RogerBW's Blog

The Librarians, season 2 19 May 2016

2015 modern fantasy, 10 episodes; the scrappy team of magic-hunting Librarians fights against a resurrected Prospero who's planning to remake the world.

This is not the place to start: the basics of what's going on are clear enough if you've seen this sort of thing before, but there was a great deal of character development in season one which isn't (and couldn't be) replicated here. Knowing where these people started from is an important part of understanding the significance of where they are now, and where they're going.

There is only really one downside. In my review of season 1, I noted that

Noah Wyle plays [Carson] with a youthful charm that he can't really carry off any more ten years after the TVMs began

and he's still trying it, and this time shows up in more than just the big arc episodes. In a show that's trying to mix comedy with serious character development, he's the guy showing up and doing pratfalls. Supposedly he's paired with Eve (Rebecca Romijn), the team's grounded centre, but there are never any sparks between them; she's much more convincing when fencing/flirting with Moriarty (David S. Lee; yes, that Moriarty) and to be honest I'd be happy with an entire show based on those two. (Thin Man remake, anyone? You know they'll do it eventually.)

But then I'd miss the ever-excellent Christian Kane as Stone, most effectively in And What Lies Beneath the Stone, an episode with a son at outs with his father that has the guts not to end with them reconciling. Conventional drama almost always privileges family unity above everything else, even when it's clearly bent and distorted, and I was extremely glad to see no easy options here.

John Larroquette (Jenkins) has a rougher time of it; his performances have improved and are now masterpieces of subtle characterisation, but he's very much shoved to the background, rarely appearing in location scenes. Lindy Booth carries on much as before, but again doesn't feel as though she has much to do; Cassandra never gets an episode centred on her (And the Cost of Education comes close but for me doesn't quite make it), and neither does Jenkins, though Eve, Flynn, Stone and Ezekiel do. (Yes, John Kim has upped his game too.)

One oddity of episode ordering was the juxtaposition of episode 8 (Ezekiel is the only one who remembers what's going on) with episode 9 (Baird is the only one who remembers what's going on); I haven't seen production codes but I'm surprised two such similar plotlines were pushed against each other. There's also a small town shopping street that seems to be used repeatedly, from the same camera angles, even though it's meant to represent different places.

But these are nitpicks. It's still a solid series, with some of the better writing I'm seeing in modern television and mostly a decent cast.

The series has been renewed for a ten-episode third season.

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