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November 23, 2009
The Librarians Blu-Ray Review
TV Air Date Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
20075/11/2009Village RoadshowWayne Hope
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4Dolby Digital 2.0MRobyn Butler

For those unaware, and we suggest that would include most of our international readers, The Librarians is a comedy series that aired on the Australia's ABC network back in 2007. The six-part series centers on the trials and tribulations of Frances O'Brien, a devout Catholic and the head librarian. Her life unravels when she is forced to employ her ex-best friend, Christine Grimwood - now a drug dealer - as the children's librarian. Frances must do all she can to contain her menacing past and concentrate on the biggest event of the library calendar - Book Week.

This series consists of six episode - "Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot?", "Repeat Offender", "4 Kilos To Book Week", "Unholy Matrimony", "Amnesty", and "And Nothing But The Truth". Each is a continuation of the season-long story arc of the Book Week, but can also stand up as independent episodes as well.

Yep, it's the DVD cover.
To be honest it took me a little while to get into this series, but when I got used to the characters, the setting, and the comedic style this show really grew on me. I had only seen small sections of this show on the ABC when it originally aired, and in more recent times the second series but seeing it in full really makes it a lot more entertaining.

One thing that surprised me is just how much of the comedy in this movie is either racist, sexist, or against the disadvantaged. Seven minutes into the show the head librarian turns to a Muslim couple and states "Could you leave your backpack at the front counter, please?" to which the male asks "why?" with the librarian stating "I think we know why". If you get offended easily, then you might want to give this comedy a bit of a wide berth, but we found it pretty hilarious.

The Librarians is a solid comedy series from the ABC which seems to offend everyone, but remains likable and entertaining at the same time.

Presented at 1.78:1 The Librarians has been encoded using the AVC MPEG-4 codec. Given that the disc includes 2 hours 39 minutes of episodes it's not surprising to see the bitrate hovering around the 15-20Mbps range. Less impressive though is the fact that the video is only encoded in 1080i which means the shortfalls of the interlaced format are apparent. Having said that the colours are vibrant and details are fairly impressive across the board. Needless to say the Blu-Ray looks superior to the DVD format, and indeed it's ahead of the FTA broadcast too.

The Librarians comes to Blu-Ray with a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track at 256kbps. It's quite disappointing that there is no Surround Sound option on this disc as it could have added a little immersion to the sound field and given a bit more life to the library.

Still, the audio presented here is clear and easy to understand. There is only one subtitle track on this disc, that being an English Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired. The subtitles are placed on-screen next to the characters talking, and have also been colour coded according to those talking for easier recognition. It works well with accuracy to dialogue and good pacing.

One, hot, librarian!
Completing the set are a couple of extras so let's see what's included on this Blu-Ray set then shall we?

Audio Commentary by Robyn Butler and Wayne Hope Eps 1 & 6: Two of the episodes are given audio commentaries which are fairly interesting, especially for those that want a little more insight into this Australian comedy.

What's On The Wall: Two images showing a close-up of, well, what's on the wall in the library.

Middleton Interactive Learning Centre Photo Board (7:44): This featurette is basically a running slideshow of stills from the movie. The disappointing aspect is that they are very small, obviously set up for Standard Definition, and it would have been nice if the HD images had been used on this Blu-Ray release.

ABC Promo Interview (5:00): A short promotional video clip with the husband and wife creators of this TV series. It's brief but has some interesting details about how the series was created.

Alternative ending for Ep 4 (1:48): Title says it all really, but this ending isn't as good as the one in the final show.

Deleted Scene from Ep 6 (0:40): This deleted scene is from the final episode in the series, and is pretty average.

The Librarians is a very solid ABC comedy which looks good on Blu-Ray, is well written and is well worth a purchase if you enjoyed the TV series.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyrightę Village Roadshow. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.