left_turns (left_turns) wrote,
left_turns
left_turns

Oh my god, I cannot tell you how happy "The Librarians" makes me. Premise: there is a library of magical objects run by Noah Wyle chewing up the scenery in Tenth Doctor mode and a very prissy John Larroquette, and they are responsible for training the new crop of librarians and making sure magic things don't fall into the hands of the poor man's Malcolm McDowell. This is like a show made just for me; it's just so goofy and cheerful and cheesy, and is about fantasy librarians.

I love cheesy entertainment. I actually turned off the first Jurassic Park movie when some TV station ran them all back to back because it was too good. I didn't want to see how pretty the first half of the movie can be, I wanted to see Alan Grant trying to talk to raptors with his translator kazoo. That was what I loved about the first season of Sleepy Hollow; it was so balls-to-the-wall goofy, but it wasn't actually bad. Until this season, when it's decided to forgo goofy cheese in favor of WHITE PEOPLE ARE SAD (Abbie is beautiful. Jenny is beautiful. I mean, both in the sense of really hot and in the sense of awesome women characters who are smart and OMG SISTER FEELS and they can kick your ass ten ways from Sunday. Why the fuck am I suddenly supposed to forget about them and care more about this annoying Sawyer knockoff when I didn't like "Lost" in the first place? And I love John Noble, but Crane Family Soap Opera, oh my god, shaddap. I actually liked the actor who played the headless Headless a lot better than wangsty wigface Abraham there. He was hilarious, him and his headless EMOTING!, but at least things were happening when he was on screen. Will they save Abraham? What happened to Henry? Will Katrina ever put on clothes a woman from 1797 wouldn't view as underwear? Hell if I cared. I wanted more of Jenny and Irving together). (okay, actually I did kind of care what happened to Henry, because goddamn do I love John Noble and his gorgeous voice and his magnificent scenery-chewing.)

More to the point, "The Librarians" is harmless cheese. For example the episode of Sleepy Hollow from the week before last is about a warlock, who started the Salem Witch Trials because he was also the town reverend or whatever and blamed the crimes he committed on WITCHES OMG. And he came to the present to I don't know, get some coffee maybe, and something something super-powerful grimoire he needed so that he could go back in time and of course he was related to Katrina somehow because more people are related to the Cranes than are to Lucy the Australopithecus.

And as an American historian, I have such a rant about the whole BS "the Salem Witch Trials were about really real witches!" trope. The only thing I've ever seen use the trope well was "ParaNorman," and that was in large part because it acknowledged the horror of an entire town turning on someone weak because the town is scared. The Salem witch trials were about innocent, vulnerable people being murdered because people who were socially or politically more powerful than then wanted their stuff or didn't like them or wanted to be sure someone else wouldn't accuse them themselves. It was in large part people like widows with land and folks who just didn't fit into society who died—not only who died, but who died because they were put in a no-win situation by false accusations. There really wasn't anything they could have done to defend themselves--and it's an insult to their memory to pretend that they had magic powers. Not only that, you're essentially supporting the excuse used to murder them by going "no, they're really witches!" No, no they were not. Ask them, and they'd probably say they were good Christians. They were boring, unmagical human beings, and it's also kind of an insult to them that that's not interesting enough, that their story has to be jazzed up with MAGICK POWERZ.

Contrast that with the terrible, terrible Minotaur costume from the Labyrinth episode, who in human form is a red-eyed biker dude who still bellows like a bull because why not, or the Apple of Overacting Discord, which instantly sends anyone who touches it into instant cartoonish supervillain mode. Morgan le Fay using a STEM fair to ...do something magic isn't that problematic, historically.

(though I do have to say that Sleepy Hollow has been improving again the last few episodes, and holographic Thomas Jefferson in his secret underground lair guarded by the lovechildren of Gollum and the Putties from Power Rangers is some pretty damn good silly!cheese.)

I suppose part of it might just be that the acting isn't super great, and the stories are really, really silly, but it's also a show that does its homework. The Christmas episode is one of the best Christmas episodes I've ever seen. It thinks through the "saving Christmas" thing and what that realy means--"saving Christmas" has to have higher stakes than making sure all the middle class white kids get their toys, right?--and came up with a pretty clever variation on it. Also they did some research into the history of solstice and had their "Santa" character drift between Santa and Odin and such when he didn't have the talisman that anchors him as Santa. Also, Bruce Campbell being all the Odin/St. Nicholas/Santa figures, who all speak in third person. Bruce Campbell. Being all the Santas. And having a hell of a time doing it, apparently. This is a show that's very subtly smart under all its wackiness.

It might be that it came along when I needed something really silly and cheerful, but I just love the hell out of this show. I'm spoiled by Sleepy Hollow and its steady trickle of episodes, because the Librarians had its season finale a few weeks ago now, and I keep turning on the TV on Sunday and going LIBRARIANS COME BAAAACK.


The other show I love lately is "Forever." It's mostly just another New York City-based police procedural, but Ioan Gruffudd is beautiful and sometimes you just need that eye candy. But I like the characters, and the acting and writing are pretty good for what it is. I thought that I could guess how an episode I'd mostly missed went just from the last fifteen minutes. When I watched the whole thing online, I had the broad strokes right, but there was a lot of developments and character interactions that I missed. I love the relationship between Ioan's character and Judd Hirsch's. There seems to be genuine affection between them, and the writing seems to respect them both, instead of just making Hirsch's character an annoying sidekick.

Also the premise is that his character is immortal and comes back to life naked in a body of water after he dies, so the possibility of Ioan Gruffudd showing some skin is always worth watching for.
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