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What I'm Watching This Summer: "Veronica Mars" Season One

Confession time. While there is a whole plethora of new summer series to watch this season (including next week's launch of Damages on FX), the one show I keep finding myself watching is none other than Veronica Mars.

Yes, I've started over at the very beginning and have been steadily working my way back through Season One of Veronica Mars this summer, relishing in every single plot twist and turn as Veronica and Papa Keith investigate the murder of Lily Kane and, you know, solve a few dozen other mysteries along the way.

While I never forgot how much I loved the now-canceled Veronica Mars (which, sadly, had its final send-off on the CW last Tuesday), it's been brilliant fun going back and watching all of the set up for the eventual reveal of Lily's killer. And little things too: seeing Logan and our girl Veronica go from hostile animosity to full-blown lust over the course of 16 episodes or so. Remember when he vandalized her car in the pilot episode? And when they finally kissed on the stairs of that motel in "Weapons of Class Destruction"?

Or how could you forget the slow and gradual introduction of icon series character Dick Casablancas whose first line on the show was something along the lines of "Hey, look over there"? Or the awkward courtship between Papa Keith and Wallace's mom Alicia? Or, hell, the scene in which Aaron Echolls beats the snot out of daughter Trina's abusive boyfriend while "That's Amore" plays in the background? (Years later and that scene still resonates with me whenever I think of the series.)

For those of us still sore from the CW's very unsportsmanlike cancellation of Veronica Mars need only look back to that Season One boxset to see the series at its very, very best. Each episode offers a measured dose of noir intrigue, teen romance, and taut mystery thriller. And the beauty about returning to the series's start now is that you can savor several installments at a time while also paying close attention to every clue, red herring, and shifty character in Neptune, including a few you may have missed the first time around.

While my love for Veronica Mars has never dwindled over the years, there's a reason why the hunt for Lily Kane's killer is such a memorable season-long mystery arc. Not only did this mystery implicate nearly every single character in Neptune (except maybe Veronica, Papa Keith, and Vice Principal Clemmons) but it also gave Veronica a particularly vested interest in the crime and a clear throughline for the season: find her best friend's killer and do whatever it takes to bring this villain to justice, even if it meant breaking the law or putting herself in harm's way. The mysteries in subsequent seasons have been taut little gems themselves, but none of them approached the tension and scope of this first look into Neptune's seedy underbelly and a cast of suspects who were a sheer joy to watch from week to week.

I've only got a few episodes left to Season One and, despite knowing the outcome of this season's arc, my heart can't help but race with excitement and anticipation as we near the end of the season and unmask Lily's killer. So, my question to you, gentle readers, is this. Is it wrong, with so much on television this summer, that I'd be tempted back into those halycon early days of Veronica Mars? Or is watching this smartly crafted mystery series just the perfect antidote for the long, hot days of summer?

Comments

The CineManiac said…
Are there great shows on television this summer? Yes of course there are.
Do any of them stack up to that first season of VM? Of course not.
So my verdict is that any VM, whether old or new is the perfect way to relax on these warm summer nights.
Reading your entry makes me want to stop watching Psych, Monk, and reruns of What I Like About You* and go back and start from the beginning.
*Hey everyone gets at least one guilty pleasure, although I admit I have like 15.
Anonymous said…
A summer fling with Veronica Mars? Sounds good to me!

The first season really was brilliant and it's fun to go back and watch all your favorite characters appear for the first time (Mac! Deputy Leo! Dick!). It's particularly interesting revisiting the relationship between Veronica and Weevil. Sadly, they didn't have much for him to do after high school but in the earlier episodes he plays such an integral part in Veronica's investigations. They are always doing each other favors but Veronica is never really sure if she can trust him and there's such an interesting dynamic between the two. I didn't realize how much I missed it until rewatching the first season.

And Logan and Veronica's first kiss? Still gives me goosebumps (as does that crazy scene you mentioned of Aaron Echolls ripping Trina's boyfriend a new one). Such a great season!
Anonymous said…
sigh.
Unknown said…
It's totally the right thing to do. Support shows that actually completed one (or more) seasons instead of being unceremoniously (and often undeservedly) canceled after a mere handful of episodes. Yes, I'm thinking of Daybreak, The Nine, Vanished, Kidnapped, Reunion, and most recently Traveler.

I really think networks should commit to a show, from beginning to end. Plenty of shows can be told in one season and then go onto DVD. Traveler and Daybreak would have been great one-season shows and would probably have sold well on DVD, but the network aborted them too soon.

I'll start watching Damages and Pushing Daisies, but at the first hint of network nervousness, I'll drop them and wait for the DVD (if any). I'm done wasting my time on shows that go nowhere.
Anonymous said…
I would only be echoing everyone else... Yes, Season one VM stands out as one of the best seasons of television in a long, long time. I just listen to the soundtrack and it takes me back. Love it.
Carrie said…
I rewatch season one of VM once every few months or so, and it honestly never gets old. It's just that good.

Enjoy your revisit!

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