File this under: Shows I’ve Binge-Watched in Jamal’s Absence, cross-referenced in: Shows from the Early 2000s. Hear me out.
In searching for Things To Occupy Myself these past two weeks, I decided to watch the entire series of “Veronica Mars,” the show about a father-daughter private investigation duo that was broadcast on the CW from 2004-2006. I’m only halfway through the second season, but I need to rave about how good this show is. I’d only caught an episode or two when the show was on 10 years ago, but better late than never, right? What stuck out visually back then, and what’s remained burned in my brain as the only real reference point I had for the series all these years since, was how hyper-saturated everything was. I’m not denying the light in Southern California is intense and gorgeous, but almost every scene is ablaze with red or orange or green or yellow. It’s Soderbergh-esque in its color hues, very vintage-Hollywood-film-noir, which is fitting given the plot. Veronica is in high school, so yes, there are the usual high school television show clichés and plot lines (love triangles! homecoming dances! SO MUCH MAKING OUT!), but there are also overarching mysteries in each season in addition to the smaller, single-episode mysteries they solve (murder, questionable paternity and maternity, ethnic biker gangs, etc.).
While it could easily toe the line of being cheesy, what I’m struck by most is the show’s slickness, maturity, and sarcasm. Thinly-veiled sexual innuendos, a cheerleader’s head bashed in, rich-kid-poor-kid conflicts, and, most impressively, a female lead who makes self-depricating jokes about her flat chest and can handle a taser. Not something you saw everyday on basic cable in 2004 (especially for a teenage-geared show). And did I mention the colors?
I went through 34 episodes in a week. It’s been fun to enjoy all of the circa 2005 Hollister/American Eagle/So-Cal-casual fashion (midriffs! hoodies with fur collars! puka shell necklaces on guys!), cultural touchstones (everyone has an AOL email address! Nokia flip phones still dominated the cell phone market!) as well as the America’s Next Top Model guest-stars (backstory: both shows aired on the same network, and challenge rewards during cycles 4-6 of Top Model were small roles in an episode of Veronica Mars. Cross-pollinating at its finest! Though I’d totally forgotten about it until Naima, Kim, and Furonda appeared on screen as a field-trip chaperone, car rental agent, and office receptionist, respectively). More notable guest stars include Jessica Chastain, Paris Hilton, Jane Lynch, Aaron Paul, Leighton Meester, Kevin Smith, Michael Cera, Melissa Leo, and the list goes on and on.
The first season finale (which I watched on my wild Saturday night-in) knocked me on my ass. There were so many plot twists and surprises I thought I was going to pass out from holding my breath. You guys. It’s that good. I don’t know what I’m going to do when I finish. Oh wait, yes I do!
Last year, after over seven years since the last episode aired, diehard fans who weren’t satisfied with having just three available seasons in the canon rallied together and funded a Kickstarter campaign to make a Veronica Mars movie. Over 90,000 people donated $5.7 million dollars (more than double the original goal), making it one of the most successful campaigns in the site’s history. The original cast filmed a new, full-length movie last summer, picking up where their characters left off ten years later.
It comes out Friday in theaters and as a digital download. I think we know what I’ll be doing.
Fellow Marshmallows (I’m allowed to use the lingo, I’m a fan now), I have a confession: Team Logan all the way. Don’t even argue.