Archer comes back next month (specifically, on August 25 on FXX, and a day later on its associated FX On Hulu brand), bringing back everyone’s favorite no-longer-in-a-coma super spy for a 12th season of being unsure whether we’re all still doing phrasing. FX released a trailer for the show’s upcoming season online today, and it’s pretty standard Archer fare—explosions, puns, a lube wall…right up until the end, when we found ourselves running straight into a big ol’ pile of unexpected feelings.
FX had made it fairly clear, prior to this, that season 12 of Archer was recorded before the death of series star Jessica Walter, in March of 2021. Even so, we definitely felt the emotional hit when her character, Malory Archer, appeared suddenly on-screen at the end of the trailer. No gauzy remembrance, either—just Walter, still at the top of her game, cracking funny and hateful about butterfly murder. Given that your humble Newswire writer is also The A.V. Club’s resident Archer reviewer, it was a sudden reminder of what a surreal experience watching Archer this year is going to be.
Anyway! The rest of the trailer establishes that we are, indeed, still back doing spy stuff (no more coma seasons), along with the exciting news that Amber Nash’s series MVP Pam Poovey will be going on a “Pam-page” this year. Archer’s last season was something of a test case for whether the show could get back to normal (for a value of “normal” that encompasses the damaged personalities typically on display), and featured some stand-out episodes despite the series’ advancing years. It’s a standing question now of how this latest season will address Walter’s death—if at all, since it might just punt the question to season 13—and if it can keep one of TV’s longest-running animated comedies running for another year.