Reserving judgment on: The Librarians

The first episode of any tv comedy is always the hardest - you need to make an impression straight away but you also have to establish all of your characters, your underlying storylines and hopefully throw in a few killer gags as well. A good part of the humour in many shows comes from character traits (though preferably not catch-phrases, which are generally lazy comic short-cuts in my book) that need to be establised over a number of weeks.

For this reason, it's hard to make a call on last nights opening episode of The Librarians. (You can watch the whole thing online here)

The main word that comes to mind is low-key, which I guess works thematically with the whole library thing but I got the sense that it was only a step or two away from timid.

Which is interesting as one of the key themes that emerged was the head librarian's darkly cheery anti-Muslim racism. The fact that this was largely accepted by the other library staff I think was meant to suggest that they are all cowed by her and afraid to speak up but there really wasn't anything to suggest why they might find her scary (other than the fact that they're all, well, rather timid).

A few of the characters veered pretty close to 2D stereotype - now I think that an essential part of good comedy is exaggeration but this is something to be careful with too. The tarty good-time girl with the gangster boyfriend is one to watch here.

The main point of the episode was - as you would expect - establishing the characters and their relationships and setting up the introduction of a new character. Not much going on in terms of story though there was a hint that things might be building. To be honest, few of the characters really stood out - though not surprisingly, Bob Franklin did well with his moments on screen and Wayne Hope enjoyed a flashback cameo having an American Beauty shower moment. There were actually a lot of flashbacks now that I think about it - being the first ep this makes a certain amount of sense.

Stylistically, it has promise and will hopefully hit it's stride by the 2nd or 3rd.