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‘The Librarians’ Returns, for Season 4, with John Noble
December 13, 2017  | By David Hinckley

TNT’s The Librarians has decided to get weirder and have even more fun.

Season 4, which kicks off Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET, sends our intrepid crew tumbling into deeper sci-fi adventures, some of which feel like they could have been lifted from 1950s drive-in movie flicks.

That’s not an insult. For one thing, the special effects are better. But some of the adventures themselves feel like the writers said to each other, “What’s the wackiest thing we can do?”

At the same time, while The Librarians team usually corrals a couple of bad guys in each episode, they never stop facing a broader long-term threat.

And what is that threat? Glad you asked.

Our heroes are a small, ultra-dedicated group of strange and brilliant people who guard The Library, a repository of the most important and often most potentially dangerous materials and inventions from human history. Like the H.G. Wells Time Machine.

Because many of the artifacts have magical powers, they are in great demand by those who would use those powers for evil, and that’s precisely what happens again in the first episode of Season 4.

Guest star John Noble (left), who has credentials in the sci-fi world from his time on Fringe, plays an evil genius (Monsignor Vega) who wants to destroy the Library because it contains too much knowledge.

Vega hails from a religious group formed in the 17th century to fight against the Age of Enlightenment, and its mission has not changed. People know too much, he explains. It confuses them. Remove this knowledge, and they will revert to embracing, say, him.

You might notice here an unsubtle allusion to the anti-science forces in our real-life society these days. Don’t believe science, they say. Just trust us to tell you what to think.

The Librarians are still led by Jenkins (John Larroquette, top). The core team includes Colonel Eve Baird (Rebecca Romijn, below), Jacob Stone (Christian Kane, top), Ezekiel Jones (John Harlan Kim, top) and Cassandra Cillian (Lindy Booth, top),

They all have quirks too numerous to count, and those only increase when they’re joined by Flynn Carsen (Noah Wyle, left), who starred in the original Librarians movies and now drops in from time-to-time. Wyle will also do some directing this season.

Carsen plays a central role in the first episode, because he and Baird have agreed to become “tethered,” which means they promise to protect the Library together for the rest of eternity.

That’s a significant commitment. It’s also essential for the continuation of the Library’s mission since it must have a tethered couple as its anchors.

Things get complicated when the episode’s bad guys show up, and further complicated when Carsen runs into an old flame. In the Library game, “old” really means that. She’s been waiting something like 500 years.

It all gets a little fanciful. At this point, though, the writers know how to explain things so the show doesn’t devolve into a video game.

The Librarians remains close kin to Syfy’s late lamented Warehouse 13, and that’s a compliment. It has its own style, its own humor, and its own characters, but it’s hard not to notice that both shows have their heroes protecting the magical powers found in the crucial artifacts of human history.

It sounds simple enough. All it requires is a good action-adventure-sci-fi-comedy-drama.

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