Veronica Mars

Created by Rob Thomas

"A teenaged private eye. Trust me.
I know how dumb that sounds."

-- the first lines spoken in the 2014 film.

VERONICA MARS was a seventeen year-old who helped her private eye dad solve cases on a UPN drama that made its debut during the 2004-05 schedule. And despite my initial pessimism it didn't totally suck. In fact, it was actually really quite entertaining and smart, and it managed to stick around for two more seasons, and became a cult favourite. An enduring cult favourite (particularly among millenials) whose status has only grown over the years.

The show was set in the snooty seaside community of Neptune, California, where the rich and powerful more or less owned the town, and would definitely prefer that their dirty little secrets remain secret. Imagine Peyton Place with beaches, and a lot of really good-looking teenagers.

Yep, that's right -- despite the promo spot's hints at "grit," Veronica Mars looked -- particularly at first glance -- suspiciously like a teen soap, along the lines of 90210 or Dawson's Creek, another orgy of adolexcent angst, with just a dash of the detective genre tossed in for flavor.

But it turned out to be something a little different. Precocious Veronica wanted to be a detective just like dear old dad, who was the town's sheriff until a scandal forced him to resign. Helping out is fellow high school misfit Wallace Fennel and a biker gang known as the P.C.H. Bike Club Boys. Needless to say, clearing her father's name got top priority in Veronica's book, though she'd also like to know who murdered Lilly Kane, her best friend, and find out where her mother disappeared to.

I was torn about this one, at first. On the surface, it sounded dreadful, but damn if it didn't hook me. In fact, it was actually often very compelling, with a nice noirish (or at least noirish for television) aftertaste.The self-contained mini-mysteries (Who rigged the student elections? Who stole her friend's car?) were usually satisfyingly resolved, while the over-riding, season-length story arc regarding her mom's disappearance and Lilly's murder (and the season-end solution) was handled deftly, and wrapped up all the complicated red herrings and twisted familial relationships with the sort of emotional pay-off one usually expects of a Ross Macdonald novel. And writer Rob Thomas gave us (and Veronica) a whole new spin on being a wiseass, replacing Marlowe's middle-aged, world-weary bruised romanticism with razor-edged teenage snark.

Who knows? It might have turned a whole generation onto the detective genre. Or scared them away for life.

Despite its piss-poor ratings for the first season, UPN took a chance on a second season (the over-riding story arc this time had Veronica and her father delving into a tragic school bus "accident") and was successful enough to spawn a third season on the new CW network, with featured Veronica heading off to college.

And that was that. Three seasons and out.

Except fans, the cast and the creator, Rob Thomas, all wanted more. And so a Kickstarter campaign was launched, in an attempt to finance a feature film. And damn if it didn't work. The film made its debut in March 2014, after busting pretty much every record Kickstarter had ever had, and did quite nicely at the box office, as a digital release and as a DVD and Blu-Ray, thankyouverymuch.

THE EVIDENCE

  • Wallace: I thought being a private eye was all about shooting dudes and making out with sexy widows.
    Veronica: Sexy widows come later.

  • "Mark me down as skeptical"

-- Veronica in episode 1:3

  • High school student: I hear you do detective stuff for people
  • Veronica: I do favors for friends.
  • Student: I can pay.
  • Veronica: Sit down, friend.

  • "Can I get anyone anything? Water, coffee? A banana?"

-- Veronica greets Sheriff Lamb when he drops by Mars Investigations in Silence of the Lamb.

  • "You lie down with dogs, you're gonna get fleas."

-- Veronica

  • "It's all fun and games till one of you gets my foot up your ass."

-- Veronica

  • "I love the smell of testosterone in the morning."

- Veronica

  • "I hope we're still friends after I taser you."

- Veronica

  • "Well, actually, despite popular opinion you really can't beat the truth out of someone."

- Veronica

  • Meg: You believe me, right?
    Veronica: You are the last good person here at Neptune High. I believe cartoon birds braided your hair this morning.

UNDER OATH

  • "... like an Archie comic gone really dark."

-- Gillian Flynn for Entertainment Weekly in 2004

  • "Veronica Mars blows me away each week, with it's bittersweet endings that fit right into the P.I. formula."

-- Dave White

  • "Maybe I am a girly man, as my Governator Ahr-Nald might say, but I dig the Veronica Mars TV show. Tuesday nights me and my 16-year-old daughter Chelsea carve out some couch time and groove on this hip post deconstructionist Nancy Drew and her adventures in small town sleuthing. What makes this show work for me is not simply that its creator and exec producer, Rob thomas, draws on just enough of that Smallville by way of Dawson's Creek vibe to hook the youth, but the subterranean current flowing underneath the over-arching storyline comes straight from Ross Macdonald."

-- Gary Phillips in Mystery Scene

TELEVISION

  • VERONICA MARS
    (2004, UPN)
    60-minute episodes
    Created by Rob Thomas
    Executive producers: Joel Silver, Rob Thomas
    Starring Kristen Bell as VERONICA MARS
    and Enrico Colantonias KEITH MARS
    Also starring Percy Daggs III as Wallace Fennel
    Teddy Dunn as Duncan Kane
    Jason Dohring as Logan Echolls
    Tina Majorino as Cindy 'Mac' Mackenzie
    Chris Lowell as Stosh 'Piz' Piznarski
    Francis Capra as Eli 'Weevil' Navarro
    and Ryan Hansen as Dick Casablancas and Francis Capra as Weevil
    Also starring Kyle Secor, Amanda Seyfried
    Guest stars: Paris Hilton, Melissa Leo, Harry Hamlin, Steve Guttenberg, Ed Begley Jr., Paula Marshall, Kevin Smith, Jane Lynch, Patty Hearst, Paul Rudd, Joss Whedon, Dan Castellaneta

  • Season One...Buy this season on DVD
  • "Pilot" (September 22, 2004)
  • "Credit Where Credit's Due" (September 28, 2004)
  • "Meet John Smith" (October 12, 2004)
  • "The Wrath of Con" (October 19, 2004)
  • "You Think You Know Somebody" (October 26, 2004 )
  • "Return of the Kane" (November 2, 2004)
  • "The Girl Next Door" (November 9, 2004)
  • "Like a Virgin" (November 23, 2004)
  • "Drinking the Kool-Aid" (November 30, 2004)
  • "An Echolls Family Christmas" (December 14, 2004)
  • "Silence of the Lamb" (January 4 , 2005)
  • "Clash of the Tritons" (January 11, 2005)
  • "Lord of the Bling" (February 8, 2005)
  • "Mars vs. Mars" (February 15, 2005)
  • "Ruskie Business" (February 22, 2005)
  • "Betty and Veronica" (March 29, 2005)
  • "Kanes and Abel's" (April 5, 2005)
  • "Weapons of Class Destruction" (April 12, 2005)
  • "Hot Dogs" (April 19, 2005)
  • "Tit for Tad" (April 26, 2005)
  • "Up on the Roofie" (May 3, 2005)
  • "Leave it to Beaver" (May 10, 2005)

  • Season Two....Buy this season on DVD
  • "Normal is the Watchword" (September 28. 2005)
  • "Driver Ed" (October 5, 2005)
  • "Cheatty Cheatty Bang Bang" (October 12, 2005)
  • "Green-Eyed Monster" (October 19, 2005)
  • "Blast From the Past" (October 26, 2005)
  • "Rat Saw God" (November 16, 2005)
  • "Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner" (November 16, 2005)
  • "Ahoy Mateys!" (November 23, 2005) 27. 2- 5 2T7205 26 Oct 05
  • "My Mother, the Fiend" (November 30, 2005)
  • "One Angry Veronica" (December 7, 2005)
  • "Donut Run" (January 6, 2006)
  • "Rashard and Wallace Go to White Castle" (February 1, 2006)
  • "Ain't No Magic Mountain High Enough" (February 8, 2006)
  • "Versatile Toppings" (March 15, 2006)
  • "The Quick and the Wed" (March 22, 2006)
  • "The Rapes of Graff" (March 29, 2006)
  • "Plan B" (April 5, 2006)
  • "I Am God" (April 11, 2006)
  • "Nevermind the Buttocks" (April 18, 2006)
  • "Look Who's Stalking" (April 25, 2006)
  • "Happy Go Lucky" (May 2, 2006)
  • "Not Pictured" (May 9, 2006)

  • Season Three...Buy this season on DVD
  • "Welcome Wagon" (October 3, 2006)
  • "My Big Fat Greek Rush Week" (October 10, 2006)
  • "Wichita Linebacker" (October 17, 2006)
  • "Charlie Don't Surf" (October 24, 2006)
  • "President Evil" (October 31, 2006)
  • "Hi, Infidelity" (November 7, 2006)
  • "Of Vice and Men" (November 14, 2006)
  • "Lord of the Pi's" (November 21, 2006)
  • "Spit & Eggs28 November 28, 2006)
  • "Show Me the Monkey" (January 23, 2007)
  • "Poughkeepsie, Tramps & Thieves" (January 30, 2007)
  • "There's Got to Be a Morning After Pill" (February 6, 2007)
  • "Postgame Mortem" (February 13, 2007)
  • "Mars, Bars" (February 20, 2007)
  • "Papa's Cabin" (February 27, 2007)
  • "Un-American Graffiti" (May 1, 2007)
  • "Debasement Tapes" (May 8, 2007)
  • "I Know What You'll Do Next Summer" (May 15, 2007)
  • "Weevils Wobble But They Don't Go Down" (May 22, 2007)
  • "The Bitch is Back" (May 29, 2007)

FILMS

  • VERONICA MARS...Buy on DVD...Buy this Blu-Ray...Watch it now!
    (2014, Warner Bros/Spondoolie Productions/Rob Thomas Productions)
    Based on characters created by Rob Thomas
    Story by Rob Thomas
    Screenplay by Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggerio
    Directed by Rob Thomas
    Starring Kristen Bell as VERONICA MARS
    With Jason Dohring as Logan Echolls
    Enrico Colantoni as Keith Mars
    Percy Daggs III as Wallace Fennel
    Tina Majorino as Cindy 'Mac' Mackenzie
    Chris Lowell as Stosh 'Piz' Piznarski
    Francis Capra as Eli 'Weevil' Navarro
    and Ryan Hansen as Dick Casablancas
    Also starring Jasmie Lee Curtis, Justin Long, Jerry O'Connell, Julie Gonzalo, Martin Starr, Justin Long, Sam Huntington, Luke Haldeman, Max Greenfield, Aaron Ashmore, Troy Vandergraf, Ken Marino, Teddy Dunn, Daran Norris, Ryan Devlin
    Cameos by James Franco, Dax Shepherd

The Kickstarter success story finally drops, with most of the original cast of the beloved cult classic returning. Veronica's shucked her past, and is now a "big shot New York lawyer." But she returns to her hometown of Neptune, California - just in time for her high school reunion - to help her old flame Logan Echolls, who's a suspect in a murder case.

NOVELS

ALSO OF INTEREST

Collection of essays on the show, edited by its creator and executive producer, but evidently not authorized by the network.

  • Dunn, George A. (editor), Veronica Mars and Philosophy: Investigating the Mysteries of Life (Which is a Bitch Until You Die) (2014)....Buy this book

Part of the popular Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series, a weird combination of ching-ching marketing and a serious discussion of serious philosophical issues raised by various popular pop culture phenomena, from Batman to The Simpsons. Next stop, Neptune High.

RELATED LINKS

A collection of quotes from the snarky one.

According to one of the creators of this site, "Veronica Mars is one of the best, if not the best, shows of this season. In an effort to help attract more people to the show, we decided to create a website to help introduce the show to new viewers... We share a common goal, our desire to see this show around for many seasons to come."

A fan site.

A twelve-minute trailer/teaser scripted by Thomas and starring Bell. It's four years later, and Veronica is starting a new job as an FBI agent.

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Thanks to Rachel Crane and Paul Guyot for the latest.


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