Veronica Mars: Great Modern Film Noir

Veronica Mars

A couple weeks ago I noticed that Veronica Mars was on Amazon Prime for free and that fateful day I decided to try it out.  I’d been interested in it since I saw some blurbs about how quickly the fan base had raised money for the movie on Kickstarter and all the records they had broken doing so. Any show that can motivate people to shell out the $2 million needed to greenlight the movie in 11 hours and almost $6 million in the 30 day time period has my attention.   (You know– the whole “Money talks” thing).

Here’s the kickstarter video they posted to get donations.  It’s very much worth the 5 minute watch:

Well I fell into a haze of Veronica Mars.  I rushed through all three seasons and was definitely left wanting more (which conveniently we will soon be getting).  This post isn’t a breakdown of every little thing that happened in the series, but more of a list of why you should try this series if you missed it the first time around.  I am going to excuse myself for missing it the first time because it came out in 2004.  In 2004 I was graduating college, trying to find a job and had this whole “social life” thing going on.  All those things have settled themselves down (definitely no social life going on now).  Now a week and a half after watching that first episode I’m jonesing for some more.  Here’s why:

Veronica Mars is shot with a very film noir feel.  It’s a great change from the soap opera feel of the dramas these days, or the grittiness of cop shows and it totally fits with the premise of the show.  See Veronica’s dad is a former sheriff that had been run out of office the year previous because of an embarrassment that the public saw as his fault.  Now he’s a private investigator that has his teenage daughter help him out from time to time.  There are a few reasons I like this set up.

First off because it makes sense.  Someone who had been in law enforcement becoming a P.I. is a logical jump and a struggling single dad business owner having his daughter run errands and answer phones is legit.  Unlike so many civilian crime solving shows (ex. Murder, She Wrote) murders and crimes don’t follow Veronica and her dad around, but they get hired to solve them. (I’m not knocking Murder, She Wrote– I love Angela Lansbury, I just question that there wasn’t really just a serial killer in Cabot Cove). I like a show so much more when I’m not questioning the entire basis that it is built on.

Secondly these characters are real people.  See above GIF.  Keith Mars is goofy and lovable, but is tough when he needs to be.  He’s not some male model that is going around broodily solving cases.  He’s real.  Her best friend Wallace, although very cute, is not oozing perfection, her boyfriends are cute, but not walking around shirtless every five minutes.  Now there are insanely rich people in the area which is unrealistic to me, but I’m going to chalk that up to it being based in California.  People are probably way richer in California than in Tennessee.  Well, at least my area of Tennessee.

Back to the real people thing though there aren’t any characters that are 100% good or 100% bad.  All characters have a large mix of good and bad and I have said before how those kind of characters are my favorite.  I empathized with many of the killers right along with the main characters.  Which those main characters weren’t very squeaky clean either.  Veronica and entourage don’t exactly make the best moral choices every time and they don’t usually get away with it either.

Thirdly (I guess) Veronica’s love interests are interesting.  She’s not some mooney eyed girl out to try to find her “soul mate”.  Don’t get me wrong, she’s a teenage girl so she does get a little lovesick every now and then, but she’s more of a fighter than a lover. My only questions about her love story is that there is  never any tension between her and Wallace.  None of her boyfriends question the inordinate amount of time she spends with him.  He’s a guy, she’s a girl.  Even if she’s not interested at all surely someone questioned this relationship even in passing.  The only other love story I wish they had touched on was the relationship between the leader of the local biker gang and Veronica.

The leader, “Weevil”, is always there to help Veronica out and she always has his back too.  I just wish that they had touched on that a little more. Of course I’m sure they meant to go on longer than 3 seasons so maybe that would have been touched on later.

Lastly (since I’m sticking to the “ly” thing) I wish that I had caught this series when it aired.  I’m not saying that me watching would have kept it from being canceled, but I would have felt like I did my part.  This series was well written, with witty dialog, convincing story lines and the actors do a great job.  I’m very excited that the movie is getting made and the trailer looks like it’s going to be not only a good companion to the series, but a great stand alone movie.  So go out, watch the series, and then go see the movie in March (although it’s mostly only being played in AMC theaters aka no theater near me so I may break my rule of watching illegally— if it was anywhere withing 3 hours away I would drive and pay a crazy sum of money to see in in theaters).   Enjoy.  You’ll thank me later.

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