Archibald’s Next Big Thing is Here!





Paul Asay

TV Series Review

Archibald Strutter isn’t the strongest chicken in Crackridge. He’s not the smartest. He’s not the cutest or fastest or squattest or even ordinariest. But he does have a bee as a best friend, and that might make him the, um, buzziest.

Which, when you think about, is fitting. He certainly keeps everyone buzzing.

A Good Egg

The bee’s name is Bea, which also is fitting. She’s just one of many, many friends and relations whom Archibald might hang with in any given episode. His siblings are favorite playmates/fellow schemers of his: Sage loves the outdoors; Loy is a little chicken scientist; Finly digs music.

But Archibald just might kick around with a family of alligators, too. Or perhaps Claire the Astronaut Monkey, who (considering her line of work) has a disturbing fear of space. He might befriend a friendless school chum or slap hooves with a couple of too-cool-for-school deer.

But if Archibald’s companions for any given episode are a bit of a mystery, they don’t hold a candle to the sort of scrapes that this friendly chicken might find himself in. Just what is Archibald’s next big thing? It could be, almost literally, anything.

What Came First?

Archibald started his (chicken) run on Netflix back in 2019 and lasted two whole seasons there. Then, in 2021, Archibald and his crew awkwardly flapped over to (appropriately enough) Peacock (NBC’s streaming service), shortening this show’s seasons to six half-hour episodes (with each episode containing two adventures) and changing its name from Archibald’s Next Big Thing to Archibald’s Next Big Thing Is Here!

But wherever Archibald’s found himself, he’s been voiced by comedian Tony Hale (best known for his work on Arrested Development) and is sometimes joined by a cadre of well-known talents, from Julia Louis-Dreyfus to “Weird Al” Yankovic to RuPaul and lots of others.

With that kind of pedigree (given some of the actors’ yen for more adult fare), one might wonder whether Archibald’s Next Big Thing Is Here! might be the next big show that isn’t really for kids. And it’s true that the show is sprinkled with clever asides that might sail over the heads of the show’s target audience and land right in the lap of Mom and Dad. You’ll occasionally find some bathroom or gross-out humor in the mix here. And with a cast about as large as Ben Hur’s, you never know just when something unfortunate might pop into view.

But while Archibald does seem to enjoy trashy romance novels, and he and Bea do, apparently, cohabitate, Archibald’s Next Big Thing Is Here! is way more silly than salacious, more giggly than gross. And while viewers won’t necessarily learn much watching it, they—and their parents—might find opportunity to share a laugh or two.

Episode Reviews

April 22, 2021, Episode 1: “Unpoppable/Slumber Party Hard”

In the first story in this episode, Archibald uses way too much of his sister’s extra-strong shampoo and creates a gigantic, unpoppable bubble that people can get into but can’t get out of. (On the plus side, it does protect bubble inhabitants from hay fever.) In the second story, Archibald invites his unpopular pal, Jeremy, to a slumber party—much to the dismay of some guests.

The slumber party is coed, but nothing wildly inappropriate takes place (though party-goers do tell scary stories and are dared to ring people’s doorbells and do a dance for anyone who answers.) Also, Archibald accidentally floods an entire house, which might’ve been disastrous had it not been for Jeremy’s stash of powdered gelatin. Archibald also cavorts in a bathing suit, and he discusses his bath habits a little too openly. (“I’m a week late for my monthly bath,” he says as he sniffs his chicken armpits. “Or maybe a month late for my weekly bath.”)

The giant bubble sucks in several people at high speed. And traveling within said bubble does seem to be rather dangerous. People get a bit queasy looking at Jeremy’s stash of gelatin. We see some slapstick violence, too.

April 22, 2021 Episode 2: “Maximum Overdue/Gator’s Giving”

In the first part of the episode, Archibald desperately tries to locate an overdue book so that he won’t be banned from the local library. In the second half, he helps throw a traditional shindig (called a “Gator’s Giving”) for his alligator pal and his family.

In the first episode, Archibald finds himself wanting to read a book featuring a shirtless-and-muscled pig called Will You Be Swine? “I love the cover!” he tells us. He finds himself near the community pool, where the lifeguard tries to fish out a submarine sandwich with a multigrain bun. The retrieval goes amiss, though, and it creates a whirlpool that sucks Archibald and a bunch of books down the drain and into the river. (In a live-action adventure movie, this would be quite perilous. Here, not so much.)

A much-loved game of Gator’s Giving is the toilet-seat tackle, where participants throw each other toilet seats and try to toss them in a dumpster before they’re clobbered. We see, obviously, flying toilet seats and some game-related violence (including a moment when an alligator’s head gets knocked straight into the ground).

Also a favorite: spoiled food. Alligators eat spoilage voraciously; but when Archibald leaves a container of chimichangas out in the sun, the food explodes into a bunch of green ooze and necessitates a change of venue.

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Paul Asay

Paul Asay has been part of the Plugged In staff since 2007, watching and reviewing roughly 15 quintillion movies and television shows. He’s written for a number of other publications, too, including Time, The Washington Post and Christianity Today. The author of several books, Paul loves to find spirituality in unexpected places, including popular entertainment, and he loves all things superhero. His vices include James Bond films, Mountain Dew and terrible B-grade movies. He’s married, has two children and a neurotic dog, runs marathons on occasion and hopes to someday own his own tuxedo. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

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