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Continuing my trend of watching shows that have been canned by braindead American television executives who don’t understand how to handle polling or scheduling, I was finally convinced to watch Veronica Mars.

I had always given this show a bit of a wide berth. Sure, it had been talked up heaps – but I kind of fell into that Joan of Arcadia mentality of thinking it was a teen show for girls.

Boy. Was I wrong.

Although the first two seasons were often promoted as such – one viewing of the first episode presented a show that was really the kind of Noir that Brick aims for. Just with a little less pretention and more focus on being intelligent and engaging.

There are so many things about Veronica Mars that won me over. Well paced mysteries, an excellent storyline, great actors – it’s all there.

For those not in the know, Veronica Mars is about a teenage girl whose life gets turned upside down when her rich best friend is murdered. In the process of this occuring, her father is fired, her boyfriend dumps her, her mother goes missing and Veronica goes to a party where she believes she may have been date-raped.

Hardly the start of a teen girl television series.

We quickly learn that Veronica is a strong willed young woman who teams up with her father – who becomes a private investigator after being fired as sheriff for arresting the wrong man for the murder of Veronica’s friend. In the pilot episode we learn that Veronica is feisty, intelligent and independent. She stares down bikers, stakes out seedy motels to get shots of unfaithful spouses and is secretly investigating the murder of her best friend.

Nancy Drew just can’t keep up with this teen detective.

The first two seasons present two big mysteries that arc over each season, each being revealed by season’s end. The third season takes a different approach of having a number of smaller arcs that present several mysteries while the various storylines from all three seasons are brought to a head.

I ended up loving both models. By third season the over-arcing mystery just seemed a bit of a stretch. The second season’s mystery did sometimes feel that things were being padded out. I liked that in third season, each mystery was wrapped up just before they could get tired.

What is so great about the mysteries is how they rarely feel like the writers pulled the resolution out of their butts. Each of the big mysteries felt well established, and that the clues were all there if you looked for them.

Further, the cast were great at keeping everything at a reasonably believeable level. Kirsten Bell who plays Veronica is a true find. She is hugely talented and the series allows her to really show her range and ability. The relationship between Veronica and her father, Keith, are pure gold moments of television – as are the interactions between Veronica and Logan Echolls, her dead best friend’s boyfriend.

As each season develops, loyal viewers are constantly rewarded with references back to previous episodes and characters are regularly brought back – even when they were just bit parts in an episode shown during the previous season. The series treats its viewers as intelligent thinkers who are engaged with the mystery as much as Veronica is.

I’d also like to mention that this is a truly wonderful show for computers. For the first time in a long time, it shows computers working like they do in real life. Virtually all the software used is recognisable as real software – not some cheesy computer graphic for dumb dumbs.

Veronica uses search engines that present logical search results. When she is watching a file on her mac, it opens in Quicktime. She uses Photoshop. Files take realistic amounts of time to download – websites look like real websites. Even her PI database site looks like a genuine site without a whole bunch of stupid flash special effects.

This is a series that wants things to be believable. That deserves credit.

In short – Veronica Mars is a funny, witty, intelligent, thrilling, enjoyable and oddly resonating show that should never have been cut. It successfully shows that television can be as engaging as cinema and is populated with a cast of characters that you grow up with and fall in love with – even the assholes. 😀

Top viewing! Get it now!

Love and Huggles


Currently Reading: Reign
Currently Playing: Exalted: Lunars
Mood: Still perky from Veronica Mars

January 2008

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