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If you’ve seen the TNT show The Librarians, then you’ll know it’s one of the most enjoyable shows on TV, even if it isn’t the most original prospect in the world.
The show revolves around a group of people recruited by an organisation known as The Library to protect the real world from a magical reality, with fictional characters like Sir Galahad, Moriarty, and Shakespeare’s Prospero making an appearance.
Unfortunately, The Librarians isn’t airing anymore, so if you want to get your fix, you’re limited either to the four series of the TV show that aired, the movies, or another show that’s similar in tone or setup.
Thankfully, there are plenty of shows out there that will appeal to fans of this fantasy adventure, so let’s take a look at the best TV shows like The Librarians out there right now.
When people discuss The Librarians, they very often bring up Syfy’s Warehouse 13, which was a similar show that ran from 2009 through to 2014.
Like The Librarians, the show follows a group of people who must protect the real world from magic, although in this case, they’re artifact hunters who must retrieve and store magical artifacts in the titular Warehouse 13.
Brimming with drama and full of lots of fun details for history buffs, Warehouse 13 is a highly enjoyable show that should be perfect to fill the Librarians-shaped hole in your life.
On the surface of it, Stranger Things might not have a huge amount in common with The Librarians, but the premises of the respective shows aren’t a million miles away from one another.
Stranger Things is all about a group of teenagers who come into contact with a mysterious dark world known as The Upside-Down, and they must investigate both this new world and a conspiracy in the real world surrounding it.
There’s also a healthy dose of 1980s nostalgia to enjoy in Stranger Things; the show feels like a blend of Warehouse 13, Stephen King’s works, and The X-Files. Speaking of which…
It’s a shame that this show has almost become a meme-like punchline in popular culture, because it also has plenty to offer on the dramatic front, especially if you love conspiracy-charged science fiction.
David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are electric as the iconic Mulder and Scully, who must investigate paranormal incidents and attempt to protect the wider world from their malign influence.
As much a romance show as it is a science fiction anthology series, The X-Files is compelling viewing, even during the more filler-heavy seasons when not too much is happening.
Airing a few years before The Librarians, Leverage doesn’t have the same supernatural focus as that show, but it does boast some of the same creative team’s involvement, so if you like the style of The Librarians, you should check this out.
Leverage is all about a team of skilled heisters who use their varied skills to pull off daring and dangerous heists. It’s not a million miles away from a sort of modern-day Robin Hood story.
The show was revived in 2021 as Leverage: Redemption, too, so if you do like Leverage, you should check out that followup series to whet your appetite even further.
Once Upon a Time
In a similar way to games like The Wolf Among Us (or Fables, the comic book series on which it’s based), Once Upon a Time asks a simple question: what if fairytales were real?
That’s the core narrative hook for the show, but of course, the fun comes from the dramatic interplay between the characters, as well as the fairytale concepts around which they’re based.
If you like The Librarians for its focus on magical realism and its juxtaposition of the real world with a parallel magical reality, then Once Upon a Time is definitely a show you should check out.
Starring Colin Morgan, Angel Coulby, and legends like Anthony Head, Richard Wilson, and John Hurt, Merlin imagines what life was like for a younger, less experienced Merlin in the Court of Camelot.
The show takes some liberties with the established mythology of King Arthur, but you’ll spot a few familiar elements, like Arthur Pendragon himself, Guinevere, and Morgana.
The drama in Merlin can occasionally be a touch staid, and it can sometimes feel a little tonally inconsistent, but this is a thoroughly absorbing watch for anyone who loves fantasy TV.
On a similar note to Merlin, the BBC’s ongoing revival of Doctor Who is well worth a watch if you like the idea of quasi-mystical guardians protecting the world from magical threats.
In this case, of course, the threats are primarily alien, as is the Doctor themselves, although the character of the Doctor is more fundamentally human than many of the human beings they meet along the way.
While Doctor Who can sometimes cross the line from fun to silly, its great episodes are truly excellent, and there are a few episodes that can genuinely be called timeless (no pun intended) classics of television.
This adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s famous collaborative work stars Michael Sheen and David Tennant as a pair of bickering celestials attempting to prevent the end of the world.
That’s what it’s about on the surface, but the real meat of Good Omens is, of course, Tennant’s Crowley and Sheen’s Aziraphale, and the way their relationship shifts and changes over the course of the show.
There are plenty of fantasy thrills to be had in Good Omens, but Sheen and Tennant’s performances are what will keep you coming back.
Q: What made The Librarians special among fantasy TV shows? A: The Librarians carved a niche for itself by blending whimsical storytelling with mythological and literary characters, all while maintaining a light-hearted and adventurous tone throughout its run.
Q: Are there any shows similar to The Librarians currently airing? A: While The Librarians itself is no longer on the air, there are several other series that echo its spirit. Shows like Warehouse 13, Stranger Things, and Once Upon a Time offer similar blends of the supernatural and the everyday.
Q: Can I watch the original The Librarians series and movies? A: Yes, you can watch the four seasons of The Librarians TV show as well as the movies that preceded the series, although availability may depend on your region and streaming service.
Q: Is Warehouse 13 basically the same as The Librarians? A: While Warehouse 13 shares the theme of protecting the real world from magical artifacts and has a similar adventure tone, it has its own unique characters and story arcs that differentiate it from The Librarians.
Q: Are there any other recommendations for fans of The Librarians who prefer less supernatural elements? A: If you’re looking for a show with less of a supernatural focus but similar in style, Leverage and its revival Leverage: Redemption might be what you’re looking for, featuring high-stakes heists with a charismatic team.
Q: What if I want a show with more classic fantasy elements? A: For a more traditional fantasy series, Merlin and Doctor Who offer magical and mythical elements, with the former delving into Arthurian legends and the latter exploring time-travel and sci-fi twists on historical and alien encounters.
While The Librarians has turned its final page on the small screen, its legacy endures through the various series that capture its essence. Whether you’re seeking to recapture the show’s magical realism, embark on artifact-retrieving adventures, or explore fairy tale retellings, there’s a wealth of TV treasures waiting to be discovered. Each recommended series offers a portal into worlds where the fantastic collides with the familiar, ensuring that the spirit of The Librarians lives on in the hearts of fans and in the DNA of many shows to come. Whether you’re after nostalgia, thrills, or simply a touch of magic, the adventure continues with every play button you press. Dive in and let these stories whisk you away on new quests for the extraordinary.