Veronica Mars - Season 2 (2005-2006)
I reviewed the first season of Veronica Mars back in April last year*, and my conclusion was thus:
An excellent show overall, one that quite amazingly finds its stride right from the start of the first season. It's smart, funny, and full of character, and I have to wonder whether the second season can continue in the same vein. Needless to say, I look forward to finding out.
The good news is that the second season is, by most measures, as good as the first. The bad news is that the area that isn't as strong in its sophomore year is the writing, the facet of filmed entertainment that is paramount in determining quality. The major story arc this season revolves around the plunging over the side of a cliff of a school bus, an action that may have been caused by potentially several malicious external influences. Naturally, the talented Ms. Mars (Kristen Bell) puts it upon herself to investigate. There are several mini story arcs as well, including that of the Cassavetes family, Duncan (Teddy Dunn) and Veronica's relationship, Meg's creepy family, Keith Mars' (Enrico Colantoni) dealings with a mayoral candidate, and Wallace's (Percy Daggs III) relationship with a new girl in school whose father happens to be a famous baseball player who's in a spot of trouble.
Phew, and that's not even mentioning the problems with the bikers (or PCHers), amongst others. While the surfeit of subplots taken collectively definitely enrich the show, the downside is that they vie amongst each other for screentime, with the end result being that many of them are underdeveloped. Story threads wind up being picked up and dropped capriciously (Wallace's running away storyline comes quickly to mind). The overall mystery also feels a little less satisfying; it doesn't seem to have the same overarching prominence of the first season's, and the resolution was more than a little disappointing, again feeling a little too Scooby Doo like for my taste. The revelations at the end jibe with what is established throughout the season, but are a little contrived and the surprise factor isn't really earned. My reaction was more 'WTF!' than 'OMG!'
Pretty much all of the other plus points about the show from my earlier review still hold true. The plotting may be weaker this year, but the dialogue is as sharp and funny as before, and the characters have depth and charm. And the performances are once again rock solid. It may be a little less satisfying this season, but it's still darn good television that remains compelling throughout its 22 episodes. Now I just have the third and (sadly) final season to watch. This is another of those unjustly canceled shows, though there is always the chance that it can return in the future with an adult Veronica Mars (an idea that was proposed to keep the show going at one point) - as long as they can bring Kristen Bell back, it should be workable.
* My criticism of Lost in that review stemmed from my dissatisfaction with the somewhat flaccid mid section of the second season. Lost is, of course, bloody brilliant!