The Librarians The Librarians

TV is making librarians sexy again. Make that The Librarians. In three hit TNT movies between 2004 and 2008, swashbuckling egghead Flynn Carsen (Noah Wyle) saved the world as an avatar of an ancient covert organization dedicated to protecting powerful magical artifacts from evil cabals. Flynn is back in the new spinoff series, and this time he's got protégés and a new kickass comrade, played by Rebecca Romijn.

"The first thing that appealed to me about the series is the genre," says Romijn, whose character, Col. Eve Baird, is a fearless counterterrorism agent who is recruited to serve as "guardian" of the Librarians. "When Noah told me that his character is 'Indiana Jones as played by Don Knotts,' that really appealed to me," the X-Men alum says with a laugh. "Eve is the audience's voice: a skeptic who has no idea what the Library is and thinks the idea of magic is silly, until she's chasing a Minotaur and fighting off living fairy-tale characters!"

"My mandate," explains executive producer John Rogers, who previously oversaw the network's Leverage, "was to expand the franchise — make it bigger than just one character and create a world in which Noah, who's been busy working on Falling Skies, could come back whenever he wants." Rogers devised the idea to have Flynn battle the returning Serpent Brotherhood, a cult headed by the immortal Dulaque (Matt Frewer), while Eve and a team of Librarians-in-training take on other cases.

Rounding out the group: macho art historian/oil-field worker Jacob Stone (Leverage's Christian Kane), ailing math and science genius Cassandra Cillian (Lindy Booth), and morally sketchy burglar Ezekiel Jones (Australian actor John Kim). John Larroquette (Boston Legal) also stars as Jenkins, a cantankerous Library official, while Bob Newhart and Jane Curtin reprise their movie roles in several episodes.

One noticeable tweak to the franchise: "Each movie was built around a magical object that the Librarian hunted down," says Rogers. "Since then, Warehouse 13 used that premise, so we decided to reboot and not be bound by an artifact each week." A disgruntled Santa Claus (horror icon Bruce Campbell), awakening dragons, and a building full of people who had gone missing are among the upcoming storylines. But the series premiere sticks to a familiar formula. Flynn and the Brotherhood are both hunting for King Arthur's crown, an object that can control magic.

No matter the changes, Rogers promises that the spinoff "remains a tongue-in-cheek, fun family adventure. There are enough grim and dark action shows currently on TV," he notes. "You can actually watch this with your kids."

The Librarians premieres Sunday, Dec. 7 with back-to-back episodes at 8/7c on TNT.

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