Last season of Archer was absolutely the biggest one the show has had to date. The guest star names got bigger-- from Patrick Warburton, to Burt Reynolds, to Bryan Cranston. The storylines became more explosive and emotional-- the season saw Sterling (H. Jon Benjamin) finally meet (and then lose) his likely father, help his mother cover up the murder of an Italian official, fight on top of a train, take on the Yakuza in a drag race, and head into space-- to name a few things! And, of course, it was the year that Adam Reed released a tie-in book written in Sterling's voice. Who wouldn't want to relive that over and over? The release of Archer: The Complete Third Season makes it easy to, but it also makes it about 40% more awesome by enhancing the fan experience with a number of extras.
Archer: The Complete Third Season starts with the very special three-part event, "Heart of Archness" and even includes an extended version of the trilogy. Then it goes into the season as it played out chronologically on FX, with commentary on three key season episodes: "El Contador", 'Drift Problem", and "Lo Scandalo." Since "Lo Scandalo" is one of our personal favorite episodes of Archer ever, it was an especially nice treat. We would have loved to hear thoughts on the space extravaganza or even about the decision to bring back Katia-- but only for an episode-- but since Reed has talked about them on panels and podcasts, the DVD does not repeat.
Additional bonus features include the the amazing-- like, "should go viral" amazing-- Gator 2 (Sterling's pitch to Reynolds) trailer and the ISIS team's response to it, and a special featurette called "Book-on-Tape Fail," that has Sterling in the recording studio, arguing about recording "How to Archer: The Ultimate Guide to Espionage and Style and Women and Also Cocktails Ever Written." It also has an odd fake cooking show type web series called "Cooking with Archer," in which Sterling plugs his book again and invites Alton Brown into his kitchen to help him make the only dish he knows how to make (eggs), named in Woodhouse's honor.
Now, our absolute favorite part of this box set would have been the 2012 San Diego Comic Con extra, except that it is not the entire panel, as we assumed from advertising. Instead, it is simply the intro to the panel-- the video message Sterling delivered when he promised to give season four spoilers. Have seen a chunk of season four already, it is interesting to piece together the little bits he managed to get through and realize most of them really do have a presence in the new year (it's always nice to see the writers have a plan!). But it's extremely disappointing not to get to watch the panel whenever we want, even if it does fit the fashion of Sterling's own Comic Con message.
We weren't there for the fun and laughs in person, but even if we had been, we don't think we'd get tired of watching the cast banter with each other. Since they all have such busy schedules and are spread out around the country, the cast of Archer records the episodes in isolated recording booths wherever they are (and once in awhile, they do dialogue over the phone), so getting them together all in one room is rare. And the energy is electric when they do. This panel also delivered one of Benjamin's favorite moments ever, he revealed recently, when a fan asked him how he got his voice the way it is, and he went on a riff about c**-gurgling, which he joked must be a "New Jersey thing." It's just a bummer the packaging is so misleading because it seems like it's preserved here, and it's a big bummer to realize it's not.
Honestly, this reviewer subtracted an entire star from our rating for the Comic Con fake-out.
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