Monday, February 10, 2014

Monday Musings - Top Five Television Shows, Number Three - Veronica Mars!

We're at number three in this most epic of series, Christine's Top Five Favourite Television Shows of All Time. As a reminder, this is only shows that have finished their television run, since that is the only fair way to judge a television show. However, what is extra exciting about Number Three is that we've got MORE COMING. Because Number Three is...Veronica Mars!

I have a thing for high school television shows, which is ironic because I hated high school and would probably have Post-Traumatic High School Syndrome if it existed. But from a storytelling perspective, high school is one of the greatest settings since almost everyone has suffered through high school. That is key, because the audience really only needs one way to relate to a character—after that, the author can add in anything they want after that. Sometimes it is magic, sometimes vampires, sometimes gossip girls. In the case of Veronica Mars¸ it’s crime.

Oh sure, there is more than just that. There is a major discussion of the haves and the have-nots, which resonates with this former Palo Altan (Palo Alto is even mentioned in an episode for being similar to Neptune). There is one of the greatest Father-Daughter bonds that television has ever produced. But the show is just so intertwined and serialized through the crimes that happen and drive the plot. As I’ve mentioned before, I love serialized narrative, and Veronica Mars is about as serialized as it can get. Even in the last episode, there’s evidence that brings the show back to the first mystery in episode one. The show trusts the audience, which means that the main mysteries are always complicated and that the solution is always so satisfying. Sure, there are some episodes of Veronica Mars I like more than others, but I always finished the episode feeling satisfied.

The characters are also fantastically written. Most of the mysteries, especially the longer running ones, would fall flat without fully realized characters to hold them up. Would one really get that invested in the Lilly Kane murder without Duncan, Logan, Weevil, and the Kane’s providing believable motives? All of the characters have a motive, but also a reason why the just couldn’t be the murderer, and so you have to watch and find out the truth to see how the characters react and the fallout. Perhaps it is not surprising that the third season falls flat; with so many new characters that could never be as fully developed, the main mysteries of the season just aren’t as interesting.

And that is the one issue with Veronica Mars. It was cancelled in such a way that the characters never got closure. Thankfully, in a couple more weeks we have that movie coming out, and maybe I’ll get the closure then. Yay! We’re heading back to Neptune!

5. Blackadder

4. Angel

3.Veronica Mars

Taking a slight break next week to talk about something else, but numbers 2 and 1 are coming soon!

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