Marshmallows, rejoice, because Hulu has dropped the first teaser for its miniseries revival of Veronica Mars† Based on the footage, it looks like a return to the top of our favorite brutal, taser-wielding, crime-fighting heroine.
(Spoilers for the first three seasons and the 2014 movie below.)
The cult classic crime drama premiered on UPN in 2004 and ran for three seasons. The final season ran on UPN’s successor network, The CW, and despite some improvement in ratings, the series was officially canceled in June 2007. As my Ars colleague Samuel Axon wrote last fall: fact that it was way too smart and much had too much social commentary for its own good — especially for a series that was designed as a teen show but in many ways really wasn’t — the series met an early mid-season demise with low ratings.”
He added, “Veronica Mars wasn’t a ratings hit on broadcast TV, but maybe it doesn’t have to be on Hulu.”
Think of an edgy, irreverent Nancy Drew, armed with plenty of sass and a taser.
Season 1 Set the Overall Tone of the Show: Elements of SoCal noir and high school drama punctuated by witty dialogue and a clever, clever heroine who was just vulnerable enough to still be human. Think of an edgy, irreverent Nancy Drew, armed with plenty of sass and a taser. High school junior Veronica Mars struggles in the wake of the murder of her best friend, Lily Kane. She was in a relationship with Lily’s brother, Duncan, which earned her a status among the privileged, ruling cool kids of Neptune High, despite her humble origins. She has since become an outcast, devoting her time to helping her PI father on various cases while trying to solve Lily’s murder, culminating in a great ending.
In Season 2, Veronica gets involved with bad boy Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring), Lily’s former flame, and solves the mystery of a devastating school bus accident that killed many of her more disadvantaged classmates (those from wealthy families would never deign. around the bus). And in Season 3, she was a freshman at Neptune’s Hearst College. This was the weakest of the seasons, in part because the writers resized a single overarching mystery (with several smaller standalone cases interspersed throughout) to include two different completely separate mysteries. It just didn’t hold up as well as the previous two seasons. Still, my heart broke when the show was cancelled.
The series lived on via DVD (streaming wasn’t all the rage back then) and continued to build a small but fiercely loyal audience. In 2013, creator Rob Thomas, Bell and others teamed up to launch a Kickstarter campaign to make a sequel. The campaign raised $5.7 million, well above the $2 million goal. The film showed Veronica nine years later, living in New York City and about to join a prestigious law firm. Then ex-boyfriend Logan, now a lieutenant in the US Navy, asks her to exonerate him from charges that he killed his girlfriend. Once the main mystery and various subplots converge, Veronica takes over Mars Investigations instead of returning to New York.
I found the last movie, released in 2014, a bit disappointing, as nice as it was to see the gang back together. While critics praised the strong writing style and solid performances, it really only attracted diehard fans of the show, making about $3.3 million at the box office, although DVD and Blu-Ray sales were stronger. After that, hopes for more of Veronica’s adventures seemed gone forever – until Hulu announced last year that it would be reviving the series. Per Variety’s synopsis:
In the new episode, springbreakers are killed in Neptune, destroying the resort’s tourism industry. After Mars Investigations is hired by the parents of one of the victims to find their son’s killer, Veronica is drawn into a mystery that pits the enclave’s wealthy elites, who would rather end the months-long bacchanalia, against a working class who relies on the cash flow that comes with the West Coast’s response to Daytona Beach.
According to creator Thomas, the miniseries takes place about five years after the events of the film and lasts Veronica Mars back to his hardcore So-Cal noir roots.” It will also focus on a single overarching case, so this looks like a real return to top form.
Enrico Colantoni is back as Veronica’s PI father, Keith Mars, and Mars Investigations now appears to be a father-daughter company — technically it always was, no matter how much Keith tried to keep his teenage daughter from meddling. Notably absent from the teaser are fan favorites Wallace Fennel (Percy Daggs III), Cindy “Mac” MacKenzie (Tina Majorino), and Eli “Weevil” Navarro (Francis Capra), though they are listed as cast members for the miniseries.
Veronica Mars S4 starts streaming on Hulu July 26, 2019.
List image by YouTube/Hulu