The Librarians: And the Final Curtain (Review)

The Librarians (and the series finale – see what we did there) was entertaining, clever and as part of the “final curtain” a fitting end to season two. There were, however, some highly annoying things about the season’s end episode

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The Librarians and the series finale  (see what we did there) was entertaining, clever and as part of the “final curtain” a fitting end to season two.  There were, however, some highly annoying things about the season’s end episode.  Granted the theme of season two was all about Shakespeare and England (cor blimey) and horrible English accents. Or at the very least extremely  watered down “Hollywood-ized” versions of the Queen’s English. The season was also about fictional characters, aka Fictionals,  inhabiting real life.

Sidenote: Back on the accent rant: When your South African actor has the “most convincing “accent? There is a problem. 

Colour this reviewer picayune, but if an entire season is going to be built up in order to have an English payoff,  do not fall back on faux/contrived accents a’la Shakespearean pentameter in the arcane sense, but with modern day phrasing and the odd word.  Take a breath, that was a long sentence…

That is not to say that the finale did not work and was not amusing.  Au contraire.  There were many funny moments that amused highly whilst gritting teeth at the atrocious accents and Oregon once again substituting for Jolly Olde England.

The Librarians utilize time travel and the episode gets to do a riff off of  the “Terminator ” verse:

“Come with me if you want to live,” says a deadpan  Moriarty.

South African actor  David S. Lee also delivers, with a perfectly straight face his,  “my British accent is better than yours.” Admittedly, it is but…There is no ” British” accent per se.  Britain is made up of a few countries, Wales, Scotland…If the Librarians traveled back to England, at the time of Bill Shakespeare, they would be speaking English, not British… (not a thing)

Sidenote: Apologies to Team Librarian and the show’s makers, but come on guys and gals.  So much of the this show is cleverly done. Do not let the side down by fluffing the English bits and using standard “Hollywood” tosh.  Surely there are enough English actors (or even Aussie/Kiwi ones who both do pretty spot on impressions) on hand to have a bit more authentic “brit” for your buck… 

Grumbling aside, Wyle is funny as the wildly overacting potential thespian and the dual storyline works extremely well.  The execution of the present day events, Ezekiel Jones and Stone counting down the “five” seconds before Flynn and Eve return was heart wrenching and touching.

There are plenty of gags about time travel and paradoxes and so on.  It is explained, by Flynn, that all time travelers have “winked” into non-existence.  Thus follows a great sight gag: Wyle’s character references the first time traveler and a picture on the library wall shows a “dinosaur” standing on two feet…in clothes.

This “gag” will crop up later in a slightly different form.  The storyline is that Flynn and Eve travel back to stop Shakespeare from creating Prospero (in his new story) while the remaining Librarians, along with Jenkins, must find any clues that Flynn “left forward.”

The two teams work simultaneously (sort of) to fix the issue  of Prospero taking over the world, despite being a fictional whose “story” does not entail his doing so. Of course the entire Shakespeare portion deals, rather transparently, with the idea that the “glove maker” from Stratford-upon-Avon could not have really written all those plays and sonnets.

In the real world, a number of suspects are trotted out to be the real “Shakespeare.” Christopher Marlowe,  Sir Francis Bacon and Edward de Vere are just three men that historians claim to be the real author(s) of Shakespeare’s body of work.  In The Librarians and the Final Curtain, Bill writes his own words, but…With a magic quill.

(So magic in fact that this quill does not need to be dipped, or loaded, with ink.)

The quill is made from  a broken bit of the “tree of life” aka the “Staff of Life” so, unlike real quills, it is not made from a feather but a bit of wood. Such ingenuity never ceases to impress.

Historical inaccuracies aside, the entire “smelly” bit between Flynn, Baird and the two “bumpkins” in the garden was not only funny, but entirely accurate.  People in England at that time did not bathe often or well. Shakespearean performers of the time used to carry oranges (stuffed with cloves) on a stick and/or carry a perfumed handkerchief to ward off the stench of the audience.

Eve’s exclamations of dismayed disgust were hysterical:

Col Baird: “Ugh, ugh! It’s on me! His smell is on me!”

Carson Flynn rather wisely points out that “smell” is one of the things that films about time travel never mention. After explaining this, he warns Eve that there will be a lot of pus. With this last bit of helpful information, he then tells Baird to put on the clothes of the unconscious and very smelly local. Eve reacts accordingly:

“Uh, no, no, no, no, no, no. No way. Nope, nope, nope, nope. nope.”

Comedy gold aside, the show manages to bring in references to King Arthur, the round table, the lady in the lake, and the “return” of Excalibur.  Some reviewers believe that Flynn’s being able to weld Excalibur, aka Cal, means that he is Arthur…a bit of a stretch, although Jenkins is a knight…Hmmm.

There are plenty of clever uses of logic and Shakespearean references that are brought up to solve the Prospero problem. (Hint: Check out Stone’s little spiel about carnations.) Moriarty and Flynn finally show how they really feel about one another but, the evil mastermind actually helps to “save the day” somewhat before bleeding out ink and disappearing.

It should be pointed out that the reading of Shakespeare, each quote pertanent to the issue at hand, was beyond brilliant.

The Librarians finishes with a lot of cute moments, a couple of “aw” ones and seemingly a promise that Noah Wyle as Flynn will be in a lot more episodes next year.  While this can only be a good thing, after all, he and Eve Baird (Rebecca Romijn) make such a great couple, hopefully this will not mean less Lindy Booth, Christian KaneJohn Harlan Kim or John Larroquette

This was an entertaining season finale and now time will drag until a new season returns fall of 2016. One plea, and this is an earnest one, please TNT and makers of The Librarians, stop using contrived “British”  accents (which are not really a thing, remember) and use real sounding English ones… This would go a long way to making Oregon stand in for any location as long as the players “sound right.”

Please.

The Librarians: And the Point of Salvation – Best Episode Ever?

The Librarians and the Point of Salvation may just be the best episode ever in this TNT offering of mirth, magic and mayhem. Starting with a touch of Groundhog Day, then segueing into Edge of Tomorrow with a swift shift into Wreck it Ralph, this installment was great fun all the way through.

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The Librarians and the Point of Salvation may just be the best episode ever in this TNT offering of mirth, magic and mayhem. Starting with a touch of Groundhog Day, then segueing into Edge of Tomorrow with a swift shift into Wreck-It Ralph, this installment was great fun all the way through.

Granted there were moments that were touching as well and the episode contained enough references to video game genres to satisfy the geek fanboy/girl in every gamer.  Jake Stone excitedly mentions survival horror games and Ezekiel’s “backpack” references the Capcom classic “action horror franchise Resident Evil. (As well as a host of other video games, and their many devices, like   health packs, escort missions and so on.)  All things which are integral to video games in general are included in this loving look at gaming. Jake asks whether they are in a sandbox or railroad and later states that they are in a platform game.)

The episode starts with a video game being played on a computer screen in a control room of a quantum physics computer. The technician appears to be playing a version of CoD (Call of Duty) or another “first person shooter” (FPS) game. (This is the one plot hole in the entire show’s premise. While Resident Evil is essentially a FPS video game – which is what the episode is tipping its hat to, the “rules” in CoD do not emulate those of the action horror genre of RE…or any other action horror, except maybe F.E.A.R….just saying)

The technician’s boss requests he start up the computer, for a bit of “show and tell” and after the man hides his game, he powers up the machine. Everything goes wrong and the librarians come to the rescue.  Just prior to the event, Cassandra works out that the facility have been using Atlantean Thaumatite which has given their computer magical capabilities.

Before the Librarians head to the facility we learn that Jenkins is really, or also known as Galeas (the Grail Knight of Virtue).  This tidbit of information given by the summoned Faery Puck who, in the other plot line of the episode, is meant to tell Jenkins/Galeas what Prospero is up to.

After Ezekiel, Stone, Cillian and Baird arrive at the computer facility, they find everything in ruins and the place is deserted, except for a military “rage person” who attacks, and like the creatures in the Resident Evil verse, cannot be stopped by shooting into their body,  they must be struck in the head.  After getting the group killed a number of times, Ezekiel, who is player one as he was first into the lab, guesses that they are in a time loop.

Like Edge of Tomorrow (taken from the Japanese book All You Need is Kill) the plot device is made clearer to the “master thief” who understands quickly that they are in a video game and not in a time loop. Their initial entrance into the lab/facility is the first “save point” in the “game” and he must get them all to the next save point so they can escape.

The Librarians and the Point of Salvation does borrow very heavily from the Tom Cruise vehicle (Edge of Tomorrow, aka Live, Die, Repeat) in that Jones also stops, at one point in the game, and stores his mates in a “safe room.” He literally cannot stand seeing them die yet again.  In EoT Cruises character, after trying a scenario hundreds (if not thousands of times) tires of seeing Emily Blunt’s character dying repeatedly leaves his colleague behind to head on alone.

There are some drawbacks to the episode, most specifically the tired trope that the male of the species is “into” video games and that the female, in the team at least, are not. This can be forgiven to a degree because essentially the characters in the show react logically. It is an understood that to Ezekiel Jones, video games would be addictive, as they would to Jake Stone, albeit for different reasons.

To Cassandra, with her uber analytical mind, that focusses upon magic and mathematics, the idea of video game would be anathema to her sensibilities. Baird is too pragmatic and “action oriented” although one feels that if given the chance, Eve could rock a controller just fine.

After his repeated  run through of  the facility via Resident Evil, a’la Edge of Tomorrow, Jones attempts a cheat which causes a glitch in the system, a’la Wreck-It Ralph. In the end, Ezekiel pulls a sacrifice play to save his friends and they “bring him back.”  The end of the episode has Jenkins learning that Prospero intends to kill his “heroes” (the Librarians) “now.” As the end credits roll, it appears that the fictional villain has won.

This was  a highly entertaining episode. Christian Kane, as Jake Stone, proves that he can do “infectious  enthusiasm” quite well, thank you and Eve Baird can give a motivational speech at the drop of a hat.  Cassandra, Lindy Booth, had little to do as this episode was really all about Ezekiel.

Standout Moment:

“Some master thief.”

Honorable Mention:

Jone shooting Stone in the leg and “magically” healing him with the health pack.

It could be argued that relying so heavily on a plot device already used, in at  least one film, points could, and should be taken off for lack of originality. That said, the premise worked brilliantly and was great fun to watch. It also endeared Ezekiel Jones to all and went to explain much about both his, and Christian Kane’s character.

The Librarians airs Sundays on TNT and is great family fun. This episode could just be the best episode ever since the series’ inception but the show’s makers could best themselves. Tune in and treat yourself.

 

 

The Librarians: And the Infernal Contract (Review)

The Librarians: And the Infernal Contract focusses on Colonel Baird (Rebecca Romijn) and features John de Lancie (best known for his recurring role as the omnipotent Q in Star Trek) and as a variation on his career defining character, instead of portraying an all powerful being, he, in essence, the devil.

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The Librarians: And the Infernal Contract focusses on Colonel Baird (Rebecca Romijn) and features John de Lancie (best known for his recurring role as the omnipotent Q in Star Trek)  and as a variation on his career defining character, instead of portraying an all powerful being, he, in essence, the devil.  The urge to “be cute” with the show’s theme, “The Devil is in the Deal” may be the best one, as Baird not only comes to the rescue, but learns her true purpose as  “guardian” of the librarians.

The episode begins with a young lady running from some unseen menace. She ends up in a hotel room where a burning hole appears in the ceiling to suck the women up and out of her sanctuary.  Colonel Baird is in the town, visiting an old colleague and friend, and the librarians show up after being directed to the place by the library’s clippings.

Before John de Lancie shows up, each of the librarians have a chance to do a few comic turns.  Lindy Booth does a Charlotte La Bouff impression (from Disney’s The Princess and the Frog 2009) when she squeakily refers to John Larroquette’s caretaker as “Big Daddy,” and Christian Kane does an English accent.

Comic turns aside the plot can be seen as variation on The Devil and Daniel Webster or even Faust.  Nods to classic tales of “soul selling” and deals with the devil aside, Romijn’s character explains to her friend, former Captain Denning (Michael Trucco), that “magic is real” and that the librarians are there to control it.

A small town politician, Jefferson Keating (Matt Nolan) is running against Denning for mayor, and he has signed a contract with “Mr. Sesselman” who has set up contracts with the politician’s family for decades.  Each Keating signatory has been successful at the price of a major catastrophe in the town.

The librarians learn of Sesselman and go to  retrieve the contract and save the town from the latest disaster which will affect the burg’s citizens.

This week’s episode was one that defined the characters of both Eve Baird and Ezekiel Jones.  It is pointed out by Jake Stone (Kane) that Jones is turning into a good guy versus the thief he was before.  Jenkins points out that Baird is not there to save the librarians’ lives but their souls. It is also pointed out, somewhat fittingly by Ezekiel, that “The colonel sees the good in everyone.”

It is always a treat to see award winning actor John de Lancie on any program. The performer has been on several different versions of the Star Trek verse and, on an interesting note, another Star Trek alumnus Jonathan Frakes (Commander William T. Riker on Star Trek: The Next Generation where de Lancie played Q eight times through the series’ seven seasons) directs this particular episode.

Before the end credits roll, Baird saves, Jake, Cassandra and Ezekiel as well as her old friend Sam.  Jenkins turns out to be far from just an eccentric caretaker and more of a formidable foe, for Sesselman, at least on a temporary basis, although it is Eve that defeats the “devil.”

The Librarians continues to be a show that specializes in family fun and entertainment that does not rely upon gore or gratuitous violence to make a show that is a must see for a Sunday evening on TNT.  This episode left the running storyline of Prospero and Moriarty, as well as Carson Flynn (Noah Wyle) out of the proceedings.

Rather interestingly, Jenkins reveals that Eve is there not to protect the librarians from dying, but she is, instead, there to keep them from falling for the temptation of the facility itself and the magic it contains. He tells Baird that Flynn’s predecessor did not die, he was lost to the library’s magic.

Tune in on Sunday for G rated entertainment on TNT and enjoy the magic of the show and its cast.

 

 

The Librarians: Episode 203 – The Family Stone (Review)

Jeff Fahey as Issac Stone in The Librarians

Episode 203 of The Librarians, titled What Lies Beneath the Stones,  is all about the “family Stone,” with Jake learning that the truth really does set you free, it also traps an ancient shape shifter.  Christian Kane owns this episode as the Oklahoma genius who has to uncover the lies “beneath the Stones.” Jeff Fahey guest stars as the Stone patriarch who Jake has hidden the truth from for years and who has lied to his son in return.

Stone, the elder, owns a drilling business and his latest project uncovers a tunnel in the ground, which at first look, appears to be a Choctaw burial chamber.  As the local tribe protest the invasion of their heritage, a released shapeshifter begins creating havoc around the drilling site.

Back at the Library, which does seem to be borrowing just a bit from the Warehouse 13 playbook, (as in something mysterious has rearranged the library and some parts are missing) two members of the team are busy. Jenkins (John Larroquette) is struggling to put everything back in its place and Colonel Baird (Rebecca Romijn) opts to help him rather than assist the three new librarians in their first “voluntary” team effort in Season two.

This episode manages to run a parallel storyline, or at the very least a two-tiered theme. Truth is important, whether dealing with a released “Hoklonote” or dealing with one’s family, as in Jake’s father or with one’s close colleagues, another sort of family.  As the released shapeshifter increases the chaos factor at the Oklahoma site,  it is not only Stone who must tell the truth, but Ezekiel (John Harlan Kim) and Cassandra (Lindy Booth) must also bare their souls. 

The team work out what the “cause and effect” solution must be in order to trap the creature and to get things back to normal. In the process, much is learned about the team. Rather oddly, it  is revealed that Cillian (Booth) has a multitude of lies, or at least “untruths” that she uses to  keep the trap open till Jake can bring the Hoklonote back.

Just as strange, and funny, is the revelation that the more “criminally minded” Jones, only really has one “lie” to hide.

Stand out moments:

Jake stripping all the lies away and removing all artifice in front of his father Issac (Jeff Fahey). The elder Stone pauses and then tells his son that he loves hims and gives him a hug. Jake, returns the hug and then tells his “dad” that his real father would never say or do that. Stone then pulls the shapeshifter into the tunnel entrance in a free fall to the bottom. 

Cassandra Cillian keeping the trap open with a long list of truths, one of which (that is never finished) sounds very disturbing, her joyous revelation starts with “And then the light went out of his eyes…” There is obviously a deepness to the tumor ridden genius as yet untapped by the writers. 

Ezekiel’s description of films as books  that are easier to read and have better pictures along with his insistence that the entire Oklahoma problem was caused by poltergeist.

Jakes assertion that a “truth” has emotional weight.

Eve Baird was trapped in the library through out the episode and this left the new replacements for Noah Wyle’s Flynn Carson up to their own devices and allowed the actors to show what splendid chemistry they have together.

What Lies Beneath the Stones, gave viewers a quick reminder of what each of the newbies had in terms of backstory. Cillian’s tumor, Jones’ thieving past, even if it was for  the Queen, and Jake’s issues with identity, confidence and blaming his father for having to lie.

Peripherally it allows Jenkins to have a little backstory, the old photo of Jenkins with a bloody nose and a most unhappy look on his face showed that the old dog had not always been in the library.

It was nice to see Jeff Fahey could take time from his  busy schedule this year to appear on the show. The actor is a regular on From Dusk to Dawn the series (Uncle Eddie) and the miniseries Texas Rising as Thomas Rusk, not to mention his short appearance in Falling Skies (another TNT series) this year as well.  The New York born actor has specialized in playing country characters, like his role as the cook in Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror, and manages to effortlessly portray characters from Texas and Oklahoma.

The Librarians episode finish has Jake Stone putting his real name on a paper he is writing.  Whatever lies that were beneath the “Stones” have been laid to rest, at least from Jake’s end.  This series airs Sundays on TNT and is good family entertainment. Not a lot of gore or gratuitous bad language grace the set pieces of this show. Tune in and invite grandma and the kids.

The Librarians: And the Drowned Book – (Review) [Update]

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[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 KaneJohn 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.