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Is Netflix’s New Show Too Much Like Archer? Here’s What Archer’s Art Director Says

Success has a tendency to breed imitation in the world of animation. The Simpsons very clearly served as inspiration for Family Guy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles paved the way for Street Sharks, and the list goes on from there. With Netflix's new original series, Pacific Heat, now available on the streaming service, many people have started to draw notable visual and plot comparisons to FX's Archer. However, Archer's art director, Neal Holman, doesn't seem to mind. He explained:

You know what? Good for them. I hope they make a really funny, exciting show. The similarities are hard to ignore, but it reminds me of when we were starting out, trying to make television and figuring out what works. It seems like they're under similar restraints as far as the animation pipeline goes. It's clearly a limited animation show, and I bet their budget is not particularly huge. Their schedule probably isn't very nice either. But hey, I hope they make a really funny show. Yeah it's similar, but I've only seen a minute and a half of it. I'm not going to sit here and throw stones.

Neal Holman addressed the similarities between Pacific Heat and Archer in a recent interview with Uproxx, and he wished the fledgling Netflix cartoon well. Coming from a place of empathy, he reminisced on Archer's struggle to find its own voice during its early years, and he seemed willing to give the new cartoon a chance. This definitely makes plenty of sense; Holman spent much of his career working on Sealab 2021, a series that directly cribbed the animation from a previous series (Sealab 2020) and used it for its own storytelling. He knows this business, and he knows how tough it is to start a show.

The overarching premises of each series definitely invite such comparisons. Pacific Heat centers on a misfit group of Australian police officers that fight criminals while dealing with their own interpersonal drama. Archer's first seasons similar followed the dysfunctional employees of a spy agency (although they recently ditched the spy element) who did battle with arms dealers and KGB agents abroad, while coping with their outlandish work lives at home. There are apparent differences, but the core concepts are quite similar.

Having noted this, it's definitely hard to ignore the insane visual and stylistic similarities between Pacific Heat and Archer. Take a look at a shot from the new Netflix series below.

Pacific Heat Netflix

Now, for the sake of comparison, check out a similar shot from an episode of Archer's first season below.

Archer FX

Hard to ignore, right? Whether intentional or not, it's fairly clear that Pacific Heat has drawn a certain degree of inspiration from Archer. There are differences, but overall both series use incredibly similar styles. As long as Pacific Heat finds its own way, Neal Holman doesn't seem to mind.

Of course, it's worth noting that it remains to be seen whether or not Pacific Heat will have the opportunity to find its voice in the future. The first season of the new series premiered earlier this month on Netflix, and it has generally been met with negative reviews -- garnering 33% favorability with critics, and 22% with audiences on Rotten Tomatoes. It may look like Archer, but it hasn't come close to achieving Archer's popularity yet.

CinemaBlend will bring you more information related to Archer and Pacific Heat as new details become available to us. For now, make sure to check out our comprehensive midseason premiere guide for more information concerning all of the most highly anticipated spring television debuts!

Conner Schwerdtfeger

Originally from Connecticut, Conner grew up in San Diego and graduated from Chapman University in 2014. He now lives in Los Angeles working in and around the entertainment industry and can mostly be found binging horror movies and chugging coffee.