[Update] In the original review, it was stated that Jake Stone (Christian Kane’s character) was Texan when in fact the new librarian is from Oklahoma. This has been changed in the article.
Season two of The Librarians opens with And the Drowned Book. There is magic in the world with the reinsertion of the sword in the stone and ley lines are filled with magical powers. Noah Wyle, Rebecca Romijn, Lindy Booth, Christian Kane, John Larroquette and John Harlan Kim are all back as the Librarians and so is their “enabler” Jenkins (Larroquette). TNT have brought back this great family fun show as part of their Sunday lineup and the wait has been worth it.
Feeling like a cross between Relic Hunter (a show that Lindy Booth was also a regular cast member of) and Dr. Who but with slightly better FX, the show is a good natured small screen version of a new generation of antiquities hunters who all have special skills. Kane is rough and ready Oklahoman oil rigger Jake Stone, Booth is Cassandra Cillian a young woman who literally does figures in the air and Kim is Ezekiel Jones; a Jack of all trades. Romijn is the real handler of the group, Jenkins runs the library and aids the Librarians when required.
Wyle is the Librarian, aka Flynn Carson. The actual library feels a little like Warehouse 13 but with books and artifacts and with Jenkins as custodian.
The opening of season two’s The Librarians has renewed magic and a mysterious, and shadowy, figure summoning a character from a book. Not just any book, though. The tome is The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and the summoner opens the pages to the short story The Adventures of the Dancing Men. The episode then heads to a museum where another character from a fictional tale is affecting the weather and the plot.
The cleverness of the writing in this opening episode is apparent from the first time we see the pages open to the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle short story. In the “Dancing Men” tale Holmes recognized the “stick figure” men as code, aka a cipher and in this episode, The Librarians And the Drowned Book the relics sought by the Librarians make up a code created by Prospero (from The Tempest).
Prospero calls Professor Moriarty from the Holmes collection of stories to help him outwit the Librarians and to escape into the world.
There are a number of nods and winks to other works. In a scene with Moriarty (played by South African actor David S. Lee) Flynn Carson (Wyle) tells the criminal mastermind, whom he believes is Sherlock Holmes, that he admires the man who solved “The Five Orange Pips.” Both “The Adventure of the Dancing Men” and “The Five Orange Pips” feature an individual who dies after hiring the great detective.
In another “homage” moment, Carson and Eve Baird (Romijn) go to collect an artifact and Flynn tells Eve that things will be all right if the villagers do not know they are there. A short beat later sees the two running from a group of angry people with Flynn shouting to the effect that they knew. The framing of the shot is very reminiscent of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark opening sequence where he is being chased by natives.
The allusion to the Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford franchise is all too apparent in the overall make up of The Librarians. Wyle can be seen as a sort of small screen Indy substitute. Both men, Jones and Carson, are well educated and each searches for historical artifacts personally. These two are not researchers who pass their findings on, they are adventurers.
In the TNT series, Carson has recruited some helpers, in the forms of Kane, Booth and Kim. All three of the newcomers bring something to the table. Booth; a sort of spacey, yet fun, aura of genius. Kim portrays a “criminally minded” magician who specializes in picking pockets and taking chances.
Christian Kane plays an affable and adventure seeking chap from Oklahoma who exudes a natural sense of capability and risk taking.
And the Drowned Book starts with all three of the new Librarians doing their own thing rather than working as a team. Ultimately, through the course of the episode, they learn that working as a group is much more effective.
There are a number of amusing moments in the show.
Kudos to Noah Wyle who, after appearing in Falling Skies as a hero type not prone to humor, gets off a few comic moments. None, however, are as good as the “I can lip read” gag. After Moriarty reveals, to a delighted Eve, that he can read lips Flynn retorts:
“Lipreading’s not that hard. I can do it. Those two women over there… ‘Where are the snuffy pom moms?’ ‘I’ve never circled square Idaho in the blueberry cupcake.’ Nothing to it.” [Snaps fingers]
Before the end credit’s roll, Carson loses Prospero and Moriarty, Eve will not let him follow the two as they escape leaving a couple of season long villains to reappear at will. Wyle, who solidified his character in The Librarian films has not deserted the show and he interacts with the new “kids” on a regular basis while wooing the group’s minder Eve.
The three newcomers to the verse have settled into their character’s shoes and each actor is a delight to watch. The Librarians is a series that anyone in the family can watch and enjoy. As close to a “G” rated show as one will find on nighttime television that features a bit of romance, action, magic and villainous characters that are not too bloody or violently gory.
The Librarians airs Sundays on TNT. Tune in and enjoy some entertaining storylines and the collective greatness that is Lindy Booth, Christian Kane and Noah Wyle, et al.