I’ve done a few “first impressions” posts on this blog, which are not as in-depth as my usual film analysis posts; instead, they’re more straightforward reviews of my initial thoughts, impressions, and yes, personal biases. (If you’re interested in other “first impressions,” click here for the one about Monsters University, or the one about The Amazing Spider-Man, or the one about Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.) As you could see from last week’s post, I was pretty excited about the upcoming TV premiere of “The Librarians,” a series spin-off from the popular “The Librarian” TV movies starring Noah Wyle as librarian adventurer Flynn Carsen.
And after watching the 2-hour premiere this past Sunday, I can say that yes, I’m still excited. 🙂
Here’s what I posted on Facebook immediately after the first scene:
What made me cheer? This exchange between Flynn and Eve:
Eve: How’d you know all that?
Flynn: I’m the librarian.
And here was my husband’s reaction:
I have a soft spot for “The Librarian” TV movies, which are admittedly cheesy, corny, and nerdy. They’re also fun. And that irrepressible, playful spirit all through the TV movies — lifelong learning is THE BEST, y’all! — also inhabits the spin-off series. I also have a soft spot for genre films or television that are unapologetic about their genre; I appreciate total commitment to whatever genre they’re going for. (See also my eternal love for films like Salt, Where Eagles Dare, Desk Set, Entrapment, Ever After, Pitch Perfect, and even cheesy classics like White Christmas.)
You know what you’re getting in “The Librarians,” and I can appreciate that. I want cheesy, corny, nerdy, adventurous fun that also packs a LOT of learning. After all, that’s what this entire blog is about! 😉
I like that this series harkens back to the old serials of the early film era; there is something sweetly old-fashioned about this series, for all their casting of new, younger librarians. I like the throwaway moments like when Flynn stops to marvel at and repeat little-used and cool-sounding words like “vexing.” (Yes, I have been known to do that same thing in real life. The most recent times were for the words “voluminous” and “verisimilitude.”) I also like how much the TV series includes elements and inside jokes that reference the original TV movie — even bringing in the Papyrus font from the original movie’s credits! The series creators are playing to their fans, and yes, I am one.
I also like that the series is filmed in and around Portland, where I live. And that Oregon got mentioned in the 2nd episode. Go Oregon! (Read this review from our local paper, The Oregonian, which also includes some info about Portland locations used in the series.)
So, what’s “The Librarians” all about? There are 10 episodes listed on the TV show’s website, and the premiere included the first 2 episodes, “And the Crown of King Arthur” and “And the Sword in the Stone.” (By the way, extended episodes are freely available now on iTunes; you can also access them through the TV show website.) Someone is killing off librarians — I know, I gasped, too! — and Flynn, with the help of new guardian Eve (Rebecca Romijn), sets off to round up three remaining librarian candidates. In a clever link to the original TV movie, they were invited to interview for the librarian position that ultimately went to Flynn.
The librarian newbies are Lindy Booth as Cassandra (my husband’s fave), a math whiz who suffers from synesthesia; John Kim as Ezekiel, a hacker, tech whiz, and thief; and Christian Kane as Jake, a country boy who knows all about art and welding (my personal fave). John Laroquette also joins the cast as Jenkins, a stuffy, fussy man who manages the library’s annex — and who is tasked at the end to train the librarian newbies. The baddies — because there are ALWAYS baddies in “The Librarian” franchise — are unmemorable for the most part, but that’s nothing new.
I laughed, cheered, and groaned in equal measure throughout the premiere. Here are my favorite lines that I shared on Facebook:
Of course, other things bugged me. Like the pretty stereotypical (yet charming) character of Jenkins, who pretty much lines up with the Anti-Social Male Librarian character type. Two typical lines from Jenkins: “This is the library, not the rodeo” and “Good. You’re leaving. I can get back to my work.”
I also sighed at the unrelenting theme that librarians hoard knowledge, like through lines such as “welcome to the secret world,” “knowledge that is locked away” and “the lengths the librarians will go to hide the gift of magic from the world.” That even spilled over into Flynn’s over-protectiveness of his position, insisting that HE was THE librarian.
But at the end, I enjoyed that Flynn, ever the Liberated Librarian, realizes that he cannot do it alone. That there is value in training new librarians. That he is part of a community. I love the message of librarian mentorship and training — something hardly ever explored in reel librarian portrayals! — and it’s clever that the librarian training, or “saving the world every week,” will serve as the structure of the series.
Oh, and I didn’t want to forget to mention one of the major stars of the show, as far as I was concerned: the totally awesome card catalog that wraps along one side of the staircase in the library office. HELLO to the hotness:
I totally gasped when this first came on screen. (As did Eve a little bit when she first stepped into the library office.) Gasp-worthy indeed.
“The Librarians” scored over 7 million viewers in its premiere, making it the highest-ranked premiere of new cable series this year. Yay for the librarians, one and all! 😉
Did you watch the premiere of “The Librarians”? Please leave a comment and let me know what you thought of it!