As someone who prefers physical media over digital, and do so because the former usually offers better quality than the latter, I find it disheartening that so many content providers are not only discontinuing the former, but also dialing back on the quality of their physical releases. The latest example of which is Archer The Complete Season Seven, which is only available on DVD, not Blu-ray, and also doesn’t have the kind of extras that fans of the show might want.
For those unfamiliar with this cartoon, well, let’s be honest, Archer The Complete Season Seven is not the place to start. But if you’re still reading, here’s what you need to know: It’s an animated workplace sitcom about a bunch of people who are sometimes good at what they do, arrogantly think they’re much better at it, and are thus jerks and idiots.
In the first four seasons of Archer, the gang — which includes Sterling Archer (Bob Burgers‘ H. Jon Benjamin), Lana Kane (Criminal Minds‘ Aisha Tyler), and Sterling’s mommy Malory (Jessica Walter from Arrested Development) — worked together at a spy agency named ISIS. They then ran a drug cartel during season five, a.k.a. Archer Vice, returning to the spy game for season six, only be blacklisted by the CIA at the end.
Which brings us to the ten episodes in Archer The Complete Season Seven, in which Archer and his coworkers are now living in Los Angeles and, because of past transgressions, working for a detective agency. Not surprisingly, they end up working cases that involve Hollywood and the movie industry, which makes for a lot of jokes about said industry mixed in with the show’s typically snappy repartee about Archer being a dick and his coworkers being fuck-ups.
As you’d expect from a seasonal collection like Archer The Complete Season Seven, this DVD presents these ten episodes as they were meant to be seen: without commercials or, more importantly, mid-episode reminders of what’s coming up next on FX.
Archer The Complete Season Seven also comes with a couple cool extras. In “Archer Reviews Bond,” our hero briefly discusses the pros and cons of such classic James Bond movies as Dr. No, Goldfinger, The Spy Who Loved Me, and For Your Eyes Only, as well as what was then the new one, Spectre. Not surprisingly, some of his comments are ridiculous, especially when you realize what he’s concerned with and what he’s ignoring.
This is followed on the Archer The Complete Season Seven DVD by “Archer Reading (Live On Board),” which was shot at a San Diego Comic-Con event during which cast members Benjamin, Tyler, Judy Green (Cheryl), Chris Parnell (Cyril), Lucky Yates (Dr. Krieger), Amber Nash (Pam), and Adam Reed (Ray) did a live reading of the script for the episode “Vision Quest” at Comic-Con. Which is yes, as hilarious as it sounds, though it’s also loose, out-of-control, and somewhat inappropriate since “Vision Quest” is an episode from season six.
And yet, while having these extras on Archer The Complete Season Seven is appreciated, the disc still comes up short. Most notably by only being available on DVD, not Blu-ray, despite the fact that the show is broadcast in HD and is available that way on digital services, and that the previous six seasons were released on both BD and DVD.
That said, I’d rather have this on DVD than not at all, which is what I’d say to The Simpsons people if I thought they’d listen to me.
As for the extras, given what was included on previous Archer collections, it’s hard not to notice what’s conspicuous absences on Archer The Complete Season Seven. Not only are there no commentaries from the cast and/or staff, this also doesn’t have the trailers they released to promote this season. It would also be cool, if there are any, to see any deleted or alternate scenes, as well as audio or animation bloopers that might exist.
Some might also wonder why this doesn’t have the promo video that revealed how Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” was coming to Rock Band 4, and with a playable avatar of Archer, though maybe the plan is to not include this on the Archer The Complete Season Eight DVD.
What makes these omissions even odder is that the Archer The Complete Season Seven DVD has elaborate physical packaging, with a gatefold cover as well as a removable cover cutout. Because that’s what I’d rather have than cool extras, a nice box.
Despite all of its obvious shortcomings, though, the Archer The Complete Season Seven is still worth picking up, even if it is only on DVD. There were some really funny episodes this season, as there always are with this show, ones you’ll want to watch again and again. It’s just too bad you won’t be able to see them as clearly as you’d like.