Tag Archives: The Librarians

Storm Hawks, a TV Series

From left to right: Junko, Finn, Radarr, Aerrow, Piper, and Stork.

Storm Hawks was a television show made and produced in Canada. The brainchild of Asaph Fipke, the owner and head honcho of the company called Nerd Corps (which he created), is the producer of this series. Storm Hawks was made for children. The age range was seven on up, from what I recall.

Storm Hawks was to cartoons what The Librarians is to adult TV. It swaggered through each and every episode. Rarely did you see a “serious” show in the Storm Hawks series. Tropes and normal ploys were turned on their heads, while ideas this blogger had long ago thought of were suddenly played out for all to see. It really was a fun series, which unfortunately was killed after two seasons.

Storm Hawks takes place on Atmos, the “world of a thousand mountaintop Terras.” In the story, Terras are high spires of rock with arable land on top. The actual surface of Atmos is covered with magma and inhabited largely by huge Lava Worms. These creatures love magma and will happily take a bite out of whatever flies too close to the surface. This is probably the reason why the people of the Atmos refer to the surface as “The Wastelands.”

Humans inhabit the Atmos alongside several different species. There are the Wallops, Rhinoceroid strongmen (and women); the Merbians, froglike humanoids who are, as a general rule, morose and pessimistic. The Blizzarians are a rabbitlike species who speak with thick Canadian accents. There are also phoenixes, humanoid lizards, and several other species I cannot think of off the top of my head at the moment which also inhabit the Atmos.

One of these races which you do not want to run into is the Raptors. Predators, the Raptors live on Terra Bogaton. Vicious and cruel, most of the Raptors we see have not got enough brains to fill a saltshaker. But the leader of the Raptors and ruler of Terra Bogaton is no ordinary lizard. This leader, Repton, has his stupid moments. But more often than not, he is as dangerous as you could wish.

Now every Terra (except Bogaton and one other place) has a Sky Knight squadron protecting it. Since the surface is so deadly, the peoples of the Atmos cannot travel from Terra to Terra by land. They have to make the trips by air. They do this in ships which are powered by crystals native to the Atmos. Those who own or fly such ships from Terra to Terra are mostly legitimate businessmen. Because the sky is the only way to travel, almost all of the Atmos’ cultures respect/revere the sky.

A Sky Knight, who is usually the designated leader of a squadron, is called by this name because of his mode of transportation. Though each squadron generally has some sort of carrier as a mobile home/forward operating base, those things are a little heavy for dog-fighting. Ship-to-ship battles do abound within the series, but Sky Knights and their squadrons need to be able to get up close and personal with their enemies.

Thus Sky Knights and their teams use sky rides to get around when they have to leave the carrier. Sky rides can be motorcycles, scooters, or even buggies which have an alternate mode that allows them to fly. Motorcycle sky rides typically transform into biplanes, with their pilots sitting astride the motorcycle-type fuselage. Scooters are usually equipped with a helicopter rotor, and so they are known as heli-scooters. The one buggie in the series has a similar set up, but that machine is known as a Stork-mobile.

I will explain that later. I promise.

Anyway the sky rides, like the airships and carriers, are crystal powered. There are different kinds of crystals, and they each produce different effects. Crystals which are not used to power the ships or other technology are embedded in the weapons of the Atmosians. To name a few of these crystals: there are wind stones, which generate high winds; velocity crystals, which make sky rides or other flying vehicles go supersonic; there are slime crystals, which produce slime, and leechers steal power from other crystals, exploding once they have reached their capacity. While anyone can use a weapon powered by a crystal, only a Crystal Mage, someone who has closely studied the properties of the many different crystals on the Atmos, can use the rocks as weapons in themselves.

There is just more one factor to cover before we get to the series’ protagonists, and that is the major antagonists of the show. These are the Cyclonians. A villainous people, the Cyclonians are humans whose Empire is based out of the storm-tossed, dark, barren Terra Cyclonia. Their emblem is a hunched vulture, so you can guess how nice this bunch is. Luckily, most of the Cyclonian “Talons” have less brains – and less courage – than Imperial Stormtroopers. They are usually easy to defeat, and the entertainment value in that trouncing is almost always high!

The original Storm Hawks were a Sky Knight squadron sworn to protect all the free Terras on the Atmos. They had no home Terra, like the Absolute Zeroes (the Blizzarian squadron), or the Red Eagles (guardians of Terra Atmosia), and they were definitely nothing like the Rex Guardians (a stuck-up squadron from Terra Rex).

The previous leader of the old Storm Hawks, Lightning Strike, decided to rid the Atmos of the threat of Terra Cyclonia once and for all. Uniting the kingdoms and their Sky Knight squadrons, he and his Storm Hawks led a huge assault on Cyclonia to free the races of the Atmos at last.

But Lightning Strike was betrayed and presumably killed by his own wingman. This man then destroyed the rest of the squadron and became the Cyclonian Empire’s champion. Henceforward, this traitor was known as the Dark Ace.

The rest of the assault fell apart after the defeat of the Storm Hawks, and all hope was lost… Until the new squadron was formed.

The new Storm Hawks squadron consists of six main characters: Aerrow, Piper, Finn, Junko, Stork, and Radarr. They plan to fulfill the dream of Lightning Strike and his team by defeating the Cyclonian Empire once and for all. There is just one slight snag for most people about this…

Four of the six new Storm Hawks are fourteen year olds!!!

Aerrow, the last descendent (somehow) of Lightning Strike, has become the youngest Sky Knight in history. Aerrow is the leader of his ragtag squadron by mutual consent and the fact that he is their Sky Knight. Aerrow is neither wealthy nor well known, being an orphan since before the series began. So he and his team are using the patched-up, old equipment of the original Storm Hawks. As you may have guessed, this means the team’s tech is almost always on the verge of falling apart. Not an episode goes by where they do not have to repair something as they do battle with the Cyclonians or with their other enemies.

Every Sky Knight has a unique maneuver they can pull off using the crystals in their weapons. During the stress of his first engagement, Aerrow discovers his particular maneuver is the Lightning Claw – an apt trick for the heir to Lightning Strike. Genial and fun-loving, Aerrow is also fierce, brave, and thinks fast on his feet. He does not run from a fight except to save others. He is determined to finish what Lightning Strike started; he wants to take down Terra Cyclonia. An ambitious plan – but that is also in keeping with Aerrow’s daring spirit.

Aerrow’s second-in-command is Piper. The navigator and tactician for the squadron, she is also their Crystal Mage. Self-taught, Piper is a fourteen-year old orphan, just like Aerrow. She is a skilled fighter, and her ability with crystals is only half of what makes her dangerous. Piper thinks on her feet, and when she cannot grab a crystal to dissolve her problems, she will use whatever she can get her hands on. Her one weakness is her resolution to make the “absolutely perfect plan.” This often puts Piper at odds with the next member of the team…

Finn, the Storm Hawks’ sharpshooter, is fourteen years old and an orphan, just like Aerrow and Piper. Finn does not practice hand-to-hand combat as often as Aerrow and Piper do, nor is he as well versed in the lore of the Atmos as they are. While Piper is arguably the member of the team who is an expert on almost everything known about the Atmos, Aerrow is no slouch in the reading department. In contrast, Finn most certainly is, and this is what irritates Piper.

Plus, Finn believes he is a chick magnet and irresistible to the ladies. For the most part, this is his own fantasy; in a few places the girls do just adore him. But the rest of the time, they ignore him. This is another source of Piper’s perpetual exasperation with him.

These character flaws aside, Finn is an excellent shot. He does miss his target from time to time, but for the most part he is a fair sharpshooter. He might be better if he practiced a little more – but that will not be happening any time soon, I think.

Finn’s best friend and the next member of the team is the Wallop Junko. Fourteen years of age, Junko is different from the others in that he does have a family. But they do not see eye-to-eye, in part because Junko is not your typical Wallop. Wallops tend to be something like Klingons: they respect and respond only to displays of strength. Even their women can knock down buildings when they have a mind to do so. They tend to yell a lot and have violent tempers.

Junko is not like that at all. Soft-spoken, able to Zen out, and very friendly, Junko’s behavior usually borders on childish. He also tends to apologize after punching someone. The mechanic and “heavy ballistics” guy on the team, Junko maintains all the sky rides and the Storm Hawks’ carrier. He is not particularly intelligent; a lot of phrases, nuances, and sarcastic comments tend to fly right over his head. A gentle giant, Junko loves his friends to bits and would do anything for them – even the eternally annoying Finn.

Stork is the next member of the team. A froglike Merb, Stork is almost never happy. Eighteen years old, he is already a professional pessimist and doomsayer. To give you an idea of his character, his catchphrase is, “We’re doomed.” Every chance he gets, Stork predicts death, despair, horrors, monsters, plagues, destruction, death – wait, did I say that already? He is obsessively paranoid as well, and quite possibly a hypochondriac in the bargain.

The Condor

Stork pilots the squadron’s carrier, the Condor. Absolutely in love with the vessel, Stork rarely leaves the ship’s bridge. He fusses about the paint getting scratched and, if you value your life, do not ever do serious damage to the Condor. Prone to flight rather than fight, Stork will turn into a raving lunatic and attack anyone who does great harm to “his” precious ship.

His paranoia means that Stork has a number of booby traps set up throughout the Condor, and he is adding to them daily. He also has a large cache of gadgets and gizmos stored away for the inevitable apocalypse, as well as maps of and books about the most dangerous places on the Atmos. Stork’s sky ride, the Stork-mobile, is the one sky ride based on a buggy. It is outfitted with everything from unbreakable tires to an ejector seat, and the only vehicle of its kind in the skies.

The last member of the Storm Hawks is Radarr. No one is really sure just what Radarr is. Voiced by Asaph Fipke himself, Radarr cannot speak English. Instead, he chirps, growls, snarls, shrieks – and, very rarely, screams. Radarr does NOT appreciate being called a pet. He prefers the term “mission specialist,” and has seemingly been Aerrow’s companion for as long as the young Sky Knight can remember.

Radarr has to communicate with the team through charades, hand gestures, mimicry, and action. The Storm Hawks understand him most of the time, but occasionally they misunderstand or misinterpret what he is trying to convey altogether. No one knows how old Radarr is or where he came from. He once wanted to go to the Terra of Big Bananas for vacation, but was outvoted by the rest of the team. Later, someone referred to him as a Sky Monkey, but this might merely have been meant as an insult to him (indirectly) and Aerrow (directly).

Radarr is, in fact, a true mission specialist. His combat capabilities are excellent and his ability to think tactically is higher than that exhibited by any other animal shown in the series. Although he looks like an animal, it is quite possible that he is as intelligent as any human, Wallop, Merb, et al on the Atmos. He is also a capable mechanic, able to make repairs to Aerrow’s sky ride midflight and even rebuild an entire vehicle from a rusted hunk he found in the jungle.

Radarr spends most of his time as Aerrow’s copilot. He fills the role for Aerrow that the Dark Ace once held for Lightning Strike. When Aerrow jumps off of his sky ride to get into close combat with the Dark Ace or another opponent, Radarr will fly the machine until Aerrow is ready to hop back on. He has proven he cares to some degree about the rest of his teammates, but Radarr certainly loves Aerrow the most out of all of them.   It is not quite a pet/owner relationship; theirs seems to be more like a brotherly bond, as weird as that may sound to some.

Good grief, I have practically spoiled the series for you by now, readers! There is nothing left for you to do other than look it up yourselves! Sadly, as I said before, Storm Hawks was canceled after its second season. Though Mr. Fipke expressed a desire to continue the series, either through animated movies or even comic books, he does not appear to have had any real luck on that front so far. This is a real shame since the series was a lot of fun.

Which you will discover if you look it up! And remember – !

            “For us, the sky is never the limit!”

The Mithril Guardian

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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