Friday, 9 January 2015

The Librarian Is Just the Doctor With an Indiana Jones Fixation, Right?

So I was watching the first two episodes of The Librarians with a friend of mine when I had a very profound and earth-shattering realisation: The Librarian is just the Doctor but American.

That is literally all this post is about since I want to start 2015 on a strong note. No clever insight or extended rants, just the simple observation that the Librarian is essentially an American version of the Doctor. Don't worry, it'll be short, mostly because I just want to say, "The Librarian is just the Doctor but American, see look!" over and over again.

From the way he talks as though he thinks talking really fast throwing a lot of words around will confuse everyone else in the room to the way he saunters in energetic like a child discovering a new toy but with a charismatic gravity that pulls in everyone around him since they have no idea what he's on about, it's pretty obvious the Librarian is an American take on the Doctor.

Although to be fair, the Librarian did start off as more of an Indiana Jones clone:

Indiana Jones had a hat and a whip! Completely different!

And that seems to be the way it was for the course of his three made-for-TV movies, which (full disclosure) I did not in the name of research bother watching. However, with his 2014 TV series, they definitely chose a different professory male protagonist who goes on extravagant adventures to model the Librarian on.

I'm not quite sure but something about his attire doesn't really scream world's most reckless archaeologist in the first two episodes of The Librarians I watched.  Rather, it seems the show has quite liberally taken the more quirky professory aspects of David Tennant's Tenth Doctor and Matt Smith's Eleventh Doctor's clothing and put them together.

Tie - Check
Waistcoat - Check
Pocket watch - Check
Puffed hair - Check
Sonic screwdriver - Pending lawsuit

But this liberal copying of Doctor Who is not limited to the Librarian talking, walking, acting, and dressing like the Doctor. No, that couldn't be enough for the character to be a literally doppelganger. No. He even has a TARDIS in the form of his library, which, in an amazing twist, is bigger on the inside! Who would have guessed?

Now, the thing is I'm not pointing out these similarities to crap all over The Librarians or to say it's a poor man's Doctor Who. I'm never been one of those people who automatically dismiss something because they can identify what influenced it and therefore deem it creatively bankrupt or unoriginal. That's not how culture and art works.

Everything builds on what came before it. Star Wars is a smorgasbord of influences from samurai bushido to the Flash Gordon serials, while at the heart of it, Luke's story in Episode IV is the Arthurian tale retold in space. Shakespeare was renowned for taking plots from the classics or other famous plays at the time, but he added his own wondrous words on top of those plots. And that's the thing. You see what is around you or came before, take it in and add your twist on it, hopefully creating something new. That's how culture continues and art is made.

I will argue to the death if someone tells me that Star Wars isn't art.

Now, most creators often try to hide their influences, successfully or not. To try to make it seem as though the ideas or stories they're presenting are new or different. Not The Librarians. It's like it can't even be bother to pretend that it's not ripping off Doctor Who. I mean, yes, it throws in a magic relic of the week angle in there to slightly mix it up, but that seems reminiscent of Warehouse 13 or Torchwood. Guess which one of those things is a Doctor Who spin-off.

Again, this is not to make it appear as though I'm hating on The Librarians but rather to express my incredulity at how audacious the show is in how it rips off Doctor Who. It's actually impressive and was ridiculously fun to point out the similarities to the BBC's iconic scifi series.

It could be the greatest drinking game ever for fans of either show. A drink anytime the Librarian has a wardrobe change that looks like the Tenth Doctor. A drink anytime the Librarian's hair is puffed similarly to David Tennant's gorgeous locks. A drink whenever the Librarian whips out some timey-wimey magic relic exposition or talks really fast.

A shot anytime the Librarian wears a bow tie!

As for the show itself, it's campy, cheesy, corny fun. They do force a romantic relationship between the Librarian and his 'guardian' that is so utterly forced that it just feels odd watching it, like seeing a brother and sister having to kiss on a dare or something.

There is absolutely no romantic chemistry between the two actors, who actually share a sparring buddy relationship trading quips back and forth that indicates no love interest there but I guess the show wants the characters to jump each other's bones? I dunno.

The Librarian's guardian is played by Rebecca Romijin, who is most famous for playing Mystique in the original X-Men movies. However, she is neither naked nor blue in this show, so this fact is essentially pointless and disappointing.

And that's all I've got to say about that. I'm sure some people who like the show will say I'm being unfair to it, and I probably have been. But I did invent a drinking game for the show, so I think it evens out.


References:

The Librarians Wikipedia page


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