Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Librarians - 1.01-1.02 - Roundtable Review

Welcome to our first review of the new show, The Librarians. Unlike most traditional reviews, we are going to do this as a roundtable so many people can share their opinions. If you would like to participate in the articles, please let us know in the comments below. Since it is a roundtable, reviewers may vary each week. Today's panel includes Winston M, Gavin Hetherington, Robert Fruin, Justyna K, and Dahne. Thanks for joining us and don't forget to share your opinions in the comments below. We'd love to hear what you thought.

Did you watch The Librarian movies?

Gavin - Nope
Justyna - Yes, years ago
Robert / Winston - Yes
Dahne - Yes but like Justyna it was years ago. I meant to do a rewatch but time slipped away from me.

If no, what made you interested in watching the TV show? If yes, what did you expect from the show and did it live up to those expectations?

Gavin - Rebecca Romijn mainly. I adore her. I loved her from the X-Men films, Ugly Betty and my beloved Eastwick so when I heard she was in a new show for TNT, I had to give it a try. Also, the concept was quite different and it seemed like it would be a very fun show to watch as I love quite high concept fantasy shows. The plot just sounded awesome and I knew I had to give it a try.

Justyna - I have to admit it's been quite a long time since I've seen the movies but the things I remember about them the most are Flynn Carsen's charming and likeable character, and interesting, entertaining, magical story which I'm happy to say is also working great on the show.

Robert - When I first heard about the films being made into a series, I wasn't sure if it could work, but after seeing the episodes I definitely think it was the right call. It was as if I was watching another The Librarians film only with a few new faces. I think the show exceeded my expectations for it. I wasn't expecting it to be so similar to the films, but it was. The show provided everything I loved about the films, from the cheesy dialogue to the hunting of artifacts.

Winston - I actually expected less Noah Wyle (Flynn) than we got. So I was really thrilled he was a main part of the two hours! Though I kept waiting to see how he would be written out to work around his availability. Overall, I was expecting the show to maintain the Indiana Jones-lite type feel, which it did.

Dahne - I was expecting it to be campy but fun in a Warehouse 13 sort of way and that's exactly what it felt like. It fills that void in my TV life. It actually exceeded my expectations in the amount of action it had.

Who was your favorite new character and why?

Gavin - Eve Baird - She's just badass and is so witty and can really deliver a fight scene. I really enjoyed watching her and I'm glad she's basically the main character we first got introduced to and followed to the Library. She also defended Cassandra at the end as she could see she is a good person so she's a great judge of character.

Justyna - I think mine's a popular choice, as it's Christian Kane's Jacob Stone. I really missed the actor (and Leverage!) and he was one of the reasons why I wanted to watch the show in the first place. Jacob is already quite a perfect combination of brains and brawn. I like that; it makes him a unique and fun character. Also worth to say, I was nicely surprised by Rebecca Romijn's Eve Baird. Didn't expect to like her as much as I did. That's a really good first impression!

Robert - This is an easy choice for me, Jacob Stone. I think on a show like The Librarians you need somebody to add a touch of comedy to it. On Warehouse 13 you had Pete, and on this you have Jacob. He is a strong character who can fight, with a strong personality. He for me was the easiest to like and connect with.

Winston - Jenkins! (John Larroquette) I just loved him, and his reaction to having people in the Annex. He is sure to deliver some great one-liners in the future.

Dahne - This was the biggest surprise of all to me. I was certain Jacob Stone would be my favorite because one of the reasons I was so looking forward to this show was the return of Christian Kane to my TV screen. Eliot from Leverage is one of my all-time favorite characters. While I did like Jacob, it was Eve Baird that stole the show for me. We need more kick butt women on TV and she fulfills that job nicely. Still I think in the end, it might be Jenkins who makes The Librarians for me because he has the best snark.

The TV show changes the original mythology of the movies, including that there is now more than 1 librarian. Do you think they were good changes? Why or why not?

Justyna - I like the idea. Poor Flynn doesn't seem so alone in his fight anymore. Plus, I'm all for team dynamics and interactions. The change has great potential and I can't wait to see how it's gonna work out!

Robert - As much as I liked having just 1 librarian, I think the changes were needed. I think with Flynn being the sole librarian he had to carry the films, as the supporting cast were really easy to forget about. With there now being 4 librarians we will get a lot more dialogue than we did in the films, and more interactions between different characters which should make each different quest more enjoyable to see as they won't be focused on one person.

Winston - I do think they were good changes. I believe that at the time there wasn't an end in sight just yet for Falling Skies, and that people have been clamoring for more of the Librarian since his last outing. I think this (having L.I.T's) is a brilliant way to keep the series alive, but also fresh. You give us some old, but create some new. Also, I feel when dealing with magic, anything is fair game when it comes to establishing/reestablishing mythology.

Dahne - I am usually a huge stickler for canon, but it has been a long time since I've seen the movies, so I am a bit fuzzy on what the canon actually is. That has worked really well for me here. You could not realistically have a solo hero going on adventures these days so adding a team makes a lot of sense. After all if you can have more than one vampire slayer in Buffy, having LiTs here is not a big stretch. Plus it enriches the story tenfold. I think it was a good move.

In the opening, Cassandra betrays the library. Do you think they were wise to keep her? Will it cause problems between the other characters?

Gavin - It was a nice little twist but I think everybody knew she was just doing what she thought was right by bringing magic back to the world and she was lied to. I mean, who wouldn't want a world full of magic? I mean yeah, they said that without control then there'd be wars and bloodbaths and such, but it would be so cool at the same time. I can see where she was coming from and I don't think it will cause any additional problems later in the show but when Eve had to defend her at the end, maybe the others will need more convincing.

Justyna - Hmm... Now, that's something that certainly requires more time and thought. I do believe that Cassandra deserves a second chance but it's gonna take a while before the team will be able to really trust her. On the plus side, I think I'm going to enjoy her scenes with Flynn. I feel like there is potential for a lovely, family-like connection there. Though that might be true for the entire team (well, except for Eve, her relationship with Flynn is certainly a different kind).

Robert - I do think they were wise to keep her. Her gift will come in handy especially now that they don't have Flynn. He was the brains of the group for the first two episodes, but now he is gone so she will take the lead with puzzle solving, and any translating that will need doing. You do need someone who has the brains, and she fits the bill (Not saying the other three are idiots). I don't think what she did will be an issue, I think they will all just forget about it, and focus on obtaining more artifacts. It may be an issue that is raised, but I just can't see them spending a lot of time focusing on it.

Winston - I think that it was wise to keep her because she redeemed herself. She was selfish, but she acted selfless when she saved Flynn, so for now I think she can be trusted. I do feel it will make it hard for the others to trust her though. She is responsible for the Library being gone and Excalibur's magic being released into the world. I do feel they can forgive her, but forgetting something like that so soon is not an easy task, especially as you are about to head into life or death situations with someone. I think it should make for interesting character conflict if it should cause problems.

Dahne - I think the Cassandra storyline was the weakest part of the episode. While it is likely that they will gloss over her betrayal, they should not. She is responsible for the library being whisked away and there needs to be consequences for that. None of them should trust her at this point and she's going to have to prove that she is really part of the team over and over again. If she weren't one of only two females, I would have rather they come up with a different plan for her. Since she is, I'm glad that she has the chance to be redeemed.

What was the best thing about the opening 2 episodes?

Gavin - The show dived straight into the action and I did love the opening with Eve chasing down the 2 bad guys and the bomb and Flynn coming into it and helping her. It was a very fast opening that thrust us into this world in this TV show. It set it up fantastically, I thought. My favourite parts of the episode were the acknowledgments to folklore and mystical artifacts such as Excalibur and Dracula and little subtle things like that. I love mythology and I can see it playing a big role in this show. I also loved some of the comments the characters would make that they couldn't believe what was happening, like how they had just robbed the Tower of London and then they had to break into Buckingham Palace. The first 2 episodes balanced humour very well with the action.

Justyna - Best thing? Hard to name one. I did love the team working together, with everyone bringing something different to the table. And Flynn's such a great character, I wish we could get more of him! Also, I really enjoy the magical aspect of the story as well.

Robert - There were many great moments, but the scenes that really stood out were the introductions of each individual character. I really liked how you got to see the new recruits in action straight away, seeing what their "gift" was. I thought it was a good way to introduce them all, instead of meeting them as a group, we could get to know a little about each one of them. Definitely something other shows should try doing when presenting us the characters for the first time.

Winston - The humor. To me, it kept its campy feel and wit that made it enjoyable. With so many of the shows I watch having such a heavy tone, I liked the way this one portrayed itself.

Dahne - The best thing for me was the overabundance of action. We went from action scene to action scene with nary a breath. Given the utter lack of action in most shows, it was a great change. The ninja bar fight was a whole lot of fun. Even the opening was that sweet spot of action and snark together.

What is one thing that didn't work or that you would change?

Gavin - Some parts were a little silly but I can't really think of anything that didn't really work.

Justyna - Well, I wouldn't start with the King Arthur's legend. And I loved that flying sword, so I'm not happy about Excalibur being gone. Though that might be just my personal love-hate connection with this particular story (side note: never getting over it, Merlin!). Nothing else comes to mind at this point. Well, just more Flynn, please. And hopefully they won't have to search for The Library for too long.

Robert - There isn't anything that comes to mind straight away, I suppose they could make the fight scenes a bit more believable. Some of the fight sequences were very poor. They just seemed really silly, and fake.

Winston - The kiss at the end between Eve (Rebecca Romijn) and Flynn just fell flat for me. I didn't see the Chemistry between the two of them. Which could be because I didn't care much for the Eve character to me. She had her moments so maybe she'll grow on me, but I hope that kiss doesn't progress much.

Dahne - Surprisingly Flynn was one of the weakest links for me although you have to love his ability to make a blow torch out of lunchmeat. I am glad they had a plausible reason for him to be absent and they don't have to search to rescue him like most shows do to explain a missing character. It is also a pet peeve of mine when it is really easy to find the super secret hidden treasure so the fact that if they had randomly patted down the stones they would have had the same result in finding the crown did bug me.

Would you recommend this show? Why or why not?

Gavin - I would recommend this show. It's so fun yet I can tell there's so much potential here for the future of the show to really deliver and up its game. So many endless possibilities that I really can't predict where the show will end up so that's a very good thing when getting into a show that you can't foresee what's going to happen next. I need something a bit lighter to help with the frustrations I feel with The Walking Dead and such. I already think it's a great little show that's going to grow.

Justyna - Yes, definitely. It already seems like a show with a lot of adventures, magic, action and heart. Exactly a kind of thing I'd love to watch when I'm back home from work. I can't wait to find out more about the characters and see how they're going to handle this new life.

Robert - I definitely would recommend this show. It ticks all the right boxes. It was action packed, the dialogue was fun, the cast have a strong bond, and great chemistry. The show is very enjoyable, something you can enjoy watching without having to worry about the storyline so much. It is just a fun show, that you don't need to take too serious.

Winston - I would for sure recommend it, because it's just fun. If you're looking for something light, that you can watch and find equal parts action and laughs I think this fits the bill. I know I've set it for a series record, a high honor in my house.

Dahne - I would recommend it to anyone who loved Warehouse 13. It has the same campy feel and I think if you approach this show knowing that it is going to go way over the top every time, it is a blast of a ride. This isn't a show that you have to think too hard in and that's always a refreshing change. As long as the action and humor and fun history tidbits keep coming, I am definitely in.

Any final thoughts?

Winston - I really enjoyed how great of a continuation to the series this was. Sometimes trying to continue a movie series can be tricky, but it seems that everyone involved found the right balance of things to set up a good premise and a balanced tone. I definitely hope that most fans were satisfied because I surely was.

Dahne - This was the most fun I had watching a TV show in a while. It's pure camp. I do hope that they follow a Warehouse 13 format though and split up the teams often. It might get to be too much if they are all involved in all the capers.

Thanks so much for reading our first roundtable review of The Librarians. Again, if you would like to be part of the article, either leave a comment below or contact me on Twitter @dahne1. So what did you think of the episodes?

Screencaps by TV Line, HNGN, and

About the Author - Dahne
One part teacher librarian - one part avid TV fan, Dahne is a contributing writer for SpoilerTV, where she recaps, reviews, and creates polls for Sleepy Hollow, White Collar, Grimm, Teen Wolf, and others. She's addicted to Twitter, live tweets a multitude of shows each week, and co-hosts the Sleepy Hollow "Headless" and Teen Wolf "Welcome to Beacon Hills" podcasts for Southgate Media Group. Currently she writes a Last Week in TV column for her blog and SpoilerTV. ~ "I speak TV."
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