Sunday night saw the return of a TNT franchise as a new series, with the debut of The Librarians, spinning out of a series of popular telefilms starring Noah Wyle as Flynn Carsen, a young hyper-intelligent Indiana Jones Lite whose adventures have him traveling the globe in search of supernatural artifacts that are too powerful to be in the wrong hands.
Wyle returns as Carsen, and also comes on board the show as one of its executive producers. Dean Devlin, who scored on TNT with Leverage and the Librarian films, is also back as exec, directing the first two hours that set up our story arc and introduce a new team of “Librarians in Training”. Rebecca Romijn leads the new cast as Colonel Eve Baird, a tough no-nonsense NATO counter-terrorism specialist who’s brought in to be the new Guardian, watching over the other new recruits: wise-cracking thief Ezekiel Jones (John Kim), oil man and secret art historian Jake Stone (Christian Kane), and mathematically gifted synesthete Cassandra Cillian (Lindy Booth). John Larroquette is on board as Jenkins, the academic who maintains the library annex that the team uses as their base camp.
The show clearly has its roots in the Indiana Jones mold, even deriving the travel transitions with models and maps, with Flynn Carsen being an intellectual who isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty, using all sorts of esoteric ancient knowledge to think his way out of a jam. His new team combines a number of skills that come into play depending on the needs of the mission.
Premiere night consisted of two episodes, “The Librarians and the Crown of King Arthur” followed by “The Librarians and the Sword in the Stone”, which garnered 5.4 million viewers in the live two-hour block, beating out the last strong TNT debut, The Last Ship, ranking it the new number one cable series launch for the 25-54 demographic in 2014.
Wyle, who is still full-time involved in Falling Skies, will have a recurring role on the new show, which is also setting up a possible romance between Carsen and Baird. The underlying story arc for him will be the search for the now-missing Library while the Librarians in training track down other magic and supernatural items of interest around the globe.
Wyle is clearly the draw so far, with a successful track record in the telefilms. Now, to see how the show fares without him.