TV Review: The Librarians Season One

Saturday 13 February 2016 by

The Librarians, TV, Syfy

So this week, well over a year since it premiered, the first season of The Librarians was finally released on DVD. It’s an amazing gem of a show that I absolutely adore and I’m glad it will be that much easier for more people to watch now.

The series itself is a spin-off of three TV films starring Noah Wyle (yes, the guy from ER) that began airing over a decade ago. The premise was a whimsical fantasy/adventure/comedy where the bookish, nerdy guy saves the world. He’s Flynn Carsen, The Librarian, and he works for the Metropolitan Public Library, which hides in its depths artefacts like Pandora’s Box and Excalibur as well as the real versions of some books, like the un-edited version of the Principia Mathematica which was originally known as The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy as Derived by the Wondrous Thinking Machines of Atlantis. You don’t need to have watched the films to enjoy the series, but it does help explain some of Flynn’s character when you know his backstory.

The Librarians opens with a two-parter, And the Crown of King Arthur/And the Sword in the Stone. Someone is killing potential Librarians (it’s a many are called, one is chosen sort of job) so the Library recruits NATO counter-terrorism Colonel Eve Baird (Rebecca Romijn) to be Flynn’s new Guardian, despite the fact that he hasn’t had one since his first left ten years ago. Together they work out who the last three living, top-ranked potentials are and go to save them.

First off is Cassandra Cillian (Lindy Booth), a genius of science and mathematics and a synesthete , all five senses are hardwired to her memory, numbers are colours, science is musical notes and when she does maths she smells things, usually breakfast. She also has a brain tumour which later gets nicknamed the ‘brain grape.’

Then there’s Ezekiel Jones (John Kim), world-class thief, hacker and self-confessed worst version of himself. He’s awesome, as he often reminds the others.

And Jacob Stone (Christian Kane), one of the world’s experts in art history (under a pseudonym), who hides his genius from family and friends and instead plays the role of oil-drilling, ditch-digging cowboy.

I don’t want to give any major spoilers but it’s hardly a surprise that by the end of the openers the team is assembled. They wind up using the Library’s Annexe as their base; a location looked after by the dryly humorous and put-upon Jenkins (John Larroquette). He, along with Baird, will supervise the training of Cassandra, Jacob and Ezekiel as Librarians while Flynn is off on a separate mission.

The over-all arc of the show is the team defeating the Librarians centuries-old nemesis organisation, the Serpent Brotherhood, but they have some wonderful stand-alone adventures, too. And the Horns of a Dilemma pits them against a minotaur imprisoned by a corporation that is sacrificing interns to ensure it stays in profit. They have to rescue a kidnapped Santa (whom Baird will only refer to as Nick) and help him deliver his gift to humanity. And the Apple of Discord involves not only a broadening of the fantasy/hidden magic world of the series, dragons, fae and genies all turn up, but also explores what the worst version of each character would be. They save a town from being sucked into a book of fairy tales in And the Fables of Doom, but not before sliding into some archetypal characters themselves. And the Rule of Three lets you know what Morgan le Fay running a science fair would be like. The haunted house urban legend trope is brilliantly subverted in the creepy And the Heart of Darkness. And the City of Light argues there’s no such thing as UFOs, just some people knocked out of phase with reality by a misfiring invention of Nikolai Tesla.

The final episode of the first season is And the Loom of Fate, which wraps up all the disparate storylines as Flynn and Baird hop timelines, learning what each of the other three Librarians would have been like if they’d been given the job instead of Flynn originally. And it ties up a couple other mysteries, too.

Overall the joy of this show is in its whimsy. So much fantasy these days seems to be cynical and dark (looking at you, Game of Thrones) that it’s downright refreshing to have something that isn’t afraid to be silly and deliver happy endings. No one here takes themselves too seriously. They just save the world every week, twice before Friday.

You can watch the Librarians via iTunes, Hulu, Amazon video, buy the DVD/blu-ray or catch it on Syfy.

You can follow Catherine on Twitter: @dogandbooks

1 Comment

  1. Mary E Brewer

    LOVE … The Librarians.. #ProudToBeAKaniac so watching the show is a must for me HA HA.. Christian Kane is awesome! acts– sings — songwrites — cooks –stuntman .. He does it all and does it all well.. Started watching the show because of him but fell in love with the whimsy, zany, witty charm of the show!
    Can’t wait for more.. Thanks for sharing!

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