Like the USA and FX networks, TNT (Turner Network Televsion) is rapidly stealing viewers away from the broadcast networks by providing superior entertainment programs that occupy a very fertile middle ground between least-common-denominator network programming and overly edgy (to the point of being often vulgar and annoying) pay-cable programs. As a result, these channels are providing programs that are not only among the very best in quality but also among the most entertaining, enjoyable, and positively edifying on TV today.
TNT, for example, has presented The Closer, Saving Grace, and Raising the Bar, all of which are of very high quality and stand for sound values not as effectively promulgated on most major networks and in fact openly undermined on a regular basis on ABC and NBC.
In addition, these three cab/sat networks are very smart about going from strength to strength, building new series that capture the successful elements of their previous successes and following up successful TV movies with equally strong sequels.
Thus it shouldn’t surprise us that TNT is presenting another installment in its successful Librarian series of TV movies this Sunday.
The films are strong examples of the theme, noted in earlier TAC articles, about how movies and TV programs are increasingly showing that Knowledge Is Power (see also here and here), showing that not all heroes have to be physically powerful mesomorphs and achive justice through he use of force. There is a powerful and positive trend in popular culture (since the 9/11 attacks, as it happens) showing that knowledge and intellect can defeat evil, and that such an approach is in fact to be preferred.
A film series with a librarian as its hero obviously fits in with such approach while keeping a suitably tongue in cheek approach in order not to be ponderous in its expression of these values.
This theme of knowledge creating power without physical force also has strong religious implications, and the films in the Librarian series suggest this aspect through the use of supernatural elements.
Another highly enjoyable aspect of the Librarian series is the cast. Noah Wyle (ER) portrays the protagonist with just the right mix of courage, cleverness, and vulnerabilty, and Bob Newhart is a particular delight as his mentor. Also in the cast are Jane Curtin (Saturday Night Live, Kate and Allie), and Olympia Dukakis. In addition, each episode includes interesting guest actors such as Kyle McLachlan, Kelly Hu, Gabrielle Anwar, and Robert Foxworth.
If you haven’t seen the first two installments of the series, you should, and you should watch the premiere of the lastest one, The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice, tonight at 8 EST, and then go back and watch the others.
For more information on the Librarian series, visit TNT’s Librarian page.