Revisiting Neptune: An Extremely Short Review of Veronica Mars, Seasons 1-3

In the past few weeks, I performed a magnificently lazy feat: I re-binged all three currently existing seasons of Veronica Mars. I came to the Veronica party a little late. I caught a few episodes when season three was airing, and it was enough to make me want to go back to the beginning. I acquired the series on DVD, watched it eagerly, and then entered a new chamber of Television Purgatory. I already had a room, you see, because of Firefly, so I’m well acquainted with the place. The Veronica Mars movie and subsequent novels were nice additions to the series, and I’ll be revisiting those soon. But this is about the original show.

If you’re a fan of the show, you probably already know that Hulu’s reviving the series in a somewhat limited fashion. This being 2019, of course, “limited” is a relative term. If the show does well, I can see Hulu trying to work out a deal for further episodes. And I really, really want to see it succeed on the financial scale that will convince Hulu to keep the train rolling, if they can work out a deal with Thomas, Bell, and everyone else involved.

Spoilers are coming. 

I, like a lot of people, tend to fall back on old favorites when I need an escape. And holy shit, have I needed twenty seven thousand kinds of escapes over the last year or three. Furthermore, I’m currently a Fortnite widow, so I have buckets of spare time on my hands. Prior to my return to Neptune, I spent time in Pawnee, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, and the 99th precinct in Brooklyn.

Neptune, California, is nowhere near as friendly or welcoming as my previous vacation spots. It’s a cold, cruel world. Veronica sums it up nicely early in the first season: life’s a bitch until you die. This could be, in itself, be the thesis statement for the entire series. Over and over, bad things fall on the Mars family. Of course, because this is television, things occasionally work out…

…only to lead to yet another heartbreaking moment.

Watching the show again, after several years, was enjoyable. My first time around, way back when, I was a lot closer to Veronica’s age. This time, however, I was able to identify a lot more with the adults in the room. I’m not a parent, but watching Keith Mars bend his own personal ethical code to help Veronica hurt me a lot more than it did during my first ride. I don’t think that I fully understood what he was putting on the line when he, for example, knowingly destroyed evidence in order to protect Veronica in the show’s final episode. Likewise when he was briefly involved with a married woman, post possibly-devastating car accident. Having a little more life experience really changes your perspective. (And the award for Obvious Statements goes to…me!) Do I approve of his brief relationship with Harmony? No, but it’s not my life or my business. At the end of the day, I just want poor Keith to be happy. He’s been screwed over, beaten down, and put into so many moral quandaries that I lost track, and I just want him to be happy. Is that too much to ask?

Evidently, yes.

And, OH MY GOD, I hated that finale. I know that, when it was created, the showrunners weren’t sure that it was going to be the series finale, but still. Cliffhangers are the absolute worst. I hated that the show wasn’t able to keep the ball rolling, despite a heroic effort by Thomas and company to push the show forward several years with a failed pitch for season four (which saw Veronica in her first few days as an actual FBI agent).

At least I knew that this wasn’t entirely the end this time. I do have the misfortune of knowing that EVEN MORE THINGS are left unresolved after the movie and the two novels. Has Rob Thomas ever met a loose end that he refused to tie off? I don’t expect every single thing that I consume to have a neat ending, but COME ON, MAN. Veronica would be disappointed in you, Rob.

So, this is me hoping that this time, maybe Thomas can get it right. Maybe this time, he’ll leave the viewers with fewer questions than answers when the eight episode series concludes this summer.

I’m not holding my breath. Fool me once, and all that.

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