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Performers Of The Month - January Winner: Outstanding Actor - Christian Kane

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January’s Actor of the Month is The Librarian’s Christian Kane who portrays the fierce and moral Jacob Stone. This is a character that has gone through a big transformation since the start of the series. He’s always been a good guy, but he has now become more of a team player and his belief in people has grown exponentially. Kane’s win was primarily for his performance in the episode And the Fatal Separation (3x9) where those qualities in his character were beautifully displayed. Kane has done exceptional work and through his dedication and extreme talent, he’s allowed Jacob to really grow as a person throughout the run of the series.

Acting on a show like The Librarians isn’t necessarily an easy task. This show is the very definition of a dramedy. Anyone who says it’s easy to play the transitions between comedy and drama is either flat out lying or has no understanding of the acting process. What performers on shows like this do is absolutely incredible because they make this tough sub-category look easy. Christian Kane has some experience working within this category of storytelling, so it comes as no surprise that he pulls it off effortlessly, but it's still nonetheless impressive. He hits the comedic bits every bit as accurately and precisely as he hits the dramatic ones. His tonal shifts are always on point despite the fantastical situations his character is constantly thrust into.

Often times in television a character can either be smart but not strong or strong but not smart. Typically a character is either the brains of the operation or the brawn, yet this show, through Jacob Stone and the brilliant acting of Christian Kane, has served up an alternative option where a character can be both. That is a brilliant statement to make in this age of changing preconceived notions that are long overdue for a change. Some of the strongest people are also some of the smartest which is perfectly highlighted in The Librarians.

Kane has a strong understanding of who his character is as a person which really aids his performance. Jacob Stone is a complicated man with a lot of layers that he likes to keep to himself. He’s also the man his fellow Librarians want watching their back because he always comes through. To make this character work Kane had to find this perfect balance of intellect and strength without allowing either side of the character to be compromised. He walks a tightrope every episode to keep those two often times contradictory sides of his character in balance yet he never falters.

In the episode And The Fatal Separation, both of these qualities really got to shine. In fact, truthfully, those qualities usually shine in every episode, but they became stronger here. This episode showed Jacob fighting for the soul of the Monkey King (Ernie Reyes Jr.) where he used both his wit and his strength to overcome all the obstacles thrown at them by Lam (Robert Wu) and his ninja army. His scenes were both whimsical and incredibly intense. The fight sequences were fierce and more intense than a typical episode of this show, which is impressive given the caliber of fight sequences this show has pulled off in the past. That’s because Christian Kane is a very physical actor which allows the creative team a lot of room to show off this strong side to Stone.

The first sequence was powerful yet had that familiar The Librarians levity to it, making it whimsical yet impactful. The Monkey King was trying to teach Jacob a lesson. Jacob passed his training, which was an experience for him and Kane perfectly captured the pride that Jacob felt over this accomplishment. For all that Jacob has experienced and survived it is still these little things that are important to him. It doesn’t matter how many times he helps to save the world or how many bad guys he takes down, he always wants to try to be better. He’s constantly pushing himself because he wants to be the best man he can be so he can be the best Librarian he possibly can. In every scene, in every episode, throughout all the seasons, Christian Kane has made sure that this element of his character has always been present. Even in the lighthearted scenes he still keeps his character poised and focused on the mission. Whether that mission is saving a friend, a teammate, a mentor, or even the world he treats ever encounter with the same level of gravitas. Kane has been brilliant in his performances because never once in three seasons has he ever lost this connection with his character.

That’s the thing with an actor like Christian Kane, they can really do it all and they do it all very well. He’s the kind of actor that writers love and show creators clamor after because they could throw the kitchen sink at him and undoubtedly know he will turn it into an awe inspiring performance. He can turn his performances on a dime and always does so in such an effortless way that the level of craft mastery it takes can be overlooked. In the scene at the library where Jacob is arguing his case to get the team to go back to Shangri-La, he adds another level of intensity to his performance. Kane keeps Jacob focused and poised the moment Flynn (Noah Wyle) makes his Odyssey suggestion Kane throws a switch and gears down his performance. The intensity is still there, but it is replaced a glimmer of excitement and hope. He took Jacob from feeling pressured against the odds to hopeful about the new plan with no visible effort, shifting so precisely that it’s incredible to watch him work. He is truly gifted at what he does.

As mentioned earlier, his technical acting is just as exacting as his responsive acting. He is capable of doing complicated fight sequences that a lot of performers would shy away from. This particular episode gave him many great fight sequences to work with. In each one, it’s evident that he did most of the stunt work himself as he dodged, kicked, and punched his way through the scenes. Jacob Stone might be a ninja in training, but it’s very possible that Christian Kane already is a ninja. His actions are smooth and swift without ever feeling jerky and staged. Even when they have to cut in a stunt double, and it doesn’t appear that it happens very often, it is so smoothly executed that it’s impossible to tell where the stunt double begins and Kane ends. That’s a big thing because in the case of many performers fight sequences become jerky to the point where even great editing won’t help. The technical work Kane puts into his performances shows just how well trained he is at making sure that does not happen.

Still, even given his great physical and technical acting, one of the biggest things a performer needs to fully grasp is emotional acting. No matter the genre of the show, there will always be dramatic moments for a performer to tackle. Kane got to show off his dramatic side as Jacob fought to restore the soul of his mentor, the Monkey King. This scene was ripe to be overacted, and in some ways, it was meant to be. Kane found a perfect balance where the sentiment felt true while the whimsicality of the moment still got to shine. As Jacob begged the Monkey King to fight for his soul there was this weight to his voice that fully conveyed the enormity of the situation. Jacob wasn’t just begging for the salvation of his mentor’s soul, but for the future of all magic and the world as a whole. Kane embraced the environment the character was in without losing contact with the humanity that makes Jacob such a fascinating character to watch. Whimsical environment or not Kane always finds a way to keep his performance grounded so that the situations his character is in always somehow feel plausible, which, ironically makes his work feel magical.

That whimsical feel is just part of the framework of The Librarians, which provides all the performers an interesting challenge. Luckily Kane is surrounded by incredible fellow performers that always make these moments seem so grounded despite the weirdness of the situations. He and his fellow performers have a phenomenal rapport. They bounce lines off of each other with such ease that the bonds between the characters always feel very real. Perhaps the best bond is the one that Cassandra (Lindy Booth) and Jacob share, it's one of those rare onscreen friendships that isn't romantic but is still full of so much love. Unfortunately, this particular episode didn’t highlight that at all, but the ones that preceded and followed it certainly did. Not to dismiss all his fellow co-stars, they all have a great rapport, but there is something extra special when those two get let loose in a scene together. This show also highlights one of the most fun bromances on television between Kane's Jacob and John Harlan Kim's Ezekiel. Put plain and simple, Christian Kane has chemistry with everyone because he's got one of those personalities that just allows anyone and everyone to connect with him.

With that said Kane always has a very unique bond with Wyle that allows these two characters to butt heads at times yet always stay in tune. The scenes they shared in this episode where their characters are trapped together showcased that strong rapport. Wyle is the master of banter, and it takes someone exceptionally skilled to keep up with him, but Kane does so without missing a beat. His expressions in that scene were priceless. Luckily he’s very expressive in his movements which really suit the character.

From start to finish this episode showed off many aspects of Christian Kane’s brilliant acting skills, but this episode was just one of thirty episodes to air so far in the run of this series. Each episode provides prime examples of what makes Kane such a highly regarded performer. A performer who can deliver thirty episodes worth of exceptional performances is remarkable, but one that can deliver an entire career of high-level perfect performances is something truly special. In his hands, Jacob Stone will only continue to grow and evolve. The writers really have no limit as to where they can take Jacob next and watching Kane take him on that journey will be a true joy for all.

Christian Kane is the complete package as someone who can be funny, serious, and physical and all at the same time if necessary and not to mention his infectious smile. The Librarians is the perfect show for him to be on to highlight all the different aspects of his immense skill. He is truly deserving of this title and the future looks very bright for him. Hopefully, this show will be on the air for many seasons to come, but even after it sadly ends he’ll still be much sought after. Performers like Christian Kane are rare and when the industry is lucky enough to get one those performers rarely go without work. They are the ones that producers fight over and it is a good bet that when Kane becomes a free agent again it won’t last for long.

All of the work Christian Kane did in January was noteworthy, but couldn’t all be fit into this article. So, please, use the comments section to talk about all the incredible moments this article didn’t have the space to cover. His work deserves to be discussed and his exceptional skills deserve all the praise that can be given. Christian Kane is SpoilerTV’s January Actor of the Month.

PLEASE READ: Please keep comments on topic and just discussing the performances of the winners.

Special thanks to Donna Cromeans, freelance editor/proofreader (@DJRiter on Twitter) for editing this article.

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