So often comes a movie made for TV that is good enough to get a sequel or two. And in rare cases, it will return with an excellent TV series. Come on, joina The librarians, a show that draws you into a life of mystery and misery ̵1; loneliness and adventure. You will have the pleasure of watching a small group of mismatches make a difference and save the world every week, twice before Friday.
Before we get into the series, you should know The librarians starts after three films about the coordinated librarian. But you do not have to watch them first to enjoy the show. The TV series does an excellent job of assuming you have not seen what came before and introduces you to concepts, characters and mythology slowly.
The librarian’s job is to find magical relics of incredible power and secure them in the library for storage. Relics such as Spear of Destiny, Pan’s Flute, Da Vinci’s Diary and Blackbeard’s Chest. The library itself is a massive (as large as it needs to be), possibly sensitive, building held in a pocket dimension and tied to the physical world of the Metropolitan Public Library.
We start the series 10 years into Flynn Carsen’s (masterfully played by Noah Wyle) time as a librarian. It’s longer than any librarian has ever earned. If you know the movies, you will immediately see that he is a little older, a little more boring and much more eccentric.
Now, if you’re a fan of the SyFy channel, you might be calling foul and shouting, “This is a rip-off of Warehouse 13! At the top of the lungs. But let me stop you there; The librarian come first. And the performances are enormously different, despite their common concept. But if you want Warehouse 13, sci-fi, fantasy and a bit of comedy in general, there’s a good chance you like it The librarians. So do not write it off yet.
An untethered beginning
When we start the series, the library sends an invitation to Eve Baird, played by Rebecca Romijn from X-Men fame, to be the new Guardian. It is the Guardian’s job to protect the librarian’s physical and mental well-being. Flynn has been without the Guardian since the first film.
Her first day is not going well, as they discover a conspiracy to kill everyone who was invited to apply for the librarian position 10 years ago. The only applicants left are three people who did not show up.
First up is Jacob Stone (played by Christian Kane), a hidden genius. He speaks many languages and has degrees in architecture, art history, Native American culture and more. But he hides behind a pseudonym and works as an oil platform. He did not show up for his interview because he feared he would be out as a genius would cost him his family.
Right behind him is Cassandra Cillian (played by Lindy Booth). Cassandra is a mathematician with synesthesia. She can use auditory and visual hallucinations to develop “holographic simulations” to solve problems that normal people cannot. But she did not come to her interview because she has a terminal brain tumor and she was in the hospital.
And hidden in the corner is Ezekiel Jones (played by John Harlan Kim). He is a low-down unimproved master thief who uses an incredible understanding of technology to promote his exploits. In Ezekiel’s mind, he is the most amazing man in the world. He did not come to his interview because he is an unimproved master thief.
Rounding out the cast is Jenkins, played by John Larroquette. Jenkins is the library’s caretaker and for much of his time he worked in secret. Even Flynn was not aware of his presence until recently. It was suggested in early episodes that Jenkins is much older than he looks.
Just when the group comes together, the library is attacked by an evil group called the Snake Brotherhood. The group manages to disconnect the pocket dimension that the library is in from the physical plane and shield all access to it.
A Show of Mystery and Adventure
If you’re a fan of Warehouse 13, maybe you’re asking where were the differences I promised. Like the SyFy show, each episode focuses on restoring a magical relic and storing it in the library. But at the beginning of the series, the library is cut off from the world, and Flyn’s best friend Excalibur (yes, actually Arthurian Legends’ sword) is killed.
The librarians withdraw to an appendix and are divided into two teams. Flynn leaves (allowing Noah Wild to show up for episodes sometimes) to find a way back to the library. Eve, Jacob, Cassandra and Ezekiel take over his duties to protect the world from magic.
Yes, magic is very real, which is a distinctive feature of Warehouse 13, but the other is tone. The librarians is a frivolous good-natured show that never takes itself too seriously.
It’s ready to sneak a Tardis from Doctors who or a DeLorean from Back to the Future into a section on time travel. It is willing to turn its protagonists into literal story book fantasy characters, like Prince Charming, because of the plot. The show has adventure, charm and dozens of laughs.
That’s not to say it can’t be serious, but those moments are creeping up on you. It will often happen at the end of a section to make a lasting point or learn a wise lesson.
A show from yesterday for today
I love The librarians because it reminds me of the TV I saw when I was young. The show also titles episodes like the previous show, from The Librarians and Santa’s Midnight Run to The librarians and the self-fulfilling prophecy (and now you see what I did with this headline).
You get some adventure, a bit of romance, plot twists and wise lessons – often from sarcastic Jenkins who also act as the show’s older mentor. Seasons tie together as the team competes to get one step ahead of the big bad enemy and the silent moments you noticed to reward you for your patience.
The librarians is a show where the good guys always win the war and the bad guys always lose. Sure, the bad buys look like they sometimes win, and they even get the best of the good in a fight, but at the end of the season, the good ones win. It’s not given in a TV series anymore, so it gives The librarians show a nostalgic feeling. Best of all, the good guys earn their living, and they win by doing what’s right – not what’s easy. Sometimes it’s just nice to see how good guys win and villains lose.
Each season the characters grow and you understand why every person present, including Ezekiel, is necessary. The library made no mistake in who it chose to protect the world. Everyone doubts why they belong, or even if they belong, in the library. But the group works together to grow, learn and win as a team.
Canceled too soon
Unfortunately, for all its greatness, The librarians was discontinued after four seasons. It can be a blessing in a way; it did not survive its stay as some shows. (I’m watching you How I met your mother.) But it did not end on its own terms (as The good place), so I’m left and want another season. Despite its short service life, you should give it a watch if you like swashbuckling adventures and good versus evil. The librarians is the rare show that remained true to its heart from beginning to end, and that makes it worth watching.
You can watch all four seasons of The librarians on Hulu. And if you are interested, you can watch the three original movies for free on Vudu with ads.