One of the most intriguing things to me about this show was that many people claimed that anyone who was a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer would defintely enjoy this show as well. Considering there was no supernatural elements, I didn't understand why someone would make that statement other than the fact that both shows have blonde female leads. But I quickly realized that everything from the storytelling, the dialogue, the pacing and even the characters paralled the Buffyverse.
Veronica obviously is much like Buffy in the fact that she's the lead female protagonist who is able to get a team of friends around her to help her do her job as she continually makes witty quips throughout every situation. Logan is a lot like Spike, he's defintely viewed as a bad guy but we see the transformation in him throughout this season, much as we did with Spike throughout the 7 seasons of Buffy, and Duncan reminds me of Angel, a really kind and good person who is continually tortured by this horrible act in his past. I guess you could say that Wallace is kind of like a less dorky version of Xander, most of the 09ers would represent Cordelia, but Keith Mars is far from filling the shoes of Giles. Giles was cool, but not this cool.
To be honest, I don't have any real complaints about the first season of this show. It was a really well constructed TV show, so I will highlight a few things that I especially enjoyed.
- The Veronica/Keith Mars chemistry- this father/daughter relationship is ultimately the anchor of this show and have developed these characters into two very real people who play off eachother perfectly. Their dialogue is always sharp and full of wit, and its always interesting to see Keith's who demeanor change when he goes into full dad mode. In the midst of her mom running out on her, him being fired, and her best friend being murdered, this relationship was the glue of the show that made it all work.
- The Pacing- I have never in my life see a "big picture" unfold quite as well as this one did. The season begins with the murder of Lily Kane, Veronica's best friend, Duncan's sister, and Logan's girlfriend, so we immediately see how these characters all connect. Other storylines, of course, wrap into this one as well and many smaller revelations continue to feed our hunger to find out who the killer is by the end of the season. Shows like Prison Break and Buffy have also done this well, building their whole season upon a big finale, but the even those shows faltered at times, having some episodes that just seemed designed to drag the whole thing out a little longer. That was not the case with this debut season of Mars, as they included the right amount of twists and turns and added new unexpected layers to the story along the way.
- The "stunt" Casing- Usually when shows bring in some recognizable faces, its due to the fact that Sweeps is going on, and most of the times they struggle to make a real use for these people. Scrubs is one of the rare exceptions, always seeming to make great use of their guest stars. Veronica Mars also did this, not throwing away good opportunities. Johnathan Taylor Thomas probably had his strongest role today as an undercover FBI agent sent to stop a possible threat at the high school, Anthony Anderson was great as a violent rap mogul who belived his daugther was kidnapped, and Tina Majorino and Aaron Ashmore were both put to great use in their recurring roles. Even the bizarre choice to use Paris Hilton in one episode panned out ok as they got her to play some stuck up shallow blonde...which didn't seem to be too much of a stretch. It was also great to see Buffy's Alyson Hanigan show up as Logan's sister...in a role that is probably the polar opposite of Willow.
- The ending-Sometimes shows build up all season and this fail us at the end. This is absolutely not the case here. The last few episodes of the season are one tense moments after another, eventually leading to the shocking revelation of who really killed Lily Kane. The great thing is that it didn't have a whole bunch of twists just to be shocking, they all made sense and flowed together perfectly, even if they hit like a ton of bricks.
I'm really excited to begin the second season and can't recommend this show enough. Much more than some lame teen show, much like Joss Whedon did with Buffy, Rob Thomas has created an incredible community full of monsters and demons...only this time they look just like you and me. Whedon is probably the strongest storyteller in tv, and this show is so remiscent of his work, but at the same time creating its own very unique identity. Definetely not the teen fluff it was advertised as Veronica Mars takes us to some very dark places, but the art of character development and great storytelling makes this one of the most addicting and satisfying shows you'll likely come by.