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Review: Veronica Mars


High schoolers are always searching for new shows to binge, especially with the upcoming holiday break. The bombardment of new releases buries television gems released before students’ birth, like Veronica Mars.

Created by Rob Thomas, Veronica Mars is a teen drama noir centered around high school junior Veronica Mars’ journey to discover who is truly responsible for the death of her best friend, Lilly Kane.

This show is perfect for lovers of mystery and crime genres, but the elements provided by the high school setting makes it appealing to drama lovers as well. Viewers can find the show on Hulu with a subscription. The show is rated TV14, but Common Sense Media considers it appropriate for 15+ due to its subject matter.

In the corrupt fictional town of Neptune, California, wealth is all that matters. When Veronica’s sheriff father, Keith Mars, chose to investigate Lilly’s father, tech billionaire Jake Kane, Veronica had to make a choice of her own: stand by her father or the town’s elites. She chose her father. The Mars paid for their decisions with their new identity of social pariahs.

A year has passed and a disgruntled former employee of Jake has been convicted of the murder. After an emergency recall election, Keith now works as a private investigator. However, when a loose thread inspires Veronica to reinvestigate Lilly’s death, suspicion is cast on enemies and friends alike.

While the 1st season focuses on solving Lilly’s murder, Neptune has enough crimes for Veronica to hone her own P.I. skills in each episode. 

Veronica Mars succeeds because of its dedication to the standard outline of a noir mystery while providing audiences with a protagonist opposite to the expected detective. The dark themes of noir—a subgenre of crime fiction—are upheld, but former popular girl Veronica and the setting of sunny California offset viewers’ expectations. This dynamic makes the show compelling to a larger audience.

Veronica is sarcastic and witty, coming up with retorts on the fly, but she is also a teenage girl—she is not a hardened detective, making her more human than a Sherlock Holmes-like character. She’s allowed to get upset and react to events of all magnitudes. She can also be wrong without it shattering her character and derailing the show’s atmosphere.

The remaining cast cements this show as one worth watching: Veronica’s dynamic with her dad is hilarious and viewers can feel their love, making scenes where they fight feel like a punch to the gut. Her best friend Wallace is kind—a true good part of Neptune—but he does not feel like a blank slate; he’ll often go along with her schemes, but he is still a character in his own right. On the other hand, Logan Echolls serves as the typical bad boy while Weevil’s misbehavior leads him and Veronica to an uneasy alliance. Tensions between Veronica and her ex-boyfriend Duncan Kane—Lilly’s brother—highlight the contrast of her life before and after Lilly’s death, as their relationship becomes one of the few ties to her previous life.

Occasionally the episodic mysteries will feed into the larger case, but even when they’re silly and inconsequential—like a case of dognapping—they contribute to the captivating atmosphere of the show. These cases still contain enough twists and turns to keep viewers on the edge of their seats as Veronica solves them. 

While Veronica Mars is a show worth watching, it is still a product of its time. The show’s handling of topics regarding race and LGBTQIA+ makes its release date obvious, so modern audiences should be prepared for insensitive comments and occasional offensive moments.

Nevertheless, season 1 is highly regarded by the public with a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes and an entire series rating of 8.4/10 on IMDb, showing fans of mystery and drama that it deserves a spot on their to be watched.

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