The Librarians Season 2 Premiere Review: There's No I in Team

The Librarians S02E01 / S02E02: "And the Drowned Book" / "And the Broken Staff"

TNT's goofy little magic show is back, providing Noah Wyle with a paycheck now that Falling Skies is no more, and reminding me why Carter was always my favorite on ER. Tom Mason was an irritating, self-righteous special snowflake sort of hero who inexplicably won time and time again because, well, the writers wanted him to. Flynn Carsen shares some of Tom's less tolerable tendencies, but on The Librarians, he has a whole team of misfits and a hot girlfriend who can kill you in like, 80 different ways, to call him out on his BS or, at the very least, mock the shit out of him. 

The Librarians is just so fun. It's a weird little show that takes the Warehouse 13 concept and does it better (probably because it came first) with tighter writing, excellent casting, and a broader sense of adventure. In the show's Season 2 opener, we learned that fictional characters can—and often do— come to life and live among us if they are well-written and beloved enough. The circumstances of Prospero and Moriarty's existence could have been hokey and trite, glib justification for snagging two legendary characters from fiction held in far higher regards than a fantasy cable series. 

Instead, the introduction of the Fictionals broadened the magical world of The Librarians and gave us a genuinely fascinating new angle to work from. There is so much more to the world that The Librarians inhabits than mere artifacts. The "stuff" that fills Carsen's marvelous library of wonders is only as important as its role in motivating their keepers. In fact, The Librarians' Season 2 premiere featured an exploitation of the artifact hunt orchestrated by Prospero to unlock his spell book and begin his return to power. 

For Carsen's team—Jacob, Cassandra, and Ezekiel—the hunt was just the thing that forced them together, gave them incredible experiences beyond anything they could have imagined in their old lives, and provided a patchwork family of sorts. Their tenure as Librarians will differ from the solitude that encompassed so much of Flynn Carsen's run and even Flynn was granted some real companionship with Eve at long last. The effects of his solo tenure still resonate in his awkwardness and hesitation to fully embrace having a team of people who care about him flitting around the Library and the world at large. 

From Prospero's drive to rewrite his own story, to the reunion of Cassandra, Jacob and Ezekiel and Jenkin's struggles to understand the restored Library, the Season 2 premiere was all about identity—how we see the world, how the world sees us, and all the chaos and pain that is born in the space between the two. Despite their conflicting personalities, the Librarians are stronger as a team. Despite Carsen's hesitation, he's stronger with a family. Despite her claims to the contrary, Eve is stronger when she is leading her team, protecting them, and filling the role she, and they, have cast her in. 

The introduction of the Fictionals and their strange, lonely lives of both liberation from and hopeless attachment to the stories that created them only reinforces the theme of this coming season. The Librarians' Moriarty is charming and funny and more than likely destined to clash with his boss at some point in the future. Shakespeare's Prospero fancies himself greater than his story, despite Flynn and Jenkins' insistence that a Fictional must adhere to the rules of their fictional homelands. The space between how the world sees Prospero and how Prospero sees himself is vast and ripe, ready to harvest. Are his machinations going to backfire? Probably. Maybe. The Librarians are reunited and loving it this week, but theirs is a team made of deeply disparate personalities and skills. These individuals complement one another, but they also can't help but conflict with each other as well. Their identities are forged in the tradition of the Librarians, but also in their own individual quirks, skills, and desires—and they're just so likeable, goofy, and fun. 

The Librarians is one of those rare series that manages to take adventurous swashbuckling, science geekery, and magical lore and, rather than relying completely on these fantastical traits to keep it's audience in place, instead draws us in with the shiny and then gives us great characters who could have delighted in any story, wizards or no. 

We really like the wizards, though. 



NOTES FROM THE LIBRARY OF WEIRD

– I forgot how adorkable Cassandra is. <3 

– Re: Cassandra and the Milan babe: KISS KISS KISS KISS.

– Flynn and Eve have the best dates. 

– Do you think Moriarty is already plotting his eventual double-cross of Prospero?

– More Ariel, plz. 

– How is this whole bucking-his-story thing going to turn out for ol' Prospie? 

– Jenkins talking to the Library will never get old. 


Comments (57)
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Nov 23, 2015
I love this show, it's so much fun, and has such a light heart.
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Nov 07, 2015
Cassandra and the "Milan babe" were awesome. Probably my favorite scene of the season premiere. What I liked the most was Jake and Ezekiel's reactions.
Ezekiel was somewhere between befudled and put upon since Cassandra managed what he failed to do. And Jake was so proud of her.
While I really like the potential Jake and Cassandra have. I woudl like for her to be a bisexual or pansexual character.
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Nov 03, 2015
I watched all of season 1. I have to say that a part of me enjoys watching this show.....just because of how awful it is. To say the show has "excellent casting" is laughable. I love seeing Eve attempt even the simplest action sequence. A few episodes last season she almost fell over attempting to run. Yes, run,nothing else.This is the person they cast as the hardcore military operative tasked with protection???? Every time I hear that accent come out of Ezekiel's mouth its like nails on a chalk board!!!! I cant stand his stupid facial expressions and how he can barely keep a straight face when lets see, I dont know, someone is telling him they have a brain tumor!!!!
What was once a very cool series of movies, with a great premise, has just been destroyed. The movies, now THAT was excellent casting. Noah Wyle, Bob Newhart, Jane Curtain. Just brilliant. And to think if they ever do another movie,will I be subjected to this new awful cast and canon? Maybe my expectations were too high going in. I think if you removed Ezekiel,and Cassandra,kept Jake and Jenkins you MIGHT have something to work with. As it is now, its just something to watch to see how awful it can actually get, and if it can get worse then that horrible x-mas episode.......well, I guess Il have to just watch and see.
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Nov 03, 2015
Did you see Rebecca in that jumpsuit? too hawt!
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Nov 03, 2015
I can't remember- did Cassandra's brain tumor get healed at the end of last season or not?
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Nov 03, 2015
Nope, only in the alternate timeline, in this one as far as I'm aware she still has it, she used the power of Excaliber to heal Flynn rather than herself.
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Nov 03, 2015
That's what I'd thought, but then they didn't mention it at all and I thought I might have miss-remembered.

Thanks for clearing that up :)
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Nov 03, 2015
This show is great fun show to watch and just have a good time.One thing thoe so at the end did flynn and eve break up or what was up with that, it was weird just wondering didn't get that.
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Nov 03, 2015
I love this goofy show! So I'm glad it's back.
Everyone is quite good in it, imho...but it's great to see Christian Kane in anything.

I've been hoping for years to see Christian Kane and Jensen Ackles in something together, since they are buddies.
Maybe there will be a crossover episode of Supernatural & The Librarians someday...something to do with the Men of Letters?
Ah well, I can dream can't I?
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Nov 03, 2015
I disagree that The Librarians does it better than Warehouse 13, the latter has goals and meets them, shows repercussions to the artifacts, and generally treats its central conceit has important. By comparison, The Librarians basically couldn't care less about either the artifacts or the library, and it's somewhat frustrating, leading to a hollow sense about the show.

As for season 2's premiere, it was pretty much fine, a little shakier than season 1, but overall reached its goal of being a thing. The Fictionals is overly convenient with rules that not only are a bit chintzy, but then actively subverted as well.

As a fan of Sherlock Holmes, I found Moriarty to be written wrong for the classic character, and to be devoid of actual motivation befitting the Professor of Crime; but the character within the show actually was quite entertaining and interesting.

I found Cassandra even more tiring. Last season she had a character arc and some revelations, here she is simple and shallow. Hopefully she'll grow a little, she seemed the least-important this time around.
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Nov 05, 2015
&the; latter has goals and meets them, shows repercussions to the artifacts, and
&generally; treats its central conceit has important.

And that's why it didn't do it as well. :-) We ended up with completely undeveloped characters like Leena and honestly the two lead characters weren't really compelling for me. We also often had goobledygook plots. Let's be honest; no show is going to convince the viewer that dropping a random object into purple goo is important, much less must-see TV. The attraction is the characters, their interactions and the sense of family that develops (something WH13 did very well with Artie and Claudia, for instance). Too much emphasis on the MacGuffin hurts that.

There was an article about the CW and Marc Pedowitz' development of shows there that really touched on this concept:

Genre shows with a serialized element. “That’s what our audience wanted.”
But as fans of those series will attest, the genre element is irrelevant if the characters, their quests and their relationships don’t justify the audience’s investment. Loyal viewers haven’t spent more than 200 hours watching “Supernatural” because they’re curious about various methods of werewolf eradication.
“We always try to find the balance between what’s the big idea, what’s the hook that will get people to show up and watch the show, and what will keep them coming back,” says Gaye Hirsch, senior vice president of scripted development. For the CW, a show’s hook must be welded to emotionally rich relationships and ongoing conflicts that evolve every week.
“It’s not just who is Oliver fighting in Act 5, it’s ‘Why is he fighting that person? What are the emotional stakes?’ ”
The Librarians recognizes that and doesn't weigh the audience down with elaborate mythology and instead devotes that time to character interactions and development, which I believe is in its favor. The true theme of the show isn't the artifacts but the individual character arcs as outlined at the beginning of season 1: a librarian who is being killed by her gift, a librarian who is afraid of his gift, and a librarian who abuses his gift. The true tale is in both how they overcome these situations and how they become a family whose whole is the greater than the sum of their parts.



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Nov 02, 2015
All i'm saying this sort of energy signature is radically non standard. We will well passed anti matter and in some sort of super string resonance signature. If you contain the fusion reaction using the super conducting magnetic coils you'll create dimensional inversion that will alter the local laws of physics....
in unexpected and randomized ways.
Meh.

The effects you describe. I need to say these sound more like eh ... Magic

Yeah

Cassandra is so adorkable indeed. My fav character.
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Nov 03, 2015
Yeah she is adorkable. I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite in this show, because they're all so good.
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Nov 02, 2015
Can we be accurate?

Here's a cut and paste of this article:

"The Librarians is just so fun. It's a weird little show that takes the Warehouse 13 concept and does it better (probably because it came first) with tighter writing, excellent casting, and a broader sense of adventure."

No, Warehouse 13 came second. "The Librarian" movies were there way before and I suspect the concept of The Librarian and artifacts were an inspiration for Warehouse 13.. Don't get me wrong, Warehouse 13 was cool and I miss the show, but it wasn't innovative in this respect. 'The Librarian' was there first.
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Nov 02, 2015
USENET was working on this same concept circa 1990, and Indiana Jones before that.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/8338216/warehouse.pdf
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Nov 02, 2015
That is exactly what she said. The Librarians does it better because it came first.

Yes, we can be accurate.
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Nov 03, 2015
Actually, the writing is poor... its' a weird little show that takes the Warehouse 13 concept and does it better... That sentence implies Warehouse 13 was the inspiration. The writing of this part of the article lends to confusion.
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Nov 02, 2015
We need more fun goofy shows like this. Fast paced, good humor and fun. I love it.
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Nov 02, 2015
During that first season, I hated that it's so corny. I was watching the show thinking it will be this sophisticated thing, but was disappointed to see it was so corny.
But as soon as I realized this, I didn't expect all these sophisticated things anymore and that's when I started enjoying the show.
The time between the 2 seasons helped forget that image I had in my head. So now I'm really enjoying this.
It's a weekly fun hour of corny science ideas and corny solutions.
I also realized that the writers are not failing in the science stuff. They actually want it to be corny.

All this stupidity and clumsiness is what makes this show great.
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Nov 02, 2015
Kinda Doctor Who like, don't you think?
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Nov 03, 2015
I've never watched the new Dr Who
But yeah I've heard it's a bit like a parody of the old one, so you could be right.
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Nov 02, 2015
I have to admit, that's why I didn't like the movies and why I was hesitant about the show. It's the easier to watch the corniness with the group. Not my favorite show but it's watchable entertainment for an hour :)
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Nov 02, 2015
I've never seen the movies.
Corny too?
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Nov 05, 2015
I thought they were pretty darn corny :/ It was really hard to watch, and I am a big Noah Wiles fan too!
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Nov 03, 2015
Not quite as much...but I loved the movies. They each have their own charm.
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Nov 02, 2015
As long as noah wyle is in the show I love it a lot . If not then I just love it.

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Nov 02, 2015
I loved it! Funny and Entertaining, the Librarians are back!

Prospero, Ariel, the Tree of knowledge, Moriarti.. loll.. what a charming mess!!!

"Com'on... hug it out!" LoLL...
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Nov 02, 2015
I loved how Prospero kept slipping into iambic pentameter. Also, I'm betting it's going to be significant to this season's arc how Prospero (and to a lesser extent the Queen of Hearts) doesn't quite match up with his literary depiction. Maybe the Fictionals are the Serpent Brotherhood's "Plan B"?
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Nov 02, 2015
I thought maybe the stories were written one way originally and revised for more mass appeal to the ones we now know, and that difference is what allows them to break free from their stories
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Nov 02, 2015
The way Prospero refers to the ending being "forced on him" suggests maybe Shakespeare realized he'd created a monster and wrote Prospero forsaking his magic while he still had some control over the story.

As for the Queen of Hearts, in retrospect, it was always the King of Hearts who pardoned them, and behind the Queen's back no less.

...I also loved how things worked out with Frankenstein's Monster. XD
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Nov 03, 2015
Frankenstein's monster on Tindr is hilarious.
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Nov 02, 2015
I love show. I have so much fun when I'm watching. Glad it's back!
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Nov 02, 2015
And I love Eve and Flynn as a couple, hope they work out. The show always makes me giggle out loud at least once, so that rates a thumb's up from me.
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Nov 03, 2015
I also loved the little girl at the library putting them all in their place. :)
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Nov 02, 2015
Can't help it: I like this show! It's the right kind of goofy if you want something you don't have to take seriously. Needs a little more Jenkins, though.
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Nov 02, 2015
Everything needs a little more Jenkins.
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Nov 02, 2015
Well, I didn't think the two hour season premiere was very good, but hopefully it will get better now that they've got the set up out of the way.

I like Noah Wyle in most things, but he's kinda terrible in The Librarians. Probably the writing is more to blame than his acting. It's like they want him to be Matt Smith's version of the Doctor or something.
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Nov 02, 2015
The Librarian movies aired way before Matt Smtih was Doctor Who.. So, who knows if Doctor Who from Matt Smith isn't a copy of Noah Wyle's Librarian character...
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Nov 02, 2015
I never saw the movie, did he act so goofy in the movie?
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Nov 02, 2015
There were 3 movies.. there was an evolution of his character which leads to what you see in the show. Basically, his goofiness is tied to his confidence, so he grew as a character in the 3 movies as it leads to the show we've seen for the first 2 seasons.
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Nov 02, 2015
Actually, in the first film he was NOWHERE near as goofy as he is on the TV series.

He was never Indiana Jones, and he was goofy at times in the first film. But he played it a lot more mellow than he does now.

By the third film he was getting a bit goofy... he had a similar meltdown as he did in the TV pilot whilst fighting with Excalibur. But even then, I'd say he played it more serious than the TV series.

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Nov 02, 2015
Yes. Painfully so.
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Nov 02, 2015
I keep waiting for him to put on a bow tie and say, "How ties are cool."
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Nov 02, 2015
That's supposed to be BOW. Lol
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Nov 02, 2015
Enjoyable! It's a light series of nonsense and mayhem, and that's what we got. When Noah/Flynn is in, it sort of grounds the episode, but while he's elsewhere doing his thing, the three/four/five stars are more free to shine. It's just the way the dynamic of The Librarians (plural) was designed. I'm looking forward to the next few episodes.
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Nov 02, 2015
I thought with Falling Skies done, we'd have Noah stick around for longer. Guess not.

But ignoring that, meh. It was alright but nothing super great
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Nov 02, 2015
First hour was much much better than the second, it still remains an uneven but at moments pretty fun show.

Line of the night:
Monologue my scheme? Like some Penny Dreadfull villain? Give me some credit

Moriarty character was/is great, but the main villain Prospero is too generic and boring.

Now that they have so many characters, it seems they suffer from finding the right balance, this would work much better only with the Librarian or as in previous season, only with sidekicks, but I do get why they brought back Noah, he is leagues above them all, his enthusiasm is just the right way to play that role

Not required watching, but good enough for quiet Sunday afternoons
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Nov 02, 2015
HA, I didn't even know it came back today until visiting the site. I will put this show on the back burner for maybe a BINGE WATCH( if the premier is good!) around the holiday break. Now their are just too many BETTER shows to keep up on, and after the final season of Falling Skies, I can go awhile longer w/o seeing Noah's face;-)
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Nov 02, 2015
Waited weeks - Two wasted hours! - Don't know which is worse, acting, writing or production.
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Nov 02, 2015
Here's the deal. Mike's wrong in saying it's "the worst", but by no means is it good. The effects are pretty meh, the story is what you've generally come to expect from episodes of The Librarian, and the actors are really hamming it up. Apparently some people really loved that, and so they'll think the new season is right on the money.

If you're hoping for a sophistication and refinement of the show this isn't it. It's more of the same so far, but it does introduce a new wrinkle that's very on point with having a show called The Librarian. What they'll do with it seems pretty lame in the first episode, but it's kind of early to say it's going to be "the worst".
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Nov 02, 2015
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Nov 02, 2015
Uh oh, I'm getting ready to watch right now...
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Nov 02, 2015
While I've never been all that impressed at the show, it's worth noting that this kind of detail-free "It's Terrible!" comment is invariably the work of a troll. Especially when it comes first.
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Nov 03, 2015
How many details do you want in a comment section of a t.v. website. He isnt writing a review, its just a comment, you like it or you dont. Oh, and if he was "a troll" well you just bought in and did exactly what he wanted by responding...so kudos.
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Nov 04, 2015
nope. I myself answered AustinMak's comment on a commenr, myself. As for trolls they come in many shapes and colors.
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Nov 02, 2015
hear,hear
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