Better a Witty Fool than a Foolish Wit

Inner Workings of My Twisted Mind.

Best of the Best…The Last Crusade.

Ok Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls.  Here it is.  The moment you’ve all been waiting for.  The final Chapter in my three part series about the best shows on Television. 

The last show, in my opinion, is the best show on T.V. right now.  That’s right I said it.  It’s the best show on any channel.  I don’t care if it’s Weeds, The Sopranos, Dexter, The L Word, Lost or any of the shows I’ve mentioned previously.  This is the best show on T.V. right now.  I’m pretty sure none of you watch it.  I’m pretty sure none of you have even heard of it, but now you’ll get to know how great little shows that no one watches can be.

So, I’m sure a few people who have heard me rant about this show before know I’m talking about VERONICA MARS.  It airs on Tuesday’s at 9 on the CW (watch it tonight).  And it’s unbelievably good.  There’s great writing, great acting, and great cinematography.  It’s tightly put together, and it doesn’t get the credit it deserves.

So Veronica is possibly the best female character to ever grace Television.  She’s amazingly smart.  She is constantly outsmarting everyone around her.  And she totally plays up the blonde thing to her advantage.  Basically, Veronica Mars is played by Kristen Bell (who no one has heard of, but, mark my words, she’s going to be a huge movie star…and she’ll win oscars cause she’s an unbeliveably talented actress).  Kristen Bell is little, as are most actress’ in Hollywood, and by little I mean 5’2″ or so and she’s cute and blonde.  They definitely work the Buffy the Vampire Slayer angle on Veronica Mars.  It’s the mold-breaking kind of thing where they cast a little blonde girl as the ass kicking protagonist.  Now, Veronica is no Buffy.  She doesn’t have superhuman strength, or amazing fighting ability, but she’s got a supersleuth prowess and a dog named Backup. 

Where I think Veronica Mars succeeds over a show like Buffy (which I love) is that Veronica isn’t a superhero.  She’s just a really really smart girl who outwits even the best of opponents.  Much like Shaggy, Scooby and the gang she outwits the bumbling local sheriff on a pretty much weekly basis.  But she also has outsmarted the FBI, the dean of students at her college, and she even pulls one on her P.I. dad every now and again. 

What I love most about Veronica Mars is that it plays with literary and film conventions.  It is constantly drawing on the Nancy Drew convention of the teenage girl detective, but Veronica is so much cooler and smarter than Nancy Drew.  It also plays on the Philip Marlowe/Sam Spade sort of Film Noir detective genre. 

They use a lot of low camera angles.  Veronica narrates the story (like in all Noir movies).  They have a great use of lighting: the slatted blinds creating shadows across the room, etc.  And the thing that’s great is that they constantly reference the fact that the characters know they are working much like those old noir classics.  People are constantly calling Veronica ‘Nancy Drew.’  She, at one point, tells someone who she to look up Encyclopedia Brown to help them because ‘I hear he’s good.’ 

Veronica, as a character, works so well because, not only is she smart, but she snarky, she’s sarcastic, and she’s got a great supporting cast.

Veronica and Keith Mars (her dad) have been voted the best onscreen father daughter duo by almost every magazine.  Enrico Colantoni (Galaxyquest, Just Shoot Me) brings his comedy background and the moments between Keith and Veronica are some of the best in the show.  They depend on each other, they love each other, and when they fight…they fight.  But the best is when they work cases together, they are unstoppable.  They outsmart everyone and always catch their man…well, almost always. 

Jason Dohring as Veronica’s on again off again bad boy boyfriend is absolute perfection.  He is dark, he is brooding, he loves Veronica, and he’s just as absurdly stubborn as she is.  Jason is a great actor (watch for him because he’ll be the next Ryan Gosling…aka, the guy who is a little under the radar, but takes amazing movie roles and is amazing in them) and Logan is the bad boy you wish all bad boys could be. 

Mac, the computer wiz, often referred to as the Q to Veronica’s Bond, played by Tina Majorino (Napoleon Dynamite) is absolute perfection.  She’s the computer wiz with a heart…and some great storylines. 

My criteria for what makes a good show is great writing and great acting. I’ve established that the acting is great, but the writing is even better (and that’s saying something).  The way they weave together the seasons smaller mysteries with the larger overarching mystery is something that leaves me in awe every single week.  I love that they learned a lesson from the Twin Peaks mistake and actually solve the big cases.  The first two seasons were year long mysteries, but they wanted to shake things up this year so there are two big mysteries and five episodes that don’t have an overarching mystery.  Now, riddle me this.  Isn’t it better to have a show that isn’t afraid to break from it’s normal routine than a show that just let’s it same old routine get old?   Wasn’t that the problem with the last few seasons of Friends…it got old, and really, who cared?  No offense to Lost fans, but that’s what seems to be happening on that show right now.  No one wants a big mystery with no pay off.  And you have to give a little pay off. 

Well, Veronica pays off.  The mysteries are solved.  The thing that always amazes me is how entangled the writers allow everything to get, before ripping it all apart to reveal the end of the mystery.

The last thing I’m going to talk about, and I’ll cut myself off after this because I could go on talking about this show forever, is the grittiness of the show.  The first season starts off with Veronica in high school.  And it is unlike any other high school t.v. show.  There’s murder, there’s intrigue, and in the first episode we find out Veronica was raped.  No other show starts off with their main character admitting that she’d been raped.  That is a huge theme in the show, but it’s not the only dark theme.  Veronica’s an outsider…no one likes her in high school and she’s not making too many friends in college either.  But the thing I love about her is that she’s real.  She’s been burned by people who loved her and she’s got major walls and defenses.

Every character in this show is totally flawed.  And flawed characters are the best because, you know what, people are flawed.  They’re fucked up and they do fucked up things to each other and Veronica Mars doesn’t shy away from that.  And that, my friends is why it’s so great.

Alright everyone, set your TiVos, find the CW, and prepare for an hour of awesome T.V.




June 14, 2007 - Posted by | Hollywood, Television, Veronica Mars

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