In a time where shows like “The Walking Dead,” “The Good Wife” and many more present serious overtures about the human condition are shown on Sunday night, “The Librarians” comes in to just have some plain and simple fun.
TNT’s franchise regarding “The Librarians” stems from a series of TV movies (2004, 2006 and 2008) featuring the adventures of Flynn Carsen (Noah Wyle) as he becomes a Librarian, and must protect magical artifacts from those who would abuse them.
The series starts with Flynn’s role as the Librarian becoming endangered by the Serpent Brotherhood, which seeks to reintroduce magic into human society. This leads to Flynn meeting Eve Baird (Rebecca Romijn), a NATO counter-terrorist officer who has been invited to be Flynn’s Guardian.
Together, they discover that someone has been killing off potential Librarians, who could replace Flynn and the pair set out to find the remaining three: Jake Stone (Christian Kane), an Oklahoman worker with a secret art history degree, Cassandra Cillian (Lindy Booth), a mathematician that has hallucinations that help her analyze events and Ezekiel Jones (John Kim), a tech expert and master thief.
The pilot episode starts off from this premise, and we also meet Jenkins (John Larroquette), the Library’s branch office manager, and the leaders of the Serpent Brotherhood, Dulaque (Matt Frewer) and Lamia (Lesley-Ann Brandt).
The episodic format allows for many different adventures, featuring everything from Excalibur and the Labyrinth to Eris and the Apple of Discord, while the Librarians have to protect these magical relics and prevent the destruction each could cause.
The show’s strongest element is the assortment of characters, from the main cast to a collection of guest stars. Each of the Librarians have their own unique quirks, blending a comedic ensemble that features the escapades of Jake, who frequently talks about art, Cassandra’s endless cheer, Ezekiel’s cynicism and Eve’s seriousness and constant disbelief as she protects the three.
As for Jenkins, he reluctantly finds himself in charge of these inexperienced Librarians. Even the evil Serpent Brotherhood’s leaders, Dulaque and Lamia, are quirky, for their constant state of confusion and rampant idealism. Flynn pops in every once in a while to supervise, while guest stars feature Bruce Campbell as Santa Claus, who refers to himself in the third person, and Tricia Helfer as Karen Willis, a CEO that sacrifices interns to a Minotaur for power.
The show is simply amusing, brandishing tongue-in-cheek humor and asserting the combination of magic and modernity while simultaneously poking fun at fantasy themes.
It also makes many pop culture references and historical allusions, such as the difference between Eastern and Western dragons as similar to that of the 1990s West Coast-East Coast hip hop feud and mentions that the holidays are stressful because Santa’s job is to “reload everyone’s good will”, which typically runs out around this time.
In general, “The Librarians” is a fun, episodic adventure filled with funny characters and hilarious fantasy topics, never taking itself too seriously and retaining its charm through wit and comedy, serving as a nice retreat from the bleak and dreary Sunday TV.
RECOMMENDED: If you’re a fan of the original films or you want something light, “The Librarians” is for you.