In a nutshell: If Buffy were a private detective…
The 411: Even though, in retrospect, the
death of Buffy the Vampire Slayer looks increasingly like merciful
euthanasia the loss still stings for the bog-eyed mongrels
among us who happily followed Buffy over the cliff and into
wack-ass potential slayer story lines. It’s just possible that
Veronica Mars could fill that gap.
Let’s get the similarities out of the way: both shows kicked
off led by small blonde teenage girls. Like Buffy, Veronica
is a former Valley Girl – they were both forced to forgo the
pleasures of boyfriends, parties and mobile-phones and shoulder
a supersized adult burden, inherited superpowers for Buffy,
social ostracism for Veronica after her father, the local sheriff,
tries and fails to indict the local software billionaire for
the murder of his daughter.
“both forced to forgo the pleasures of boyfriends, parties and mobile-phones and shoulder a supersized adult burden…”
Since he was kicked out of office and his marriage failed
Veronica’s father runs a private investigation business where
Veronica works part-time out of school time. This is where
the meaty end of the action takes place.
Veronica is played by Kristen
Bell (so impressive in Deadwood)
and she gets to dish out a ton of sass to her numerous
enemies – the local motor cycle gang, her former friends,
her father’s former colleagues in the police. Exhibit
A from the Dear
Veronica agony section of the website:
I have a crush on a boy at school but he doesn’t know I’m
alive. What should I do?
Set yourself on fire. He’s sure to notice. Of course, you’ll
probably die but he doesn’t know you’re alive now anyway, right?
Heh. Well, anyway – Veronica Mars is smart, sharp and funny as hell with a distinctly
noirish feel. It’s far from frothy teen fare. That was what was subversive about Buffy – it was ostensibly a light and breezy wisecracking romp that ended up dealing with some dark,
deep themes which snuck in under the radar. The early signs are that Veronica has got some of that.
Incidentally, Paris Hilton plays a vacuous social-climbing trollop. Who knew she had it in her?
The best thing about it: Noir revivalism
– you gotta love it.
The worst thing about it: Bratty rich kids
– you don’t gotta love it.
The verdict on Veronica Mars season one: She’s brassy, classy, sassy
and gassy. And she ain’t no Lassie.
Marks out of 10: 8