Tag Archives: Christian Kane

The Librarians, a TV Series

Cover art

The Librarians, produced by the same crew who gave us Leverage, came out about two years ago. The news of this series’ emergence on the airwaves first reached this writer through borg.com, readers.

I was unimpressed by the advertisements for the show. This just proved how lacking in imagination Hollywood had become. They were making The Librarian films into a TV series now? Could they not come up with anything better?

Well, as you may have guessed, I jumped the gun again with this derogatory assumption. A friend of mine happened to turn the show on one night, and I got sucked into the series after two or three episodes. Before I get to The Librarians proper, however, here is a little bit of background on the origin for the TV show:

The Librarian film saga follows Noah Wyle’s character, Flynn Carson, as he is chosen to be the new Librarian. From there, he goes on various expeditions. The Library is like a living version of the warehouse where the government keeps all of the mysterious artifacts which Indiana Jones has recovered. The Library houses Excalibur, the Ark of the Covenant, the Spear that pierced Christ’s side at the Crucifixion…. You get the general idea. Anything historical and vaguely dangerous/powerful is tracked down by the Librarian of the time and filed safely away in the Library itself.

Every Librarian, however, has to have a Guardian. The Guardian is supposed to protect the Librarian from secret societies bent on world domination, or time traveling ninjas on motorcycles, or other such ludicrous, wicked organizations. Whenever a Librarian or a Guardian dies, the Library selects a new one to take his or her place. For some odd reason, Flynn’s Guardians have all been women.

Flynn was the man chosen to be the Librarian after the guy who previously held the post turned traitor and was killed. I do not know what happened to Flynn’s original Guardian, but as of The Librarians TV series, he has a new one.

Flynn’s “new” Guardian is Colonel Eve Baird, played by Rebecca Romjin, the actress who portrayed Mystique in the X-Men movies prior to Jennifer Lawrence taking the role. A woman who has seen battle up close and personal, Baird is rather trigger-happy at the start of the series. Her modus operandi at the beginning is to protect the Librarian and kill whoever tries to harm them. Only later does she learn that the Library selected her for more than her prowess at killing. And, intriguingly, a Guardian’s main mission is to safeguard the souls of the Librarians; the safety of their bodies is of secondary concern.

Throughout the Librarian movies, there was only one Librarian: Flynn. Now, you will notice that I referred to them when I said Baird was originally a little trigger-happy when the TV series started. That is because there is no longer just one Librarian; there are now four. Flynn is still the main Librarian. He was the one who answered the summons when his predecessor turned evil. Three others were sent for as well, but refused the job offer without knowing what they were actually being called on to do. (The Library is the best kept secret on the planet, naturally.)

At the start of television series, however, Flynn is in serious trouble. He appears to be dying. So the three candidates are invited to the Library again, and this time, they all answer. These Librarian candidates are: Ezekiel Jones, a master thief from Australia; Cassandra Cillian, a genius mathematician with a deadly brain tumor the guys refer to as a “brain grape” for its size; and Jacob Stone (played by Christian Kane, the actor who portrayed Elliot Spencer in Leverage).

Jake is the most “Librarian”-esque of the three. With a 190 point IQ, the ability to speak several dozen different languages (even dead languages), and more degrees than you can shake a stick at, he seems the most natural choice for Flynn’s replacement.

Except that Cassandra saves Flynn’s life after he names her the new Librarian, allowing him to remain the Librarian. So now, instead of guarding one Librarian, Baird has to babysit Jones, Cassandra, and Stone while maintaining her relationship with Flynn. (Yeah, they are boyfriend/girlfriend.)

At the start of the series, magic reenters the world, thanks to the plot of a secret society run by a mysterious man named Dulaque. At the same time, the main Library vanishes into another dimension. Flynn goes to find the Library and bring it back. Meanwhile, the three “sub-Librarians” and Baird hunt down magical items that the Library somehow lost when it was uprooted and yanked to another dimension, or items outside the Library which were reinvigorated with power by the return of magic to the world.

To protect these retrieved artifacts, the team has to keep them in an Annex of the Library. This Annex is under the care of an immortal who goes by the name Jenkins (John Larroquette). His real identity is Galahad, and even now that we know this, we know there is still more to him than meets the eye. Jenkins acts as Baird’s second in babysitting the three “sub-Librarians.” Typically, he stays at the Annex or the Library and does research to help the team figure out what they are up against in a given episode. He rarely enters the field – but when he does, he can pack a punch!

Jenkins and Dulaque – Lancelot du Lac – really do not like each other. The first season ends with the two facing off in a swordfight, which Galahad wins. (He was a better swordsman than his father in the original stories, too.)

On the whole, The Librarians is a far superior series than I initially gave it credit for. In a time when new TV shows are expected to be “edgy,” dark, dreary, and full of pain and dread, this series takes a far different approach.

It firmly places its tongue in cheek and swaggers through its seasons. It laughs in the face of darkness, sneers at pain and dread, and capers madly before the thought of maintaining a bleak outlook on its stories. Whether the Librarians are rescuing Santa Clause, defying Fate, fighting Minotaurs, dealing with the Devil, or are caught in a living video game, the danger is always well balanced by genuine humor and a light touch. Not an episode goes by where I am not laughing at something!

A good part of the reason I am fed up with the noir films and TV shows so in vogue these days is because they take themselves far too seriously. It is gratifying to watch The Librarians nod and wink at the audience. Dean Devlin and his crew have done it again, and I give them full marks for a great series. I cannot wait to see the next season of The Librarians when it comes back this fall!

Until next time, readers!

The Mithril Guardian

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Leverage, TV Series

Leverage is a TV series that came out in 2009. It ran for five years before it was canceled in 2012… But I began following it when it was being rerun. 🙂

Leverage is an amazingly funny show about former insurance investigator Nate Ford (played by Timothy Hutton), who is down in his cups after the death of his young son. He and his wife have split up, and Nate is not doing so well. When he is not working (and he has not been for some time), he is drinking his sorrows away.

Then a friend hires him to steal “intellectual property” another company stole from him. The man also hires a team for him. This team consists of “retrieval specialist” Elliot Spencer, a former U.S. black ops agent who “retrieves” items from other people – usually by beating them up to get to the merchandise. Elliot prefers to use his hands or nearby objects in combat instead of guns, though this preference is never explained. And he rarely deals with his opponents in an – ah – lethal manner.

The other member of the team is Alec Hardison, a hacker able to get in and out of complex computer systems in minutes. A con man, Hardison is clever but tends to overcomplicate his plans. Intellectual and a “geek of the first order,” Hardison at first has no respect for Elliot, whose style of business revolves around beating people up. That is hardly a smart thing to do!

The final member of the team is Parker. A “master” thief who was raised in abusive foster homes, she has a hard time understanding emotions and how to express them properly. Also, she is completely unselfconscious. She has a love of stealing that goes way beyond that of the clinical kleptomaniac, though her only apparent reason for thieving is to get quick cash!

Nate agrees to lead the op and the team walks away with the merchandise, handing it over to their employer. But the next day, they are not paid as agreed. Things get even worse when the four are almost killed by a bomb rigged to get rid of them. Turns out they were not retrieving stolen merchandise, but tech specs that belonged to the other company, which is a rival for the one Nate’s “friend” owns.

Nate talks the three into helping him right the wrong, gaining a fourth member for their team in Sophie Devereaux. Sophie is a “grifter” who cons wealthy people out of whatever she wants. Sophie and Nate have a bit of chemistry and have met before. Though Nate – in his previous work as an insurance investigator – has bagged all of the members of his team when they were working solo, Sophie and he never quite “got over” each other.

The first episode sees the team return the stolen tech and sink Nate’s former friend and his company. Hardison plays with and tweaks the stock market so that they all make an insane amount of money off of the company’s downfall, and the team parts ways, seemingly set for life.

Except that Elliot, Hardison, and Parker have all had a taste of being Robin Hood. And they like it. They fall in behind Nate, who does not seem to have any interest whatsoever in being their “Black King,” since he used to be the “White Knight” who would take them and their “kind” in to face the consequences of their illegal activities. Sophie – who has also been bitten by the Robin Hood bug – talks him into it, telling him they will follow the “Black King/White Knight” wherever he leads.

Thus begins the saga of Leverage. Hardison sets up a legitimate company front for the crew, using Nate’s funds (with his permission), and the five begin working. Nate selects their “clients” – those who have been wronged by the rich and powerful and have no way to get justice, either for lack of money or proof. The team then cons the scammers, thieves, et al who are rich, powerful and famous, and either regains the stolen loot or gets justice for the crime. Meanwhile, they make sure their “clients” get a little something extra from their heists: usually extra money or a “bonus” piece of justice. Often, it is a satisfying combination of the two!

Robin Hood meets the A-Team in Leverage, and it is quite a mixture of the good, old-fashioned tale of “rob from the rich, give to the poor” for the modern TV viewer. The series is fun not only for the characters and stories, but for the glimpse of how easy it is for real-life criminals and others to use sleight-of-hand tricks to fool the unobservant. Most of the cons work simply because the Leverage crew knows how to behave as though they really are who and what they claim to be.

Sophie and Nate have no trouble passing themselves off as millionaires, lawyers, campaign financiers, or anything else. Hardison and Elliot do not lack such chameleon skills and neither does Parker. They all slip in and out of regular everyday roles as easily as honest people change clothes, and then disappear as though they never existed. Which, in a way, is true: if they want to stay free, they cannot exist – at least, not in a normal way.

This is one reason I enjoy the Leverage series. I also believe it might not be bad to view the show with an eye to looking out for such scams in one’s own life! Though we cannot always stand up to hackers or “retrieval specialists” in a toe-to-toe situation, as long as we stay aware, we can make their job harder. For real-life us, that is a good thing; for real-life crooks, that might make them consider a career change to something more honest. You never know!

And, on some level, I admit that I wish there really was a Leverage-like crew out there. It would be nice to have some real-life Robin Hoods or A-Team types righting the wrongs that happen far too frequently these days. At least, I think it would be nice! Maybe I am wrong.

Later,

The Mithril Guardian