New Year, New TV: Archer and Portlandia

Archer
Archer

Archer is an animated, half-hour comedy that revolves around the spy agency known as the International Secret Intelligence Service (ISIS) and the lives of its employees. Although their work of espionage, reconnaissance missions, wiretapping and undercover surveillances is daunting and enigmatic, every covert operation and global crisis are actually unmitigated occasions for the ISIS staff to undermine, sabotage and betray each other for personal gains, pleasures and prosperity.

Season 2 or Archer starring H. Jon Benjamin premieres on January 27, 2011 on FX.

Portlandia
Portlandia

PORTLANDIA‘s inhabitants include but are not limited to: the owners of a feminist book store; a militant bike messenger; an artsy couple who attach cut-outs of birds to everything (“put a bird on it!”); an organic farmer who turns out to be a cult leader; an adult hide and seek league; and a punk rock couple negotiating a “safe word” to help govern their love life. The first episode depicts Armisen and Brownstein meeting with the Mayor of Portland (Kyle MacLachlan) who solicits the duo to write a new theme song for the city. This segment features a cameo from the real mayor of Portland (Sam Adams) playing the assistant to MacLachlan’s “mayor.” Much of the series’ original music is written and performed by Armisen and Brownstein.

The season premiere of Portlandia is on January 21, 2011 on IFC.

More on Portlandia and Archer after the jump.

Portlandia
The 6-part IFC Original short-based comedy series PORTLANDIA, created, written by and starring Fred Armisen (SNL) and Carrie Brownstein (vocalist/guitarist, WILD FLAG, Sleater-Kinney), premieres on IFC Friday, January 21, 2011 at 10:30 PM ET/PT. Each episode’s character-based shorts draw viewers into “Portlandia,” the creators’ dreamy and absurd rendering of Portland, Oregon.

“I love Portlandia. It really represents so much of what I love culturally, musically and in so many other ways,” said Fred Armisen. “This started as just a fun summer activity for Carrie and me. We’d be hanging out in Portland and shooting whatever made us laugh, and that evolved into Portlandia.”

PORTLANDIA’s inhabitants include but are not limited to: the owners of a feminist book store; a militant bike messenger; an artsy couple who attach cut-outs of birds to everything (“put a bird on it!”); an organic farmer who turns out to be a cult leader; an adult hide and seek league; and a punk rock couple negotiating a “safe word” to help govern their love life. The first episode depicts Armisen and Brownstein meeting with the Mayor of Portland (Kyle MacLachlan) who solicits the duo to write a new theme song for the city. This segment features a cameo from the real mayor of Portland (Sam Adams) playing the assistant to MacLachlan’s “mayor.” Much of the series’ original music is written and performed by Armisen and Brownstein.

An assortment of guest stars inhabit PORTLANDIA, including Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks, Sex & The City), Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation), Selma Blair (Legally Blonde, Hellboy), Heather Graham (The Hangover), Edie McClurg (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off), Kumail Nanjiani (Michael & Michael Have Issues), Jason Sudeikis (SNL, The Cleveland Show), and Gus Van Sant (Milk). Singer/songwriter Aimee Mann also guest stars, alongside James Mercer (The Shins), and local Portland musicians Jenny Conlee and Colin Meloy (The Decemberists) and Corin Tucker (Sleater-Kinney).

Brownstein and Armisen spent years observing the joyous eccentricities of Portland, Oregon (when Fred was on hiatus from SNL), which spawned their “Thunderant” project, a compilation of online videos that combined their unique music styles and comedic sensibilities. Their artistic collaboration garnered an online cult following, as their “Thunderant” characters resonated with a young audience celebrating individuality, free spirit and weirdness. [IFC.com]

Fred why don’t you just quit SNL already, this looks so much better than anything they’ve done in decades. -ed.

Archer
Archer is an animated, half-hour comedy that revolves around the spy agency known as the International Secret Intelligence Service (ISIS) and the lives of its employees. Although their work of espionage, reconnaissance missions, wiretapping and undercover surveillances is daunting and enigmatic, every covert operation and global crisis are actually unmitigated occasions for the ISIS staff to undermine, sabotage and betray each other for personal gains, pleasures and prosperity.

The series features the voices of H. Jon Benjamin as the highly skilled yet incredibly vain master spy “Sterling Archer”; Aisha Tyler as fellow agent provocateur “Lana Kane”; Jessica Walter as Archer’s domineering mother and the rapacious CEO of ISIS, “Malory Archer”; Chris Parnell as the easily intimidated comptroller of ISIS, “Cyril Figgis”; Judy Greer as Malory’s loquacious secretary, “Cheryl”; Amber Nash as the discordant director of human resources for ISIS, “Pam Poovey”; and George Coe as Archer’s elderly and always exploited butler, “Woodhouse.”

After just a 10-episode debut season, Archer has gained critical exaltation, a fervid fan base and clear reverence within the television industry. In 2010, H. Jon Benjamin received an Emmy® Award nomination for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance for his work as the show’s title character, the New York Daily News declared that “Creator Adam Reed showers us with a cascade of twisted comedy that invites everyone to come in and gasp” and the Boston Herald noted that “This spy spoof hits a bull’s-eye with risqué snark and one of the best vocal casts assembled for any animated series.” [FXNetworks.com]

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