Archer has gone to some pretty strange places before, including inside the body of a comatose Russian defector for a brilliant two-part Fantastic Voyage send-up. Last season, Archer ditched its familiar international espionage milieu and headed to Los Angeles for a Magnum PI-inspired storyline that ended with Sterling floating apparently dead in a pool a la William Holden in Sunset Blvd. References are indeed a big thing on Archer.
As it turns out, that film noir ending for Season 7 wasn’t just some random whim, but a teaser for Season 8. The new season’s subtitle Dreamland is possibly (okay almost certainly) a give-away that everything is actually happening inside Sterling’s mind as he floats in the pool either dead or on the verge of death. What does a Sterling Archer near-death experience look like? Surprisingly, not a Burt Reynolds movie.
A new trailer (watch it above for Archer Season 8 shows what Adam Reed and the gang have in store for fans as the show goes back in time to the classic era of Hollywood noir. Archer of course is a trenchcoat-wearing private dick (and won’t that word lead to some jokes), Pam is his knuckle-cracking partner, Lana is a femme fatale band leader (whose band features Ray on trumpet) and Cheryl is Cheryl but better-dressed. Expect much mocking of classic film noir tropes.
The first time Archer veered away from its Bond-inspired universe, the result was the slightly controversial Archer Vice Season 5, set in the world of drug dealers. Archer quickly returned to its familiar setting for Season 6 but then Adam Reed evidently got restless again and overturned the formula for Season 7. Going literally inside Archer’s dreams for Season 8 seems like a bit of a gamble, but if this is what is needed to keep the show fresh, then it’s probably the only move.
Though Season 5 did disappoint some people by leaving the world of super-spies behind in favor of sending up Miami Vice, Scarface and others, there was still a lot of hilarious stuff there, including Cheryl’s country music turn and Pam’s uncontrollable cocaine addiction. With Archer, as long as the characters are being their insane selves, it almost doesn’t matter what time period or setting the show takes on. Perhaps for Season 9 they will go back to Ancient Rome.
Film noir offers a rich vein of material for Adam Reed to mine, and no doubt some completely surreal comedy madness will result. It makes sense for Archer to go this way; after all, “Miles Archer” was the name of Sam Spade’s partner in The Maltese Falcon, was it not? Archer: Dreamland hits its new network FXX starting on April 5th, 2017.