Sterling Archer has always been partly defined by his peculiar affection for the slick macho action heroes of the late-70s/early-80s. That’s mainly because Archer itself takes place in a nebulously-defined timeline where it appears to be the present day, the height of the Cold War and the very end of the Cold War all at once; it also dovetails nicely with Archer’s psychologically-specific propensity for attaching himself to anything that even remotely resembles a strong father figure – or maybe having Mallory Archer for a mother would do that too anyone.
Regardless, it’s not exactly surprising to see the onetime secret agent turned drug-kingpin turned now-former CIA lackey jump at the chance to get his Selleck on in the first trailer for Archer P.I.
The trailer, in which Archer and his compatriots more-or-less recreate the opening credits of Magnum P.I., introduces audiences to the “family’s” new private-investigation status quo for the seventh season, which sees another format-swap for the series after a brief return to (almost) normal in Season 6. While the characters were originally conceived as working for an independent spy outfit run by Archer’s mother called “ISIS” (hence the name changes post-2013); Season 5 memorably detoured into an extended parody of cocaine-fueled 1980s action/crime shows as Archer: Vice. The crew were back to spying, this time in an “official” capacity for Season 6, but now their latest round of bad luck is set to find them making a go of it as detectives.
There’s no indication if the format-shift will come with an overarching storyline like Archer: Vice did or if it will hew to a more episodic format, but with the CIA, KGB, various drug figures and at least one Latin American country now counted among the gang’s enemies, there’s certainly no shortage of possibilities. While the series parodied in Season 5 often did engage in branching storylines themselves, Magnum P.I. and its ilk tended to follow a villain/case/adventure-of-the-week format outside of specific circumstances. Tthere’s no gaurantee Archer’s send-up thereof will hew to the same formula, though.
Archer fans tend to follow the series more for its memorable characters and witty dialogue than for the (often incidental) plot details of individual seasons, so the shakeup isn’t expected to cause too much consternation among devoted viewers. Still, it remains to be seen exactly how long any series can sustain itself with what’s becoming an escalating series of narrative reworkings – after all, even South Park eventually started resetting itself after several seasons worth of status-shakeups. Additionally, overhauling the aesthetic and models for an animation series is a major undertaking, with Archer creator Adam Reed having told Comic-Con audiences:
“It’s not a reboot, but we are creating tons and tons of new elements: wardrobe, weapons, cars, the sets… So we’re drawing so much that we’re a little behind, and we don’t have the season premiere as we usually do. Not one to spoil it all, I can say that it’s more sexy and dangerous than ever. Or equally as sexy and dangerous.”
H. Jon Benjamin returns as Archer, with Aisha Tyler, Jessica Walters, Chris Parnell, Judy Greer, Amber Nash, Lucky Yates and the other series regulars expected to be back in their familiar voices, with guest stars presumably to be announced as the series gets closer to airing. FX has been hyping the series with a new logline: “Archer P.I. Always ready to screw his enemies in private. He’s back in business.”
Archer returns with season 7 on March 31st, 2016.