Sunday, July 7, 2013

TV Series Review: Veronica Mars (season three)

So I have finally gotten through all three existing seasons of Veronica Mars, huzzah! By this point there's not much I can say to introduce it (either than "this is a show, if you haven't seen the first two seasons then don't watch this one because that would be just silly) so let's get straight to the review!

Veronica Mars (season three)

Summary: Veronica has survived high school, made it to college, aaaaand she's still in Neptune, which by this point has so much crime going on that the entire town should be on the FBI's watch list. She and her friends stumble their way through college trying both to pass class and to get involved in as few criminal schemes as they can along the way. 

The Good: This season eschews the previous format of having one long, underlying mystery stacked underneath a lot of small mysteries and I actually like this format a bit more. The original format worked well in the first season but in the second season it was starting to work less well, here we manage to have a nice balance of complex mysteries without being so complex that it strains credibility that someone could have committed such a crime that only Veronica was able to solve. And I'm not going to deny that I still enjoy a lot of this series despite it's problems, the problems are often thornier than they first appear and Veronica's snarking makes everything more fun, too bad it couldn't solve all the problems this season had.

The Bad: I had a lot of problems with both this season and with the series as a whole so let's start with this particular season's problems first. To start with, back in the second season Veronica was on Heart College's campus for a couple of days to look around and solved a plot about a serial rapist which I felt like was handled okay. For some unknown reason the writers decided to try and then expand on this plot, as if this was round two, and it was terrible. The college reacts totally differently this time around (which doesn't make much sense), the overall resolution was a bit murky so I'm not exactly sure what happened (I think two things actually did and the show didn't make clear which events belonged to which event), and straw feminists. To elaborate, there are a bunch of really gung-ho, "men suck!" "feminists" in the story and I always abhor this portrayal of feminists, they're such a small minority of the group and that's not what feminism really is, it's about achieving equality for both sexes with the name deriving from the fact that it's almost always the women who have the shorter end of the stick in gender related instances. So any story that involves that particular trope is going to irk me and the way it just dragged on and on here didn't help, neither did the fact that Parker (a character who was introduced during this arc) changed so much between just a few episodes that at first I thought she was a different character altogether, now I just think that the writers completely rewrote her and hoped no one would notice. I'm still on the fence about how I feel about Veronica's love life, the story decided to change everything up rather close to the end and I wish they had started that a bit sooner, it feels odd to see the beginning of a new relationship and not the rest. Speaking of seeing one part of the story but not the rest, I'm still confused on what was going on in the first episode, I know it had something to do with a plot line that was started in the last five minutes of the second season and it was never explained well enough. I don't know if they knew while writing the later episodes here that the third season would be the series last or not, if not that would explain why the series ended on one of it's traditional cliff-hanger season endings but that doesn't make me feel any happier about it. Finally, related to that finale, after three seasons (meaning three years in universe) I'm frustrated with Veronica's overall lack of character development and to some extent the lack of development in some of the extended cast as well. We're still seeing Veronica get into an amazing amount of crap (the running theme throughout the entire show seems to be that the most dangerous situations often don't start out that way), heck at this point I'm wondering why she hasn't taken some martial arts considering how often she gets into physical struggles/fights, and she doesn't seem to have made any progress on her numerous trust issues despite the fact that she's had enough experiences over these three years for her to have made a start. That's part of the reason I'm frustrated that the romance that started late in the season started so late, that one had a chance of really giving her a reason to trust and change which is something she desperately needs by now. I was okay in the first two seasons of Veronica still being this prickly, more of a loner type of character but by this point there should have been a change and I'm frustrated it didn't happen.

Production Values: Nothing really to see here, nothing looked off setting, clothing, or lighting wise and there was no use of CGI as far as I can remember so I don't have anything to say. Well, I do prefer the original version of the song used in the opening credits versus the remix they used this time around but it's not like that was terrible, just not to my taste.

So, in the end I give this season a 2.5 out of 5, weaker than the other seasons and the fact that it's the last, and therefore highlights that none of the characters got to go through the full character arc they needed (except perhaps Wallace who was rounded out nicely in the second season). Heck, from what I've heard the fourth season would have involved a timeskip where Veronica now work for the FBI and infiltrates schools which sounds like a terrible idea to me so I am rather glad that story didn't get made (and probably wouldn't have helped with either the cliffhangers this season ended on or with that pesky character arc she needs to advance in). So, say you still haven't seen any of this series and are now a bit scared, should you watch Veronica Mars at all? I say yes, the first season really was great and if you finish that and are raring to go for more great, watch the second season and then read a summary of the third season unless, like me, your a completionist who just has to watch that. And if you watch the first season and feel satisfied with it awesome, just go to wikipedia to read how Lily's murder case finishes and you're good to go. Do I plan on seeing the movie? Sure, I didn't pledge to the kickstarter (for a couple of different reasons) but unless everyone says the movie is terrible I plan on seeing it (and might still see it anyway, I did just watch this third season after all) and I'm crossing my fingers that it's great.


  1. Hello Helen, forgive me for posting this here, but I wanted to contact you to send you a press release. Maybe it's just because it's late at the end of a long day or maybe it's by design, but I can't find your email or contact info on your site. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know I was trying to contact you, please delete this message before it self-destructs...10...9...8...

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.