Our Favorite PI Is Back!
Streaming on Hulu | 2004–2007; 2014; 2019 | TV-14 | 4 Seasons + a movie
reviewed by Liz and Grace
Genre: Crime Drama
Why We Watched: Blink 182 was in town last weekend and new Veronica Mars episodes were airing... so, what year is it exactly? We are both self-described "Marshmallows," falling for the show and its heroine (played by Kristen Bell) as high schoolers when it originally aired on UPN and The CW in the early 2000s. When Hulu announced it was reviving Mars for a fourth season, how could we not watch?
You Might Also Like: May we once more suggest The Good Place? Also streaming on Hulu, this quirky show asks deep existential questions while also providing a laugh a minute. Bell leads this cast too, and we loved it so much that it was one of our first ever What-To-Watch recs.
A long time ago, we used to be friends with Veronica Mars, our favorite teen private investigator. We sat glued to our small screens—which were really quite small back then—and waited through buffering to watch her solve murders and mysteries in the sunny cesspool of crime known as Neptune, California.
Corruption and inequity fester in the fictional beachside town. Whether it’s the murder of her best friend, the disappearance of her mother, or a suspicious crash of a school bus, Veronica and her father, former-sheriff Keith Mars (Enrico Colantoni), are on the case. Equal parts film noir and teen drama, the OG Veronica Mars—three seasons running from 2004 through 2007—offered up big reveals, plot twists, and exciting near misses on the regular. And it also gave us the gift of a great and epic romance between Veronica and the very-damaged Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring), son of a maniac movie star and ex-boyfriend of Veronica’s murdered best friend Lily Kane (Amanda Seyfried). We told you there was drama!
You know how sometimes you go back and rewatch a show that you once loved, only to be seriously disappointed? This is simply not the case with Veronica Mars. The 15-year-old show holds up—big time. Y’all, there is so much raw talent in this cast. It was helmed by a young Kristen Bell, but there are a slew of notable guest stars too, including Max Greenfield, Tessa Thompson, Kristin Ritter, Paul Rudd, Adam Scott, Jessica Chastain, and many more. On top of that, the writing is golden. Rob Thomas and staff packed each episode with snappy dialogue, quips, and puns, long narrative arcs and single-episode storylines. The crimes seem just as relevant today as they did back then, especially those that center around date rape and all the other super-fun risks of being a teenage girl.
Whatever the crime, Veronica’s solve rate is superb. But there’s one mystery that we just can’t figure out: Why, why, WHY the show was canceled after just three blissful seasons! Enter a crowdfunded movie in 2014 (on HBO GO; Liz may have contributed to the Kickstarter...) and now the 2019 Hulu revival, which launched last week. (We’d expertly planned this newsletter for today, the would-be launch date, but the streaming channel released it early after the series’ buzzworthy Comic-Con appearance…. We’re not complaining, just explaining!)
This revival is not yo’ mama’s Veronica Mars. It’s broodier, sexier, bloodier, and grittier, with all the snappy dialogue and Veronica–Logan drama that we live for. Season 4 picks up in the same place, with the same people, doing the same things. Veronica and Keith are still running Mars Investigations. The rich and powerful are still corrupt. And teenage girls are still tough as nails. So, in a way, not much has changed. But Veronica has grown up, and the stakes of the crimes she takes on have too. Neptune has become a literal powder keg, and—no surprise here—it’s up to the Mars PI’s to save the day.
The Veronica Mars revival is the one we wanted and needed. Thankfully, the cast—which returned almost in its entirety for both the 2014 movie and Season 4—seems just as excited as we are. "I am wholeheartedly committed to playing this character until the fans don’t want me to anymore," Bell told Entertainment Weekly, “Because it feels that good to play her. It feels good to fight for what’s right and just, and also maintain a sense of vulnerability while possessing porcupine quills.”
We’ll hold you to it, K. Bell! These fans will never not want you to play her.
This is one of our all-time favorites, friends.
Liz and Grace