Well, UPN has announced the Veronica Mars will not be renewed for next season, although they have until June 15th to change their mind, with the writers and actors signing on for other jobs it doesn’t seem likely to happen. This is too bad, as this was one of the best-acted and best-written shows on television.
For most of you who missed this little gem, I can’t really blame you as it started on UPN, a network that wasn’t received everywhere, and was often overlooked as it really didn’t have a lot in the way of innovative programming. I myself tripped over the program. I was really bored and found myself wondering what the heck a program called Veronica Mars could possibly be about. So I watched. I think it was the third episode of the first season. I was hooked. I prowled around until I found the first 3 episodes online and watched them for free. Then I forced my wife to watch them again with me, and then we were both hooked.
At its core, Veronica Mars is a detective story. It follows the adventures of a teenage girl whose father runs a private detective firm. Veronica Mars is the name of the lead character, who works part-time as a receptionist and researcher for her father. Veronica is played by Kristen Bell. Kristen has recently appeared in the 2005 version of Reefer Madness and Pulse. She also has a couple of movies, Flatland and Fanboys, coming out soon.
The movie had a long story for the first two seasons. Season one’s arc had a lot to do with Veronica’s past. You see, her father was once Sheriff of Neptune, the California town they all dwell in. Neptune is made of wealthy people, and the people that work for the wealthy people. High school is where they all mingle, and much of season one’s action centers around Neptune High.
Veronica’s best friend Lillie Cain was daughter of Neptune’s richest citizen. She is murdered. Sheriff Mars pursues the killer, but starts digging and making things uncomfortable. His family feels the heat socially and Mrs. Mars leaves. Veronica sides with her father, rather than her friends and is left friendless when Keith loses his election. The new sheriff, Sheriff Lamb, quickly catches the killer, although neither Keith nor Veronica believe the man committed the murder. This is all told in flashbacks a little at a time. Veronica tries to return to her old life, only to be drugged and abused at a party. She never tells her father, but the cheerleader socialite is gone and a spunky fireball is born.
Keith is too stubborn to leave town, and becomes a detective so he can work on the murder between paying jobs. He tries to limit Veronica’s involvement in his cases, but she is a natural detective, and often involves herself more deeply than he likes. She also picks up work of her own at school. Veronica is also not a person you cross, as the vengeance she reaps is often brutal.
The story arc doesn’t dominate the series, most episodes have a case of some sort and the arc plays out in the background. The interaction between the main characters is what makes this series so much fun. The dialog is witty, the characters are well-rounded and allowed to grow. There aren’t any throw-away characters and very few one episode characters. It is really like you are living together in town and watching the people interact. Something that occurs in one episode may have an impact 6 or 7 shows later.
The main characters
- Keith is played by Enrico Colantoni
- Wallace, Percy Daggs III, Veronica befriends him in the first episode and he kind of acts as her Watson, so we learn about the various elements of Neptune through his eyes
- Weevil, Francis Capra, leader of the local bike gang
- Duncan, Teddy Dunn, Veronica’s ex and Lilly’s brother
- Logan, Jason Dohring, Lilly’s boyfriend
- Sheriff Lamb, Michael Muhney
- Mac – Tina Marjorino – Veronica’s Tech consultant
Other characters come and go, but I can’t tell you too much without spoiling anything. I believe the first two seasons are out on DVD so rent them. This show doesn’t play by conventional rules. Don’t think you know anyone, because characters are often not what they appear at first. Also the show is a drama, but contains a lot of humor. The first two seasons were often compared to Buffy the Vampire Slay, and Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy, is said to be a big fan of Rob Thomas.
I plan on picking up the entire series on DVD. I personally hope a cable channel recognizes the quality of the show and picks it up. It would be great to watch this on FX or Showtime.
Season three tried to move away from the big mystery story arc and included 2 smaller arcs and ended with some shows with no arc. I liked the shows, but felt the arc added something other than continuity. The Veronica’s personal life pulled a lot of people in also. Who was Veronica dating, and was she pushing them away. Would she spoil things by not trusting them? This added a lot of fun.