Veronica Mars (Season Two)


Rating 4

Created by Rob Thomas

Written by Rob Thomas (three episodes), Diane Ruggiero (five episodes), Phil Klemmer (six episodes), John Enbom (six episodes), Dayna Lynne North (three episodes), Cathy Belben (four episodes), Russell Smith (one episode) and John Serge (one episode)

Directed by John Kretchmer (six episodes), Nick Marck (three episodes), Jason Bloom (two episodes), Harry Winer (one episode), Kevin Bray (one episode), Steve Gomer (two episodes), Rob Thomas (one episode), Guy Norman Bee (one episode), Sarah Pia Anderson (one episode), Rick Rosenthal (one episode), Michael Fields (two episodes) and Martha Mitchell (one episode)

Starring Kristen Bell, Percy Daggs III, Jason Dohring, Teddy Dunn, Enrico Colantoni, Francis Capra, Tessa Thompson, Kyle Gallner, Ryan Hansen, Charisma Carpenter, Steve Guttenberg, Krysten Ritter, Harry Hamlin, Michael Muhney, Jeffrey D Sams, Erica Gimpel, Alona Tal, Amanda Noret, Alyson Hannigan and Amanda Seyfried

The simmering conflicts between the super-rich residents of Neptune, California and the poor majority have reached boiling point following the arrest of the killer of Lilly Kane (see season one of the show). Woody Goodman (Steve Guttenberg), the self-styled “Mayor”, intends to incorporate Neptune (with reference made to the genuine Californian charter city of Palo Alto, home to Stanford University) and thus marginalise the poor even further. Gang warfare is rife and when a Neptune High school bus is blown up during a field trip, Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) is convinced she was the intended target.


The second season of ‘Veronica Mars’, first broadcast on the UPN television network between 28 September 2005 and 9 May 2006, kicks off in the aftermath of the events that occurred at the climax of season one. It largely follows the format of that season, mixing high school teenage drama and murder mystery, weaving a tangled web of different storylines involving a large number of characters that ebb and flow until they finally come together at the end of the twenty-two episode run. It doesn’t have the freshness of the first season, simply because the format is now familiar, but by and large it maintains the same level of quality. Once again, it is very addictive viewing.

In the first season, Veronica had been ostracised by her former friends, the rich clique at Neptune High. This time around she is, more or less, back in the fold, although her father is not rich by any stretch of the imagination, unlike the parents of her reacquainted friends. This creates a degree of conflict with the people she had got to know when she was an “outsider”. This is perhaps not explored as thoroughly as it might have been, although it is interesting to observe her frequently rather smug disposition become more pronounced and she seems to have some rather ambivalent attitudes generally.

It does seem as if the narrative had to be shoe-horned to accommodate some things that were driven by external factors. There are examples of stunt casting that are all too obvious, such as the cameo appearance by Joss Whedon, the creator of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ and a supporter of the show, in episode six, although it passes by painlessly enough. In other areas, budget constraints might have played a part. Wallace Fennel (played by Percy Daggs III, one of the lead cast), Veronica’s best friend, is written out entirely during episodes six through nine and is also missing in episode fourteen. His mother Alicia (Erica Gimpel), disappears from the storyline altogether after episode five and is not seen again until the final episode. Having said this, production standards are high, at least to my untrained eye.

The season-long story arc is a little convoluted, drawing together the blowing up of the bus and the imminent trial of the accused killer of Lilly (Amanda Seyfried), plus several other story strands introduced in individual episodes. This is generally done very well, although it does rather unravel at the very end, becoming particularly chaotic and messy in the concluding episode, which tips over into implausibility and becomes all rather silly. It’s a minor quibble, though, and should not be allowed to take away from what precedes it. This final episode, ‘Not Pictured’, was rated as the best of the series by Empire magazine.

Viewing figures for the show on UPN dropped from the 2.5 million average of season one to 2.3 in season two.

Review posted 22 January 2009


1 comment:

mony said...

Rob Thomas has created a superb series. I like all episodes of Veronica Mars TV Show. This is really a fantastic show.