Monday, December 8, 2014

The Librarians Season Premiere Recap and Review

I have seen The Librarian movies several times. They're a fun ride. I liked their energy and pacing, so I was excited when I found out that there was going to be a series and that Noah Wyle, Jane Curtin and Bob Newhart were going to be reprising their roles from the movies. I was hoping that the series would have the same kind of energy and witty banter between characters, and I admit I had very high expectations. Spoilers ahead.

Rebecca Romijn is Col. Eve Baird, the Guardian. She received her letter at the beginning of the show. Lindy Booth is Cassandra Cillian, Christian Kane is Jake Stone, and John Kim is Ezekiel Jones. They are Librarian candidates who never showed up for their interviews 10 years ago. Cassandra was in the hospital with a brain tumor when her letter arrived. Jake was working on an oil rig so he ignored his, and Ezekiel threw his away because he thought it was a mistake. They all have various talents - Eve was an anti-terrorist squad commander. She has the tactical training to be a Guardian. Cassandra is able to physically feel, taste, smell, hear and touch her memories. She also remembers everything she sees, tastes, smells, hears and touches. She can use this information to do everything from diagnose a medical condition to mapping coordinates in her head. Jake has an IQ of 190 and expertise in European art and literature. Ezekiel is a thief with mad tech skills. If anything, it seems more like a D&D party than Librarians.

The show opens in Berlin. Col. Eve Baird is with her unit, and they are hunting terrorists. They raid an empty old factory/warehouse building, chasing several men. Eve catches up with two of them, and they have a small device that beeps. She asks why it's beeping, and then there is a lot of noise and a bang from the wall behind them. A metal door opens, and Flynn Carsen (Noah Wyle) slides out of the opening. He is looking for an artifact. He finds it, after some chattering conversation, (he still talks too much, the one thing that I didn't like about his character in the first movie) he realizes that the artifact is contained in a trap, so he sets about figuring out the combination to disarm the trap, chattering away the whole time. He figures that the same combination would also disarm the nuclear bomb, simply because it would be improbable that both devices would have the same code. Of course it works, and we flash forward to the next day.

Eve is on her cell phone with her commanding officer. She is giving him a verbal report of what happened the previous day, telling him about the Librarian. He puts her on a month's leave. She protests, but can't do anything about it. When she enters her empty apartment, she opens the fridge. All that's in there is a bottle of water. She closes the fridge, and an envelope slides in under her front door.

Flynn is back in New york at the Library. He gets a call from a guy who tells him that they've met, although Flynn won't remember him, and that he has something to give to Flynn. But before Flynn can get to the lobby, the guy is killed by a villain played by Matt Frewer. Flynn arrives on the scene, and picks up a picture of what looks like knights and a king, with notations.

Flash ahead another day or so... This is where the characters are introduced and brought together. Eve has arrived at the Library for her interview. She is accepted by Charlene (Jane Curtin), and is taken to the elevator down to where Flynn is working out with Excalibur. Eve had told Charlene that she didn't believe in magic, so she's a bit surprised that this was THE Excalibur. There's some protestation from Flynn that he doesn't need a Guardian (kinda felt like a grown-up version of "but moooom... I don't need a babysitter!"), and some argument from Eve that she was brought in to do a job and dammit she's gonna do it. Then lots of questions and they figure out that someone is killing Librarians.

They go and pick up Cassandra at the hospital where she works as a janitor, just as she is trying to tell a doctor that he has badly misdiagnosed a patient. Then Flynn goes to the museum to pick up Ezekiel, who is in the middle of trying to steal something. For all his tech skills, Ezekiel really didn't think that one through - he was using a heat cutter on a plexiglass case in a room with heat detection, laser beam motion sensors and smoke detectors. But he hadn't disabled these things - he had only hacked the alarm system to set off an alarm in another part of the museum to distract the guards. Meanwhile, Eve finds Jake at a bar where he is hitting on a girl who turns out to be part of the Serpent Brotherhood - the bad guys. She has ninjas with her. Eve helps Jake take them out and they leave the bar.

The next morning, the "new kids" arrive at the Library for their orientation.This is where it got confusing for me. Many words are said - basically, the storylines from all three movies are presented here as the basis for orienting the three of them with what the Library is, what a Librarian does, and yes - magic does exists. They figure out that information about the location of the Crown of King Arthur is probably what the dead guy at the beginning of the show was trying to give Flynn, so they head for the museum to start their research. They end up finding actual clues instead.

Rebecca Romijn may have done well as an action movie star in X-Men, but she just seems too old for this. It was kind of like watching somebody's mom all of a sudden get on the dance floor at the prom and try to bust a Dougie. It's not her looks - she looks great! But she acts like the mom who is trying to be cool, not like one of the group. She doesn't feel like she fits in yet.

Christian Kane fits in ok... just ok. He looks like the hard ass we saw in Leverage or Angel, but there is a scene where Jake talks Cassandra down from her hysterics and helps her organize all the stuff going on in her head that kinda made the gears in my brain grind. If you're going to be Fearless Fly, be Fearless Fly. If you're going to be a meek, mild, passive little fly known as Hiram, fine. But don't try to be both at the same time, please - it's confusing to hear a solid, strong voice one minute then a soft, gentle voice the next and back to a solid strong voice again in a matter of a couple of sentences. Other than that scene, he was pretty consistent in his portrayal of what I would imagine his character to be - a guy who's worked on an oil rig for a really long time. And the soft-spoken mannerisms Jake presented when he was working with Cassandra in that one scene were what I would imagine from an art and literature expert.

Lindy Booth fits in well. Her frenetic, rapid fire speech mannerism for the character is exactly what I would expect of someone with her talents. John Kim fits in well too. He's young, and has that teen action/drama kind of energy.

This was not at all the ride I was expecting, in the beginning. The first hour was a struggle for me. I was trying too hard to keep all the characters' backgrounds straight and to keep up with where the story was going. But eventually, I got it all sorted to the point where it made sense, and I could just enjoy the ride. Along the way, we meet Jenkins (played by John Larroquette) - the Librarian who manages the Library Annex. He is perfect for the role, and his timing and delivery are still as witty as ever. I think he probably had the best dialogue in the whole show.

The second hour was more like what I had been expecting - a rollicking, fun, witty ride. This was more like the movies. The chase, the boss fight and the recovery of the artifacts were everything I had expected. I can't really say much without spoilers, so let's just say that there were the emotional highs and lows that I had come to appreciate from the movies. And although this film made me think more than I like to when I want to be entertained, I was not disapponted at all and I think that it has the makings of what could be a great adventure series. I'm looking forward to the rest of the season!

Raven is a longtime TV fan, cosplayer, and avid geek. 

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  1. So basically what you're saying is, characters have to be one dimensional?

    I thought the shift in Jake's character made him more interesting, less of a boring stereotype. Eve came of as a softer and more interesting version of Gibbs from NCIS, which is awesome to see a female character who isn't there just to be sexy chick with no emotions. Not sure if I care about Ezekiel yet. But I did like the backstory and character building for Cassandra.

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  3. Not at all what I'm saying. What I'm saying is that charachters should be consistent. It's fine that Jake has different aspects to his personality. In fact that's excellent. And I did like that he has a softer side. But being hard and soft at the same time is, for me, kind of confusing to watch. For me, it's kind of like eating a microwave pizza that was cooked wrong and started to cool - the crust is hard and chewy on the outside and undercooked and soft on the inside. Weird texture. Just my opinion. Thanks for your comment! I'm glad you liked the show! :)

  4. Loved it.. very fun and exciting show.. One the whole family can enjoy!!Christian Kane brought his own magic to The Librarians.. and to his movie 50 to 1 which is another family friendly projec.. It's coming out on DVD/VOD Spring 2015 .. so be on the look out for that as well will love it too!

  5. Totally enjoyed the show! I felt like I was on an adventure! This happy Kaniac is thrilled to see Christian Kane back on TV!