Wednesday, September 1, 2010

An open apology to Veronica Mars.

I judged you, Veronica, I did.

Back when your show began in 2004 and I heard rumors of your awesomeness, I scoffed. I mean, a show on UPN*? No way it was quality. No way it could measure up to My So-Called Life and Buffy.

But as I entered my mid-20s, immersed myself in the YA world, and heard more and more about the amazing Veronica Mars, my curiosity piqued. Enter unlimited instant viewing on Netflix, and I made my decision.

It was time to see what the fuss was about.

And oh, the fuss.

THEME SONG: For anyone who's watched episodes of an entire series back-to-back on DVD, you know that the theme song can get GRATING. This one I listened to every time. Even when it got slow and emo in season three. IT'S ADDICTIVE.

PLOT THIS: First off, the season one plot arc rocks. Best friend murdered, innocent man behind bars? Oh heck yes. Solve that murder! And in the meantime, put your teen detective skills to use solving mysteries for your classmates, poking the seedy underbelly of Neptune, CA. Nancy Drew + taser + sarcasm = Veronica Mars.

FAMILY TIES: Your relationship with your father is what's been sorely lacking from YA. It's open and loving, filled with mutual respect. He trusts you, but he's a father, not a friend.

But of course, thanks to your dad's busy PI/bail-jumper-hunting life, you have enough freedom --- and enough talent for sneaking around --- to get yourself into plenty of trouble.

CHARACTER LOVIN': The characters are phenomenal. Three dimensional, from the rich boy snobs to the motorcycle gang members. Even the adults are multifaceted. And the murdered best friend --- Lilly --- is thoroughly imperfect, but utterly lovable.

LE PROTAGONISTA: Veronica, I kinda want to be your best friend. Sure, you seem like a tough gal who doesn't let nasty gossip affect you. But that Lone Ranger persona can be chipped away by someone persistent enough, and you're a big mushball underneath.

But you're not perfect --- your past pain has made you more than a little abrasive to innocent bystanders, and you're not at all above seeking revenge. You will fiercely protect those you love, and you're even willing to help your enemies ... for a fee.

OH, DIALOGUE: Witty doesn't even begin to cover it. The dialogue rings so true for each character, and the humorous repartee between Veronica and her dad, the one-liners she throws at the incompetent jerk sheriff, and the tension-laden exchange between her and hottie Logan ALL work so well.

Total GUSH about the dialogue.

GUEST STARRING... First of all, if I knew Joss Whedon loved the show, I would've tuned in much sooner. Not only did the Joss man himself make a cameo, both Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia!) and Alyson Hannigan (Willow!) have recurring roles.

Throw in some Michael Cera, THE Kevin Smith, and Paul-freakin-Rudd for good measure, and you have yourself some quality guest stars.

ISSUES ABOUND: In any given episode of VM, you'll come across murder, theft, drugs, blackmailing, and affairs. But beyond that, the show touches on issues of class, race, sexuality, and gender, plus the usual high school drama of survival of the fittest.

Best part? None of it seems after-school-special, cliche, or overly dramatized. Real life FTW.

HOT LOVIN': Props to the writers/producers of VM for showing the true spectrum of high school lovin' --- from the virgins (who aren't obsessing over losing their virginity) to the extremely sexually active students, everyone's covered --- and no one is judged. Even better, our heroine actively decides when and with whom she's going to have sex, is responsible about it, and has no discomfort about her decision because she was READY.

And people don't just leap from kissing to sex! And they have anxiety about their skills/experience-or-lack-thereof! THIS IS SO AMAZING! But on the serious side, Veronica was once raped (and a serial rapist is a big part of the season 3 plot), and the emotional and physical consequences of that are respectfully shown.

LOVE INTERESTS: Veronica has four boyfriends over the course of the series, and I LOVE how refreshing her relationships are. Sure, they're occasionally epic, and she lets herself wallow and sob over breakups, but her life is never over afterward. Healthy perspective of relationships!!! 

****SPOILERY DETAILS**** Logan Echolls is the perfect example of a bad boy done well. He can be the hugest jackass and make really dumb decisions, but he has a genuine core of goodness that compels me to root for him and Veronica. And it makes me understand why Veronica's attraction to him grows. Plus, they've both been hurt so much, that it makes sense that they can break down the other's defense mechanisms. And when Logan is being an asshole --- sayonara. Veronica doesn't take it.

THE CONCLUSION: I'm officially fangirling season one. It must be added to my DVD collection. Season two had an equally addictive and even darker plot arc, but despite the (IMHO) overly-complicated whodunit reveal at the end, it's still well worth the trip.

Season three, aka Veronica Goes to College and Continues Mystery Solving with Darker Theme Song, didn't have as addictive of a plot arc, but it transitioned well -- especially compared to the epic fails of other teen TV shows (ahem, Dawson's Creek). Season three loses points for product placement but gains points for a kickass last episode ... that wrapped up NOTHING because the show was cancelled. :(

So... Am I masochistic for watching a show that I knew didn't have a conclusion? Maybe. But it was well worth the ride. And in a world of The Ends PLUS fast-forward Epilogues, it's nice to wonder what Veronica's up to now. I'm sure it's awesome, whatever it is.

What are you waiting for?! Start watching this show!!!
Watch seasons 2 and 3 online for free from 

(And if you HAVE watched it, PLEASE gush with me in the comments!)

And if you need more convincing, here's an awesome article by a guy probably more qualified than I am: Why I Still Miss Veronica Mars 

* Yes, I know UPN is now The CW and took over for The WB, but when VM started, UPN had like NO good shows.


  1. YAY! I'm so glad you liked VM! I was as skeptical as you until a friend basically ordered me to watch it. Even my husband liked it. By far one of the best TV shows of all time.

    I totally agree with you about Logan. The writers made you hate him, then love him, then hate him again, then right back to swooning. Ugh...kills me that there was no concrete ending though.

  2. I just discoverd VM in June! I had to watch the first season as a "homework" assignment for the YA intensive I took at the SCBWI LA conference...and now I'm hooked!

    I'm about 1/3 of the way into season 3 and am torn between wanting to watch it super quick and wanting to savor it b/c it's the last season (BOO!).

    Oh, and Logan...I kind of want one of my own!!!

  3. I started watching Veronica Mars when season 3 started and got addicted. Then season 4 never started!!! I was SO bummed!! But I found the entire series on and watched the whole thing back to back. I freaking LOVE it!!! I re-watch the entire series periodically because it's just that amazing.

  4. YAAAAAYY! it's so great when i find another VM convert! im actually doing things backwards- heard VM hailed as part vampire slayer, part Nancy Drew, so now i'm on season 3 of Buffy. My one qualm: why oh why is kristen bell doing all these chick flicks? come back to tv!!!!

  5. I remember when that show was on...but I never watched it.

    You've convinced me. *goes searching for Pilot episode*

  6. Melissa - That's a good friend to have. I attempted to get Future Husband to watch, but he declined. :/ Have you seen the season 4 (that never happened) teasers? They're on the page of that final link I provided!

    KT - I started watching this summer too! I gave in and watched as quickly as possible. Enjoy the rest! And then watch those season 4 teasers I mention above!

    Sarahem - I definitely need to start a VM DVD collection.

    Liz - How are you liking Buffy? You already passed my fave episodes -- What's My Line? parts 1 and 2 -- in season 2. VM made me appreciate Kristen Bell so much more! She was in Heroes for a bit, but I wasn't crazy about her character.

    Mireyah - YES! You will be thanking me!

  7. VM was my favorite TV show and I still watch it to this day. My younger brother watches it all the time too. The show was so unique and had the most incredible, witty, fantastic writing. The relationships were done so well and the actors were just phenomenal in their roles. Keith and Veronica had the best daddy/daughter relationship I have ever seen on TV and I adored Logan.

    I still remember some of my favorite lines:

    "Lousy conversation, but the sex was fantastic."

    "You're a marshmallow Veronica Mars. A twinkie!"

    "I thought our story was epic, you know? You and me. Spanning years, continents. Lives ruined, bloodshed. Epic."

    It hurt to see it go, especially with the ending that wrapped up absolutely nothing because it was canceled. I think the S3 dvd had a Veronica 4 years in the future or something like that. It was a 10 minute 'what could have happened' type of deal.

  8. I adore Veronica Mars, and converting people into VM lovers is one of my favorite pastimes. (I just got my sister-in-law a couple weeks ago actually. One of the first things I told her was, Well, Joss Whedon loved it, so...) Anyway, so glad you caved and gave it a shot. I think it's brilliant work all around.

    (p.s. I'm Janine's sister and I love what you all are doing here!)

  9. Season one was awesome and the show was all the things you said. I watched all of season two and few of season 3, but never finished. Maybe I need to check it out again.

  10. Nikki - It's in my top 5 favorite TV shows, no doubt about it! And those S4 previews were these teaser ideas the creator had -- you can watch them in the final link in the post! I so wish they were made!

    elizabeth - It's brilliant! And WHY haven't you converted Janine yet?! Let's tag team!

    Mary - Yes, season one of VM was one of my favorite seasons ever for a TV show. Definitely worthwhile to complete the whole series!

  11. I just saw this on a website!!

    KRISTEN BELL, the actress who got her boost on the UPN-turned-CW hit Veronica Mars, has been idolized by fans around the world who were totally enamored with the character she played in that series. In 2009, the show's creator, Rob Thomas pitched the idea to Warner Bros. for a Veronica Mars theatrical film release, but the idea was turned down by the movie execs there. However, all isn't lost, Kristen Bell knows the power of the Internet (which for celebrities boils down to facebook and Twitter, mostly). Her tweet:

    “mars fans-can we bug @wbpictures & tell em the must do a VM film?? new tactic. bombard em w/tweets, theres evidence of fans they cant ignore... #veronicamars fans send petitions & any obsessive behaior u have 2 @wbpictures & demand the film. they c no audience 4 it? i beg 2 differ.”

    Now, Kristen Bell has a petition with over 8,000 signatures and the #veronicamars hashtag was a trending topic on Twitter. Let's see if Kristen Bell can use the Veronica Mars effect.

  12. Veronica Mars is a fantastic show I love, but it's also pretty much impossible to explain to other people.

    "It's about a teen... detective... But it's awesome! I swear!"

  13. A lot of people made fun of me for watching this show back in the day, but I think it's incredible. I also want to be Veronic Mars best friend. I have nothing to add since I think you summed it all up perfectly. Except that I always really loved the computer nerd girl whose name I suddenly forgot. (She played Deb in Napoleon Dynamite)

  14. Geoff - The awesome is tough to explain. Just direct them to this blog post!

    Melissa -Mac! I LOVE LOVE LOVE HER. I thought she was the perfect choice as a female friend to Veronica.


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