tek's rating: ½

Veronica Mars, on UPN (s1-2) / The CW (s3)
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Caution: slight spoilers.

So... Kristen Bell plays Veronica Mars (who, in traditional detective fashion, does a fair amount of voice-over narration). Prior to the series, she was part of the in crowd (the 09ers) at her high school. The 09ers consisted mostly of rich kids, but while Veronica wasn't rich, she was the daughter of the local sheriff, Keith Mars (Enrico Colantoni), and she was dating Duncan Kane, whose father Jake Kane is the richest, most powerful man in the town of Neptune, California. Also, Veronica was best friends with Duncan's sister, Lilly (Amanda Seyfried). So, life was pretty good. Until Lilly was murdered. Keith believed Jake killed his own daughter, but was proven wrong (apparently), and lost his job (he's replaced by the somewhat bumbling Sheriff Don Lamb). He started a detective agency, where Veronica now works for him. Oh, and her mom, Lianne (Corinne Bohrer), left them. And because Veronica stuck by her dad, Duncan and all her former friends abandoned her, so now she's a social outcast. Plus, at a party, someone slipped her a roofie and raped her, but she has no idea who. So, life ain't what it used to be.

Still, she's a very clever girl, with a most inquiring mind. She's a great asset to her dad's agency, but she also has plenty of questions of her own, that he refuses to answer. Signs point to the possibility that Jake Kane may be Veronica's real father (and ergo, Duncan her half-brother). But then again, who knows? Anyway, she loves her dad (Keith), so she'd rather not find out the truth. For now. But she's still got several mysteries to deal with, such as her mother's disappearance, Lilly's murder, her own rape; plus there are always other cases coming into the agency, as well as cases she takes on herself, at school or whatever. What else? She has a new friend, Wallace Fennel, a new kid at school whom she met after he had been duct taped naked to the flag pole by a biker gang (the P.C.H. Bike Club). She helped him down, and since then... well, neither of them is sitting alone at lunch. He also helps her with some of her investigations.

Later in the season, Keith will start dating Wallace's mom, Alicia. Someone else who occasionally helps Veronica is, ironically, the leader of the bikers, Eli "Weevil" Navarro. They help each other out, actually. He's often at odds with the 09ers, as is Veronica, so at least they have that much in common. One of the 09ers is Duncan's best friend, Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring), whose father Aaron (Harry Hamlin) is a self-involved movie star. Logan can't stand him... but early in the series, I can't stand Logan, either. He's pretty much a jerk, though he used to be Lilly's boyfriend. But as we get to know him better in the course of the first season, he gets somewhat more likable. At one point, his mother, Lynn (Lisa Rinna), kills herself... apparently. Though for a time Logan suspects she faked her own death to get away from Aaron. We'll also occasionally see Logan's globe-hopping sister Trina (Alyson Hannigan). I think the word "step" should be added to some of the relationships in the Echolls family, but I'm not exactly sure which ones.

...Anyway, early in the season, Veronica dates an 09er named Troy Vandegraff (Aaron Ashmore), though that won't last. There is also a computer expert at school, named Cindy "Mac" Mackenzie (Tina Majorino), who sometimes helps Veronica with cases. And for awhile Veronica dates a sheriff's deputy named Leo D'Amato (Max Greenfield), who is often helpful. Though eventually, Veronica will shockingly start dating Logan, of all people. Other characters include Clarence Wiedman, head of Kane Software's security, who occasionally does private work for Jake Kane... sometimes working against the Marses. And there's a cheap lawyer named Cliff McCormack (Daran Norris) who occasionally brings cases to Keith and Veronica. And Veronica has a dog named Backup. Oh, and I should also mention Vinnie Van Lowe (Ken Marino), a rather sleazy P.I. who is somewhat of a rival of Keith's.

Just about everyone is a suspect in various things, throughout the first season, but by the end, it's pretty much all wrapped up. There are a great many details I'm leaving out here, of course, because it's all terribly interesting, trying to figure things out along with Veronica... The show never got good ratings, so it's a tremendous blessing that it got renewed. Twice. It really is absolutely brilliant and cool and amusing and fascinating and touching and... everything. I simply can't say enough.....

Season Two
Logan, who is no longer dating Veronica, has been accused of killing a PCHer named Felix Toombs. So part of the season's story will be about learning the truth behind Felix's death. The other part of the season's mystery concerns a bus full of Neptune High students that went over a cliff in the season premiere. We also get to know a couple of 09ers better, the aptly-named Dick Casablancas (Ryan Hansen) and his brother Cassidy "Beaver" Casablancas. Plus we meet their stepmother, Kendall (Charisma Carpenter). Also, Wallace meets his biological father, who his mother had told him was dead. Wallace moves to Chicago with him for awhile, but he returns later in the season. Another subplot involves Veronica helping Duncan with a certain matter I won't spoil, but we won't see much of him after that. There's also a local political figure named Woody Goodman (Steve Guttenberg), who has big plans for Neptune. And he has a daughter named Gia (Krysten Ritter), who... well, I don't actually remember anything specific about her. (I really need to rewatch this show someday.) Coincidentally, Woody also owns a baseball team. Which leads us to meet an ex-major league player named Terrence Cook, whose daughter, Jackie (Tessa Thompson), becomes a love interest for Wallace, though she and Veronica don't always get along. There's also an Irish-American gang, the Fitzpatricks, who are at odds, supposedly, with the PCHers. And Weevil has some trouble of his own with the PCHers, of whom he may not be the leader much longer. Man, I'm forgetting so much that needs to be said, there are so many different plotlines that tie together... on top of the major myster(ies), there are always stand-alone cases, though even some of those may end up tying into the major story arc sometimes. Of course, it all gets resolved by the end of the season. And Veronica and her friends graduate high school.

Season Three
Veronica is now attending Hearst college, along with Wallace, Logan, Mac, Dick, etc. Plus Weevil is now working there. And we'll meet new characters, like Wallace's roommate, Piz, who has a radio show, and who takes an interest in Veronica. And there's a serial rape case, which was introduced in an episode of the second season, which Veronica now has to solve. And there's a criminology professor named Hank Landry who is important to the story, as is his T.A., Tim Foyle, who will be a bit of a rival of Veronica's. And we'll meet Hearst's dean, Cyrus O'Dell (Ed Begley, Jr.), who's worried that his wife, Mindy (Jaime Ray Newman), is cheating on him. Dean O'Dell will eventually be killed, which becomes the second major story arc of the season. Um... later on Keith will run for Sheriff, but he'll be opposed by Vinnie Van Lowe. Veronica looks forward to a potential career in the FBI. And there are, as always, stand-alone cases for her to investigate throughout the season. Anyway, I'm leaving out some things, whether because I've forgotten them, or because I'm intentionally not spoiling them. So, this is all I can think to say, but again, a brilliant series, one that will be sorely missed....

Oh, and I guess I've neglected to mention that it's full of snarky humor, which I really love. A nice complement to all the drama. All the characters are great, especially Veronica herself; she's just amazingly awesome and clever and funny and awesome. And the show has probably the best father-daughter relationship I've ever seen on TV (or anywhere, for that matter). And... there are lots of pop culture references, which is something I always enjoy. And the show can be kind of quirky, even if it's mostly grounded in something resembling reality. Um... and I guess the only other thing to say is that the theme song, "We Used to be Friends" by the Dandy Warhols, is pretty cool....

In 2014, seven years after the show ended, there was a feature film, which was partially funded by a Kickstarter campaign. Later in 2014, there was a spoofy webseries called Play It Again, Dick, about Ryan Hansen trying to make a Veronica Mars spin-off about his character, Dick Casablancas. And there are some books, which I haven't read but would probably like to. And in 2019, there was an 8-episode fourth season, on Hulu.

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