The Librarians: Do we need them?

I liked the Librarian films. They had a certain lazy Sunday afternoon movie feel about them, like the young Indiana Jones movies. But a series?

I’ve just watched the first double bill pilot of the Librarians and I have my reservations, the biggest of which is everyone looks like they are have been signed up out of charity.

Noah Wyle looks more and more like his Falling Skies character and less and less like the reckless and excited librarian from the films. Rebecca Romijn is a shadow of her former fashion model/Mystique self. Did you see her in Brian De Palama’s Femme Fatale? It can’t be the same woman in The Librarians.

I love but Bob Newhart and his appearance is the mirror just fills me with sadness. I had to watch Elf twice just to wipe the tears from my eyes (ok, tears is a little much). John Larroquette and Matt Fewer look like walking talking reruns of their previous roles. The only actor that looks like he is actually present is Christian Kane and his character looks two-dimensional in comparison to the edger and tormented Eliot from Leverage.

The cast aside, I can’t help thinking that since the Librarian films started ten years ago there have been so many series with much stronger casts, better production values and more original storylines (next week it is the minotaur). Five years ago, this would have been great, now I think it is time to catch up on reruns of Warehouse 13.

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43 thoughts on “The Librarians: Do we need them?

  1. I’ve never seen the films, which is one of the reasons why this never made it from my “I should check this out” list and onto my “actually checking this out” list. Did you stick with it, or did you drop it after this episode? Is it in continuity with the films, or a reboot?

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    1. I stuck with it and it moves along rather briskly. Big attempts are made in character development without actually developing the characters. There is some originality in the application of essentially overdone stories. The series holds continuity with the films, but ignores the successive love interests that appeared in the films. I would put it above Forever, even though Forever has a more sophisticated feel.

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      1. I think it’ll stay on the list for a good while, then. I see you mentioned “Leverage”, for instance, that’s one I’ve never found time to check out. Also high on my list of things I wish I’d taken time to check out is “Friday Night Lights”, “The IT Crowd”, “The Good Wife”, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”, “Scandal”, “Copper”, “Hell on Wheels”, “The Killing”, “Jeeves and Wooster”, “Yes, Minister”, “The Walking Dead”, “Sports Night” and possibly “Person of Interest”, though the latter sounds like it might be a touch too procedural for my tastes. (I know this seems like a lot, but my actual list has hundreds of titles, these are just the ones off the top of my head that I keep wishing I’d gotten around to … I might have a teensy problem.)

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      2. It is possible you have a problem and you may want to seek help. Have you tired watching two shows at once? I reckon you could double up similar shows like Yes Minister and Jeeves and Wooster and get through twice as fast. But I guess that defeats the purpose of enjoying them. Oh well.

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      3. Alas, no. I basically have three tiers of show — shows I watch with full attention, shows I can do minor stuff like eating supper or lunch with, and shows I try to multitask during (though I often end up missing five to ten minutes at a time when whatever I’m doing gets noisy or too demanding of my attention — so no, two shows at once wouldn’t work …). The latter two categories would be the ones I’m mostly sticking with for the sake of sticking with them, because I like one character or one subplot or because it used to be good three seasons ago. So those I could cut fairly easily. But the rest, I’d be needing the nice people in white lab coats to come and tear me away from. :\

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      4. I like your system and it sounds like it makes it easier to distinguish the ones that are important. I think a lot of shows depend on a mindless sense of commitment with very little effort to provide quality. When there were less new shows and fewer channels, that might have been ok. Now, with so many choices, I think quality should be prized more highly than it seems to be.

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      5. I agree. The bar has also been raised a lot. Fifteen to twenty years ago, the very best shows at the forefront of the medium would be stuff like “X-Files”, “West Wing”, “Babylon 5” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. Now don’t get me wrong, all three of those shows I’ve seen (I never saw X-Files, due to said feelings about horror) hold up exceedingly well in a lot of ways, but they’re all highly dependent on standalone episode plots and the like. They were not trying to be great in the way stuff like “Breaking Bad” or “Deadwood” later did.

        So a lot of the shows I’m watching that I’m less crazy about would be shows I would have LOVED in the late nineties. They would have stood out as incredibly ballsy and creative and with captivating arcs that took up maybe even HALF of each episode. Now, the glaringly obvious and trite episodic plots that take up half of each episodes in order to make them approachable to casual viewers, that just makes them stand out the other way. I’m talking about shows like “Arrow”, first season of “SHIELD”, “Chuck”, “Reaper”, “Grimm” — these’d all be incredibly great shows in the nineties. In, shall we say the post-“Sopranos” world, though, they just don’t measure up. (I love HBO’s “Oz” and realise it predated “Sopranos”, but it’s not the one usually cited with the huge influence on modern TV, so I’ll stick to the traditional show to mention). I still stick with them, becuse some part of me remembers how good this show and that show is by the metrics I once grew up with. And because sometimes (like with “SHIELD”, and I think likely with “Gotham”), they can grow and become something very good, and I want to make sure I don’t miss out if they do.

        “Librarians” sounds like a show of this type — one I’ll enjoy, but won’t love. It’s made 20 years too late for that.

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      6. Precise and insightful. I couldn’t agree more. Although I have to say I loved X files. At the time it was new and inventive, now there are so many shows attempting to do the same thing and only a few manage it. What is even more unfortunate is the volume of shows mean some of the more innovative shows get less viewers and are dropped much quicker than would have happened in the 90s.

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      7. That is definitely true, but on the other hand, the volume of shows now do mean a lot more stuff sees light of day in the first place. There are upsides and downsides to everything.

        Everyone I’ve ever talked to about it says “X Files” were great. I think it’d be too episodic and stagnant for my 2015-tastes, though, so combined with the horror-angle, I doubt I’ll ever get around to it. Even though they’re doing a follow-up now — was it a miniseries they just announced? Since I never watched the show I didn’t read the details, but I think that’s what it was. Same year as “Twin Peaks” is getting a continuation, too, and just a couple of years after “Dallas” did. I’m kind of amused at this modern day mining of the big name TV days of yore.

        I think it’s fun and gratifying to hear you agree with my thoughts on this, it’s fun to try to articulate these kinds of opinions instead of just having them half-formed at the back of one’s mind.

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      8. I can’t say that I have or would revisit X-Files. I watched the films (did they do two?) and that put off. I agree that now the stories would no longer have the kind of impact they did then. Half the original premise was that no one believed Mulder and the audience was initial in the sceptical Scully category. Now, after so many great shows (a quite a few terrible shows) dealing with the unusual as a central theme (I am thinking of Fringe which I have rewatched and continue to enjoy) the approach of X-File would have to be completely different.

        Twin Peaks is a show I am looking forward to. You could probably just make an entire series that tried to explain the first series and still have no covered half the material. And to think there was a whole series, possibly more like a soap opera, that centred around a single crime (initially).

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      9. I’m afraid “Fringe” never really caught on with me. I first dropped it in season 2, then (after hearing encouraging word of mouth) caught back up on it, and stuck with it through the end. I loved several of the characters (Walter most especially), but the stories were far too procedural on the whole, and the arcs there were got dragged out much too far. The slow pace of the Bigger Plots and Mysteries often made their conclusions blatantly obvious from early on, so by the time we actually got to reveals like Peter being a parallell universe kid, I’d sussed that out an entire year in advance. Now mind you, the notions and the stories in themselves weren’t bad. The twist would have been a great one had it been delivered in episode 3 when it would still have just been a slight suspiscion at the back of my mind, rather than a “oh, get on with it” plot point I’d been waiting for since time immemorial. In the end, a decent enough show, but not one I’d ever rewatch. Given the chance to do it over, I’d probably have stuck with my decision to stop in the early second season and watched something else instead.

        “Twin Peaks” is a bit on the other end of the spectrum — a tad too artsy for me. I couldn’t get through the “Fire Walk with Me” film, but I did see the entire show, and for the most part, I enjoyed it. I’m unsure if I’ll check out the new continuation, though. I’m intererested enough to want to see it, but not interested enough to rewatch the original series first, and without such a rewatch, I worry I won’t be able to make heads or tails of anything. (I have a lously memory). Do let me know what you think if and when you check the new stuff out!

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      10. If it were just up to Olivia and Peter, there is no way I would have watched anything beyond the first episode. Walter is Fringe in so many many ways. I agree after the second season things did get shakey. It felt like they hadn’t realised they were doing a series and needed to quickly find a plot. It was Walter and the amazing John Noble (currently doing a good job holding my attention in Sleepy Hollow) who made me continue and still makes me love the show.
        I don’t even remember watching the Twin Peaks film. I am going to be interested, but it is going to need to hook me in pretty quickly if it expects me to watch.

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      11. John Noble is fantastic, and he is why we ended up never giving up on “Fringe” (even though we probably should have) and he’s honestly the only reason I’ve not given up on Sleepy Hollow. I really like the man-out-of-time banter, but that was the only other thing the show had going for it (except Clancy Brown’s character which of course died in the pilot) until Noble showed up. I’m currently almost an entire season behind, though, so I might still drop it.

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      12. We have found a couple of other eye candy attractions in Sleepy Hollow, but I won’t share the more sordid side of our television watching. It was a shame about Clancy brown, but you never know they could bring him back.

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      13. There are pretty people on every TV show, so that doesn’t really stand out as a reason to me for anything, I’m afraid.

        They’ve been using Brown here and there, wasn’t there some tapes or something at one point? And a flashback or two? But yes, one can hope.

        Clancy Brown aside, since I take it you’ve seen season 2, should I stick with it? Does it improve upon season 1? I found season 1 got quite a lot better in the last 3-4 episodes, so if it continues that trend …

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      14. I didn’t say pretty people was a good reason, but it can help. I think they are making serious efforts to explore the tensions between the characters and the growing web of relationships while also doing a reasonable job of coming up with newish threats. We haven’t got through much of the second season. I’d put it alongside Grimm.

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      15. That’s helpful. “Grimm” is one of the first shows I’d cut from my watchlist if I needed to cut down on it, and it’s also a show I personally feel “Sleepy Hollow” is about on par with, so a second opinion saying the same is reassuring. In that case, I’ll stick to my current plan: Catch up if and when I have time, but not make a particular priority of it.

        That said, “Grimm” has improved immensely the last season or so. The boring episodic plots are almost gone, the idiotic “let’s introduce a new Wessen every week rather than ever reuse any” thing is absolutely gone, and the arcs are genuinely interesting now. Also, they’re starting to make up for the leading man being oh-so-boring by giving more interesting things to do to the genuinely fun characters (like Monroe, Rosalie, Renard and — which always surprised me, as token love interests so rarely are engaging anywhere — Juliet).

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      16. I think I managed one or two episodes of Grimm before I forgot to watch. Given your comparison, looks like Sleepy Hollow will stay on the roster and Grimm can be the reserve sitting on the bench who never gets to play.
        I have to admit liking the literary reference for Sleepy Hollow (despite the fact it plays no part in the show at all) and the Johnny Depp film. Terrible though the film was, it is one of those guilty and generally meaningless pleasures.

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      17. “Grimm” has gotten very slowly but very steadily better every season. By now, the boring episodic plots are taking up less than a third of most episodes, while arcs and reasonably interesting character plots are holding the spotlight. In the first season, you were lucky if five minutes of the episode was long-term relevant. These days, it’s almost inverted. It’s still not a great show, but by now it’s certainly as good as “Sleepy Hollow” was towards the end of season 1. Maybe even a touch better. Of course, it took it way too long to get there, but hey, at least it has improved in time. Not all shows do.

        I’ve neither read “Sleepy Hollow” nor seen the Depp film, so my relationship to the concept is mostly via that old Disney cartoon about it. But I enjoy the references to the American revolution, I like the man-out-of-time-stuff (as mentioned), the dialogue is occasionally fairly entertaining on the show, and when done well, I like the apocalyptic theology and demonology stuff. So there’s plenty of things going for it, even if as a whole I remain not all that whelmed.

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      18. The original Sleepy Hollow story is a novella by Washington Irving bearing little resemblance despite the names of a couple of characters to either the Johnny Depp film or the current TV show. However, the Irving story is a classic of 19th century fiction. A classic in the ‘enjoyable read sense’ rather than the ‘it is a old and everyone is made to read it’ sense.
        I think the combination of history, demons, magic, action work well in the show and I’ll keep watching. However, unlike shows of old, they are likely to have to make good on the apocalypse soon. Afterwards, I’m less certain.

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      19. I’d love to hear what you think of “Valhalla”, if you can track some down to read. As mentioned, the artwork changes (in my opinion improves) substantially after the first two volumes, and the first volume in particular is a bit on the weaker side story- and humour-wise as well, but other than that I think the series is really, really great. It was very formative to me as a child, though — I mean, look at my online nick, for gods’ sake — so I’m unsure how it would read to an adult coming at it with eyes unbiased by nostalgia.

        Very interesting to hear what you grew up with as well. I realise I failed to point out my age at the various points, so here’s some age context: Basically I read Donald Duck comics from I was old enough to read anything, and didn’t slow down until I was in my mid-teens. Since, I still buy the occasional hardcover collection or TPB special if they look interesting, but I ceased buying the regular weekly and monthly comics, and don’t really reread my extensive childhood Disney comic collection much anymore either. Conan and the Phantom (and what tiny amounts of other things I laid my hands on) I read in my pre-teens and early teens, I was 15 in the year 2000, so superhero comics then came in during my late teens and replaced Conan and the Phantom in what I was reading. When the Norwegian superhero publications started dying around when I was 19-20, I’d started getting into buying untranslated English language graphic novels and TPB collections (V for Vendetta, Watchmen, Bone, Dark Knight Returns, Identity Crisis and Long Halloween were among the first, I think) to compensate for the disappearing titles, and I also subscribed to the original “52” and some Batman comics that were coming out those days. Subscriptions got needlessly expensive, though (I had to do it through a specialized comic book shop), and around 2006 I stopped buying single issues entirely. Since I’ve only bought TPBs.

        I agree Batman stuff is usually good, I think they put a lot of effort into making sure they always have good writers, knowing he’s their flagship character. There’s always stuff that could be better, of course (I’m really, really tired of DC’s continuous rebooting), and I must admit that Morrison’s convoluted stuff is hit-and-miss with me (I usually love some aspects of it and dislike others).

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      20. Now Valhalla is on the radar, I’ll see if I can’t find myself a couple of copies and carve out some reading time. I love Norse mythology so I am looking forward to it.

        I’m not too bothered about the rebooting. Marvel do it just as much and I think it is almost inevitable when you have so many writers working on the same characters. Inevitably, you are going to find someone who wants to do something different or having take one character in one direction and another in another direction, you end with contradiction.

        If they can reinvent characters and give us new stories I am all for it. I think the problem is when they try and reinvent everything while keeping some things the same. So after Flashpoint they had to keep some Batman the same because of what Morrison was doing and I don’t think it worked. Then there was the commitment Batman Incorporated storyline which felt more miss that hit but ending with the death of Damien screwed over Batman stories.

        There is definitely something to be said for the trade paperbacks. It was my gateway into hardcore comic reading. I haven’t kicked the habit, but I have it uncontrolled. And no, I can’t quit, not now, not later. But it is expensive. I’ve been reading Batman Eternal. I have been enjoying some of the storylines and a sense of the interlocking stories (reminds me of Gotham Underworld), but I flinch every time I go to the comic shop and they ring up all my issues. I guess it is motivation to go to work, maybe?

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      21. “Valhalla” is very faithful to Norse mythology. They make some adjustments (Loki’s made a bachelor by not mentioning his very anonymous wife from the myths, for instance, as they thought he’d be funnier that way) and obviously personalities are heighened for humour (Odin is wise and generally benevolent, yes, but he’s also womanizing, greedy and aloof, and a borderline megalomaniac), but the plots are more or less lifted directly from the myths. Sometimes they combine or abbreviate, sometimes they expand, but out of fifteen albums, only one is entirely invented by them (centring around a bet Loki makes that he can raise a difficult troll kid invented specifically for the comic). And even that one forms the first half of a two-part story, where the second half is one of the most famous Norse myths there is. There’s an ok-but-not-great animated movie out there that bases itself primarily on those two volumes, which is probably why they invented new stuff for one of them and nowhere else. It’s decent, and the animation is quite nice, but the plotting and humour is far inferior to the comics. You can find the whole thing on YouTube, though, if you want to take a gander.

        I don’t feel Marvel reboots like DC does. Well, in recent years, sure, and it bothers me there too, but not traditionally. They’ll have had minor reboots of individual characters and alternate time lines like the “Ultimate” imprint, but what bothers me with DC is the inevitable “crisis” that happens every few years, takes up an immense amount of issues with usually fairly sub par stories, and then they “reset”. However, the “reset” isn’t really a reset at all. The crisis itself is still in continuity, and inevitably, some characters remember it, were unscathed by it, come from a different dimension, or whatever, and then the continuity immediately gets MORE complicated, not less.

        Not to mention how they always want all the big iconic stories of the past to stay in continuity. So Batman reboots, but “Killing Joke”, “Year One”, “The Long Halloween”, “Hush”, “A Death in the Family”, they all stay in continuity because doing otherwise would annoy regular readers an alienate casual readers. So they go “hey, let’s make Batman young again”, and then imply a 20 year publishing history as having happened in the 2 or 3 years he’s been Batman. Meaning Nightwing is still Nightwing, but somehow has done all of his adventuring with Batman as Robin already, had time to be replaced with Todd, who died, replaced by Drake, who left, replaced by Damian, who died, and somehow Batman operated as a lone wolf for a while before any of the Robins came around as well. And then with every new arc they make, more references to backstory is made, and more references to other old arcs (like “No Man’s Land”, or Bane breaking Batman’s back) shows up, and the notion that Batman is young has to be put aside because obviously, he’s been around for at least a decade, and then the continuity is so mired down that they start thinking of a reboot again. Urgh. I assume it’s less chaotic with less iconic characters, but Batman’s the one I read, so this is my impression of it all.

        I can relate to that experience of them ringing up all your issues, but I’m glad I stopped doing that. It’s much better to cherry-pick TPBs after the fact than to read (and pay for) it all blindly up front. Plus, TPBs look a lot nicer in the shelves.

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      22. Occasionally I have to remind myself that I am reading comics because they are fun and exciting and not because they are part of some larger mythology. As you suggested, the larger mythology can support and enrich the stories (like your description of Valhalla), but ultimately the stories are important and can be changed according to what is relevant (the troll invented for the Loki story you mentioned).
        I like the sense that the Batman stories are supported by the various different back stories and of course are going to be influenced by the previous stories, but when it comes down to it, the stories lives or fails on its own merits. Comics were the most disposable of stories when they were first created. Sometimes you can feel the pages falling apart in your hands. It is ironically the success of stories that have made it difficult to totally throw yourself into the stories and have seen various publishers attempting to recreate the success of the old stories without undermining them.
        What I do when it all gets too frustrating is try to remind myself of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s concept of the Suspension of disbelief. Am I willing to totally disregard everything else when I am reading the story or watching the show? Do I feeling interested and excited? Am I scared and apprehensive for the character? Am I afraid something bad will happen? Do I willfully forget the conditions of the real word and live in the excitement of the story? If the answer is yes then I have experienced the suspension of disbelief and the story has been successful.

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    2. That’s pretty much how I feel about stories, too, and when constant half-reboots are happening, I never know what, exactly has and hasn’t come before. So I’m frequently brought out of the story by finding myself musing whether something is or isn’t part of the current backstory and whether I should or should not be reading things into what’s currently going on based on that. I love a complex mythology as much as (or more than) the next guy, but I need to know what is and what isn’t part of the canon to properly immerse myself in any story. Otherwise the metatextual questions become too many, too fast, and distract me from the story. No matter how good it is on its own merits, that’s never ideal.

      “Valhalla” is a bit different from “Batman” and other sprawling superhero properties on this, though, in part because we’re talking literal mythology there, not figurative. Most myths are fairly standalone by nature, so the continuity from one myth to the next (and therefore, one album to the next in the comic adaptation) is fairly minimal, with a couple of exceptions. Again, it’s more like “Asterix” or “Lucky Luke” where continuation of and reference to earlier albums do happen, but is the exception rather than the norm.

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  2. Today’s a good example of my way-too-extensive TV habits, by the way:
    * I watched yesterday’s “The Daily Show” with lunch.
    * I watched half an episode of “Marco Polo” because we were having leftovers for dinner, and I had 20 minutes of free time from finishing work before my wife came home.
    * We watched “Arrow” while having supper.
    * After going for a walk, we relaxed with “Fortitude” and then “The Americans”, picking heavier show to watch early in the evening.
    * I then caught up on some work emails, took a shower, and then we watched “Elementary”, which is a fairly lightweight show that’s good for winding down in the evening.
    * Normally, we’d then either listen to a podcast or watch a sitcom or a “Samurai Jack” before bed, but it was somehow a bit earlier than usual, so we ended up watching an episode of “The Blacklist” instead to fill forty minutes rather than just twenty, even though that show’s borderline heavier fare for right before bed than we usually see.

    And then I came here and responded to your comments, and now I’m going to bed. 😀 I hope you enjoyed this appalling window into how much of my life I waste staring at a screen.

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    1. You are a brave soul. Throwing that out there for all to see. I don’t think I could do the same.
      I like the Daily Show in there. With The Americans (great show), Fortitude, Arrow and Blacklist I might have concerns for your ability to see the value in continuing. We often sit down and just need a laugh. Something funny, stupid and generally disposal to break up the serious drama and death. At the moment we are enjoying Brooklyn 99.

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      1. Brooklyn 99 is really good. Sliiightly short on the substance, perhaps, but it’s incredibly funny, and holds a very high standard from episode to episode. Definitely one of the best sitcoms out there these days.

        Daily Show is mostly to stay up to date on current events — it’s funny, but not so funny I couldn’t skip it if the comedy was why I saw it. Of course, it doesn’t really work, as I live in Norway and so don’t absorb any relevant local news this way at all. But it’s daily (obviously) and 20 minutes is just right for lunch. So I end up sticking with it.

        The Blacklist is really, really good for a procedural network show. James Spader has always had an incredible presence (I mean, he even made his caracter on “The Office” magnetic), and this is him in the the kind of over-the-top arch-manipulator role that I love seeing played out. The episode-by-episode plots can at time be a tad trite, but overall the show is one of the very best non-cable dramas I watch.

        Fortitude we’re still on the fence about. The forensic expert from the UK who arrived late in episode 2 really breathes a lot of life into the show, though, so for now we’ve been sticking with it. Quite intrigued by the sheriff, too, I’m honestly perplexed as to whether he’s a villain or a good guy with some bad secrets. We might drop that show, but right now I’m leaning against keeping it. I kind of want to know what’s going on.

        Arrow I quite enjoy. It’s not in the league of any of the other shows we saw that day, not even Fortitude, but that’s why it’s dinner entertainment and the others are stuff I sit down to watch with focus and no distractions. With Arrow, I can follow while half looking at my plate, half at the screen. As mentioned previously, the show has gotten a lot better as it has built its mythology season by season, as well. I love John Barrowman’s Merlyn, for instance, and he’s been made a regular this season. Just generally feels like a show on a slow but steady trajectory where it gets better and better.

        As for my bravery, I don’t know about that, I’m blogging under a pseudonym, after all?

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      2. What your real name isn’t Loki? Next thing you are going to tell me is you don’t actually watch any television and all your comments are drawn from Wikipedia.

        Brooklyn 99 is a little vacant, but sometimes we need vacant. The Daily Show has been and continues to be great. No questions. I like James Spader from Pretty in Pink to Stargate to Secretary to Boston Legal. I am looking forward to Age of Ultron and I think it is a shame he is only there in voice. We haven’t got around to Fortitude, there are a couple of other shows ahead of it in the line. Arrow we like, but not as much as Gotham.

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      3. “Brooklyn 99 is a little vacant, but sometimes we need vacant.”
        Agreed. I just mean I could care more about the characters and their stories than I do. Other shows are able to be equally funny, but make me care (like “Modern Family” or “Parks and Recreation”). That said, it’s a minor quibble, the show’s really, really great.

        “The Daily Show has been and continues to be great. No questions.”
        I won’t argue that, I think what it does is fantastic and incredibly important.

        “I like James Spader from Pretty in Pink to Stargate to Secretary to Boston Legal.”
        Not seen Pretty in Pink or Secretary, but agreed on those other two points. As I said, I love the guy, and he’s awesome on Blacklist, too.

        “I am looking forward to Age of Ultron and I think it is a shame he is only there in voice.”
        He’s doing motion capture as well, so … yay? ^^ And as both a huge Whedon-fan and a MCU fan alike, I have a million reasons to look forward to Age of Ultron. Spader not being an insignificant part of it. That voice, my God, man.

        “We haven’t got around to Fortitude, there are a couple of other shows ahead of it in the line.”
        No reason to hurry, it’s so far showing some potential, but it’s nothing special as of yet. I’ll do a minireview once the first season wraps, so if you keep an eye on my weblog in a couple of months, there should show up a little post about it then. Unless we drop it, of course.

        “Arrow we like, but not as much as Gotham.”
        No argument there, either. “Arrow” is comparatively light fare, but as you said about B99, sometimes we need a little light fare.

        “What your real name isn’t Loki? Next thing you are going to tell me is you don’t actually watch any television and all your comments are drawn from Wikipedia.”
        Error. Error. Spambot does not compute. Revert to original programming bleep bleep bleeeeeeeeeeeewould you be interested in some great savings on housing loans? I turned my life around with just four easy steps!

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      4. I could turn anyone’s life around in four steps and a large non-refundable cash deposit, but I don’t think they’d like the direction it’d be turned in.

        Yeah, Loki’s a pseudonym. The Norse deity I always identified with the most was actually Odin, but as a teenager first venturing online and needing a pseudonym, I chickened out of “Odin” because a) using a godking as a nickname seemed oddly braggy and self-important, and I was very shy, and b) because ‘Odin’, while not particularly common, is still a reasonably in-use name in Norway and might be accidentally mistaken as a real name, while ‘Loke’ is quite rare as a real name and likely would not. And I picked Loki because he was obviously the most fun one and my other favourite, and it generally seemed less braggy, somehow. In hindsight, that was clearly all in my head, but after a couple of decades of self-identifying with the nickname, it’s not going to go anywhere now.

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      5. I always used to prefer Loki to Thor, even with that crazy green and yellow outfit. Thor always seem too serious.
        Odin would have been good, but I agree with the pretentious sense of self-importance it implies.
        Either way, is it not making some suggestions about geographical origin?

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      6. I’ll look forward to your Fortitude review. It seems like I should like it, but I am not sure I want to. There is something a little wannabe Nordic Noir for me to commit to it, but maybe the full on Hollywood treatment might be good for it?

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      7. Miller’s “Ronin” (like any of Miller’s stuff) is very dark and noir, Madsen’s “Valhalla” is neither of those things. Here are the first nine volumes (out of 15 total) in English translation. Be aware that the artwork quality improves drastically between volumes 2 and 3 and then stays much improved (starting volume 3, the interior art matches the style on the covers). I don’t know if these links still work, as this upload is old, but at least it should give you an idea what to look for if you want to check it out: http://mycomicpost.com/?p=44680 They’re basically fairly faithful retellings of the most famous Norse myths, but with a humorous tilt.

        I never got properly into the X-men comics — I’ve read quite a few, but I guess the cast was too big and varied for it to ever establish itself as a set group of characters I cared about. The movies aside, I mean. The closest any X-comics got to sticking with me were the early “Ultimate X-Men” volumes. And perhaps a few individual famous arcs I checked out in TPB, like “Days of Future Past”, “Old Man Logan”, “Astonishing X-Men” and the like.

        “Fantastic Four” was only published over here by the same tiny publishing house that tried its hand on “Thor”, and disappeared as quickly. So my only relationship to them is from crossovers in animated shows I saw as a kid (like the 90s Spider-Man cartoon), the occasional appearance in big comics events or crossovers, and of course the two meh films. Unlike “Thor”, I’ve never had a particular urge to rectify this, so I think this is one where I’ll stay fairly illiterate forever. Can’t read (or even plan to read) everything.

        The comics I grew up with were primarily Disney comics, simply because those were everywhere (Barks and Don Rosa, for instance, are HUGE in Norway), any given grocery shop will have at least five different Donald Duck-themed comics for sale at any given week. This was supported mainly by French/Belgian albums like Asterix and Lucky Luke, and the mentioned Valhalla. American superhero comics have come and gone in waves in Norway, and my childhood happened to be between waves, so while my father read The Flash, Daredevil, Batman, Justice League, and the like growing up, I only read the couple of old comics he still had laying around. The closest we got to superheroics in mainstream grocery shops and kiosks (Norway doesn’t have “comic book shops” — well, we do now, but only in the biggest cities, and only for imported English language stuff — I don’t know where you’re from, so if you’re, like, Swedish or something and this all comes off as stupidly obvious information, my apologies) were “The Phantom”, a pretty big character in Europe (my understanding is we have a different publication history than they do overseas, where the character is more violent and Punisher-y) which I read for a while until a story freaked me out and made me get rid of my collection (I was an easily scard child). I’ve rectified that in recent years and am buying some hardcover collections to get back into it now. The other non-comedy comic easily available anywhere that I liked was “Conan the Barbarian”, which attracted me due to my like fo the fantasy genre and the lack of anything else out there with dragons and wizard making occasional appearances.

        Superheo comics only came back here in the early 2000s, as mentioned, and when they did, I religiously bought _everything_ until they went off the market again due to low sales 2-3 years later. That’s how I got into superhero comics, though, so I’m grateful for it, as I kept buying comics in English to continue some of the arcs I’d started in translation. Of course, they tried to select only the best stuff for translation, so I got some very good stuff, no wonder it converted me. It’s how I read “Batman: HUSH”, the beginnings of “The Ultimates” and “Ultimate X-Men”, what little I’ve read of Fantastic Four and Thor, “Superman: Red Son”, the first arc of “Punisher War Zone”, etc. I mainly kept going with Batman in English, though — I quickly decided I liked Batman best, anything Marvel second, and anything non-Batman from DC a distant third — I always figured I’d branch out once I’d satisfied myself with the biggest Batman stories, but the Batman output is so huge (at least when considering all the spinoff characters), seems like there’s always more to read.

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      8. Eye opening. Thanks. You don’t really think about how different the childhood experiences of fiction are in different countries. When you are kid there is very little scope of thinking outside your own little box. With the more global view and American domination of most media markets, you just take for granted that all resources are available to all.

        The Valhalla comics look crazy. I will definitely be looking to read those.

        I read Fantastic Four as a kid and very much consider it the kid version of comics. Similarly the two Fantastic Four films are good kids films (the new Fantastic Four looks like it is trying to hit the teen market a little more). I read Batman, because he was well Batman, but late 80s and 90s he got grim and serious and that was even better. There is a great Alan Grant/Norm Breyfogle four issue Clayface story that is one of the most memorable comics from my preteen reading.

        I had a big X-Men thing in the 90s. It was when Wolverine was really taking hold. The original team was getting broken up and new characters like Gambit were being introduced. Some really good stories there, but it didn’t last and there ended up with too many characters. I liked when they weren’t all kids in the school and were all over the world getting involved in everything. As the 90s pushed on it became very closed and I haven’t read much X-men since.

        The Batman comics over the last few years have been crazy. There have branched out, pulled them in and branched out again. I like the variety, but most of all I love knowing I can rely on Detective Comics and batman. Whatever else happens, they put out consistently good stories.

        God bless Batman.

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    2. “Thor” comics have (ironically) almost never been translated to Norwegian, so my knowledge of those even existing was sketchy at best back when I picked the nickname. So it was based primarily on the mythological characters, not the Marvel incarnations. Though I’d agree with your impressions of those, now that I’m older and have read some of that, too.

      “Fortitude” is definitely a bit wannabe Nordic Noir. It remains to be seen how successful it ends up being at pulling it off. Depends largely on how good the mysteries (and their eventual explanations) end up being, I think.

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      1. Ok, so that is pretty surprising and at the same time, I can see the logic. Why bother bringing in the character if he essentially already exists?
        Thanks for the insight into Fortitude, I’ll keep on the maybe list for a little while longer.

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      2. We have some good Danish comics about the Norse gods, which I grew up with, though they’re humour-focused (action comedy albums in the vein of Asterix or Lucky Luke). Perhaps our modest market was considered saturated with one Norse gods themed comic and didn’t need two. One of those albums actually had an homage to the Warriors Three (who aren’t in the actual myths), where Baldur, Loki and Thor get dressed up as mortal warriors that look suspiscously like the Warriors Three — that recognition of “hey, they’re totally referencing something here!” was basically my only real knowledge of the Marvel characters existing for quite a while. But then there were a few years in the early 2000s when they published a couple of Marvel’s Thor arcs, trying to cash in on the heightened popularity of superheroes after the Spider-Man and X-Men successes in theatres. So — trying to support the effort of the translations — I bought and read that, and a couple of Thor appearances in the Avengers. That’s about it, though, and those quickly died from low sales. And since, well, there are oceans of quality comics out there, and I just never got around to prioritising catching up on Thor.

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      3. I bet there are some great Danish comic about Norse Gods. I imagine them (I’m not sure why) like Miller’s Ronin comics but with mystical weapons. Overactive imagination?
        Asterix and Lucky Luke were great and I wouldn’t worry, I never got around to Thor. I was a big X-Man and Fantastic Four fan. And, of course, Batman. I always felt Thor was a Silver Age hero who never made the transition as well as some of the other heroes.

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