Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Why VERONICA MARS?

As promised, I'm here to give you reasons to watch one of the best programs on TV right now: VERONICA MARS. "But," you say, "it's about a teenage girl, and I'm not really into that demographic." "Whoa, whoa, whoa," I say, "what you don't know about this show is that it's actually about so much more than an angst-ridden O.C. type cast who cares more about fashion and nail polish than substance." Let me elaborate:

1. Veronica is smart. If you like a show with snappy dialogue and a character who never disrespects the audience by acting ridiculous or alienating them with whininess, you'll like this one. See, Veronica is a complete original: she's a good student, but a rebel. She's upbeat, but fairly cynical. She's got the best lines since Buffy, too. And she's not so brainy that she's superior; Veronica has got her share of soap-opera-worthy problems with boyfriends--except that her issues include murder and deception of the most criminal degree.

2. The mysteries are well paced. You know how some shows drag their "hooks" out forever and, somewhere along the way, you realize that you've lost all enthusiasm for the answers to all the clues that have been parceled out? VERONICA MARS doesn't fall into that X-FILES or TWIN PEAKS trap. Last year, with the big mystery of "who killed Lilly Kane," the viewership was rewarded with an actual solution during a bang-up season finale. And along the way, the show manages to feature mysteries that are wrapped up in one episode, short-term mysteries about character (witness this year's subplot about Wallace's mom and what looks to be a former relationship that's bound to destroy good ol' Papa Mars' budding romance with her), and that season-long "hook" mystery (who's behind the bus crash and why did a murder victim wash up on shore with the name "Veronica Mars" on his palm?). So we have many items to keep us hooked and satisfied.

3. The continuity is excellent. This is important for me as a viewer. There're many shows that seem to forget a character's history, if not the details of what happened in the previous episodes. (Yes, ALIAS comes to mind, even though I enjoyed the first few seasons enough to excuse plot holes and glaring character inconsistancies. Nowadays? Not so much.) With VERONICA MARS, the writers really seem to care about keeping their mythologies and character aspects straight; they respect the audience enough to constantly hearken back to tiny revelations and in jokes based on characterization. (That word keeps coming up a lot, I see--characterization. It's what holds this show together.)

4. The characters are fascinating. Again, with the "c" word. When's the last time you longed for a smart-ass, silver-spooned bad boy or a gang banger to light up your TV screen? In this show, the actors take the great dialogue and characters that they're given and run with them--surprisingly, even the people you'd normally despise are the ones you want to see over and over again. And the humor comes from the appreciation that the audience has for the characters; there's no slapstick or forced jokes because these players are so real that you get them, just like a best friend who delivers esoteric quips that wouldn't make sense unless you knew their history.

Basically, I urge you to give this show a try. It's on tonight!!! Better yet, why not rent the first season's DVD and treat yourself to a VERONICA marathon? Come on now!

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