Grading the Mid-Season: The Librarians, Galavant

While I like a number of full-season shows (Person of Interest, Agents of SHIELD, Arrow, etc.), there’s also something to be said for the shortened mid-season. I’m enjoying the hell out of Agent Carter right now, and I’m really looking forward to trying out iZombie in March. Today, however, I’ve come to talk about two mid-season shows that have recently (or semi-recently) wrapped up their first seasons: The Librarians on TNT and Galavant on ABC.

librarians

By way of introduction, let me just say this: I like writing pretty much everything. I write blog entries (well, obviously), movie reviews, short stories, novelettes. I’m working on a novel. I’d like to sell screenplays. I occasionally write overly literal prose poems, and — when I can spare the time — I really love writing fanfiction. The main fandoms I’ve become obsessed with over the years (as either a writer, a reader, or both) are Supernatural, The Avengers, Inception, and Teen Wolf, although I’ve also written for Psych, The Mentalist, The Unusuals, Harry Potter, and Justified. (And I’ve read dozens of other fandoms, of course. There are so many, you guys. If you don’t read fanfiction, you don’t even know. I’ve seen slash fanfiction for The BIBLE. Not to mention Real People Fic, which is a whole other thing that I just generally can’t get into.)

Of course, I can love a show and not get hugely invested in the fandom. Person of Interest, for instance. It’s one of my favorite shows on television shows right now and the best SF you’re not watching, but despite being a total Root/Shaw shipper, it just doesn’t quite trigger that little internal fannish switch I have. I’ve read PoI fanfiction but not obsessively, and I’ve never felt particularly compelled to write any of my own.

But some shows are different — some hit that switch hard and fill me with utter, indescribable delight. These shows are rarely perfect, but they have characters I like, relationships I’m invested in, subverted tropes I’d love to see more of. And The Librarians is definitely one of those shows for me. It’s fun, entertaining. There are solid character moments, interesting team dynamics. (Team dynamics are a BIG draw for me.) Stone (Christian Kane) is probably my favorite character (cause, dude, Eliot . . . plus, okay, some backstory/fears I find relatable), but of course there’s also Jenkins (John Larroquette) who is essentially made of awesome. I like the mythology, the villains (you can do considerably worse than Matt Frewer, especially if he’s wearing a Santa hat on his head), and am generally grateful for a show that has neatly filled the hole in my heart that Warehouse 13 and Leverage left behind.

That isn’t to say The Librarians doesn’t have its problems. As much fun as I had with the finale, I ultimately felt the Big Showdown was kind of a letdown. And Noah Wyle, while occasionally funny, doesn’t always work for me, even in the limited role that he has. I can’t believe I’m saying this because I have such a kink for manic boys, but sometimes I really wish Wyle would dial it back a notch or twelve because I don’t think the Full-On Crazy works for him as well as it does on other people. If Matt Smith were playing the role, hells YES. I adore Matt Smith’s manic like no other. But Noah Wyle probably only hits the mark for me about half the time.

Plus . . . I just can’t quite buy Baird and Flynn.

kiss

I want to. I love the idea that instead of a will-they-or-won’t-they relationship, Baird and Flynn just straight up got together in the first episode. That’s kind of refreshing. And I probably could’ve bought a one-night stand or (maybe) even a series of casual hook-ups, but I feel like the show treats them more like a long-distance relationship, and I just don’t see it. The chemistry between the two actors is only so-so at best, and I don’t think there’s really much basis for a deeper, emotional connection.

Still, I really loved the hell out of this show, and I desperately hope it gets renewed for a second season. I’d love to see what they do with it. I feel like there are a lot of places they could go.

TOTALLY NOT OBJECTIVE SEASON GRADE: A-

galavant1

You might think a show about librarians saving the world from magic, fairy tales, and hilariously awful minotaurs would be the frontrunner in the race for the silliest show on television, but you’d be wrong because — Galavant. Oh, Galavant.

Galavant, if you’re unfamiliar, was an eight-episode musical fantasy parody, in essentially the same vein as Robin Hood: Men in Tights, and at several points it was quite hilarious. Some highlights include an epic duel between Galavant and Sir John Stamos, a cheerful song about poisoning the rich, a less cheerful song about teamwork, drunkenly singing and tiptoeing through the castle, and of course Madalena’s response to Galavant’s belief that true love always wins over fame and fortune: “Actually . . .”

But I did find Galavant pretty uneven, particularly for such a short show. The humor didn’t always work for me, particularly when it came to King Richard’s stuff . . . which is interesting, actually, because I adore Timothy Omundson and the 112% performance he gives in every scene is actually one of the great delights of the show. I just wasn’t really happy where they went with a lot of his plot/character stuff.

The structure of the show felt messy too, stuffed with filler in the middle and chaotic near the end. (For instance, the cousin seemed hugely random to me. He wasn’t terrible, I guess, but I was just like, Really? We’re going to throw in this character NOW?) The whole point of a minimized season is to cut out all the extraneous bits and create a more streamlined experience, which Galavant failed to do. And I’ll admit to being disappointed that the finale was so open-ended, especially because I don’t expect it to get a Season Two.

If Galavant does get a second season, I’ll probably try it. I mean, I don’t regret watching the show — I appreciate ABC gambling on it at all, and I do think there’s definitely potential to improve. But I won’t be devastated if it gets cancelled, either. (Whereas I would be ridiculously disappointed if The Librarians got cancelled. It’s just so charming. Please don’t cancel The Librarians, TNT!)

SOMEWHAT OBJECTIVE SEASON GRADE: B

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2 Responses to Grading the Mid-Season: The Librarians, Galavant

  1. skhoot says:

    I’m glad you like The Librarians. I’m enjoying it so much more than Agent Carter (which I mentally think of as “Peggy Carter – Girl Agent.”) Maybe I’ve just had my fill of dark shows and need some lighter fare.

    I totally agree that Baird/Flynn seems forced. I did like AU Baird/Jake and the Nope Octopus reaction of Baird to that scenario.

    • I’d have to disagree with you on Agent Carter. I kind of desperately love it, and I think we need way more characters like Peggy. But I COMPLETELY agree with you on the Baird’s “nope” reaction. That was hysterical. I cracked up HARD.

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