10 Reasons Why "Veronica Mars" Is the Best

If you haven't yet let this show change your life, here are some reasons to watch it immediately.

Not Available Lead
Image via Complex Original
Not Available Lead

During its run on UPN and later The CW between 2004 and 2007, Veronica Mars never got the attention it deserved. The series, starring Kristen Bell as a snarky teenage detective working with her father in the sleepy, rich, corrupt seaside town of Neptune, CA, was, without question, genius. And though everyone from TV critics to Joss Whedon and Stephen King were singing its praises, VM got the axe after only three seasons. 

That was nearly six years ago. Since the show was canceled, there's been talk of a film to wrap up the cliffhanger that ended the final episode, but a lack of interest from the studio, Warner Bros., got in the way of any real planning—until yesterday. Creator Rob Thomas and star Kristen Bell (who has tirelessly campaigned to get a film off the ground for years) put up a Kickstarter page as a last-ditch attempt to raise enough money to fund the film themselves. Warner Bros., they said, was willing to pick up the tab for marketing, promotion, and distribution if they were able to raise a minimum of $2 million within 30 days to produce the project.

Within 12 hours of going live, the Kickstarter page surpassed that $2 million goal, breaking the record for the largest campaign on the site to reach its goal. Historic stuff. The donations are still coming in, too; there's no telling how much the project will raise over the next month. The bottom line: The film is happening. The project is set to begin filming this summer for an early 2014 release date, with Bell and the rest of the cast on board to reprise their roles. 

With this news going viral, there's really no better time to check out the series if you haven't yet—or to watch again, of course—especially as all three seasons are currently streaming in full over at TheWB.com.

In case you need further convincing, here are 10 Reasons Why Veronica Mars Is the Best

Written by Tanya Ghahremani (@tanyaghahremani) and Frazier Tharpe (@The_SummerMan)

RELATED: The 100 Best TV Shows of the 2000s
RELATED: No Answer: 10 Good TV Plots Left Unresolved By Cancellation
RELATED: TV’s 10 Best Mysterious Story Lines

The dialogue is amazing.

Not Available Interstitial

Veronica Mars remains one of the strongest female leads television has ever seen.

Not Available Interstitial

It intelligently and realistically dealt with race and class.

Not Available Interstitial



Veronica Mars was a teen show, yes, but when it came to making serious statements about race and class relations in rich coastal communities like Neptune, the show's setting, it did more work than most shows geared towards adults. The class divide in Neptune is something viewers are introduced to from the jump—because Veronica's experienced it firsthand. As the daughter of the town’s sheriff, she’d lived comfortably most of her life, and was best friends with the daughter of the richest man in town. She was even dating his son.

After her father lost his position, however, Veronica’s financial situation took a dip, and Keith moved the two of them into a small two-bedroom apartment in a slightly run-down part of town. It was then that Veronica really noticed how her former friends—called the "09ers" because they all resided in the affluent 90909 zip code—treated the Neptune residents that weren't white WASPs. 

In every episode of the series, viewers are reminded that the lives of the rich kids have been built on the backs of the poor citizens. One specific example: Veronica is in desperate need of a scholarship if she wants to even consider attending the school of her dreams, Stanford, but the competition for the specific award is made up mostly of 09ers whose parents can very easily afford to send them to school without any assistance.

Additionally, there are countless scenes depicting the rivalry between the 09ers and the other kids; the 09ers believe that they’re meant to own the school because of their money, and this gives them license to do whatever they desire, while the other kids are resentful of this.

Most network TV is content to imagine a world of middle class people who don't have any interclass contact. And it's cowardly. Veronica Mars bucked the trend. —TG

It's dark.

Not Available Interstitial



No, really—it's dark as fuck. It's typical for high-school show to deal with murder and sexual assault. But twenty minutes into the pilot of VM our heroine drops this unforgettable bomb on us: “Want to know how I lost my virginity? So do I.” Cut to a flashback that shows the recently socially-alienated Veronica defiantly showing up to a house party, only to get anonymously roofied and wake up barely clothed the next morning. When she tells the new sheriff, he's all, “boo-hoo, sad story.”

At times the show owned up to the silliness of a 16-year-old girl investigating mysteries for her classmates with decidedly light fare—like the case of the missing mascot—but these were ultimately just moments of levity amidst an exceedingly gloomy setting. Suicide, the mass murder of teenagers, pedophilia, rape, and other terrible events all had time in the spotlight during the 64 episode-run. —FT

Keith Mars was the best TV father ever.

Not Available Interstitial



There are quite a few reasons why Keith Mars is the best father to ever grace the small screen, but here’s the top: He always, without question, put Veronica first— whereas Veronica’s weak-willed mother, Lianne, skipped town and became an alcoholic once Keith accused the richest family in town of murdering their daughter and lost his job as sheriff. Instead of buckling under the same pressures Lianne was facing, Keith opened up shop in town as a private detective, moved him and Veronica to a small apartment nearby, and remained as strong as possible despite the fact that the most powerful people in the city wanted him gone. He had to, for Veronica’s sake.

Additionally, unlike many parents in teen shows, he’s very present, and never turns a blind eye to anything Veronica is up to. That always seems to be a plot device: Teens get into trouble, parents were too dumb to notice anything. Keith, however, isn’t dumb. In fact, he’s the only one who can outsmart Veronica, and that’s a pretty big feat considering how savvy and street smart she is. Nothing about his relationship with Veronica is cliché.

He’s also risked his life numerous times to protect Veronica; watching him fighting to the death to rescue her from a locked refrigerator surrounded by a wall of fire is enough to melt even the coldest of hearts. —TG

It played fair when it came to the murder mystery elements.

Not Available Interstitial

It launched real-life ball of sunshine Kristen Bell's career.

Not Available Interstitial


It launched real-life ball of sunshine Kristen Bell's career.

Before Veronica Mars, Kristen Bell’s career had yet to really get off the ground. Apart from a Lifetime movie, some guest starring roles in shows like Deadwood and The Shield, and a memorable bit part in Pootie Tang, she was a relative unknown in Hollywood. Veronica Mars wasn’t a ratings beast like some other, lesser shows on at the time, but it did earn Bell’s acting the recognition it deserved and Bell herself the attention she merited. Have you seen how much she loves sloths? The girl is just a delightful ball of sunshine.

Unfortunately, her filmography hasn’t been the greatest—When in Rome, You Again, Couples Retreat, why?!—but she did play the titular Sarah Marshall in Jason Segel’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which wouldn’t have happened if Bell had never donned her American Eagle knapsack as Veronica. And who knows if she would have been our cover girl in December 2007! —TG

It had great guest stars.

Not Available Interstitial



Good quality attracts good talent. With a healthy mix of actors who would go on to become big deals versus celebrities who just wanted to be a part of magic, Veronica Mars boasts a verifiable slew of ‘hey it’s that guy’ guests that include:

Jessica Chastain, Joss Whedon, Kevin Smith, Amanda Seyfried, Melissa Leo, Anthony Anderson, Aaron Paul, Adam Scott, Max Greenfield, Michael Cera, Leighton Meester, Jane Lynch, Charisma Carpenter, Alyson Hannigan, Ari Graynor, Kyla Pratt, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Ed Begley, Jr., Paul Rudd, Aaron Ashmore, Krysten Ritter, Steve Guttenberg, Ken Marino, Harry Hamlin, Lisa Rinna, Rider Strong, Dianna Agron and Paris Hilton. To name a few.—FT

The inevitably weak season isn't the show's fault.

Not Available Interstitial



Almost every great show delivers a bad season during its run. Every great high school series stumbles when the characters inevitably matriculate. With those two predestined fates working against it, Veronica was bound to slip up eventually and, lo and behold, the show’s first and only college season is an uneven mess, and far from the best note to send the show out on after its untimely demise.

But Veronica Mars fans have an opportunity to excuse the error that few shows do: network interference. After two years of relative anonymity on UPN, the series scored a Hail Mary renewal during the first year of the network’s merger with The WB to become uber-network The CW. But in its maiden year, the network had loftier ambitions and in exchange for the renewal, Thomas and co. were asked to make structural concessions to allow for easier accessibility.

The series promptly abandoned the winning, season-long mystery format in favor for shorter arcs that just didn’t have the same impact, before abandoning serialized mysteries completely for the final third of the season. The result: case-of-the-week episodes that were rarely engaging, typical and rote, and allowed for a nauseating focus on the ever-shifting relationships to fill the time.

Yeah, Veronica Mars wasn’t flawless during all three seasons, but save for some odd stylistic departures and shitty new characters (beware Chris Lowell's unfortunately named Piz), you can blame that fail all on the management.—FT

It has tons of critical acclaim.

Not Available Interstitial



Like most cult series, Veronica Mars never had the numbers—the Kickstarter page currently sits at about 2.4 million, a.k.a the average weekly episode rating—but enjoyed acclaim from TV’s top critics. Thanks to its distinctive style and voice despite a modest budget, you can find the series near the top of several ‘Best of ‘00s’ list from the tube’s top tastemakers.

What’s more, during its two short years of relevance, industry peers from all corners offered co-signs. Fanboy favorite Joss Whedon gushed that creator Rob Thomas and co. “know what they’re doing on a level that intimidates me. It’s the Harry Potter of shows.” Director Kevin Smith declared it “the best show” of the moment, going so far as to highlight it as proof that “TV can be far better than cinema.” And Stephen freaking King wrote, in an Entertainment Weekly column for all to see, “It bears little resemblance to life as I know it. But I can’t take my eyes off the damn thing.”

Once anyone laid eyes on Veronica, turning off the TV was out of the question. Now, this is the part where you open up a tab to your Netflix queue and hit "Add Discs." —FT

Latest in Pop Culture