And the Crown of King Arthur
And the Sword in the Stone
And the Horns of a Dilemma
And Santa’s Midnight Run
And the Apple of Discord
And the Fables of Doom
And the Rule of Three
And the Heart of Darkness
And the City of Light
And the Loom of Fate
Full of cheesy dialogue, cheap set design and a fantastical plot line, you’d be forgiven for writing off The Librarians as a cheap fantasy show. Instead, The Librarians embraces its incredulous premise and manages to strike a great balance between its silly and serious elements. The well written group of characters at the heart of the show gel together perfectly and their chemistry, mixed with a sprinkle of comedy and a great soundtrack, make this a surprisingly strong and easy show to watch.
The story begins at breakneck speed with a strange man calling himself The Librarian (Noah Wyle) diffusing a mystical chest to prevent a plague from consuming the planet. Caught in this whirlwind of chaos is Colonel Eve Baird (Rebecca Romijn) who finds herself whisked along for the ride, invited to an illustrious place called The Library that defies the laws of physics. When the library goes missing from reality, it’s up to the central group of characters collectively known as The Librarians to find the library whilst preventing magic from spilling into our world. Each episode of the show sees the group stumble into different supernatural and fantasy plots whilst using their intelligence and wit to solve whatever the issue is that confronts them.
On top of the different plots within the episodes is a loose overarching story revolving around a mysterious group called The Serpent Brotherhood. This threat provides a consistent thread through the entire series and the clever balance between this plot, the different characters and the individual episodes is showcased perfectly and no more so than the finale. It’s here that all the elements of the show come together in satisfying fashion and capture the essence of The Librarians perfectly.
With so many shows embracing a gritty, dark realism of late, The Librarians’ decision to steer away from this with its finely balanced light-hearted approach to the world-ending plots it depicts is a breath of fresh air and some of the reason why the show works as well as it does. The imaginative plots for each episode keep the show feeling fresh and make it genuinely exciting to see where the characters will wind up next. There are echoes of the early series of Buffy, Angel and Stargate at work here and the team bond coupled with solid writing and wicked humour only reinforces this.
It’s hard to fault The Librarians but despite its many charms, this is a show that won’t resonate with everyone. With the dialogue as clichéd and cheesy as it is coupled with the cheap set design dominating vast periods of this show, The Librarians is very much an acquired taste. With other shows boasting larger budgets and more realism in them it would be easy to write off The Librarians as a cheaply made fantasy show. If you can look past these (almost intentional) limitations, there’s a charming show at play here that manages to tap into the late 90s charm of other fantasy series of the time. It’s not perfect by any means. Some of the editing is a little heavy-handed and the CGI is a bit of a mixed bag but strangely, these mis-steps only add to the appeal of the show. On paper, The Librarians shouldn’t be as good as it is but somehow every element of the show works harmoniously together, carving a unique place for itself as one of the best new fantasy shows on TV right now.