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Farm-Fresh balance.pngYMMVTransmit blue.pngRadarWikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotes • (Emoticon happy.pngFunnyHeart.pngHeartwarmingSilk award star gold 3.pngAwesome) • Refridgerator.pngFridgeGroup.pngCharactersScript edit.pngFanfic RecsSkull0.pngNightmare FuelRsz 1rsz 2rsz 1shout-out icon.pngShout OutMagnifier.pngPlotGota icono.pngTear JerkerBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersHelp.pngTriviaWMGFilmRoll-small.pngRecapRainbow.pngHo YayPhoto link.pngImage LinksNyan-Cat-Original.pngMemesHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconicLibrary science symbol .svg SourceSetting

The Librarian films are a surprisingly popular action-adventure/fantasy series of TV movies made for the TNT cable network in the United States. The concept is fairly simple: all the world's greatest and most dangerous treasures (including the literal Goose That Laid the Golden Egg, H. G. Wells' time machine, the Golden Fleece, the Spear of Longinus and the real Mona Lisa - yes folks, the one in the Louvre is apparently a very good fake) are kept in a secret and generally highly secure library, the Metropolitan Public Library (previously the Library at Alexandria, Egypt, but later moved to the United States), and guarded by the world's smartest and most knowledgeable person... known, of course, as The Librarian.

Very light and tongue-in-cheek but with a surprisingly high budget for a TV movie (they're heavy on both stunts and special effects), the movies take the world's biggest geek, and make him into a bumbling but surprisingly capable action hero who must often travel the world in search of secret or stolen treasures, and retrieve them for The Library, which he is also the chief guardian of. Typically the adventures of course feature a large number of traps and other situations that require ridiculously obscure knowledge and good perception in order to beat or bypass... such as figuring out that an arrow-spewing trap is in time to a waltz (causing the hero and heroine to dance their way across the ancient Mayan death trap), or exactly where they are in the gigantic Amazon rain forest based entirely on the fact that they're within view of a particular endangered species of condor's territory (after they escape by parachute from a commercial passenger plane and land in it... which happens right after Carsen figures out how to read an ancient text after translating the long-lost Language of the Birds in a matter of hours in-flight).

The films are, in short, action-adventure comedy that parodies action adventure movies, with the world's biggest nerd as the action hero.

ER veteran Noah Wyle stars as the title character, Carsen, a sort of cute but very geeky boy-next-door who lives with his mother in New York, and is a perpetual student, with over two dozen degrees; precisely why he's offered the job in the first movie. He's accompanied in each movie by a tough-as-nails companion, who's always an attractive woman in a deliberate subversion of the "brawny man, weak woman" stereotype (Carsen himself can't fight worth a damn when it comes to throwing kicks and punches). Due to actresses' schedules (the one who played the bodyguard Nicole Noone in the first movie took a job as a regular cast member on Boston Legal around the same time), the female companion seems to change in every film, from a bodyguard appointed for his first year, to an archaeologist who happened to be searching for the same thing, to a woman that he was drawn to by destiny. This ends up giving the movies a sort of subversion of a Bond Girl who ends up at least as competent as the Librarian at the action.

The first film (subtitled Quest for the Spear) covers the Spear of Longinus. The second (subtitled Return to King Solomon's Mines) covers the lost mines of Solomon, and the third (subtitled The Judas Chalice) involves Dracula and an "eeevil" version of the Holy Grail. The first and last films were directed by Jonathan Frakes.

Tropes include:

  • Adorkable: Flynn. Of course.
  • Adventurer Archaeologist: Flynn Carsen.
  • Action Girl and Hot Amazon: Carsen's companions. All of them. Also, the hot henchwoman from the first movie.
  • Artifact Collection Agency: The Metropolitan Public Library.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Guess.
  • Badass Bookworm: Again, guess.
  • Badass Grandpa: Johnson.
  • Badass Normal: Arguably most of the characters, in a weird sort of way. The Librarians rely entirely on brainpower and observational skills, which are absurdly good, but still technically humanly possible, one would suppose; the bodyguards are tough and capable, but not magically tough and not as clever as their charges, etc. Meanwhile, Bob Newhart's character is an ex-military man who has inexplicable powers like walking through solid objects, one of the few folks with outright supernatural powers in the films. He is also the warrior librarian from thousands of years earlier who first founded the Library.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Sergei Kubicheck and Count Dracula in the third movie.
  • Bodyguard Crush: Nicole starts out as Flynn's bodyguard and falls for him. She also loved the previous librarian.
  • Brother Chuck: The lead seems to always get a new love interest for each movie with the previous woman disappearing for no reason other to just have him find a new girlfriend.
    • Lampshaded in the third movie, when Flynn's girlfriend leaves him near the beginning. Very few love interests can deal with someone whose life is as complicated as the Librarian's. They all ended up leaving him for some reason or another.
  • Cat Fight: Between the aforementioned hot henchwoman and Nicole Noone in the first movie)
  • Comes Great Responsibility: The previous Librarian before Carsen is the baddie of the first film, who uses his brains for selfish gain... and subsequently gets outwitted and defeated by the new Librarian.
    • Flynn's bosses are adamant about not using artifacts for personal gain. They won't even use the Philosopher's Stone to help their meager budget.
  • Cool Loser: Absurdly smart, surprisingly funny, Noah Wyle-level cute, earnest, usually polite... and still lives with his mother?
    • Global financial crisis, natch.
      • Plus, he was a perpetual student until the first movie. Then when he got a job, he had to travel all over the world all the time so why bother moving?
  • Cool Sword: Flynn gets swordfighting lessons from Excalibur.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Flynn and Scary Librarian who hires him.
  • Death Trap: Lots of them.
  • Dirty Communists: They're the main antagonists in the third episode.
  • Expy: Nicole Noone, snarky, world-hopping, British-accented Action Girl. Hmm....
  • Extranormal Institute: Particularly in the third movie, when the magic of working in the Libary has completely worn off for Flynn. Also Jane Curtin's character throughout all three--her most pressing concern is that Flynn saves his receipts while he's off saving the Crystal Skull or whatever he's been sent to retrieve.
  • Flynning: The sword fight in the third film, Incredibly Lame Pun aside.
  • Fridge Logic: What was the point of having a pyramid in the first movie?
    • To mock the audiance by introducing the protagonist as some sort of adventurer or action archeologist, then push all buttons to show he is a dork. That, and as a plot point in the second half.
  • Hey It's That Girl:
    • Stana Katic, Detective Beckett of Castle, is Simone, a vampire in New Orleans and Flynn's guardian/love interest.
    • Gabrielle Anwar, Fiona from Burn Notice, is the Bond Girl in the second film, King Solomon's Mines.
    • Sonya Walger, Penny Whitmore from Lost, enjoyed the Bond Girl role in the first film.
  • Historical In-Joke: A number of them, mostly in the form of the objects kept safe in The Library, but also notable is the retconning of the Library at Alexandria into the original Library where ancient treasures were stored.
  • Hot Librarian: Noah Wyle. As a librarian. Duh.
  • I Minored in Tropology: Flynn has studied just about everything you can imagine and everything he could possibly need to know (plus a good deal that he presumably doesn't need). He refers to Master's and PHD theses, rather than the more standard "I minored in 'X'" line, but the principle's the same.
  • Idiot Ball: When Flynn picks it up, he starts jumping up and down on an unstable bridge of made of rotted wood.
    • Or mixes his own gunpowder out of old damp materials to use a 200-year-old cannon and Newton's Third Law to bust down a thick reinforced door... as opposed to going out the perfectly ordinary glass windows we can see right behind him.
      • Jumping through a broken glass window? Into a New Orleans swamp? Sure, go ahead!
    • Averted because Flynn was with a vampire who hadn't fed in 24 hours - last thing he'd want to do in that instance is jump through a window and get cut... Also, the windows were stained glass, not regular glass so they may not have been working windows.
      • So, breaking the glass before jumping was not an option?
  • Jungle Opera: This is something of a satire of this.
  • Large Ham: The actor who played the villain in the first movie is clearly having a lot of fun. Coincidentally, the movie gets considerably sillier as soon as he shows up.
  • Leap of Faith: At least for the Action Girl - but not for Flynn, who calculates exactly where they have to jump.
  • Lovable Nerd: Flynn Carsen.
  • Magical Library: Not only does it contain legendary and magical books, but also all the world's greatest and most dangerous treasures.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: An incident in the 3rd movie, where Carsen uses the acoustics of a specific room in conjunction with a High C from his vocalist companion as a weapon.
  • Meaningful Name: The name Judson suggests that his Secret Identity which is hinted at though not stated openly in the third movie was planned from the start.
  • Monster Progenitor: Judas to all Vampires.
  • Museum of the Strange and Unusual: The Library.
  • Off-Screen Breakup: Flynn breaks with Nicole at some point after the first movie, before the second one...
  • One-Liner: Ditto.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Vampires in the third movie can get sick with human diseases. They also temporarily die when killed before coming back to life.
  • Public Domain Artifact: The Library has a huge collection of these, including HG Wells' time machine, Jason's Golden Fleece, Excalibur, the Holy Grail, Pandora's Box, the Ark of the Covenant, and a whole slew of others. Basically? You name it, they have it.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Nicole Noone doesn't appear as a character in the second film because the actress was working on Boston Legal.
  • Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains: The villain's henchwoman has a more midriff revealing outfit compared to Nicole's more practical one in the first movie.
  • Sherlock Scan: This is how the main character gets his job - he scans his boss, determining that she was recently divorced from the depth of the ring-line on her finger and noting that she had three cats by being able to tell their hairs apart on her jacket. He occasionally does this to other characters as well.
    • Actually, he gets the job because he says something along the lines of "It's not what you know in here [brain], but in here {{[[[Heart Is an Awesome Power]] heart}}] that counts."
  • Shout-Out: Both to real-life in Curse of the Judas Chalice, with a twist.
    • Flynn's vacation to New Orleans was a love letter to the audience by the director for the restored city, severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina two years prior.
    • Driving the point home, during a montage of Flynn and Simone's first evening together, exploring the delights of the French Quarter, briefly appears a musician on a saxophone — the movie's director, Jonathan Frakes, (who does play the sax in real-life), with a out-of-universe shout out to his character, Commander Riker, from Star Trek:The Next Generation.
  • The Smart Guy: The entire premise is that the world's most important and dangerous position outright requires occupation by the ultimate Smart Guy, or on occasion, the ultimate Smart Girl.
  • Soft Water: In the first movie, Nicole and Flynn fall a few hundred metres down a cliff then seconds later down a waterfall without injury.
  • Took a Level In Badass: In the second and third episode Flynn is portrayed to be smarter and stronger than he was in the first movie, especially how he defeats his opponents.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Not only does no one in a hotel seem unduly surprised when Carsen walks up to the front desk in a bedsheet, but two gentlemen who are watching TV don't bat an eye when Judson pre-empts their program to have a two-way conversation with him via the lobby's television set.