Monday, June 6, 2011

Old TV Watch Project: Veronica Mars-"Pilot"

Veronica does some investigating on "Veronica Mars"
Credit: UPN

As you probably know, this summer I will be revisiting old series as a part of the Old TV Watch Project. One of the series I will be revisiting is of Veronica Mars starting with the first season this summer. I'm going to start out by discussing the pilot of the series. My thoughts on the episode are after the jump.

I'm going to get this out there right away: I didn't love this pilot. The reason why I think this way is that this is the beginning of something. When I watched the pilot, there was a voice playing in my head constantly about how this is the beginning of something. I really like the tone of the show and where the overall mystery could go, but this episode wasn't anything beyond the beginning of something. I'm making it sound like a huge negative, but it isn't. A pilot should be the beginning of something and set up plotlines for future.

That's what this pilot does very well. It introduces us to the town Neptune, California and to the overall mystery involving the Kane family using insight from Veronica. This is a world that needs introduction and the pilot does a very good job of this. Veronica doesn't live in a town where she fits into the world. She's clearly the odd one out of many of the groups. It's also very interesting that she was a part of the group and she can give insight to how they act from an insider's perspective. She knows exactly what this town is like and doesn't sugar coat it at all. That's why she's the perfect person to give the introduction, because she knows exactly how the town works.

She also introduces us to the overall arc, which focuses on what happened to the Kane Family. This is the part of the show that is keeping my interest going into episode two. First, there's the actual murder of Lilly Kane. (*) It was never made clear if the police arrested the right person for the murder. I'm curious to see how this plays out, and how this will affect the main characters on the show. This has the potential to be groundbreaking. Then, there's the mystery that Veronica was investigating during the episode, who was Mr. Kane meeting? Based on the episode, I'm going to guess that it's Veronica's Mom. That raises more questions then it answers. Why is she there? Why is she meeting with Mr. Kane? What do they want from each other? These are very juicy questions, and they're enough to keep me watching (even if I was going to watch them anyway). I'm very interested in how this will play out over the course of the season.

(*) I had a "hey look it's a famous actress" moment here because Lilly is played by Amanda Seyfried.

The other plotline in the episode was a little less interesting. It focuses on Veronica trying to help Wallace Fennel as he tries to escape from the town's biker gang. The plot was good, but it wasn't great. It made for some good counterpoint to all the darker material that was going on in the episode and it introduced us to Wallace but it didn't really serve a purpose beyond that. It was decent, but it was throwaway.

If there's one person who stands out as an amazing actress and an amazing character on the show,  it's Kristen Bell as Veronica. She portrays Veronica with even more wit then Sarah Michelle Geller as Buffy. (**) Bell shows a lot of range, from the wit of the voiceover, to the heavy material of the rape plotline. Veronica is a very complex character and Bell does her justice. There's a lot going on in her life, and Bell does a fantastic job of playing all of the different spectrums in which her character is written. If this is how good she is in the pilot, I can't wait to see how good she gets over the course of the season.

(**) That's the first thing that popped into my head with this show, "This show is a lot like Buffy, except without the vampires".

Some other thoughts:

  • Damn, that Veronica rape plotline is dark! That's another thing that's holding my interest, what exactly happened there?
  • The dynamic between Veronica and her father, Keith, is a very strong one. There's a lot of very strong wit behind the dialogue between them.
  • Veronica's father is also a very interesting and layered character. I can't wait to see all of the layers peeled back to reveal what's clearly being concealed.
  • I have to give Rob Thomas a lot of credit for this pilot. He's creating a fantastic world that I want to spend a lot of time in (even though there will only be three seasons for me to spend in it).
  • Note: I am going through this series for the first time, so please only comment on the events that happen in the first episode and please don't ruin any future twists. Any spoilerish comment will be deleted.
Overall, this episode was the beginning of what should be a very interesting and meaty series that I'm looking forward to writing about. 

Next Week: We move on to the second episode of the series, "Credit Where Credit's Due"

For more information about the Old TV Watch Project, an archive of previous reviews  please go to the home of the project right here.

1 comment:

  1. Hope you enjoy. It'll be fun to read this (and the "AV Club" classic reviews of the show that recently started) every week as someone who's seen the series already.

    This is not one of my all-time favorite shows, but seasons 1 and 2 in particular are highly enjoyable and very well-executed. And Kristen Bell is fantastic, even during the fairly flawed final season.

    I didn't love the pilot either. I liked it, but this show definitely improves as it goes along. Looking forward to reading!


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