Netflix has added the thirteenth season of Archer to its library. Overseas the series has just begun its fourteenth and final season, having started its run in 2009.
Archer is a comedy built around egotistical superspy Sterling Archer who works for an independent spy agency initially run by his overbearing, controlling and cruel mother Mallory.
Archer (who is always referred to by his last name) and his coworkers survive ridiculous missions and office squabbles that are all treated with the same humorous detachment.
Archer is vain, selfish and often offensive – while also easily excitable and keen to drop obscure trivia and references into every conversation. He’s offset by his more responsible coworkers, agent Lana Kane – his ex and mother of his child – who despite her more professional attitude is often overshadowed by Archer and Cyril Figgis – the comptroller – who is often bullied by Archer though often becomes his worst self as soon as he gains any kind of power.
Other characters include Pam, who shifts between fun and violent depending on the scenario, Cheryl, the multimillionaire heiress with maniacal arsonist tendencies, and Ray Gillette, the unluckiest spy imaginable.
This season of Archer is the first without Mallory due to the passing of Jessica Walters (perhaps best remembered for Arrested Development) and finds the agents working for a new agency, being set-up as a subsidiary to the International Intelligence Agency. Ray is elevated to leadership, with the rest of the team unwilling to listen to him as they deal with a new controlling boss who locks them out of the loop.
Archer’s strength – outside of its designs, which bring a deliberately anachronistic aesthetic to its world – is its humour. Its characters have a unique shorthand, catchphrases and a deep bench of references. While Archer has changed since its creator Adam Reed stepped down as the main creative drive of the show, it has managed to keep most of its strengths and move in new directions. The voice cast, led by H Jon Benjamin (Bob’s Burgers), has a particular rhythm and play off one another excellently.
Triangle of Sadness released last year and is a black comedy that spends much of its runtime on the absurdities of the rich. It focuses on English male model Carl (Harris Dickinson) and his partner supermodel Yaya (Charlbi Dean in her final role) who spend the first scene of the movie arguing about money, revealing that while wealth and opulence is important to them, neither is as rich as they’d like to pretend.
They get free tickets to a luxury cruise on a yacht that puts them alongside the rich and powerful, including Zlatko Burić’s Dimitry – a Russian capitalist who enjoys arguing about communism and despite his selfishness is able to forge connections to most anyone – and Woody Harrelson’s drunken captain Thomas Smith. Triangle of Sadness is absurd, delighting in bringing down the rich and powerful while also trying to uncover their basic humanity. No one is portrayed as all bad, but no one is particularly good when they receive power.
Triangle of Sadness is an interesting watch. It’s split into three sections, each with its own plots, and interconnecting with the previous segment.
Solar Opposites has returned to Disney+ with six new episodes of its fourth season. The series follows in the wake of Rick and Morty, now having to replace one of its cast – co-creator Justin Roiland – who has had several accusations of both personal and professional behaviour levelled at him.
With English actor Dan Stevens taking over the role of Korvo after a botched sci-fi beam hits him (which he notes is both from now on and also retroactively, including any flashbacks) the alien ‘family’ continues on as usual.
This season sees the Solar Opposites trying to be more ‘normal’ to keep their pupa from causing mass destruction as he did last season. The show also continues its ongoing subplot – seemingly inspired by shows like Game of Thrones – with the shrunken society kept in the children’s bedroom and who have started a cult worshipping one of the aliens.
Solar Opposites is a ridiculous show, certainly worth your time if you enjoy shows like Rick and Morty.
Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre has been added to Prime Video. The Guy Ritchie film, a spy action comedy starring Jason Statham plays like many of Ritchie’s films. The film is attractive, filled with interesting cuts, style and scenery.
Operation Fortune is also funny, playing on one of Statham’s least used strengths – Statham’s Orson Fortune may be a superspy of the James Bond variety, very little really threatens him, but he also gets into absurd arguments and makes stupid little mistakes. He also has an ongoing rival who keeps showing him up and getting in his way.
Statham trades barbs with Aubrey Plaza’s (Parks and Recreation, The White Lotus) Sarah – who mostly works tech, though also delves into more traditional spycraft. Plaza delivers a delightful performance alongside Cary Elwes (Princess Bride, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel) who plays Nathan the crew’s handler who has expensive tastes, Bugzy Malone as JJ, Josh Hartnett as movie star Danny Francesco and Hugh Grant as our main antagonist Greggy – an arms dealing billionaire.
Operation Fortune offers up one of Ritchie’s stronger efforts – keeping many of his best tricks on display and offering an enjoyable story alongside a strong cast who play into the tone perfectly.