Name: Adam Reed
For Fans Of: Adult Swim, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, James Bond
In 2008, after the second and final season of Cartoon Network’s Frisky Dingo, show co-creator Adam Reed took a year off to travel as he contemplated his next move. “I spent a lot of time scribbling in notebooks in various far-off sidewalk cafés, like a douchey poseur,” says Reed, who also wrote, directed and produced Sealab 2021. “I kept coming back to international espionage—probably because while sitting in those cafés, I kept wishing I was a much cooler person.”
And so now we have Archer, a manic animated series about a fictional organization run by spies with an epic drive to overthrow each other. Its title character, Sterling Archer, is a consummate agent who’s great at his job, but only when he can be bothered to do it. “In the Ian Fleming novels,” Reed says, “James Bond was actually a bit of a dick. So I thought, ‘What if the handsome spy was a huuuuge dick?’”
This summer, FX picked up the series as a potential counterpart to It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Featuring the voices of comedian Chris Parnell and Jessica Walter (née Lucille Bluth), it’s the network’s first original animated series—a personal triumph for Reed, who now serves as writer and executive producer. If the new show is a success, Reed could help carve out a role for animators in an evolving cable business hungry for original content.
Reed says he—and Archer’s characters—are ready. They “are ripe for being turned into double agents, and/or having microchips implanted in their various brains,” he says. “But hopefully none of them will grow as people.”