Archer returns to FX on Monday, and the show is undergoing a major reboot in its fifth season, which has been dubbed "Archer Vice." The ISIS team members are forced to explore new career options — which eventually lands them on the wrong side of the law.
"I think [creator] Adam Reed probably got very drunk one night while he was writing on his computer," star H. Jon Benjamin told reporters on a conference call this week of the revamp. "When he told me in detail what was going to happen, I was thrilled. I loved the idea. But in fairness, I couldn't reject it. I couldn't say, 'Don't do that.' I don't have that kind of power."
Longtime fans of the adult cartoon needn't worry, though, as the show's humor and quirky characters are still very much intact. Here are five things to expect from the Season 5 premiere:
1. ISIS comes under attack: The premiere episode, "White Elephant," opens with a literal bang (see the clip below). And while we can't divulge who's shooting up the agency and why, the opening sequence will set off a chain of events that permanently alters the show's direction. "The first episode, obviously, really defines the whole change of what's going on in the season," Benjamin hints. "I don't know if you'll be shocked, but you'll be hopefully duly surprised. So, be prepared."
2. A great musical montage: The premiere concludes with a flash-forward montage that teases all the crazy developments that unfold later in the season. Among them: Pam winds up in a full body cast, Archer adopts a pet tiger, and Cheryl tries her hand at country music.
3. Lots of '80s references: As if Archer needed additional reasons to drop a "Danger Zone" reference, Season 5 pays homage to '80s cop shows like Miami Vice. "Archer seemed to start in the '60s, late-'70s in a way, with this kind of nod to James Bond," Benjamin explains. "That's sort of progressing through the decades [but] ... the show maintains itself. It just sort of transitions into this kind of '80s world more so."
4. Is Archer ready to be a dad? As the promo poster for Season 5 indicates, Lana is very much pregnant ("with the bastard spawn of a total stranger," according to a jilted Cyril). So is the suave spy ready to step up and perform fatherly duties? Benjamin, who voices the title character, isn't so sure. "I just don't have a lot of confidence in Archer as the character to commit to that kind of thing yet," he admits. "I think he'll be more like one of those guys who might be able to raise a child when he's in his mid-60s. I think he wants to do that, but I think his deep, deep emotional issues would always get in the way."
5. Speaking of daddy issues ... It's a given that Archer and his mother Malory will continue to butt heads, but Benjamin suggests that some of Archer's unresolved issues with his father may also be dealt with this season. But don't expect any definitive answers. "I prefer the mystery [of Archer's father]," he says. "I think it fuels [Archer's] anger. It's both what makes him good at what he does and bad as a human being, which is fun to watch. So, yes, I mean maybe it will get resolved, but I'm not sure Malory knows [who his father is]."
Archer's fifth season kicks off Monday at 10/9c on FX. Check out a sneak peek from the premiere below: