What is it about animated series that allows them to go on and on and on in a television landscape where it's a struggle to hit five seasons. Surely it has to do with cost efficiency and the fact that animated characters never have to age or progress, but it's still remarkable to see The Simpsons at Season 30, American Dad at Season 16, hell even Bob's Burgers, which still seems like the new kid on the block, just finished Season 9. And tonight, Archer premieres its 10th season.
Archer has played this game a bit differently, though. Starting in its 5th Season, with Archer: Vice, the show has been steadily expanding into fanciful dream versions of itself. These alt seasons of Archer, all ostensibly happening inside its title character's head, since he's been in a coma since the end of Season 7, are all heavy genre parodies. They've gone Hollywood noir, pulpy adventure-serial, and now, with Archer 1999, we're getting a whole season in space. With the heavy influence of Alien and more obscure shows like Space 1999 (where the season obviously picked up its name), this looks to be a massive creative jailbreak for the show. Pam's a giant stone creature not unlike The Thing from Fantastic Four. Mallory is the ship's sentient intelligence system. Krieger is, perhaps inevitably, a robot.
You have to give credit to Archer for not going quietly into that good night, shunted off to FXX and left to peter out its later seasons. Instead, Archer is blasting off into space, where nobody can hear its title character scream "LANAAAAAAAA!"
SEASON PREMIERE: The conceit for the new Archer season sees Sterling Archer as the captain of the space-barge the Seamus. Cheryl is a fighter pilot (a la Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica, one imagines), while Lana is Archer's ex-wife in this reality. Just get us to Pam as The Thing. 10:00 PM ET on FXX
SEASON PREMIERE: The eleventh season of American Ninja Warrior kicks off with qualifiers in Los Angeles. 8:00 PM ET on NBC
SPECIAL PRESENTATION: In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising and the advent of the modern gay-rights movement, Oscar-winning directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (The Times of Harvey Milk, Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt, The Celluloid Closet) filmed the documentary State of Pride, traversing large and small American cities alike to see what Pride means in 2019. "It's a party and a protest," says one interviewee, and that balance is at the center of this film. Streaming on YouTube
SEASON FINALE: By almost all accounts, the first season of the TV adaptation of What We Do in the Shadows has been a big success. Taika Waititi is back to direct the season finale, "Ancestry," where Nandor pays a visit to one of his living descendents. 10:00 PM ET on FX
Joe Reid is the senior writer at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.