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 Happily Ever After (Review)

Just when it seemed that The Librarians could not get any better, in terms of humor or the occasional lump in the throat factor, “And the Happily Ever After” manages to trump all preceding episodes. Last week when the episode ended, Jenkins had totally forgotten about the new Librarians and this episode continues that theme.

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Just when it seemed that The Librarians could not get any better, in terms of humor or the occasional lump in the throat factor, “And the Happily Ever After” manages to trump all preceding episodes. Last week when that episode ended, Jenkins had totally forgotten about the new Librarians and this episode continues that theme. Flynn, who is being chased through the woods by a legion of ninjas, starts off this week’s tale as the only character who remembers the new Librarians and their Guardian Eve.

The storyline this week has all the new Librarians  in Cicely Washington and living their own “happily ever after” lives. Prospero has rewritten their lives and given them a story which is irresistible to the three Librarians and their Guardian. Moriarty has also been moved to Cicely as something to keep Eve vested in her new tale.

Baird is the city Sheriff, Cassandra has been on the moon and helped on a rescue mission, Jones is a Special Agent for the FBI (a maverick who ruffles feathers but gets results) and Stone is a professor for the town university who teaches 11 different courses. When Flynn arrives, after getting a clipping that tells of Cicely’s missing totem, he attempts to set things right.

While Baird questions Carson, another visitor arrives in town, Ariel (played by Scottish actress Hayley McLaughlin with a splendidly underplayed Irish brogue and an admirable elfin nuance, or two). The fairy  is the only other one who realizes what is going on. Prospero has stepped in and changed everything, including ensnaring Ariel into this new story.

It turns out that the spell is fueled by the new Librarians’, and Eve’s,  secret desires. Ariel (reluctantly) agrees to help and the only way that they can stop the spell is for those affected to reject their own “happily ever after” story.

This episode focuses more on the Baird and Carson dynamic. Rebecca Romijn and Noah Wyle make a great couple with just enough quirky chemistry to make their relationship work brilliantly. It is amusing to see Flynn get bent completely out of shape each time Eve kisses Moriarty (David S. Lee).

The stories created by Prospero (Richard Cox) are all reinforced by talismans worn by each of the affected. Eve’s sheriff’s badge, Jones’ FBI ID, Cillian’s moon crystal and Stone’s bracelet, all must be placed at the foot of the totem and each must then recite their “real” story.

Moriarty is the only one who destroys his talisman away from the totem, but the result is the same, he reverts to his true self an evil doer and a “fictional.”  After the group, sans Moriarty,  leap through a door provided by Jenkins, it is revealed that Flynn has also been given a talisman and he too must relinquish it and tell his true story.

This was a whimsical episode that not only amused, but left a lump in the throat more than a few times.  The ending, of the penultimate episode of season two, speaks of the “end of the world” and it looks as though Prospero may carry over into the new season.

If any complaint could be levied against the network, although TNT are to be congratulated for having the foresight to bring the show back for a third season, it would be that 10 episodes are not enough.

For such a fun show, which can be enjoyed by the entire family, surely more episodes are in order, even an additional three or four would not hurt.  The Librarians airs Sundays on TNT, although the finale is next week, December 27, and this light-hearted, funny and magical show will be missed till it returns next year.

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 Image of Image (Review)

The week’s episode of The Librarians (and the Image of Image) takes place in London, or Portland, Oregon where the series is filmed. The Librarians take on a technologically advanced Dorian Gray, Lindy Booth and Christian Kane show the flair for comedy.

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The week’s episode of The Librarians (and the Image of Image) takes place in London, or Portland, Oregon where the series is filmed. The Librarians take on a technologically advanced Dorian Gray, Lindy Booth and Christian Kane show a flair for comedy. Booth is truly hysterical as a high Cassandra  and Kane, as Jake Stone, takes frustration to new levels  while  Eve Baird makes a reference to Snowpiercer.

Eve: “Ezekiel. Be a comb,”

This is obviously a huge nod to the Tilda Swinton character in the Joon Ho Bong Chris Evans post apocalyptic film Mason, who explains how the train’s hierarchy works:

Mason: “Be a shoe.”

Clever homage moments aside,  this episode did have a few clunkers in it.  (Forgivable for a show that usually gets a lot of things right.)  The “English” or “London” accents were so watered down (except for that waitress)  that they lost any authenticity and some of the dialogue was “off.”

After the woman is “hit” by the car one of the clubbers outside “Club e” say “Call 9-9-9.” In England it would have been “Ring 9-9-9.” Inside the club later, the bouncer states that everyone must relinquish their phones before entering the club proper, in London, he would have referred to the cell phones as “mobiles,” not phones.

*Sidenote:* And speaking of that 9-9-9 incident…While the steering wheel was on the “right side of the car” the car itself was on the wrong side of the road.  Come on chaps…

Okay pointless and picayune moaning finished.  Although not before having a moan about the “waitress” with the dodgy London accent, while not as bad as the illustrious Dick Van Dyke “mockney” in Mary Poppins, it came damn close.  Part of the problem with the actors portraying “Brits”in this episode  was that at least two are from down under, one Kiwi (New Zealander) and one Aussie (Aussie).  At least the dialogue with the one real “Brit” (the bouncer) featured Stone being called Yank, although once more the London was dampened quite a lot…

The plot was great; with the idea that Dorian Gray was real and still alive managing to overcome the destruction of the painting by using the vanity of selfies and the age of narcissism to keep himself forever ageless.   We learn that little bit more about Jenkins and Eve in this episode was well.

The sight of a stoned Cillian doing her math thing in mid air was funny as was her drunken mumblings.  Overt comedic performance times Lindy Booth equals win to the nth degree. This episode allowed the ladies to shine. It was ladies night and Rebecca Romijn also took center stage to prove that she was more than up to the challenge of protecting her charges.

Later Jenkins hints that the Guardian will have a big battle to face later.  Colonel Baird takes a moment to look at some pictures of Carson Flynn (Noah Wyle) whom she still apparently is attracted to.  This may also be a clue that the big battle will include Flynn…

There is a reveal at the end of the show, where Jenkins and Evie are talking about  the library and Dorian Gray and the caretaker reveals that the Librarians themselves have almost figured out why they were chosen. This after Ezekiel gives a little expository rundown about each of the new members.

The Librarians airs Sundays on  TNT and still provides great family entertainment. Even the “sins” committed by Luke Cook as Gray were not too bad, the drug taking hinted at, as was the drinking to excess.  

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.