Veronica Mars returns for a long-awaited fourth season, July 26 on Hulu.
By Jeremy Koffsky
About a year and a half ago I wrote about my love for season 2 of Veronica Mars. I loved how tightly plotted and fully realized it was, and the genuine vulnerability exposed at the end. That standard was how I judged the newest addition to Veronica Mars – the 8 episode mini-series on Hulu.
Unfortunately, the new season is a bit lackluster. My biggest gripe is the clear tonal shift. Veronica Mars originally aired on UPN and then The WB young adult networks. Now that the show has moved to Hulu, this Veronica Mars can swear, and there’s more sexual content. The “edgy” spin comes across as simplistic. It is as if the writers thought, “Veronica should say shirt four or five times an episode. That’d be cool!” The decision is annoying and, for lack of a better term, shirtty.
The thing that always blew me away about Veronica Mars was its ability to create a good mystery. Rob Thomas and his writing crew always found a way of keeping me guessing until the last minute. This season is no different. The “whodunnit?” storyline has multiple twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. These eight episodes are a very engaging watch. You’ll want to binge them one after the other.
Unfortunately, the conclusion left me disappointed. No spoilers but when the “bad guy” is finally revealed-I did not see it coming, but about 20 minutes after I watched it I realized that his whole motivation is not well defined and there are multiple plotholes. What I loved about veronica mars seasons one and two was that after further analysis of there conclusions things made more sense, not less. (See: the Beaver reveal.)
Lastly, the best part of Veronica Mars has always been the characters. Particularly Veronica herself, but Logan and Keith were also lovable and unique and great to watch. Here, Keith has a compelling arc that pulls at the heartstrings. Logan was much better defined than the 2014 movie made him out to be. I found the return of his quippy sense of humor very much appreciated.
The show introduces some new players as well. JK Simmons as Clyde Pickett is a standout, and Mattie – a 16-year-old who is essentially a young Veronica – is great fun, but I wish they had given her more unique characteristics and not just copy and pasted Veronica’s personality. There are also some lovely cameos from old characters.
The biggest problem in terms of character this season is with Veronica herself. Veronica is super complicated and very compelling, but I don’t know when she became such a jerk to everyone. While I understand part of the point is that crap always comes her way, at times I did not find the way she was treating people justifiable. The show’s lack of acknowledgment of that threw me off, and along with the tonal shift, made me somewhat uncomfortable with the show as a whole.
If you are a dedicated Marshmallow, this revival is certainly worth checking out. However, it is not without its flaws.
I give Veronica Mars Season 4 a B-.