You Should be Watching The Librarians

I have a lifelong fondness for cheap made-for-TV movies. My sister and I used to have a semi-regular habit of watching Disney Channel’s weekly original movies, and laughing at their ridiculousness. As we grew up our interests in these movies diverged. She loves the Syfy original horror movies with their sub-par special effects and suspiciously good looking lady scientists. I am a fan of the Lifetime Christmas movies and how I can come in at the beginning and figure out the entire plot within the first ten minutes. They’re like video comfort food.

The biggest problem any of these movies could have is that they are boring. Most of them only legitimately have a half hour of plot and must stretch it out to an hour and a half. This brings me to The Librarian.

Quest-for-the-Spear-2004
Hey it’s the Captain from HIMYM!

The Librarian is a very simple concept. What if Indiana Jones were a nerd?

A young scholar is made the caretaker of a mystical library that houses all knowledge and magic in the world. He is teamed with a Guardian, a woman bodyguard who he obviously falls in love with, and tracks down the Spear of Destiny to save the world.

The TNT movie was successful enough to spawn two sequels.

the-librarian-extras-casting
Hey it’s Fiona from Burn Notice! And Bob Newhart!

The Librarian: Return to King Solomon’s Mines was the second. It existed, but as I write this I honestly can’t remember a single aspect of the plot.

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Hey it’s… wait… oh my god it’s the woman from Castle!

The final Librarian movie was Curse of the Judas Chalice. Bad guys get their hands on a chalice that makes vampires and Flynn, the Librarian, goes on a vacation to New Orleans. That’s all the plot I can remember becauseĀ  I have tried to watch it at least three times, and every time I either fall asleep or get so bored that I choose not to finish. Like I said, the worst thing any of these movies could be was boring, and Curse of the Judas Chalice raised the bar for tedium in made-for-TV movies. Even watching as much as I have, it’s obvious why this was the end of the series.

Which is why I was so surprised when TNT announced plans to make a TV series based of the trilogy.

In the Librarians, a new Guardian is brought to the library along with a new batch of Librarians sent to aid Noah Whyle’s character from the movies. Every week they take on a world threatening object or event in a series that works like a weekly TV movie (bad effects and all) but with none of the plot stretching problems. They don’t have time to mess around and we are all thankful for it.

Headliners include Rebecca Romijn, otherwise known as Mystique. Christian Kane, from Leverage and Angel and apparently a Lazarus Pit because that guy hasn’t aged in at least a decade. Lindy Booth who has been all over the place, although you may recognize her as Night Bitch from Kick-Ass 2. John Harlan Kim who has only two other acting credits. Neighbours and The Pacific. Lastly, John Larroquette AKA Rowan Montgomery from Chuck!

Not every episode is perfect, but they all have their moments and they all come together as pieces to a grand puzzle by the first season finale.

I compare it the most to Doctor Who, early in the 2005 revival when it was more campy, just with magic replacing science. They work out of a building that is bigger on the inside and can take them anywhere. They fight myths and monsters instead of legends and aliens. Most importantly, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, or really any amount of seriously, and is a whole lot of fun.

We are now two episode into season two, and the new big bad is a wonderfully Shakespearean villain. Which is to say he’s Prospero, from the Tempest, literally created by Shakespeare. That’s right they’re fighting fictional characters! Prospero, Moriarty, The Queen of Hearts, and Frankenstein in only two episodes!

The best part is that the hashtag on the screen throughout the premiere was #BecauseMagic. It’s not about why something is possible, it’s about what happens when it is. If you want a fun and entertaining series, The Librarians more than makes up for the downward spiral their movies became.

-JP

P.S. Bruce Cambell is also Santa Claus in the Christmas episode. Excuse me while I drop the mic.

Fear and Loathing at Universal Halloween Horror Nights

Like most people, my appreciation for fear has changed over my life. I can easily remember the October night when my mother defended me throughout a haunted house while I had my eyes clenched shut yelling “I don’t want to be here anymore”. She also admonished one of the scare guys who shrieked my line back at me, mocking me. Which is some proof positive that my mom is awesome.

But this year for Halloweekend, the weekend event that Halloween has become lasting anywhere from 3 to 5 days in length, I spent one night at a party, another watching The Babadook alone in the dark, and the last running the gamut of horror mazes at Universal Studios’ Halloween event, Halloween Horror Nights.

What happened? When did I become less afraid? When did I start to enjoy that rush of fear?

Obviously there isn’t some one event in my life that caused this change. Fear isn’t like roller coasters, which I was afraid of until I decided actively not to be. Fear is primal, and arguably not what I was feeling last night since I knew everything was staged. Fear is situational, and I enjoyed steady fluctuations throughout the night.

My friend and I entered an area based off the Purge, a movie series I won’t explain in favor of this clip.

And I was laughing it off as the tram drove us to the start, because it had been parodied and I deflect most bad things in my life with humor. But then the tram dropped us off, and we were forced to the front of the group, and five guys stood in silhouette, started chainsaws, and ran at us.

In that moment, nothing about it felt staged.

I’ve had this conversation with my sister. She is not a fan of horror mazes or similar situations, not because she is scared, but because she will straight up attack anyone who comes at her. Well, when my fight or flight instincts switched on, I had to tell my brain to choose flight or else I would find myself hitting park employees.

Next thing I know, two random girls have grabbed onto me and my friends. We’re running along a heavy crowd of people and encountering less of the… purgers? purgists? Whichever, they aren’t going for us so much and I’m no longer feeling scared. Suddenly I’m defending others from the monsters.

This has happened before, about two years ago in Terror Behind the Walls back in Philly. I’m not a huge fan. I’m agile, I like to dart around the threats. But when this happens I’m relegated to being a human shield, actively putting myself in, admittedly, false peril.

When we got the chance, we let the girls go on their own to take a picture with Norman Bates. I wonder how they did with the rest of the trial. Because when we got back, that crowd of people we entered with were gone.

When you go through a horror maze, you learn to sense what’s coming. You hear the shrieks and sound effects of what’s coming ahead. You learn to see the difference between false and real walls and know to keep your eyes on them. You expect something to jump out at you.

This was different. There was nobody jumping out at you. They stood in plain view. They held their weapons and let you know you were their target. We were outnumbered.

It reminded me of my Halloweens in high school. After I had outgrown trick or treating, a few friends and I took up roles scaring kids at one of our houses. I figured out pretty quickly it was scarier to come at my targets head on instead of hiding and popping out at them. There’s a very different rush that comes from being the one to instill fear. I think I would enjoy being on the purge staff.

We got through the Purge, obviously, but I don’t think I would have survived. By the end I was miming injury to my pursuers feinted attacks. My heart was beating fast, I was sweating heavy, and I was honestly having a great time.

Still, when we got out I went right back to the Rick and Morty jokes. Back to humor. It was only with me when it was present, once past it had no hold over me.

Then we got on another tram to a couple off site mazes, and they dropped us in a surprise second Purge trial. This time we were ready.

That’s probably how we all overcome fear. First you need to encounter what you fear then, when you’ve come out the other side, you’ll be ready to face it again. That’s how you go from the kid screaming he doesn’t want to be there to the guy completely ignoring the goblin coming at him with a fireman’s axe because he’s exhausted and just wants to go to bed and seriously man get out of my face I just bought a chocolate frog from your Harry Potter store and I do not want to deal with you right now.

-JP

P.S. The loathing in the title comes from the park forcing me to throw out 8 dollars of water and nut bars so they could force me to buy their overpriced food on the inside. Screw you Universal, you knock off Disneyland. You’re better in Florida!