Best of the Small Screen, Dramas No. 7

Over the next 7 weeks I'll be taking a look at some of my favorite TV series, broken down into three groups (Limited Run Series, Comedies, and Dramas). In my post on March 1 I laid out the ground rules for these categories and this exploration, the biggest of which is no series that are currently airing. To read the whole thing, check out the post "Best of the Small Screen" from March 1.

Today I continue with another show that falls into the teen drama category. I was not, however, a teen when I watched it.

Veronica Mars (2004-2007)
Numbers of Seasons/Episodes: 3/64
Network: UPN/The CW
Starring: Kristen Bell, Enrico Colantoni, Jason Dohering, Percy Daggs III, Francis Capra, Ryan Hansen, and Tina Marjorino
Creator: Rob Thomas
Favorite Season/Episodes: Season 1, 1.01 "Pilot," 1.18 "Weapons of Class Destruction," 1.22 "Leave It To Beaver," 2.22 "Not Pictured," 3.09 "Spit & Eggs," 3.20 "The Bitch is Back"
About: Remember the UPN? At one point there were six networks, kind of. The WB, which seemed to have more endearing shows, and the UPN, which was a completely mixed bag. But the UPN did deliver us "Veronica Mars," which was a show so good it felt like it should belong to a new network. It aired its first two great seasons on the UPN, then a funny thing happened. The UPN and the WB merged to be a better network, The CW. And "Veronica Mars" seemed to be on the bubble. The show got a third season which, if we're being honest, wasn't as good. And that was all she wrote. "Veronica Mars" was a show that burned brightly, but not for long, and then was gone. And because it began life on the UPN, it's a show that not a ton of people saw when it originally aired. But people caught on, and it's become somewhat of a cult hit in its afterlife. I, in fact, didn't catch the show until after it was off the air. But I quickly raced through the three seasons, and I was excited when the cast and crew returned in 2014 for a crowd-source funded film that sort of wrapped up the stories. But this is about the show. It had all the hallmarks of a great teen soap, but it also had another interesting element. It was a detective series. Not only did Veronica (Bell) often solve cases of the week, there were ongoing mysteries that kept the show engrossing with a highly serialized hook. Plus, it had great performances. This is the first role where I really saw Bell, and it was undeniable she'd be a star. In terms of favorite episodes, because of the inter-connected nature of the series it becomes hard to pull out bottle episodes. I love the pilot, which was a hook, and "Weapons of Class Destruction" was an episode where things kind of changed. The first season finale, "Leave It To Beaver," was perhaps the best of the series. While I didn't always love the second season mystery, the finale, "Not Pictured," is pretty great. The third season isn't as good, but it had some memorable episodes, like "Spit & Eggs," and the finale, "The Bitch is Back," which is heart-breaking because it's open-ended. "Veronica Mars" is the perfect summer binge watch, so dive in if you haven't seen it.


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