’s hoping FX has bigger stones than HBO did. I can’t imagine the new show having a better cast than he did before, but he has the golden touch right now and I would not bet against him.Watch for Louie in the Spring of 2010 on FX.

Three Men and a Babe

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