Veronica Mars Season One - 1st through 5th January 2011

Yes, I am behind the times, yes this is a series that debuted in 2004 and was off the air by the end of 2007 and yes I realise this is a movie blog and this is a TV series but just occasionally, like with Dollhouse prior to this, I feel like saying a little something about good TV. Especially when, like with Dollhouse, the wife and I got the DVD, put it in and watched the first season in just a few evenings all in one go like one big glorious movie.

Ok, so if I had to sum up Veronica Mars for a fan of TV Shows who had never seen it then I would say it is like Twin Peaks meets Buffy meets The OC with whip smart writing, plenty of nods to 50s film noir, quick fire pop culture quotes and a harder, darker and more violent edge than you'd expect.
It has the overall plot of a promiscuous, fun loving but damaged teenage girl's murder with pulp detective sensibilities like Peaks, the clever banter, school out-cast dynamic of Buffy and the soap opera, South California stylings of The OC (only it's better than the OC).
It's faults are few and far between, the main one being that the supporting cast of characters is never as well defined or overly interesting as you'd necessarily like but this is more than made up for by the cracking plots, frantic dialogue and some genuinely effecting moments.
While it does occasionally dip its toes into soap opera territory, it is never preachy, seldom soppy and unlike Buffy, Veronica is never annoyingly self righteous or overly whingy, which is a massive plus.
While the show was always interesting to watch and I can't think, off the top of my head, of any bad filler episodes that can plague other series, just occasionally the individual, week by week stories got a little throw away or convoluted but that's never the really point or the focus of this series because it's all about the murder of Veronica's best friend Lilly and the Chandleresque, twisty, turny plotting that they miraculously manage to sustain through 22 episodes.
What shocked and interested me the most about the show, in the end, was just how adult it was in places and very pleasingly so. It never shies away from violence or mature subjects such as rape, child abuse, incest, disease, alcohol and drug abuse and, of course, death but I never once felt I was being moralised to, in fact while the character of Veronica Mars definitely has her principles, she is not and the show is not moralistic in an over baring, finger wagging way. Where Buffy can fail frequently because of the heavy handed, fairly childish, self important soap boxing and a show like 24 always has to feature people who disapprove of, agonise over and chin stroke about the lead character's decisions, which, while I enjoy both shows, annoys me no end, Veronica Mars is almost a more realistic depiction of what it's like working your way through life, with themes of living with decisions and loyalty without the smug faced posturing.
Despite loving the writing, the noir throwbacks, the cameos and especially the central dynamic between Veronica and her father and while I would urge or suggest anyone who hasn't seen it to give it a go, I can't say I am a hardened fan just yet, let's see what the second and third seasons bring.
Still as a one off set of 22 episodes with one over-riding, well plotted, interesting storyline and a set of ok characters it was continually watchable, funny, engaging and exciting. Definitely a little gem in a sea of similarly set high-school shows.

8.5 out of 10 cookies
Points from the Wife 8 out of 10

Clerks 2 - 6th January 2011

Die Hard - 24th December 2010