Sunday, May 18, 2014

3 Short Paragraphs: Veronica Mars (S1)

I don't know what I was watching in 2004 that distracted me from watching this series. I am pretty sure that by half way through the season, the Internet was telling me I was an idiot for missing it. Buffy was gone, Angel was ending, I was avoiding Lost and the only two shows I can definitely say I was downloading were Battlestar Galactica and Stargate: Atlantis. A browse through the old Blogger archives says I wasn't talking about much, so outside of working & socializing, I wouldn't doubt that I was just not watching much TV. Yes, there was a point in Toronto where I actually socialized, back when being a blogger was a cool thing that actually generated social interaction. You can laugh at me now. All I can confirm is that until the series came on Netflix recently, I had never seen an episode.

The first few episodes really caught me. The mopey dad, the dethroned popular blonde girl with the quick wit, the noir-esque murder mystery and the snappy writing. I actually commented, "this has better writing than most we are watching now." The premise is fun, ex-Sheriff dad working as a private eye with his daughter pretty much doing the same but for her classmates being the clients. She may not be popular but she is smart and she IS confident. This is not your typical TV alternative social pariah teen -- she is actually an extrovert with great social skills. The only real reason she is unpopular is her dad's reputation and the depressing murder of her best friend. But she is not perfect; she has terrible judgement, is still hung up on her ex-BF and occasionally gets herself in too deep. She is also pretty typically obsessed with getting her mom & dad back together even though there is some pretty seedy evidence her mom wasn't a saint. She is both appealing bright and realistic.

The problem I found, and it had me walking out on a few episodes getting bored or distracted, was that the writing and tone is incredibly uneven. They shift from focus characters to other focus characters, some come in, some fade out with no explanation. The murder investigation seems focused at the beginning but it ends as if the writers forgot who actually murdered Lily. The investigation counted for very little as the finale had a typical "stumble into the truth" plot hook. I wasn't sure if some plot points were fake-outs, so we couldn't guess who the murderer was, or just sloppy writing.  In the end, based on what I had watched all season, I couldn't quite believe the reveal, let alone accept how we got there. Besides, the fact that she would actually fall for the asshole just killed it for me.

Still, onto season 2....