Sunday, March 16, 2014

Veronica Mars (Rob Thomas, 2014)

Good work, marshmallows?

A long time ago, we used to be friends there was a little TV show called Veronica Mars. Merrily plucking choice elements from film noir, Nancy Drew, high school dramas, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and more, the cocktail of influences coalesced into a smart and compelling drama, thanks in no small part to Kristen Bell's stellar work as the teenaged private eye. A critical darling from the offset, Veronica Mars, however, struggled to secure a commercially-viable audience in the deeply unpleasant world of network television. Although it nearly miraculously lasted for three seasons - in stark contrast to the truncated single runs of its near-contemporaries Firefly and Freaks & Geeks (more on both those later) - there was still the sense that Mars' inevitable cancellation came too soon, that there was still life in the characters and setting of Neptune. A follow-up was particularly anticipated since the entertaining but uneven third series struggled to maintain the high quality of its predecessors, as it awkwardly shifted away from season long storytelling into a series of 'mini-arcs' (surely a last ditch attempt to appeal to a more casual audience). Some might say season three was evidence the show had run out of steam, but in this writer's opinion anyway it was only a tad disappointing because it was abundantly clear there was the potential for more A-grade Veronica Mars. Indeed, the quality still shone through during season three's best moments.