The Librarians premiered on TNT last night. It’s a spin-off of The Librarian, a series of TV movies that TNT launched ten years ago. I’ve seen and enjoyed all the movies, and I think I may like the new show even better. Whether or not you should watch this series depends entirely on your psychological response to the following phrase:
Ninjas in Oklahoma.
Okay, still reading? Do you miss Warehouse 13? Then you should watch The Librarians, because The Library is pretty much exactly The Warehouse. Seriously. It’s a mystical archive run by a secret organization tasked with housing magical artifacts that can’t fall into the hands of the general public. Do you miss Leverage? Then you should watch The Librarians, because it’s executively produced by Dean Devlin and it features Christian Kane as part of a quirky ensemble cast of adventurers.
The comparisons don’t end there. The Librarians is every bit as fun, light-hearted, and imaginative as the aforementioned dearly departed dramas. It requires as much suspension of disbelief and tolerance of cheesy special effects and props. As with its feature-length predecessors, The Librarians knows exactly what it is and makes the most of it. It doesn’t try to be dark and edgy, nor does it go far enough in the other direction to become a self-parody. It’s dumb in a smart way.
The cast is likable and fun to watch. Eve Baird (Rebecca Romijn), aka The Guardian, is a great foil for recurring Librarian Flynn Carsen (Noah Wyle). She’s also believable as the group’s designated muscle, a role not falling to Christian Kane this time around. As Jake Stone, he’s more of the brain, a humanities scholar with an encyclopedic knowledge of art history and world literature. Well, Stone is half the brain. He’s the right hemisphere to Cassandra Cillian’s (Lindy Booth) left. Cassandra’s synesthesia gifts her with almost superhuman mathematical and spatial abilities. The ensemble is completed by Ezekiel Jones (John Kim), a snarky Brit who can breach any security system and evade any trap.
If I have any complaint about The Librarians, it’s Cassandra’s inoperable brain tumor. It’s the explanation for her synesthesia, but it’s an unnecessary one. I know people who were born with synesthesia in real life. I’m hoping this arc doesn’t become a source of needless drama and tragedy in an otherwise feel-good show.
I can’t end this post without mentioning the appearance of TV comedy legends Bob Newhart, Jane Curtin, and John Larroquette. Newhart and Curtin’s roles were brief reprises from the Librarian movies. Laroquette, a series regular, plays Jenkins, the caretaker who’ll be mentoring the Librarians In Training (LITs) in Carsen’s absence.
The Librarians airs Sunday nights on TNT at 8pm/7pm Central. Check it out if you like quirky ensemble dramedies, myth and magic, and ninjas in Oklahoma.