RogerBW's Blog

The Librarians, season 3 21 September 2017

2016-2017 modern fantasy, 10 episodes; the Librarians, who hunt down magical artefacts, take on a god and a government agency.

John Rogers, the series's creator, didn't get script credit on any episodes this time round, though several of the other regular writers returned. Although, as before, there's a Big Bad for the season – two of them, in fact – there's rarely any sense of a looming presence; after the first couple of episodes the god is barely mentioned, and the agency is mostly used for comic relief, until it's time for the climactic final episode.

That's not in itself a terrible thing, but most of the episodes feel as though they're marking time; there's never any particular sense of peril or that things could end badly. Well, sure, we can be reasonably confident that the core team's inviolate; this isn't a Joss Whedon show. But when a show with inviolate protagonists generates tension, it's not about whether the heroes will survive and win but about how they will win, and at what cost; and I'm never convinced that their moral integrity, or even the innocent bystanders of the week, are in danger either.

Similarly, there aren't any episodes that really focus on developing particular characters the way there were in previous seasons. The closest is "and the Trial of the Triangle", written by Noah Wyle for himself as Flynn; but while the theme is meant to be about his recognition of how he's acted high-handedly and treated his team as appendages of himself rather than colleagues, somehow I was not at all convinced that he was going to behave any differently after this easy moral lesson (and indeed he didn't). Wyle still acts as if Flynn's boyish charm will get him through anything, though at least now the show admits, by letting the other characters admit, just how annoying he can be. There's still absolutely no chemistry between Flynn and Eve Baird, though, and one would have hoped the writers would notice and downplay the relationship.

In the finale, one of the regulars is carefully set up to look like a traitor, and another to give up their life for their friends… well, again, we know how that's going to turn out, and one can't help feeling that there might have been less monstrously hazardous ways to achieve the same objective.

I can't see this season dragging anyone into the show. The spark isn't quite there, and neither is the character development; and gimmicks try to replace them both. The cast does a game job, particularly Christian Kane (excellent as always) and Lindy Booth (sometimes struggling with grotty material, like many actors who play smart characters but have to deliver lines written by people who aren't as smart, but solid even so).

Maybe it's just me. Ratings dropped only a little from season two, and the series has been renewed for a ten-episode fourth season.

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