Sunday, December 28, 2014

LIBRARIANS #104 "Santa's Midnight Run" Answer post

Bruce Campbell. How frikkin' cool was that?

This ep was born when we got, in the middle of our first few weeks, the news that we'd be premiering in December, to match the 10th anniversary of the original Librarian movie. Hey, we make a magic show. One of our episodes is on the week of Christmas.  The math does not seem hard. 

Christmas episodes are useful in a meta-sense because, regardless of our heritage, the holiday brings a lot of emotional baggage. Even the acceptance or rejection of mainstream culture's traditions around the date say something about you, never mind the complications of interacting with your family.  It's my personal favorite kind of plot hook -- a story object you toss into the middle of the show, and each character will naturally have a different, and revelatory relationship with it.

I'll admit I'm always a little impatient at the supernatural shows (and some procedurals) which gets up its own plot, which is more a series of complications than conflicts.  As Chris Downey used to insist when we worked together: "What's the argument?" If there's no disagreement, no character argument, it's just dogs jumping through a series of increasingly ornate hoops. They can be entertaining as hell and, hey, there are a couple I avidly watch.  But I can't imagine making one over the long term.

We landed on Santa as the plot hook for the show early.  We'd been discussing moves for the Serpent Brotherhood to make in other contexts, and were dug in on not making each episode with those antagonists an artifact hunt.  We were working hard to make sure we weren't doing artifact hunts too much to begin with (again, Warehouse 13 kind of owned that space),  and to tell the truth I'm just not that personally invested in objects as MacGuffins.  "I just don't care about another magical hoo-ha", I may have said, "they're purely transactional. I care about people." "Like Santa?" someone in the room said, at which point the idea that "This is the episode where the Serpent Brotherhood tries to kill Santa" landed like a delicious fully cooked meal on the conference room table. 

It went through several iterations -- originally, the show began with the Serpent Brotherhood having a meeting, ending with Dulaque revealing Santa's photo and announcing "This is our target," very Cobra Commander/Bond villain.  But the pulp rule is always START LATER, END EARLIER. Each episode, each scene. The audience is smart, they'll catch up, and if the goal is to get the characters into a tree and throw rocks at them (as the saying goes) then why not start with them in the tree?

Splitting the team up seemed the only way to keep the bear manageable. I've shot a five-hander, and it ain't pretty. We needed to split the characters up, and a rescue/distraction broke out nicely.  It solved one of the problems of a pursuit show -- not enough days in your home set. (Yeah, welcome to the dream factory, kids). Splitting the team meant coming up with different obstacles for everyone, which is how we landed on Baird dealing with an unstable Santa and the team tackling the retrieval part of the job.

We also had availability issues with Matt and Lesley-Ann -- they're busy humans and we could only steal them for a few days. This is why you only see their shoes in the opening sequence. It's a little cheat for doubles. 

Also originally: the Santa reaches the spot in the Northern Lights and releases his energy in mid-flight, after a fight on the chartered passenger plane. We had a perfectly good passenger plane fuselage laying about (hello, "The D.B. Cooper Job"), but the nice camera folks on The Librarians who'd also worked on Leverage told us that moving that many people around in that contained a space would be impossible to shoot on our seven day schedule. Also, how would we shoot the Serpent Brotherhood getting on and off the plane?  The idea began to collapse under the weight of physical production. 

One of my brothers had been a crew chief on a C-130, and I always enjoyed his stories of the various things they threw/hung out the back of the open cargo door in flight.  The inside of a cargo plane is big and boxy, just the sort of thing one likes to build on a soundstage.  One odd thing -- I got a couple Twitter folk and emails asking how the plane stayed up with the back open. Has everybody really not seen one of these?



We then faced the problem of spending not just one but two whole acts in that set though, which is not something you want to do in a pulp show (or any show).  Much like the first thing any director learns is the moving master, a TV writer learns not to park their characters in one set unless they're making a point of being stuck in that set.  So we landed on the crash, er, landing. Nicely enough we had an ice-station set laying about -- thank you, "The Long Way Down Job".

So wait -- the whole POINT of the show, Eve Baird spreading hope, was the last thing added to the script?  Pretty much.  I mean, it was in there early, well before the first shooting draft, but it wasn't in the beginning. Scripts are iterative processes, from pitch to outline to screenplay, and in TV in particular, in a show where you start with 70% less prep time than usual in particular.  There are various schools of thought on showrunning, but I'm a big believer in fast, ugly documents and drafts. Writing is rewriting.  This is the biggest trap I see young writers falling into, endlessly agonizing and polishing that first draft.  Anyone who's had the misfortune of working with me has heard me say "It's not even a show until the Blue pages".  

That said, I'm also a stickler for that process. If you try to toss an episode that's made it through pitch, two-pager, outline, and white pages, I will tell you to go ... I will be unpleasant.  Nothing makes me crazier than short-circuiting that process, or wasting time by ignoring the process.  Occasionally I'll tell an exec, when discussing a script actually in production queue, "I'll get that note in the Blue pages." This is annoying, I know, but so far it hasn't damaged my career beyond repair.

The whole Eve Baird/hope thing came out of our desire to always have on more twist. An episode where your protagonist's goal is to do a thing, and they succeed just by doing that thing ... well, eh.  We also couldn't find a way to close out Baird's arc. She actually had a great reason not to like Christmas, and "good cheer" was still a little light. I mean, it sounds light.  You want primal energies and themes in a pulp show. Hope, that's a sonuvabitch to get behind. 

As often happens in TV, her name being "Eve" was a coincidence which led to a solve in an episode which then became one of the primary building blocks of the season arc.  At this point (Santa was written/shot a bit later in the order than it aired) we were beginning to see how we'd pull off the final episode that we'd been kicking around since the first few weeks of the Writers Room.  Anything more would be spoilers, but we'll discuss when we get there.

Bruce Campbell, well, he was on the wish list.  He has a place in the Northwest, as I understand, and with Burn Notice wrapped, was available.  We had the good fortune that our producing director Marc Roskin and the director of the episode Jonathan Frakes (the "Frakes on a Plane" jokes flew fast and furious on set) had both worked with him.  We gave a call, he dug the script, and he showed up to be awesome.  There is nothing more inspiring to writers than knowing that you have an actor who can deliver absolutely any line you give him.  We were particularly gratified by how well he landed the big emo lines of the show. We all know Bruce Campbell can land a joke. But damn, he made me tear up every time on both the "human heart" speech on the road and "gift of hope" speech in the ice station.

All right, let's see what you're throwing at us this week:

@ChelseaNH: Did you tell the wardrobe department that Lamia needed evil shoes? 'Cause those were evil shoes.

The wardrobe department, led by the awesomely monickered Critter Pierce, has delivered non-stop funkiness all on their own initiative.  What is Rule One of succeeding in television? Hire smart people and stay the fuck out of their way.

@Geekette: In the episode, Santa says he knows both versions of Stone. Is this a nod to Leverage or something that will pop up later?

Santa was saying that he knows Stone leads a double life, just a quick way to establish his Santa bona fides.  We wound up not ging into this plot-wise as much as we thought in Season One, due to the 10 episode order, so we wanted to make sure we landed it in dialogue a few more times before it becomes an issue in episode 8.

@Tina2Tired: If they can open the magic door and go in and out of it at will to wherever they need to go, why didn't they just bring Santa back to the library, then open the closest door to the North Pole/Northern Lights? I might've thought that the Library can't have non-Librarian staff in it, but if that were the case, it wouldn't have been able to be attacked in the first episode. 

In an earlier draft, that's exactly what happened.  Santa went walk-about from the Library itself, leading to a chase across Portland. That felt a little ... small.  So we wrote around that using two reasons: First, Santa was determined to get to his sleigh, and then after his sleigh tried to get them there on his own.  It's not until they're stuck in Canada do they slow down to get a plane.  There was actually a line in the script about "there's no doors that far north", so they would've needed to get a plane anyway.

Second: yeah, it's almost as if things needed to go exactly as they did. As if there's some other plot going on in the background.  I mean, really, Santa is very powerful ...

@Michele Dee: So the guy that tries to start a fight with Santa in the bar, he was in The Reunion Job, right? Do you guys have a lot of crossover with local actors from Leverage?

That's Paul Bernard, our line producer.  He's the guy who manages the overall production and scheduling of the shoot.  We tossed him and a bunch of the crew into this episode.  You can see our B camera operator Norbert, and the dude pulling his teeth is Pete Dowd, one of our 2nd AD's.

@Greg S. : Was there a scripted reason why Santa didn't get his hat back as soon as they got on the plane, that maybe got cut? My inner "story sense" felt that it was important as soon as I saw that it didn't happen and later Santa says (roughly)"I've been separated from my talisman for too long".

Tick tick tick.

@Dave MB: Very unusual December weather for both England and northern B.C., I think.

Global warming is accelerated in the Library-verse. Honestly, we set a bunch of those shots inside to cover the summer shooting, but then everything got claustrophobic.  That said, average December temperature in London is 44 F, and in BC, well, you do get that warm Pacific air and less snow than you think. This is the price you pay for shooting in the summer ...

@Trillby: So whose idea was it that Santa is collecting the world's goodwill and the "presents" that he brings everyone is that he gives the goodwill back to us? Yours? Paul's? A Joint Efforts Production? Totally brilliant. Also glad to see Frakes back, there is something the combination of his direction, the writing team's work, and the actors that makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts.

It was a group effort to land on the re-distribution of good will.  We worked backwards -- why does the Serpent Brotherhood want to kill Santa? To get his magic power.  Well, what is that power? Combine that with the effort to find something non-secular about Santa, and it all laid out quite easily.

I explained above how we landed on the Hope transformation, and I'll take a bit of credit for that.  To me, seeing others do good deeds is what gives me hope about humanity. Just extrapolate out.

@marti jackson: 1.) "morgana would be proud"? du lac / of the lake? arthur's crown? something going on there? 
2.) also, is lamia the original snake in the brotherhood of the snakes? mythologically speaking, y'know. 
3.) when jenkins seemed bemused at the thought of du lac dying from a fall from a plane, i was reminded of "silverado" -- "jake? fell off his horse?" ha. 

1.) Well that's an interesting theory.
2.) No, it's Lamia's work name she took when joining the Brotherhood. She is also actively campaigning to change the name from "Serpent Brotherhood" to "Serpent Collective".
3.) That's pretty much right.

@Sarah Roo: What did Jake tell his family about why he's not with them for the holiday? (And, for that matter, why he moved? Cassandra, Baird, and Ezekiel all seem pretty solitary, but Stone obviously has a lot of ties back in Oklahoma, and people who would want some kind of explanation for his absence.)

He actually explains in the finale what his cover story is, but it's not a big deal, He's told them he got a gig working on a refinery repair down in New Orleans.

@Stefan Jones: I like how the "Eye" (that's the nickname of the big ferris wheel, right?) was superimposed over the (NW Industrial area?) skyline. Do little touches like that gobble a lot of budget?

Not really. Anything interactive -- interacting with or changing because of the actors -- anything moving, any brand-new 3-D objects, those are the bears. 

@ryan_w_enslow: Please, please, please have Stone be gay. This isn't a question, just a hope. But Kane is so good at playing against-type while playing to-type, and it would totally work with what we've seen of his characters arc so far (and while I loved Leverage all of the major on-screen romances were hetero)

Stone's not canonically gay, primarily because I didn't want to complicate his self-image issues, particularly since we wouldn't be dealing with his family on-screen (S2, if we get one). Secretly gay and artistic seemed like both a stereotype and a hat-on-a-hat.

That said, when we discussed the character with Kane, we landed on the idea that coming out as gay was the actual, operative metaphor for the character arc.  And, as always, whatever the hell you people do in your fic is your business.

@Margrave: I asked this on the other post but I'll mention it here. OST2K? what is that?

answered by --

@Timothy R: O2STK stands for "Organization to Secret to Know". The secretive group was created by fellow TV producer/writer/creator Javier Grillo-Marxuach for his amazingly fun and wild comic and TV series "The Middleman" (sadly gone far too quickly). If you like the fun of The Librarians and Leverage, you'll find a kindred cousin (and Mark Shepard!) in The Middleman. 

Now for my question: On Leverage, I remember you (and Dean and Chris) always had a one-word theme for each season of the show (e.g. "Consequences"). Assuming there's one for this first season of The Librarians, what's the word, and why?

Consider the Middle Man crossover canonical. I got permission from Javi to use the name, and I'm going to ride it as far as I can go.  

For the question: "Choices" or ... "Fate".

@Calla: Caught the line Jenkins let slip about him (and DuLac) being something other than human. Interesting. Does that mean Jedson and Charlene are something other than human, too?

"Other than human" is probably not quite right.  Just -- you are changed, pick up some tricks along the way when living in the magical world.

@lisa king: 1. I like how everyone got their  Christmas wish. All 3 LITs were explained but you let us be smart enough to know that Eve got her wish of saving the people with the hope she had lost. 
2. on a side note I could not help but wonder what would happen if Eliot Spencer ever met Col. Baird around Christmas time. Who would glare and growl the most. 
3. Did we see a foreshadowing of Lamia changing sides? What was the reason she does it as NOT Santa was hinting at.
4. How special of a cowboy does Lamia think Stone is. That was a very sexually tense way of saying it.

1.) Nicely done.
2.) They'd be to busy kicking ass.
3.) Lamia is not a straight-up bad guy. She's on a crusade. 
4.) She digs him. She'll still kill him, but she digs him.

@Shannon14: You said in your previous post that Ezekiel and Jake will never be friends. Is that because Jake values trust a heck of a lot and Ezekiel's a thief? It would be great if you could delve a little deeper into that, if it doesn't involve spoilers. (It may be because I'd really like Jake to call him Zeke at one point, like he called Cassandra 'Cassie'). Also, how many takes occurred while Ezekiel was Santa!Ezekiel? John Kim was amazing, and that Australian accent has definitely added to the character. Hoping we get some back story on him soon. Thanks for making a great show!

Jake and Ezekiel (we toyed with Zeke but it never worked) are just too different. To a great degree, the personal force field of arrogance Ezekiel radiates is just too much for Stone to handle, and it's not going to change any time soon.  Ezekiel, as you will see very soon, was chosen by the Library for qualities other than his ability to steal stuff.

@Nusaiba C:  I mentioned this on twitter but again, I'm really glad the hope montage had the bit about the Muslim protesters. (Whose idea was it?) As a Muslim who doesn't do Christmas I loved getting to learn more about Santa and the goodwill twist was great!  For my actual question: We've seen that Lamia may not be out for power the same way Dulaque is. Will we get to see more of her reasons for doing the whole Bad Guy thing?

Well I'm glad you dug that. The montage was a group effort, not sure who landed that one. I was very dug in on it once we put it into the sequence, though.  It was important for us to say that "the Santa" was bigger and older than our culture, and it helped cement the world-wide nature of magic. Also, Muslims get kicked in the teeth plenty on American TV. I don't much care for that, and would like to swing things back a bit when I can.

You may see more of Lamia's motives, but she was pretty clear in the pilot.She wants to make the world a better place. She thinks bringing magic back os the way to do it. She's a zealot, that's all.

@Stacey: 1.) Rather than wonder how the sleigh flies without Santa, I found myself fretting that he won't get it back. Can you say, or would that be a plot spoiler? 
2.) If we get a season 2, I hope we get to see Bruce Campbell as Santa again. And that we get to see Gretchen. Any casting fantasies yet? 
3.) I've been wondering which of the LITs would cover languages. We know Stone speaks Latin. Is he proficient in other ancient languages?  4.) With all the hats you wear, I assume you know what you'll be seeing when an episode airs--the special effects, the scenes cut for broadcast, etc. Do the actors?

1.) He basically revokes magic privileges on the one stolen, and gets a new one from Mrs. Claus for Christmas.
2.) We have a list. We'll see.
3.) Assume Stone can handle most ancient languages, while Ezekiel;s got a good working knowledge of the world-wide travel/thief languages.
4.) great question! The actors often don't see the final cuts before air, as they;re off doing other jobs,etc.

@Tom Galloway: 1.) Just wanted to mention I'm really enjoying Matt Frewer's just this side of going off a paleo diet on that delicious carb filled scenery performance. Would've loved a Frewer/Campbell/LaRoquette scene, just to see which one would manage to steal it from the others.  
2) Is Frewer getting to ab lib, as I've read he has a tendency to do? 
3) Any reason the Serpents seem to be against using ranged weapons? When both Lamia and Dulac pulled out a knife and sword, I was half expecting Stone or Baird to do an Indiana Jones pistol pull at 'em.

1.) Well, you get 2/3rds of that wish tonight.
2.) He's sticking to script but doing some lovely physical ad-libs. The bit with the hand sanitizer in the pilot was his alone.
3.) They prefer quiet and old-school. It's a way of making sure the killing is personal and ritualistic.

@StaceyBanks: How long, on average, does it take to bring an episode together? Excluding Santa's episode....that one must have left everyone in stitches! (and taken 3x as long ;) ) 

A week or two to break the script, roughly one-to-two weeks for a first draft, 7 days prep 7 days shoot. Like a horrible, horrible clock. Or as we say in TV, the train is running while you're laying tracks.

@Anonymous: Nice job having the time zones show up correctly during Eve's trip around the world. Was that specifically in the script?

No, we handled that in something called the "tone meeting", where we talk about how we want to handle the artistic demands of the script, before pre-production starts. Tracking that was a plot-point, though.

@Julia: I'm a little conflicted about Cassandra. I'm hoping to see her own the enormity of what she tried to do and what she actually did do. After all, she didn't break with the evil minions of evil after they evilled outrageously in front of her. She broke with them when they put her in a cell and made it clear that they weren't going to reward her for helping break the world. 

Even so, she still apparently thinks that not only was she justified, she's not at any kind of moral disadvantage because anyone else would have done the same, to the point of being self righteous about it.  (etc)


Well that's the danger (and it happens quite a bit) of taking a what a character says at face value.  Cassandra was absolutely lashing out at Stone because he was lashing out at her. She's consumed with guilt, and self-doubt. She has an arc where she comes to terms with this and wins back the group's trust, but unfortunately it's split up by having the episodes air slightly out of order. 

This is the thing that happens where people assume I haver a beef with the MidWest because I have characters make fun of the MidWest. When the characters do that, that's because they're being assholes.

@LynRasa: 1. )Alright. You dropped a 'magical worlds' hint in a 103 answer.  That got me thinking about Jim Butcher's Nevernever as did, oh lots from the Santa episodes. I know your run at the Dresden Files TV show predates Dresden v. Santa, but did you pull your Dresden Files Notebook from Cold Storage when you started looking researching for The Librarians? Is there 7 year old frozen buffalo in The Librarians' chili? And if so can we get Paul Blackthorne as a guest star for S2?
2.) What is Jake's pseudonym? Do we get to know that or is it like Sophie's name?
3.) I'm thinking the mistletoe dart came from the Baldr myth, what about holly and poinsettia?
4.) What did Ezekiel steal for Baird's Birthmas gift?
5.) Technopagan Janna Kalderash/Jenny Calendar(BtVS) totally got an envelope, didn't she? 
6.) Did you have to give the CGI guys a crash course in math and physics? Admittedly, I'm not qualified to judge, but either your preemptive dare about checking Cassandra's math shut them up or or the visual aids have been spot on

1.)  I was never on The Dresden Files TV show, but I'd say we're definitely hanging out in the same genre space.
2.) He has multiple pseudonyms.  None of them are story relevant  ... yet.
3.) One of the sources.
4.) A famous 1st edition.
5.) Yep.
6.) Nope, they do all that work on their own, and send us roughs to approve. We do try to check the math as much as possible. We actually made a mistake in the script on this one they caught -- we had the wrong side of the car be warm in Cassandra's flashback in the 1st draft.

@George Michael Anderson: I cannot speak for all of them, but this Heathen was very happy when one of Santa's incarnations was Odin. Who's idea was it to have Santa refer to himself in the third person?

The Odin link was Paul Guyot's excellent research. Any annoying verbal tic joke is almost always mine, much to the Writers Room's constant pain.

@Cara B: 1) Is Christian one of those 'tends-to-point-with-his-middle-finger' dudes or does he really enjoy flipping off the camera to see if he can get away with it?
2) Methinks that Du Lac worked for the Library at some point in time.....and knew Jenkins fairly well....
3) I'm pretty sure that's Flynn's desk has some sort of connection to the now disconnected Library (and not just in an annex sense), although I'm not really sure as to how...
4) I *adored* Jones' ability to flip back and forth between being super high on Christmas and his normal, thiefy self. Highly entertaining and well, well done.
5) Bruce Campbell as Odin (and Santa...but mainly Odin) made my entire week. 
6) Is Eve more of a Mother Hen or Annoyed Older Sister Who Secretly Loves Them All? 
7) Is Cassandra's personality going to get a little more..unhinged as the season wears on thanks to the brain grape? 
8) Wardrobe was on point this episode--do you have Nadine back?
9) Jenkins is my favorite cantankerous old man. I adore him. Will we see him get to save the day/one of the LITs as the season goes on? 
10) (Last one, I promise!) Baird seems to have a super strong sense of justice//right/wrong...but still seems to adore Jones. Is it because he's part of the team that she has to protect? Or because she genuinely sees good in him?


1.) One of those dudes.
2.) Wrong, then right.
3.) More like a connection to Flynn. Its an interface, and as explained, it resets to his preferences.  And that said, that fact is incredibly important.
4.) John Kim is a treasure.
5.) Made ours too.
6.) Annoyed Older Sister Who Does Not Love Them Very Much At All.
7.) We address that a bit in a future episode.
8.) Critter Pierce, who worked with Nadine on Leverage.
9.) He certainly gets more involved as the show goes on. Once we had John, we started writing to him.
10.) She does not adore Jones. She finds him amusing.  She does not, however, like or trust him.

@awa64: 1) Was there any hesitance toward having "cast member wears a literal act-out-of-character hat" as a subplot so early in the series' run?
2) In the 101/102 post-game post, you mentioned "characters are lenses, and so you should build them in diametrically opposed pairs in order to best showcase your themes." I'm always excited to hear you talk storytelling theory (and will be picking up your hypothetical book day one), but I think that particular one just clicked with me. To check my understanding: make sure characters who are likely to be paired up together have at least one major difference in worldview from one another, and if that difference in worldview is centered around one of the major themes you're trying to explore in your work, any scene with those two characters has instant conflict, a handhold to kick off banter, and an injection of thematic resonance, regardless of the scene's function in the plot?
3) How does Librariansverse Santa feel about Coca-Cola?
4) How do writer's-room-you and showrunner-you argue out how much magic to show on-screen to make the show suitably magical without straining the effects budget? Does an episode like this get away with fewer major effects sequences by virtue of having a mythological being like Santa front-and-center, or is there less pressure to seem overtly magical (or more pressure to stay under budget) as the show establishes itself and the season progresses? (Or did I totally misread this episode and it actually had more effects work than past episodes, just applied in places I wasn't looking as closely at?)
5) In a world where magic is explicitly symbolic (as opposed to one where it's portrayed as science-fiction-technology but with "arcane energy" replacing "dilithium crystals"), does the ease with which subtext becomes literal text pose more of an advantage or a disadvantage?
6) Cassandra in a story where her warnings of imminent danger go ignored/disbelieved—future episode, grounds for temporary expulsion from the writer's room for taking name-based symbolism too far, or myth already checked off the to-do list with the Serpent Society metaphorically whispering in her ear in 102?

1.) It seemed an interesting challenge. And the bigger "out of chracter" ep was originally slated to be aired before this one, so it wasn't a concern.
2.)  In a nutshell, yes. It makes your work easier.
3.) He prefers Coke Zero.  Staying trim.
4.) We very coldly try to amort out the cost per episode. When we have heavy ones coming, where we know we'll need the effects (like the upcoming science fair episode) we try to pullback on others.
5.) Advantage. It gives the writers, characters and audience something to anchor onto, so you can explore the emotional issues caused by the themes rather than explaining the mechanics.
6)  Sadly, I just like K sounds.

@David: 1) Do the prop people enjoy finding strange phones for Jenkins to talk into? I am getting a kick out of the mish-mash of tech he employees.
2) I am enjoying the fact that Lamia thinks she has a think with Stone (and who wouldn't?), I hope she pulls the katana on someone else later and Stone gets calls her on it.
3)Loved Stone doing the British accent. Is there anything Kane can't do?
4) Back to Lamia, are we supposed to read anything in her name? Or is it just a code name?
5) I am honestly surprised at how much I am enjoying the show! I normally don't go for shows that are so silly out of the gate, but the actors plus knowing you are behind the wheel are making it work for me. Can't wait to see where it goes

1.) They delight in it. They surprised us with that, to tell the truth. It wasn't scripted, and then when we saw what they were doing, it became a thing.
2.) There's a little bit of that tonight.
3.) I will leave that question alone.
4.) Code name.
5.)  I know, right?  We decied to go for big goofy fun, and the audience came with. That's cool.

@Neil W: This show seems a little more family oriented than Leverage, which was family-friendly but involved convoluted plans, complicated crimes and deep villains. In The Librarians the baroque details sort of decorate the plot rather than form part of the structure. So my question is: Is the show delibrately aimed (as in originally pitched) to be as entertaining to bright ten year-olds as it is to those of us who have an inner 10 year-old or has it emerged that way due to the films, stories and everything else lined up?

The shows' based on the movies, which very much had a family-friendly feel. It was then expanded upon with both mine and Dean's love of Doctor Who, or at least the role Doctor Who is supposed to play in the tv menu.  We wanted to make a show you could watch with your kids, burt with enough deep geekspace behind it to keep the mythology-minded interested.

@mysterycat75: 1.) If Jake and the others are Librarians in training, per se, is that the reason Jake Stone can't make the map appear when he throws the sphere up in the air, or does it have more to do with coordination/know how?  2.) Also, how do you choose which bits of history/artifacts to use in an episode? What kinds of research do you do when preparing to write these episodes? 

1.) He'll get it eventually.
2.) First season, a lot of it came from our native data base as odd humans, then we did research to expand the ideas.

@Keith DeCandido: If Santa is a timeless avatar of goodwill, why is his redistribution of that good will on 24 December, an arbitrary date on the Gregorian calendar, instead of the winter solstice? The reason why Christmas and the new year and bunches of other celebrations occur at this particular time of year is because it's when the sun "renews itself" after the solstice and the days get longer. So wouldn't it make more sense for not-calling-him-Santa to do his thing on the solstice?

Already setting up for the tie-ins I see. Right, the Santa conforms to whatever cultural definition he's bound by at the time. Once the majority of humanity decided Christmas was December 24th, that's where he landed.

@Peaches: Dean Devlin has said that all the episodes would have extended versions on iTunes. Not so for this episode :( Any particular reason for that? I'm sure there had to be some great things that got cut for broadcast airing.

Actually, no, this one came in dead on time in the first cut. 

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See you next week, and enjoy tonight's Noah Wyle-flavored shenanigans.








59 comments:

Sean Fagan said...

Christmas is Dec 25, not Dec 24...

Please bring on as much Middleman tie-ins as you can.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Stacey said...

Thank you for taking the time to answer our many questions during this busy season. It certainly makes watching the show a lot more fun! Sure hope there's a gag reel on the DVDs for this episode.

Max Vaehling said...

"That said, when we discussed the character with Kane, we landed on the idea that coming out as gay was the actual, operative metaphor for the character arc."

Looking forward to his parents asking him if he ever tried not being a genius art expert.

Keith R.A. DeCandido said...

Quoth Mr. Rogers: "Already setting up for the tie-ins I see."

I have no idea what you're talking about. *shifty eyes* (Thorne is laughing his head off reading this....)

Believe me, if there are tie-ins, I'll be like Donkey in Shrek, jumping my ass up and down yelling, "Pick me! Pick me!"



Quoth Mr. Rogers some more: "Right, the Santa conforms to whatever cultural definition he's bound by at the time. Once the majority of humanity decided Christmas was December 24th, that's where he landed."

That's kinda what I figured, but when you've got a perfectly good horse's mouth to query.... :)

---KRAD

mnementh said...

"And, as always, whatever the hell you people do in your fic is your business."

This, right here, is why I love you. You respect the fans without pandering to them, and don't have a fit that someone out there could be writing Stone/Jenkins slash fic as long as they are enjoying the show.

You, sir, are the best.

Lora said...

Close. Very close. And the version of the story you've heard before isn't necessarily the one we're telling.

So... I propose Jenkins is Gawain, but their relationship was lovers and not just brotherly knights of the round. Cause I don't see how you read Just Friends into how much Jenkins was a) hurt, b) tempted, and c) hoping Dulac wouldn't touch him and crack his carefully constructed facade. And, you know, if Lancelot was sleeping with both him and Guinevere, "complicated" would certainly describe the loyalties there.

Additionally, I offer this crack theory. Jenkins is Guinevere. I mean, magic, right? Same basics, fall of the kingdom, acting for love, choosing someone you love over the country you serve. Gwen ended up in a convent, a solitary place for study and contemplation. Much like, I dunno, the Annex.

Julieg said...

Reading all of these intelligent sounding questions and feeling really stupid with my comment, but I'm re-watching the extended episodes on ITunes, and I can't believe I just now recognized Parker's bear! I don't remember hearing anyone else mention it. Love the double take Stone gives it before he wraps it up.

kuroshii said...

SQUEEE! The Kung Fu Monkey is back in business! Yes yes I see you've been back for almost three months now: I've been traveling for work and was enjoying the show in hotel rooms and not thinking of checking in here til just now. So VERY happy you've revived this blog! Loved The Librarians and am ecstatic to see we're getting a second season. :D

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John, I greatly respect you and your work, but I thought your comment about Stone being gay was ridiculous. It is absolutely possible for Stone to have been gay without it 'complicating his self image issues'. There's no reason why he couldn't have just been gay like he just is heterosexual. Gay people everywhere have a lot of other identities that are more important and complicated than being gay. And a lot of times, we do fill some stereotypes, but if they're three dimensional characters, there's nothing to fear. If you don't want to make him gay then just say so, and that's perfectly fine, but don't make nonsensical excuses. On the other hand, if you're not gonna include any gay characters on the show, then don't use being gay as a metaphor of his struggles. The idea of using gay people as a metaphor while not including us in the story and the world leaves a distasteful feeling in my mouth

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