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 theWB.com
(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.