The Librarians s1 ep 1

As I said in my preview, I’ve never seen any of the Librarian TV movies, although the addition of an “s” to the title for the series suggests a subtle alteration to the concept. Anyway, in “…And The Crown of King Arthur”, NATO counter-terrorist operative Eve (Rebecca Romijn) is baddie-hunting in Berlin when her path crosses with Flynn Carsen (Noah Wyle), who appears through a magical portal in order to eccentrically bumble about, trying to recover the Opal of Something-Or-Other, concealed by the occult division of the Nazis; yes, it’s that sort of show.

Back in America, Eve receives a letter inviting her to a job interview at the Metropolitan Public Library, and for some reason she goes. It turns out that there’s a subterranean library which holds and protects ancient mystical artefacts, that Flynn is The Librarian, and that the vacancy is for The Guardian, responsible for looking after The Librarian. Eve and Flynn bicker a bit, but there’s a bit of a crisis on: the losing candidates when Flynn was appointed Librarian (in writing this I’ve just realised how much of the backstory is about the process of job hunting) are being killed off. Eve and Flynn need to go and round them up in order to save them, and find out who’s trying to kill them. I misheard this, incidentally, as the Serbian Brotherhood, a title which surprised me in a show so unashamedly magical. It’s the Serpent Brotherhood. Serpent. That makes much more sense.

The presumed future Librarians are found, and as a supporting cast – which is about to become the main cast, because Wyle isn’t hanging about, not as a regular cast member anyway – they all perform their allotted tasks. Eve has an endearing up-for-anything air, Romijn’s dusting of star quality, and just a dash of clean-cut sexiness; I’m guessing that we’re supposed to ship Eve and Flynn in the time available to us. Jacob (Christian Kane) combines good ol’ boy charm, penetrating intelligence, and a hint of the iron fist in the velvet glove. Ezekiel (John Kim) is annoying. Cassandra (Lindy Booth) is pretty. On the downside the music is remarkably intrusive, and the production values aren’t spectacular; there’s a CGI explosion at one point which is laughably poor. But the show has charm and wit, the cast give it plenty of almost pantomime-like enthusiasm, and crucially it doesn’t give the impression of taking itself too seriously.

I can see why people like The Librarians; I quite enjoyed it myself. I won’t be watching again, though, because it fails my Sons of Anarchy test: I’m sure Sons of Anarchy is very good, but I don’t watch it because I have no interest in watching a show about a motorcycle club. (“But it isn’t just about a motorcycle club!” Don’t care. I also have no interest in watching a show which isn’t just about a motorcycle club.) The Librarians features a dead person appearing benevolently in mirrors, the Crown of King Arthur, the Opal of Whatever-It-Was, ley lines, Excalibur swordfighting without anyone needing to hold it, an insistence that magic is real: the sort of woo-woo, in short, which gets on my last nerve. So it’s not my thing. But if it’s yours, give it a go. I think you’ll like it.


6 thoughts on “The Librarians s1 ep 1

  1. CJ Cregg December 15, 2014 / 11:34 pm

    Er…. I’m probably going to regret asking this but, assuming she didn’t know about the magical carry-on beforehand, why would a NATO counter-terrorism operative be interested in a job at a public library? Perfectly fine work, I’m sure, but doesn’t seem like *quite* the same skillset….

    It’s like Jack Bauer suddenly deciding he fancies working for the job centre.

  2. Jed Bartlet December 15, 2014 / 11:58 pm

    I didn’t get that bit either, as I hinted at in my review. In fairness, the invitation was sent on some sort of magic paper on which the words kind of sparkled into existence, so it looked more tempting than something pulled together on Word.

    • CJ Cregg December 16, 2014 / 11:12 pm

      Ah I see – I’m a sucker for a bit of fancy stationery myself, so that totally explains it.

  3. e December 16, 2014 / 1:11 am

    Is it me or did it all seem pantomime? No depth of character, no one to like or invest in (unless you’re a Mr. Kane fan, speaking of which what is wrong with his face and what’s with the scarf thing?), poor writing, magic solution (and I’m not talking magic magic, I’m talking about handwaving bad writing), no real characterizations.

    The best of SF/Fantasy on TV grounds itself on telling human stories where the SFF elements add a sense of wonder, danger and possibility (think Buffy at its best). This had no “there” there.

    And being an unapologetic pedant, that was *not* a proper expression of a frontal lobe tumor.

    (Also why wasn’t Mr. Kane kicking ass and taking names? Isn’t that what he’s supposed to *do*? (cite Angel))

  4. krieble747 December 16, 2014 / 2:37 am

    I love me some Noah Wyle but I think I’ll be skipping this one.

    Re Sons of Anarchy – the show was 75% amazing, 20% okay, and 5% absolutely whackadoo. The finale let it down some, but I could also say that Breaking Bad let it down some, because we have now all seen the exactly perfect way to end a show.

    The final season of Breaking Bad was such enormous perfection that no other show could possibly get anywhere near that kind of ending.

  5. Mary E. Brewer December 16, 2014 / 7:53 pm

    I so enjoyed The Librarians A very fun and exciting show. Very playful.. One the whole family can watch together.. that is something that is important to me! It isnt a documentary, or blood and gore.. end of the world… or zombies or comic book character.. So i will be watching each and every episode.. 🙂

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