I'd heard, vaguely, of this series, and thought I might enjoy it - and last week I decided to send off for the first season on DVD. I'd seen it described as a cross between Doctor Who and Indiana Jones, which are fairly high bars to clear - but the first two episodes were just glorious fun!
The first two episodes set up what's to come - there's a marvellous magical library, stuffed with magical artefacts, and run by The Librarian. Like the Slayer, there is only ever one Librarian, because that's the way it's always been done.
But now someone is murdering people who were runners up to be the latest Librarian, and the present Librarian is in a race against time to find the others on the list before they are murdered too. And the Library has contacted a counter-terrorist Colonel to be, basically, the Librarian's bodyguard, or Guardian. Librarians tend to die quite often.
So, the team is put together - a thief, an oil-rigger who writes books on art history (all these people are incredibly smart - I love a series where the heroes solve their problems with cleverness rather than violence), and a cleaner at a hospital who has a photographic memory - and a brain tumour.
And they're up against the Serpent Brotherhood, led by a man straight out of a Nazi thriller, who wants to bring magic back into the world, under his control.
By the end of the second episode, they have lost the main library, which has become untethered from its portal in Time and Space, and are working from an annexe to the Library underneath a bridge in Oregon, with the reluctant help of the man who was using the Library for research there. The Librarian goes off to try to find a way back into the library (they can access the books, but not get into the space - they must have spent a lot on the main Library set and the special effects to fold it in on itself, and the annexe is obviously cheaper!)
I was having so much fun that I just about forgave them for the Librarian's ignorance of archaeology. IT ISN'T A HENGE that they find in the Black Forest - it's a stone circle that looks like a very fake Stonehenge (honestly, I haven't seen stones that fake looking since the Doctor Who episode The Stones of Blood and that was filmed in the 1970s). A henge is the ditch and bank round the outside of the stone circle at Stonehenge - which is why most people think the word henge relates to the stones. It did give Cassandra a good scene where she worked out the angle of the sun on a certain day to find the magical artefact, with lots of CGI mathematical formulae swirling round her head. Basically, she's Fred from Angel, and I liked Fred from Angel.
And the exhibition of the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London looks nothing like the set they put together either - I've been there.
But it's such fun that I don't really mind - I want to see how the new Librarians get trained, and what the Serpent Brotherhood will do next. And I wasn't expecting to be quite so emotionally involved with Excalibur - the sword really came across as a character in its own right.