Confession time. While there is a whole plethora of new summer series to watch this season (including this week's launch of the dazzlingly brilliant Damages on FX), the one show I keep finding myself watching is none other than Veronica Mars.
Yes, I've started over at the very beginning and have been steadily working my way back through season one of Veronica Mars this summer, relishing in every single plot twist and turn as Veronica and Papa Keith investigate the murder of Lily Kane and, you know, solve a few dozen other mysteries along the way.
While I never forgot how much I loved the now canceled Veronica Mars (which, sadly, had its final send-off on the CW two weeks ago), it's been brilliant fun going back and watching all of the set-up for the eventual reveal of Lily's killer, and watching little things too, like seeing Logan and our girl Veronica go from hostile animosity to full-blown lust over the course of 16 episodes or so. Remember when he vandalized her car in the pilot episode? And when they finally kissed on the stairs of that motel in "Weapons of Class Destruction"?
Or how could you forget the slow and gradual introduction of icon series character Dick Casablancas whose first line on the show was something along the lines of "Hey, look over there"? Or the awkward courtship between Papa Keith and Wallace's mom Alicia? Or, hell, the scene in which Aaron Echolls beats the snot out of daughter Trina's abusive boyfriend while "That's Amore" plays in the background? (Years later and that scene still resonates with me whenever I think of the series.)
For those of us still sore from the CW's very unsportsmanlike cancellation of Veronica Mars need only look back to that Season One boxset to see the series at its very, very best. Each episode offers a measured dose of noir intrigue, teen romance, and taut mystery thriller. And the beauty about returning to the series' start now is that you can savor several installments at a time while also paying close attention to every clue, red herring, and shifty character in Neptune, including a few you may have missed the first time around.
While my love for Veronica Mars has never dwindled over the years, there's a reason why the hunt for Lily Kane's killer is such a memorable season-long mystery arc. Not only did this mystery implicate nearly every single character in Neptune (except maybe Veronica, Papa Keith, and Vice Principal Clemmons) but it also gave Veronica a particularly vested interest in the crime and a clear through line for the season: find her best friend's killer and do whatever it takes to bring this villain to justice, even if it meant breaking the law or putting herself in harm's way. The mysteries in subsequent seasons have been taut little gems themselves, but none of them approached the tension and scope of this first look into Neptune's seedy underbelly and a cast of suspects who were a sheer joy to watch from week to week.
I've only got a few episodes left to season one and, despite knowing the outcome of this season's arc, my heart can't help but race with excitement and anticipation as we near the end of the season and unmask Lily's killer.
So, my question to you, gentle readers, is this. Is it wrong, with so much on television this summer, that I'd be tempted back into those early days of Veronica Mars? Or is watching this smartly crafted mystery series just the perfect antidote for the long, hot days of summer?
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Jace is an LA-based television development and acquisitions exec who watches way too much television for his own good and would love a TiVo for every room in the house. (He’s halfway there.) His blog, Televisionary, can be found at televisionaryblog.com.