With a surprise early release, the new season of “Veronica Mars” dropped on Hulu Friday for viewers to binge to their heart's content. However, dedicated fans of the show should beware:This revival has no problem with going dark, and the last few minutes are likely to alienate and anger much of the audience.
“Veronica Mars” first aired from 2004 to 2007 on the United Paramount Network (UPN) and The CW television network. Set in the fictional town of Neptune, California, the show’s beginning follows Veronica (Kristen Bell), a young, tough and witty private investigator who helps solve mysteries for her friends and classmates while simultaneously figuring out the truth about who murdered her best friend, Lilly Kane (Amanda Seyfriend), the previous year. Throughout the series, viewers watch Veronica miraculously survive several life-or-death situations, deal with countless cases and go through hundreds of breakups and makeups with her on-and-off boyfriend, Logan (Jason Dohring).
While never a ratings hit, the show built a dedicated cult following. Fans were so loyal that in 2013, Kristen Bell and the show’s creator, Rob Thomas, announced they were holding a Kickstarter campaign for a movie to wrap up the series. Within a day of the announcement, their initial $2 million goal was met and the movie was officially underway. When it released in 2014, many viewers were satisfied with where their favorite characters left off. After the ending to the new series, it’d be safe to say most fans would’ve preferred the show to not come back at all.
The new season features eight brand new episodes, and every main cast member from the original series has returned to reprise their roles — with the exception of Tina Majorino, who played Cindy ‘Mac’ Mackenzie.
It’s Spring Break in Neptune, and Veronica and Logan are living together with their dog, Pony, in a new house right on the beach. The two have been together since the events of the movie, and the new episodes dive deep into exploring their current dynamic. While Logan used to be a bit of a wildcard in the original series, he’s much more mature now, and it’s Veronica who’s been stopping them from taking the next step in their relationship — marriage. The constant lack of communication and angst between them during the original show gets tiring, so it’s refreshing to see them working on their issues as a couple in the new episodes.
This season’s main mystery deals with an unknown bomber terrorizing the town of Neptune. It’s intriguing at first, but as the season nears its last few episodes, the storyline goes through so many twists and turns that feel almost too convoluted. The bomber’s identity makes little sense, with the character not coming across as having the ability to plan these attacks; by all accounts, they don’t seem competent enough. Popular consensus from fans has always been that the mystery from the first season was the best, and in every season following, the quality declines. Season 4 may be an improvement upon season 3, but it still doesn’t capture the magic of season 1.
The show’s production looks great, and all the actors’ performances are fantastic. Enrico Colantoni (Keith Mars), Bell and Dohring do an amazing job leading the show. Dohring did exceptionally well, as the Logan he portrays still has his recognizable charm but is overall different to the one fans loved in the first three seasons. Veteran actors Patton Oswalt and JK Simmons play recurring roles in the new season and are effortlessly talented.
In true “Veronica Mars” style, the finale is jam-packed with crazy, life-threatening action, with the last few minutes being seemingly calm while the characters are safe and happy before it all blows up for nothing but dramatic purposes. While it’s great to be back in Neptune for this new season, the ending to the revival is guaranteed to leave the majority of the show’s fanbase feeling heartbroken and upset.
When being interviewed about the new season, Kristen Bell said she planned to avoid social media in fear of how fans would respond to these “controversial” decisions. Judging by initial reactions online, it was the right call. While the cast has expressed hope for a fifth season during press interviews, it’s hard to say it’ll even be considered after this polarizing choice fully sinks in with fans.
Contact Kira Baldau at email@example.com. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.