The Librarians Season 2 Review

  • Series Title: The Librarians
  • Season: Season 2
  • Episodes: 10
  • Discs: 3
  • Network: TNT
  • Cast: Noah Wyle, John Larroquette, Rebecca Romijn, Christian Kane, Lindy Booth, John Harlan Kim, David S. Lee, Richard Cox
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC, R1

The second season of TNT’s The Librarians brings back Noah Wyle for the first two episodes and the last two episodes. The series is a sequel to the Librarian movies, and the first two episodes play like one of the movies, as the Librarians are reunited with Eve and Flynn for four separate quests at a museum only to have to face down Moriarty, a Fictional, and Prospero – Shakespeare’s magician. Prosero is determined to change his fate and not follow the story as written by Shakespeare.

Unfortunately, we really don’t see Prospero or Moriarty until the last two episodes of the season, which also bring back Noah Wyle as Flynn, the Librarian. The opening and closing two-parters are great, and could even be viewed together, without watching the intervening episodes. The stand-alone stories, featuring the younger Librarians are hit-or-miss. John Larroquette is wonderful as Jenkins, caretaker of the Annex, and with the library back – now the Library as well. The first episode without Noah Wyle gives us background on Stone and his issues with his father (a real piece of work). “The Cost of Education” could have been a fun HP Lovecraft-type story – instead it’s full of stereotypes about college life. Not only that, but the young, gifted, highly intelligent woman – very like Cassandra, is talked into leaving university and pursuing magic – without even being a librarian. It was an annoying episode. The episode, “And the Hollow Men” brings back Flynn, but has a strange quality to it. As you can tell from the title, “And the Infernal Contract” is a tale of Faust or the Devil and Daniel Webster set during a mayoral race in a small New England town. “The Image of the Image” is a fun version of the story of Dorian Gray, though, like the previous episode, it was painfully obvious where it was going from the beginning. “And the Point of Salvation” was extremely fun – from Jenkins actually casting a spell to call and bind the fairy Puck (fitting in nicely with the Shakespearean theme of the season) to Jones and Stone binding over figuring out the video game they are stuck in – it’s much more unique than many of the other stand-alone episodes of the season. I also loved the growth in Jones’ character, though they punched the reset button on that at the end of the episode.

The final two episodes bring back Moriarty and Prospero – not to mention a trip through time, and Shakespeare. It’s the type of fun the show is known for and was so prevalent in Season 1. Eve and Flynn also have great chemistry in the episode. And I loved the cameo of the TARDIS and the Back to the Future DeLorean in the time machine room.

Overall, though I enjoyed season 2, Prospero was such a great villain I wish we’d seen more of him. And Moriarty was written and played brilliant as not the epitome of evil, but a complicated man trapped by his circumstances. I’d still recommend the series though.

The Librarians Season 1 Review

  • Series Title: The Librarians
  • Season: Season 1
  • Episodes: 10
  • Discs: 3
  • Network: TNT
  • Cast: Noah Wyle, John Larroquette, Rebecca Romijn, Christian Kane, Lindy Booth, John Harlan Kim, Matt Frewer
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC, R1

TNT’s The Librarians is the sequel series to three made-for-TV movies starring Noah Wyle. I have reviewed those films on this blog please see links below.

The first episode of The Librarians plays like another “The Librarian” TV Movie, as Noah Wyle returns as the Librarian, Flynn Carsen, working out of The Library hidden beneath New York’s Metropolitan Library, and home to a collection of hidden knowledge and magical artifacts. Flynn meets Eve Baird, his new Guardian. They discover someone is killing off potential Librarians, and gather together three people who were also meant to become Librarians: Jake Stone – a oil rigger with a 160 IQ with an encyclopedic knowledge of art history, architecture, and related areas; Cassandra Cillian – a woman who’s brain tumor makes her both a synesthetic (someone who sees numbers as colors; or associates complicated formulas with smells) and a genius at math; and Ezekiel Jones – a thief. Together, Flynn, Eve, and his new Librarians try to stop the Serpent Brotherhood, led by Dulaque (Matt Frewer) from using Excalibur and the Stone to release magic into the world. They fail. Eve is nearly killed, Cassandra betrays everyone then comes back to the fold when she realizes her mistake, magic is released, and Dulaque escapes. However, all is not lost, Flynn survives, Charlene and Judson release the Library into Space and Time to prevent Dulaque from taking it or destroying it, and Flynn realizes he’s going to need help from his new recruits. He turns them over to Jenkins at the Library Annex to solve mysteries and capture magical artifacts, and leaves to find the Library.

The new team, under Jenkins, works to find and return to the Annex dangerous magical artifacts, and to help people threatened by the newly released magic in the world. From a town threatened by fairy tales, to the Minotaur, to helping Santa bring good will back to the world, the Librarians travel far and wide, helping people and putting down magical threats. The episodes seem to be self-contained however, every story brings them an element that ends up being extremely important to the final episode of the season. In the final story, Flynn returns again, and they attempt to bring back The Library. Dulaque arrives, kills his assistant Lamia, and opens a door to the River of Time and the Loom of Fate. Dulaque cuts the Threads of the Loom. Eve and an alternate non-Librarian version of Flynn must find a way to stop Dulaque. The leap from reality to reality finding alternate Librarian versions of the Librarians: Cassandra – a powerful magic user from a world filled with dragons; Jones – a scientist in a world where most of the population has been turned into ghosts; and Stone – the Librarian. Eve and these alternate versions must find a way to repair the Loom, stop Dulaque, and prevent Eve’s death. Along the way, we discover Jenkins’ secret past, as well as Dulaque’s “real” identity.

The Librarians is a fun, light, enjoyable series. It has magic and adventure, and for the most part no one is really ever harmed. Noah Wylie appears periodically through the series, and the episodes are always better when he’s there. However, the Librarians and their Guardian form a D&D-type adventuring group: The Soldier (Eve Baird), the Thief (Ezekiel Jones), The Scientist/Mathematician (Cassandra Cillian – rather than a Magician); and the Historian/Art Expert (Jones Stone). It’s a slightly more modern version of D&D heroes. Recommended.

Green Lantern First Flight

  • Title: Green Lantern First Flight
  • Director: Lauren Montgomery
  • Date: 2009
  • Studio: Warner Brothers Animation
  • Genre: SF, Action, Animation
  • Cast: Christopher Meloni, Tricia Helfer, John Larroquette, William Schallert
  • Format: Widescreen Color Animation
  • DVD Format: R1, NTSC

Another excellent movie in the DC Animated Universe series. This one gives us Hal Jordan’s origin story and the betrayal of the Green Lantern Corps by Sinestro in one fell swoop. And it’s Sinestro who initially takes Hal under his wing and starts his training. But Hal, especially after being set up by Sinestro realizes he’s not the “super-cop” or in this case “super Lantern” everyone thinks he is. So Hal is learning about the corps, learning to use his powers, and yet still smart enough to realize when something just isn’t right. I also liked Hal’s constructs — witty, useful, and showing us Hal’s personality in glowing green light. This is Hal Jordan.

The story is also very dark at times. Sinestro kills Keja Ro — whom he’s secretly been working with to find the Yellow Element and construct (or have constructed for him) the Great Weapon. He then frames Hal Jordan for the crime, getting the newest Lantern thrown out of the Corps. But Hal isn’t willing to go quietly. When Sinestro shows up on Oa with the Yellow Battery (the Great Weapon) he does considerable damage, killing countless Lanterns. One of the most impressive scenes, in terms of “wow” factor is after Sinestro destroys the Green Power Battery on Oa, a few minutes later, it rains green rings — the “sky” is filled with countless rings. Sinestro explains they are from all the Lanterns in space, unprotected, once the power of the battery was shut off. The shear size of Sinestro’s crime is almost unimaginable.

Hal, however, tries to help and fight back, and finally a Guardian gets him his ring, Hal charges it through a crack in the Power Battery, then goes after Sinestro — and what a fight! These guys are throwing planets around.

By the way — a lot of members of Green Lantern Corps make their appearances: Sinestro, Kilowog, Bodica, Tamor-Re, even Chip and it’s great to see them. Un-named alien Corps members are also seen in various crowd shots. It was nice to see they paid attention to the rich Green Lantern history from DC Comics.

Overall, an impressive movie, I recommend it.

Recommendation: See It
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Stripes

Stripes_dvd_cvr

  • Title:  Stripes
  • Director:  Ivan Reitman
  • Date:  1981
  • Studio:  Columbia Pictures
  • Genre:  Comedy
  • Cast:  Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Warren Oates, John Larroquette, Judge Reinhold, John Candy, Lance LeGault
  • Format:  Color, Widescreen
  • DVD Format:  R1, NTSC

You don’t say ‘sir’ to me, I’m a sergeant I work for a living.”  — Sgt. Hulka (Warren Oates)

“I’m talking about something important, like disclipline and duty and honor and courage.  And you ain’t got none of it.”  — Sgt. Hulka

“We’re Americans – with a capital ‘A’.  Do you know what that means?  Do you?  It means our forefathers were kicked out of every decent country in the world.  We are the wretched refuse.  We’re underdogs. We’re mutts. … But there’s no animal that’s more faithful, that’s more loyal, more lovable that the mutt. [pause] Who saw Old Yeller?  Who cried when Old Yeller got shot at the end?  Nobody cried when Old Yeller got shot [raises his hand] I’m sure.  I cried my eyes out.” — John (Bill Murray)

“We’re all very, very different, but there is one thing we all have in common.  We were all stupid enough to enlist in the army.”  — John 

In the 1970s, in a “bad economy” much like today, two guys who are down on their luck and out of options join the US Army.  John loses his job, car, girlfriend, and apartment all in the same day.  His friend, Russell (Ramis) has discovered his easy five-week job to teach English involves people who only know a few swear words and that’s it.  They decide to join the Army.

At boot camp, John, Russell and the rest of the guys in their platoon have their hair buzzed (it’s the 70s – most have long hair or even “afros”) and receive basic green uniforms.  Sgt. Hulka introduces himself and has each of the men in his platoon introduce themselves and explain why they decided to join the army.  It becomes obvious that the entire platoon is, to be frank, a group of screw-ups with few other options.

There is a montage of training scenes, inter cut with scenes of John doing push-ups.  A perpetual clown and comedian, he gets on Sgt. Hulka’s nerves immediately.  Also at the army training camp is Capt. Stillman (John Larroquette) who enjoys peeking at female officers taking showers, and never listening to anyone.  It’s Stillman who orders one of his men to fire a mortar round on the weapons practice field without any co-ordinates.  It flies way off course and takes out the climbing test structure and Sgt. Hulka who is sitting on top of it.

Hulka’s men go into town to celebrate their new-found freedom at a mud wrestling expo in a strip bar. They are caught and dragged back to the camp by the MPs.  However, John and Russell escape immediate punishment when they are rescued by two female MPs they have been chatting-up throughout the film.

Upon returning to the army training camp, they discover they have three hours to get ready for the parade in front of General Barnicke or the entire platoon will be forced to re-take basic training.  Russell convinces everyone they can cram for the test and pass it.  He starts training the others, but disagreements break out.  John delivers his rousing “Old Yeller” speech and gets everyone working together.  They then over-sleep.

When the group reaches the parade grounds, however, John leads them in an unconventional but greatly appreciated drill routine.  They earn applause, whistles, and approval from the gathered crowd.  The general finds out they finished their training on their own after Sgt. Hulka was injured.  He asks for the platoon to be assigned to his secret “EM-50” project.  The EM-50 is an “Urban Assault Vehicle” or more obviously, a Winnebago that’s been turned into a tank.  The platoon is supposed to be on a good-will tour in Italy.

 

However, John and Russell get bored while on guard duty.  They decide to visit the two female MPs they’ve been chasing throughout the film — even though the girls are in Germany.  It might have worked, but Capt. Stillman takes his new girlfriend to see the EM-50, finds it missing and panics.  He gets the platoon together to find it, and ignores Sgt. Hulka when he tries to warn him that they’ve gone the wrong way and they end-up heading into Czechoslovakia, where they are captured by the Russians.  Sgt. Hulka, who’s realized there was going to be a problem, escapes capture and sends a signal to the EM-50. John, Russell, and the two girls pick up the signal, and they manage to find the platoon, and Sgt. Hulka, and rescue them, returning safely to Germany.

The film concludes with everyone arriving safely at home, and magazine and newspaper headlines are used to do a “where are they now / what happened to…” segment very quickly.

Stripes has a couple of very memorable scenes, notably Murray earnestly giving the “Old Yeller” speech to his fellow enlistees, and the well-choreographed parade ground scene.  The Winnebago tank is also funny.  The film screams 70s in everything from the clothes and cars to the attitudes, especially towards women.  Although it doesn’t currently work as well as some films from the 1970s, and parts of the film are really dated (like the fact that they invade a country that no longer exists) some parts do still work. Both Murray and Ramis are very funny, and the cast is filled it with other very funny actors.  Overall it’s now a mediocre film, but it wasn’t quite as painful to watch as I feared it might be.

Recommendation:  It’s OK.
Rating:  3 out of 5 Stars
Next Film:  Sunset Boulevard

Star Trek III The Search for Spock

  • Title:  Star Trek III The Search for Spock
  • Director:  Leonard Nimoy
  • Date:  1984
  • Studio:  Paramount Pictures
  • Genre:  SF
  • Cast:  William Shatner, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Mark Lenard, Robin Curtis (Introducing credit), Christopher Lloyd, Leonard Nimoy, James B. Sikking, John Larroquette
  • Format:  Color, Widescreen
  • DVD Format:  R1, NTSC

“Mr. Scott, Have you always multiplied your repair estimates by a factor of four?”  — Kirk
“Certainly, sir.  How else can I keep my reputation as a miracle worker?”  — Scotty

“Sir, your son meant more to me than you can know.  I’d have given my life if it would have saved his.  Believe me when I tell you — he made no request of me.”  — Kirk (to Sarek)

“The word is no.  I am therefore going anyway.”  — Kirk

The film opens with a re-cap of the end of Star Trek II, including the death of Spock, his funeral, and the coffin landing on the Genesis Planet.  It then moves to the Enterprise bridge, a short time after the incidents in Wrath of Khan.  The trainee crew has been off-loaded on a Star Base, Saavik and Dr. David Marcus, are on a science vessel to explore the Genesis Planet, and Kirk and his crew are heading back to space dock at Star Fleet Command to have the ship refitted and repaired.  But Kirk feels haunted, and is mourning his friend.

Meanwhile, a Klingon named Kluge has purchased the Genesis data.  He destroys the vessel that brought it to him, even though he is in love with the female commander and vice versa.

Enterprise returns to space dock, and stands in awe of Excelsior, the command vessel of the next generation of  trans-warp ships.  Then there’s a security alert from Spock’s quarters.  Kirk hears Spock’s voice, but finds McCoy instead.  McCoy is a mess.

When the crew disembarks at the space dock, they find they are all given commendations and extended leave.  Enterprise, now twenty years old, is to be de-commissioned.  Only Scotty is given an immediate new assignment, Captain of Engineering of the Excelsior.  The crew is also told that Genesis has become a political firestorm, so it is Verboten, hush-hush, top secret.  They are to tell no one, anything about it.

Kluge watches Kirk’s tape about Genesis — it’s the same as Dr. Carol Marcus’s from the previous film, but shorter and with narration by Kirk. The Klingon then plans to take his ship to the Genesis planet.

Meanwhile, the USS Grissom, a science vessel, begins scanning the Genesis planet.  The Commander points out something metallic is on the surface.

On Earth, Kirk, Sulu, Chekov, and Uhura drink to absent friends.  Sarek arrives and the others leave. Sarek is upset not only by the loss of  his son, but that Kirk left him there, on Genesis.  Kirk is confused. Sarek explains about the Katra, the Vulcan soul, which can be placed inside another at the time of death. Kirk knows nothing about this – but  explains about the glass wall between he and Spock.  Sarek and Kirk review (at great pain to Kirk) the video logs of Spock’s death in the engine room.  This gives us one alternate take, from Spock’s pov looking out at Kirk, rather than Kirk’s pov looking at Spock in the chamber, and a fast-forward in reverse of the relevant scenes in Star Trek II.  Kirk spots Spock mind-melding with McCoy.  Sarek agrees that Spock probably placed his Katra in McCoy, which also explains his weird behavior.

Kirk attempts to get permission from Star Fleet to go to the Genesis planet.  McCoy, separately, tries to book passage on a civilian freighter or ship bound for Genesis.  McCoy is arrested for his trouble and placed in a Star Fleet lunatic asylum.  Kirk’s told, “no, absolutely not”, even when he explains he holds Spock’s soul in his hands.  Kirk, with help from Uhura, Sulu, and Chekov, rescue McCoy.  Then, with Scotty’s help they steal the Enterprise, leaving the sabotaged Excelsior in the dust.

Kirk and his skeleton crew make for the Genesis planet. Meanwhile, Saavik and Dr. Marcus find a Vulcan child on the planet. He screams in pain, and cannot speak in either English (Federation Standard) or Vulcan. Dr. David Marcus quickly realizes the planet is unstable, it’s aging rapidly, and it will soon rip itself apart. Saavik realizes that Spock is aging with the planet.

The Grissom attempts to contact Star Fleet to obtain further instructions about what to do about Spock and the planet. However, the Klingon Bird of Prey spaceship arrives and completely destroys the Grissom. The Klingon Commander, Kluge, wanted the ship disabled not destroyed and he kills the gunner who made the “lucky” shot.

Some Klingons beam to the planet, they find Spock’s coffin with it’s evolved microbes.

Kirk, meanwhile, overhears Star Fleet’s futile attempts to raise the Grissom. He has Chekov attempt to contact the vessel itself but he’s unsuccessful. He arrives at the Genesis Planet, but the Grissom is no longer there (since it was destroyed) and the Bird of Prey is cloaked. The Klingons on the planet’s surface find David, Saavik, and Spock and take them hostage. Kirk again tries to contact Grissom and of course gets nowhere.

Kirk fires as the Bird of Prey decloaks. However, because Enterprise is running with a skeleton crew, largely on automatic control, and has yet to have been fully repaired, it has no shields. Soon, Kirk has no real control over his own ship. Kluge then mentions his prisoners on the planet. Kirk talks to Saavik and David. Saavik lets him know Spock “is not himself but he lives”. A Klingon attacks David (Kirk’s son) and kills him. Kirk collapses in grief.

Kirk, Scotty, and Chekov activate the destruct sequence on Enterprise. Kirk and company beam to the planet, while the Klingon boarding party beams to the Enterprise. The Enterprise is destroyed, while Kirk watches. Kirk and company reach Saavik and Spock. Kirk goes to David’s body. Saavik tells Kirk, David died to save them. Kluge beams down to confront Kirk. Sulu, Chekhov, McCoy, Saavik, and Scotty are beamed up to the Bird of Prey. Only Kirk and Spock are left with the Klingons on the unstable planet’s surface. Kirk fights Kluge as the planet breaks up around them. In the end, Kirk kills Kluge, he goes to Spock and they are beamed up.

Kirk and his crew take the few remaining Klingons on the Bird of Prey prisoner then head to Vulcan. When they arrive, they are met by Sarek and Uhura. Sarek asks that his son’s Katra be re-fused into his body, since Spock lives. McCoy agrees to have this done, despite the danger. McCoy survives the procedure and Sarek more or less tells Kirk that Spock will be alright. Kirk sees Spock, Spock looks questioningly at his crew mates, as if he doesn’t quite recognize them. However, he stops in front of Kirk and says, “Your name is Jim.” It’s implied Spock may have a long recovery ahead of him, but he will be alright.

Despite the loss of Spock at the end of the previous film, The Search for Spock, actually starts much lighter than the previous film did. There’s a certain amount of humor in many of the lines, and the secondary characters actually have things to do (if briefly) and get good lines as well. As it becomes apparent that the Enterprise is to be decommissioned, and that due to Vulcan spiritual beliefs and telepathic abilities, as well as the power of the Genesis Planet, Spock’s new body and his soul can be re-united the tone of the film becomes more serious. However, there are several great character moments after this change in tone. Kirk twice declares his loyalty to Spock and that he would even give his life for his first officer and friend. McCoy also admits that he misses Spock and that he can’t lose Spock for a second time. So, again the film emphasizes the characters and their relationships.

Again, a villain from the original series, the Klingons, is brought back. Christopher Lloyd is a superb as Kluge. John Larroquette, completely unrecognizable under his Klingon make-up, is also excellent as Maltz, Kluge’s right-hand man, even though most of his lines are in Klingon. And, yes, this is the film that introduces Klingon as a functioning spoken language (this would be refined in Star Trek VI The Undiscovered Country). Unfortunately, Kristie Alley is replaced with Robin Curtis as Saavik. Nothing against Robin Curtis – but I prefer Kristie Alley in the role. I have no idea why the production crew switched actresses, I’d have to do some research to find out, which I’m not going to do, years after the fact – I wish they had kept Alley. Curtis is very bland, while Alley had a special something in the role.

Overall, I enjoy this film too. It’s the “middle” piece of a trilogy, but I still think it’s really very good. And it’s very much Star Trek, in that it’s about the sacrifices a close-knit group of people are willing to make for each other.

 
Recommendation: See It
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Next Film: Star Trek IV The Voyage Home