Saturday, 27 September 2014

Veronica Mars: Season One

Two television posts in the same week? You guys are going to be spoilt for choice ah tells yah! So while Ben gave you guys the low down on a fairly recent television show, I'm travelling back in time a little bit - travelling all the way back to 2004. Now before you scoff and say, "2004's not that long ago!", let me remind you that was ten years ago. Almost eleven. Yeah. Let that sink in. Now that's left you feeling old and useless, let us look at the show that came out way back when: Veronica Mars.

Veronica Mars (2004) Poster
Veronica Mars: setting unrealistic life goals since 2004.
First things first; what it's all about? Veronica Mars is a high school student/private eye (please bear with me). A year before the series begins, Veronica's best friend Lily was murdered and when her father Keith Mars, the (then) town sheriff, accused Lily's father (the resident billionaire and social string-puller), things started to get complicated. Another man confessed to the murder, Keith was booted from office, all of her friends cut ties with her and her mother ditched town. I know this seems like an awful lot of information to be giving away, and before you all take to your keyboards with cries of 'spoilers!', I'll remind you that all of this is explained to the audience in the first five minutes of the first episode, so calm doon.

Fashion Icon. This would only be funny if I'd bought my denim jacket after
watching the show, not before. Damn.
I was reluctant to start watching Veronica Mars - I'd given it the good old college try back in high school and wasn't really taken with it. There wasn't anything particularly wrong with it, I just didn't have that unhealthy urge to click episode after episode even though I was well through the night and into the wee hours of the morning. So it got ditched. Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, I'm getting hounded and hounded to watch it and I caved.  So I powered through those first three episodes that I had watched way back when and let me tell you, after those first three episodes, it really finds itself. I had given up on it too early in high school and I'd missed out on something great. I so wish this was a programme that I'd watched in high school. But nonetheless, no regrets and all that, eh? So if there is any advice I can impart upon to you, it's to persevere. It takes time to get used to the tone of it all, to get used to the endearing, albeit cheesy, language (Hey, you made it through season one of Buffy, you can make it through this. If you haven't watched Buffy, boy do I have a treat of a post for you), or to get used to the fact that she is both a high school student and a private eye and to not want to roll your eyes a little; trust me, the high school/P.I thing, it works! Honestly at this point, the P.I thing doesn't phase me any more, especially in an age where television shows revolving around high school students have much more ridiculous scenarios playing out. Pretty Little Liars, I'm looking at you, with your only half nonsensical plot and weird supernatural elements that everyone refuses to acknowledge. It also takes time to get used to the phones. Like, my god, remember when they looked like this:

Ah, a simpler time.
Once you've adjusted yourself to time period and Americanisms, you should be good to go, There's a definite film-noir feel which is pretty fun to roll with, and Veronica Mars as a character is absolutely kick ass. A lone-wolf (apart from Wallace, obviously) who has dirt on everyone and is the number one person you go to if you need something done. An intellectual powerhouse, she has a tongue sharp as knives and wit to match. I do think Kirsten Bell is the perfect choice to play her; visually, she's a typical Hitchcock gal, with her sweet face and bouncy blonde hair, but as soon as she opens her mouth, snark and sarcastic remarks for all. And we all know how I enjoy my sarcasm and snark.

However her cynical nature is balanced out by resident best buddy Wallace Fennel.
I miss the afro. Bring back the afro!
Wallace is the typical(ish) high school teenager to Veronica's 'aged beyond her years' attitude. He wants the high school experience - he wants to have friends, be popular and to flirt with girls, and he definitely gets swept up in the idea of helping Veronica out with cases; of being in the crime-busting business, going undercover and seducing ladies for information. Shockingly enough, this isn't exactly how it pans out for Wallace, much to his frustration. But no matter what, Wallace displays an admirable amount of loyalty to the people in his life, which is very touching, especially in a show with as many twists and turns as this one has, where one character may be good one minute and bad the next and then maybe a lettuce.

Another character who displays a lot of loyalty is Weevil (whose real name is actually Eli), the head of a biker gang who terrorises whomever he pleases. I always like scenes with Veronica and Weevil because they make for very good verbal sparring buddies. They may have a kind of love-hate relationship, but you know that in the end, Weevil has got Veronica's back, so that's another friendship that I find very interesting and endearing. We also have an interesting dynamic between Veronica's ex-boyfriend Duncan (the brother of deceased best friend Lily) and his best friend Logan (boyfriend of deceased best friend Lily. It's all very incestuous, isn't it?) but in favour of letting you guys watch that unfold, I'll leave it there.

I think the show is able to display a good balance of the 'case of the day' type stories and the over arching story lines; each case injects something new into every episode whereas the 'bigger picture' story lines act as something to make the audience come back again and again to find out what happened, because Veronica Mars is a great whodunit mystery. Something else that shocked me were some of the turns that the story takes. Obviously I'm not going to spoil anything because I'm a good person, but it definitely goes down some routes that I hadn't predicted. For a show whose premise sounds pretty harmless and campy (high school student and part time private investigator? I mean, seriously.) it definitely get's pretty damn dark. But on the bright side it has a kick-ass intro song that I'll never tire of singing along to, and I will be heartbroken if season two has a different intro song.

The derp faces are real, and they are here.
Since I'm only reviewing season one and not the show in it's entirety (that being three seasons and a movie (so close to Community stature!), I feel like I can't say too much more. Perhaps once I've fired my way through the remaining two seasons and the subsequent film, I'll return with a follow up review. So, to conclude, I think season one is an excellent concoction of film noir, whodunit, high school and sarcasm. It may sound a little strange, but hot damn does it work (if you put the supposed ages of the characters aside, but ages of characters is a gripe I have with all high-school centric shows, not just this one). Till next week, and remember, be cool soda pop.


  1. Rhona Shennan, you're a marshmallow ;) Seriously though, this is my most favourite tv show ever... and I think you did it justice. Bravo :)

  2. Rhona writes awesome stuff on this blog every Saturday, you should totally click the "Join this site" button on the right hand side, and maybe even look at our Twitter page. *cough cough*