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Horsemen and other assorted oddities: 2014's animation highlights

Now is a pretty great time for animation—there’s never been a wider array of strange, smart, and subversive cartoons for audiences of all stripes. While not all of them hit it out of the park in 2014—we’re looking at you, Chozen—the good ones were often brilliant, easily on par with the best live-action fare.

Before we get to our favorites, a small bit of housekeeping: For the purposes of this list, we’ll be excluding films from this roundup. Cool? That said, here are the year’s highlights:

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H. Jon Benjamin makes a crazy Kenny Loggins Kickstarter even crazier

kenny-loggins.jpg

Born in Everett, Washington, the American recording artist Kenneth Clark “Kenny” Loggins spent most of the 1980s creating music that became synonymous with the films they were featured in, like “Footloose” from Footloose or “Danger Zone” from Top Gun. He doesn’t really do this anymore, but he still makes music: This month, a Kickstarter for Loggins and his band, Blue Sky Riders, met its funding goal for a new studio album. READ FULL STORY

Watch 'Archer' ride into the 'Danger Zone' -- VIDEO

It’s a highway to the danger zone with Sterling Archer.

In a promo for the fifth season of Archer, the super spy and the ISIS crew remake Kenny Loggins’ classic “Danger Zone” video.

Watch the clip below: READ FULL STORY

Best of 2011 (Behind the Scenes): 'Archer' creator Adam Reed talks about the cancer rampage episode

Archer

As 2011 comes to a close, EW.com wanted to honor some of the hardworking names and faces from behind the scenes for their outstanding achievements. The absurdist FX espionage comedy Archer has always bravely plumbed the depths of hilarious depravity, but the season 2 episode “Placebo Effect” was a bad-taste masterpiece. Titular superspy Sterling Archer is suffering from breast cancer, and discovers that his anti-cancer drugs are actually placebos cooked up by the Irish mob as a money-making scheme. This initiates an episode-long bloodsoaked vengeance rampage. Archer plays a grisly game of Family Feud (the penalty for not telling him what he wants to know: A shot to the kneecap.) He stuffs a grenade up a man’s rear end. The whole time, he’s vomiting from chemotherapy nausea and smoking relentless amounts of medical marijuana. And then the whole thing ends with an extended reference to Magnum, P.I. Creator Adam Reed talks about what inspired this grisly, offensive, utterly wonderful half-hour of television. For more behind the scenes access to the year’s best TV and movie scenes, click here for EW.com’s Best of 2011: Behind the Scenes coverage.

As told by: Adam Reed

Every year, it seems like they catch some pharmacist or some doctor who’s been giving people placebos for their cancer. The first time I heard about it, I was furious. Then I heard about it again a few years later, and was even more furious. READ FULL STORY

'Archer' season finale: Is this the bleakest comedy on television?

Archer started its second season finale with an unexpected image: Sterling Archer in love. Katya Kazanova, the Russian spy who saved his life in last week’s episode, swore that she had fallen for him at first sight. Perhaps because she looked remarkably like January Jones in X-Men: First Class, Archer felt the same way. Mallory and Lana were immediately skeptical. She’s Russian! She’s hot! Clearly she’s a double agent! This was vintage Archer, combining a cocktail of refurbished spy cliches with pleasantly pathological emotional issues. By the time the Anxious Mother and the Jilted Ex-Girlfriend were both holding guns on the Suspiciously Buxom New Girlfriend, it felt a little bit like we looking at a candy-colored diagram of relationship malfunction. READ FULL STORY

'Archer' renewed for third season: Hooray for the most horrible characters on television!

I wasn’t totally sold on the first season of Archer. I was a devoted fan of creator Adam Reed’s previous TV show, the majestic Adult Swim dark comedy Frisky Dingo, a series so relentlessly quotable that my brother and I spent about a year communicating in a language composed entirely of quotes from Frisky Dingo. Archer, when it debuted, seemed like a lesser enterprise. TV history is filled with spy spoofs, and Archer‘s particular twist — imagining James Bondian thrills in the context of a workplace sitcom — seemed curiously old-fashioned, like Get Smart with more swears. But this second season has been a revelation. Much like Parks and Recreation, the show has become more of an ensemble comedy. Unlike the sweet romantics and devoted government workers of Parks and Recreation, Archer stars the absolute worst human beings on television. READ FULL STORY

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