Thanks to streaming video websites, there are now repositories of links to classic TV shows that can be watched online.
Living in Malaysia this is a godsend as local cable channels show only newer television programmes and Hulu and other network affiliated streaming video sites for older shows are not available in this country.
It has also allowed me to catch up on a few shows I missed in the last ten years since moving to Malaysia because they were now shown here. One of these is VERONICA MARS
I have over the last month finished watching all three seasons of VERONICA MARS and can say now that IMO it is the greatest television show of the last ten years. I love the British version of THE OFFICE very much and HEROES too (although it’s last season was silly and kind of a joke) but VERONICA MARS has some of the most complex interesting funny storylines I’ve ever seen on TV.
For starters, it merges a number of different genres as effectively as would be possible in the one hour TV drama format. VERONICA MARS was a smooth combination of TWIN PEAKS, MURDER SHE WROTE, and 90210. It had good detective work, realistic teenage angst, and three dimensional multi-faceted characters.
What tied everything together and I think elevated it to a higher level of originality was the darkness behind the multi-part story arcs that tied everything together. In the first season, Veronica’s best friend Lilly Kane is murdered. Her boyfriend, Lilly’s brother, dumps her for reasons that will be explained later in the series. Her father is recalled as sheriff and starts a detective agency. Her mother runs off deserting the family. Worst of all, she is drugged and raped at a party (and this is all happens in flashback in the first episode!). However, the story is never dragged down by all of this. It keeps its light/dark balance even enough and a large part of this is due to Kirsten Bell’s performance as Veronica. To say she has a handle on this character would not be fair in its meekness. She not only understands Veronica, she understands what is to react to life as Veronica Mars and how these situations would affect her if they and she were real. She really gets the deep inner strength of the character.
The second season story arc involving the sabotage of a school bus and the deaths of student passengers was even more elaborately plotted. The first season is excellent but the second season is the show’s highwater mark and the last several episodes of that season one of the greatest tragic brilliant things I’ve ever seen on TV.
The third season, which saw the show switch networks, had shorter story arcs and was not as dramatic as the first two with Veronica now a college student. There was a rushed quality to some of the storylines. However, the show had not lost its balance and was still enjoyable. It finished not like a show going off the air but a show that could be taken up again at any time.
I would also like to comment on teen sexuality as it is portrayed on VERONICA MARS. Here we have a show that presents teen sexuality not as the issue of the week that must be dissected and discussed in great detail with characters voicing different societal viewpoints as if it was a CNN debate. Instead, it’s just part of life. That’s quite groundbreaking in its own way. I do think there was perhaps too much hooking up on the third season as some of the characters including Veronica herself seemed a bit whore-ish but again this openness is refreshing on TV since it is more like real life.
Also I do have an idea for a VERONICA MARS reunion movie. Have Veronica come back to her high school ten year reunion and have a murder there which she must investigate. I really do hope to see a VERONICA MARS film one day….