As the most important TV review site on the Internet and television panopticon, Aerial Telly is often asked what are his favourite shows? Well naturally, there’s Deadwood, 24, House and the various incarnations of Big Brother. And right up there with the best of them is UPN‘s Veronica Mars – the girl detective exposing the dark underbelly of the 09er set in Neptune County, Chinatown for the MySpace generation.
“Where season one probed the mystery of her best friend’s death, institutional corruption and Veronica’s apparent drug rape, season two is less light-hearted. “
Where season one probed the mystery of her best friend Lily Kane‘s death, institutional corruption and Veronica’s apparent drug rape, season two is less light-hearted. Veronica’s deeply conflicted lover boy Logan Echolls is on trial for the murder of Felix, a member of the Latino PCH gang. Remember how we left Logan balanced precariously on the same bridge his mother leapt to her death from, surrounded by PCHers ready to cave his skull in?
Sure you do. Well, the Feds say that after receiving a cauliflower arse from said PCH gang he knifed Felix who bled to death as a result. Having a millionaire father (child abuser, murderer of Lily Kane but most importantly Action Film Actor!!!! Aaron Echolls) comes in useful for Logan as he gets fancy slick talking lawyers in to get him off the charges – although it should be stressed that he NEVER DONE IT.
The resulting feud between Logan and the gang causes Veronica and Logan to split and she’s quickly back with Duncan Kane, her billionaire ex-borefriend, brother of Dead Gorgeous Lily, heir to the Kane family fortune and possessor of the least attractive chops in Neptune.
“(Duncan) is supposed to be An Enigma but, please, that’s like calling a pair of socks a paradox.”
Teddy Dunn was presumably chosen for his lack of charisma, something he possesses in spades. It’s not like he does a noticeably eggy job it’s just that he’s got nothing special to offer to a special show. Duncan Donuts has potential to be an interesting character with his blackouts, anti-depressants and violent outbursts yet Dunn seems to infect it with the kind of tepid cheesesweat that made Riley Finn from Buffy such a snoozeathon. He is supposed to be An Enigma but, please, that’s like calling a pair of socks a paradox.
But finding out who killed Felix is only half the battle when a schoolbus takes an unscheduled dive off a cliff – in an apparent attempt to take Veronica out – killing several Neptune High schoolkids. There’s some kind of link between the framing of Logan Echolls and the schoolbus crash with the apparent involvement of the Fighting Fitzpatricks, a local gang of Irish hoods at loggerheads with the Latino PCHers.
Jason Dohring is mesmeric as Logan – achieving that tricky balance between vulnerable and edgy every misunderstood teen aspires to. He’s that sensitive, damaged individual girls know they should steer clear of and Veronica can’t get enough. They’re either fighting or fucking each other and the scenes with Kristen Bell are always memorable.
“There’s something in every scene – be it tension, comedy or pathos.”
There’s a lot to love about Veronica Mars. Dialogue that is consistently funny, accomplished, twisty plots and stellar performances from an inspired cast. There’s something in every scene – be it tension, comedy or pathos. Buffy creator Joss Whedon posts on fan sites describing Veronica Mars as the “Best. Show. Ever” and there are several obvious parallels between Veronica and Buffy. The most important is the emotional resonance that Whedon made his name on. The characters work because you care about them.
Veronica’s relationship with her father, for example, is the most consistently convincing father-daughter partnership on the television. In a medium (and society) where fathers are persistently portrayed as at best irrelevant disappointments and at worst emotional abusers it’s actually subversive to have a heroic father figure like Keith Mars, played beautifully by Enrico Colantoni.
“They never sell the characters out with stupid motivations, issue-led storylines or shoehorned-in speechifying.”
Likewise her relationship with best friend Wallace suggests that there really can be the love of Plato between the sexes. The fact that he probably wants to fuck her brains out is but incidental.
It’s easy to be either cynical or schmaltzy in TV. Veronica Mars is a cynical show that’s got soul. It’s alive to corruption, cowardice and violence but it never turns its characters into wisecracking automatons. They never sell the characters out with stupid motivations, issue-led storylines or shoehorned-in speechifying.
Creator Rob Thomas is one of those grand wizards of television who seems incapable of doing wrong. Like some cathode ray fairy godfather he blesses us with this remarkable show and we bow down before him. Season two has picked up where season one left off – creating television history.
The best thing about it: Veronica. Brilliantly written, dazzlingly played.
The worst thing about it: That the actress who plays Dead Gorgeous Lily can’t be in it more often.
The verdict on Veronica Mars Season Two: There’s life in Mars.
Marks out of 10: 9