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"It appealed to the schizophrenic in me, both of them actually."
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November 04 2004

Veronica Mars: Buffy teen heroine with the weight of the world on her shoulders. A lot of comparison to BtVS in a rave review of Veronica Mars.

Is the show really this good? Is it Buffy good? I know it's probably too early to be sure one way or another but I'm intrigued. I still have yet to see an episode.
The review did make it sound pretty good. I think I might have to check out an episode or two to see. Of course, it's a given that it won't be as good as Buffy.
I haven't been able to view this show because of the area I live, but I've read countless articles on how smartly it's written. They always compare it to BtVS. I have the same question. Is it "really" that good?
I've tried to view it a couple of times but haven't caught it at the beginning so it didn't hold my interest. If it doesn't get cancelled, I might check it out on dvd because that first episode sounded very intriguing. Too bad they don't do what FX does - they will repeat a show from beginning until current episode until they find a steady audience. They were constantly reshowing the first season of Nip/Tuck. I had missed at least the first 8 episodes of that show and had heard a lot of buzz about it and when they started to show it from the beginning in repeats I was able to catch up before the season finale and they had me hooked.
Yes, it's that good. I wouldn't put it at the top with the genius of Joss Whedon, but it's certainly a close cousin.

The lead actress is brilliant, and the supporing cast are equally interesting.
Yes, it's good. It has many Buffy similarities beyond the surface one (blonde heroine, high-school setting, etc.) such as complex backstory, season-long arcs, and morally gray characters. One thing that I've really appreciated in Veronica Mars is a Buffy-like ability to mix humor with drama, something many shows have difficulty doing. I would hesitate to call it a Buffy replacement, though. It seems to have less metaphor and more gritty reality. There are some definite race and class tensions, and mostly, far fewer vampires.

1. Everyone, stop comparing VM to Buffy.

2. Yes, its good, it has great writing, snappy dialog, complex characters and (gasp!) a well thought out and increasingly complex story arc, but you can't compare it to Buffy. The only real issues I have so far is that Weevil runs the wussiest motocycle gang in history and it maybe a little too dark. There's betrayal on all kinds of levels going in this show.

Check out the pilot and please watch it on its own merits. Don't expect Buffy: The next Generation. I've come to enjoy it. I hope it succeeds.
The show is good, but I don’t think I can call it Buffy good because I miss the “rich metaphoric playground”. It does go beyond high school and mystery solving and is probably smarter and more complex than the majority of what’s on television, but it hasn’t made me love it yet. It’s enjoyable and certainly not a waste of time, but I keep waiting for that moment or plot twist that spins you around and makes you question what you thought you knew. Darn you, Mr Whedon, let me move on!
...and mostly, far fewer vampires.

well, Paris Hilton did show up in one episode...

on a side note Kristen Bell's (Veronica) death scene on Deadwood is still one of the most gruesome things I have yet to witness. She's a damn good actress.

[ edited by sTalking_Goat on 2004-11-04 23:11 ]
I'm with ASassyKat and others. Yes, this show is that good. Veronica Mars and Desperate Housewives are my two favorite shows currently.
I'd like to take this opportunity to nominate Veronica Mars as deserving discussion on Whedonesque. If 'Lost', which shares writers with the Buffyverse is representative, then VM, which has common cast and crew with Buffy, Angel, and Firefly, should get the same consideration.

For the record:

John T. Kretchmer - Director of Buffy and VM episodes
Nick Marck - Director of Buffy, VM and Angel episodes
Scott Remick - Assistant Director of Buffy and VM
Kurt Kassulke - Sound for Buffy, VM, Angel, and Firefly

Is that SO much more nebulous than the other connections?
brother_grady, feel free to start threads in the Library, where we've also moved discussion of Lost.
Very well, I trust and respect my fellow Whedonesque members' opinions more than any news articles. Guess I'll have to pick up this DVD set if and when it's available. I know it won't be Buffy, but there's only one Joss. By the way, can we clone him? It's legal now, right? Joss, if you're reading this, you may want to bolt the door. Your fans are "bored now" with the current programs on TV and we're grasping at straws here. April 22 is so far away. Sigh.
I have been watching VM since the premiere and while it is no Buffy its far above the level of most of whats out there. Deeper characters, arcs, complex backstory. Good stuff and highly recommended. Have also been watching Desperate Housewives and Lost (I adore Lost). My guilty pleasure of this season is 'life as we know it' which isn't the greatest thing ever but is funny and entertaining. Ok I'm stopping here as I am going further offtrack ;)
Veronica Mars is a great show. It got me hooked much faster than when I first started watching Buffy or Angel. I put it on par with Firefly, in that respect. I'd nab the DVD set in a second if this show were to be canceled early. I REALLY hope they let this show grow...
I saw on the Futon Critic the other day that they've got script orders for four more episodes of VM. So it doesn't seem like they're itching to cancel it. But there's still no guarantee there will be more than the original thirteen episodes.
Veronica Mars is very good in my opinion.

It isn't Buffy, nor should it be, nor does it want to be (well, maybe in gaining a cult following and a long run it does). From what I've seen, it's very uniquely its own show. The way it looks, the pacing, the dialogue and references. It's established an identity it seems comfortable with in six episodes, which is impressive.

Also, it's my favorite show to watch this season. I watch VM on Tuesdays, Lost on Wednesdays, and The Wire on Sundays. Those are my three shows (the Simpsons will make four this Sunday). And I love it. I love the way it's shot, the characters, that the adults on the show are equally substantial, the deeper mystery of the murder, the way it layers everything and forces you to pay attention because it can be subtle at times and requires itelligence of its audience.

It may not click for other people, but for me it did. Remember, too, when you watch it, that it is a noir-style show, and its a reality unto itself that follows noir rules pretty closely, but adds its own flavor on top. But the big thing? And this is the one comparison I will make to Buffy, is that even when the events are possibly stretched a tad beyond what we think of as "realistic" sometimes following that noir-style, it is emotionally honest (much like Buffy fighting all sorts of ridiculous, non-existent demons, but at the end of the day, the characters and the emotions were the grounding force).

I just like Lost for now, but I love VM, and the reason is depth. I know more about VM's characters after 6 eps (and I'm far more intrigued in the mystery) than I do about Lost's. Again, personal taste and opinion. And characters I was worried were going to be stereotypes with no dimension are being explored. This isn't a dig against Lost, though. I enjoy watching it, and it's slow paced so I understand that I'll probably come to appreciate it more and more, this is just where I stand right now.

Plus, because I want to see VM get a season or more, and Lost is in no danger of being cut short, that's why I'm so passionate. Like the post above said, it mixes humor and drama very well, and it encourages discussion afterward. Just when I think it's gonna go one way, it goes another. I'd hate to see it fade before it gets its fair shot. And the cast is fantastic.

I don't need metaphor. Before Buffy I was a MSCL fan, and that was as realistic as you could get not just in its high school portrayal, but in its depiction of adult concerns too, and how the age gap is smaller than people think. And if you wanna look at a strong, female character, look at Angela Chase. She became comfortable with herself and found confidence and a voice after just living and having experiences that didn't involve vampires. Metaphors are nice, but they don't *make* a show good. Good actors and good writing does.

Okay, that was a bit of a tangent, because Veronica Mars isn't MSCL, either. It's...Veronica Mars. So if you can, find time to watch it (but try to get caught up first, you'll thank me).

Nice post, pat22_btvs. I still watch, and adore, "My So-Called Life". Not Buffy, but wonderful in its own way. And I believe Joss was a big fan of it too.
I think you're right, SNT. I think David Fury said "Real Me" was inspired by MSCL. They know quality. ;-)

And because I have the DVDs, watching it takes me right back to when I was younger (I was 13 at the time). I thought it was good then--now, at 22, I still think it's amazing. For new reasons obviously, but it'll always hold a special place for me. Watching the title sequence before eps gives me happy chills (he says in a masculine way).

No more tangents, I promise. *sheepish grin*
I've been watching Veronica Mars since the pilot and yes -- it's quite good. I love the complexity of the storyline, the raw honesty of Veronica's life and of the lives of those around her, and I love the way the characters are written; it makes me care about what happens to them.
I noticed Joel Silver is an executive producer on you think that will have an impact on whether or not it gets cut short?
In what way? Because he's a recognizable name and probably has some clout?
Yeah. Not that I liked the last two Matrices but...he's probably good for pushing a series through a year or so.
Be nice if he did. I didn't like any of the Matrixes. I don't know how involved he was with them, but VM seems like its creator's (Rob Thomas) baby, and that's a good thing in my book.
Toss me on the veronica mars bandwagon, garbed me from the first episode and there really hasn't been a bad one yet. I really love how much they stress the class differences, I was the guy cruising around in my '85 Pontiac 6000 while the girl sitting behind me in math was complaining that her folks bought her a new Mitsubishi eclipse that was Dark green and not Black. That Kind of stuff hits home with me.
I`m really tired of all the comparisons ¬¬
I`m not saying VM is a bad show ( i haven`t got the opportunity to see the show) but as a Buffy fan, i`m tired. First, Hex, then Vm...
And... thinking in VM fans, i think it wouldn`t be nice to read comparisons all the time.

[ edited by Angel TheVampire on 2004-11-05 04:09 ]
You can count me amongst the VM fans, with one caveat. I think Enrico Caletano (sp?) who plays her dad, is just awful. He even said himself that if we notice him being awkward, its because he's so used to the cadence of sitcoms (Just Shoot Me), that he hasn't quite gotten hold of things yet. Still, gotta give the guy props for recognizing his lack of good.

sTalking_goat, I agree with you about the Deadwood. That scene disturbed me so much. It still flashes in my head unbidden sometimes, especially when Kristen as Veronica makes certain faces. *shudder*

I think its only natural that folks are going to make comparisons with and allusions to Buffy. Joss's shows were a big presence on the small screen, and there hasn't been anything like them AT ALL. So when something shows up that's well-written, with a young, blonde female protagonist (protagonista? ;)),and is a bit dark and quirky (although I agree it can be harsher than Buffy, Rob Thomas paints with a dirtier brush than Joss) I think its pretty nigh inevitable.
I don't see Buffy in VM at all. Watching VM does NOT soothe my Buffy/Angel withdrawals.

VM is a good show. Just because she's a blonde and has girl power doesn't make her Buffy-like.

No Buffy goodness there. Just an enjoyable well-written show featuring a teen girl. Snappy dialogue? That's pushing it. Buffy made me laugh out loud. VM, not so much.

The comparisons annoy me.
I don't think anything soothes our B withdrawals... but you have to admit creepy6, that people are going to compare. No biggie. Just more press for our 'verse!
True, Willowy. Press is good.

I'm still cranky about the whole "no Angel" thing.
I would love to switch over to Angel after watching Lost. Dammit!

Back to VM:
I like the Dad. Kinda goofy in a sweet way. Is that the poor acting seeping thru? Works for me. Haha. I've never seen the Deadwood episodes after the first 4 or so. I missed the "Kristin's death" part. Worth checking out, huh?
Gird your loins, creepy6, its pretty nasty. But well worth the time, as is all of Deadwood. Excellent tv.
Veronica Mars is really that good. It's not Buffy, but it does remind me of Buffy in how well it portrays weighty situations with both appropriate gravitas and humor. Kristen Bell is an amazing actress, and the show has a really unique look and feel. I never find myself saying, "It's good, but it's not a Joss show." It is just as good. I swear. Watch it. I feel just as strongly about this show as I felt about all three Jossverse shows, and if it gets cancelled, I'll keep the torch lit to get it back on the air as long as I possibly can.
It's unfair on VM to be constantly being compared to Buffy. I've been lucky enough to watch the episodes in the UK with the help of the internet . It's a geuniely intriguing and well written series. The only Buffy comparison is the high school set-up (similar band of mis-fits) and the witty dialogue (A lot of Veronica's lines could have come directly out of Buffy or Anya's mouth).

The mystery aspect of the show is really well done with subtle plot twists each episode to give us more clues and the show never over-plays them or feels the need to repeat it to us many times (ie. crediting the viewer with some level of intelligence - take note Tru Calling writer!)

I recommend everyone make sure they watch the first few episodes as soon as they can.
See, I think the relationship between Enrico and Kristen is one of the best parts of the show, and I look forward to their scenes together, Willowy. For someone who has done mostly comedic roles (not just in sitcoms, but movies too), I think he's doing a wonderful job. And I found that confrontation scene between them (as a show watcher I'm sure you know what I mean), very strong.

That's not to say I don't think he might not be struggling a bit (which may actually help the character, because Keith seems to avoid hard situations if he can with humor, or just literal avoidance), but to call him awful is a tad harsh, IMO. I couldn't imagine, nor would I want, anyone else in the role. There's chemistry between actors there, and you don't mess with that.

And to creepy6, VM hasn't made you laugh?


[ edited by pat22_btvs on 2004-11-05 14:16 ]

[ edited by pat22_btvs on 2004-11-05 14:20 ]

I agree with your assessment of the Dad. As I said, his sweet goofiness works for me, whether it's meant to be there or not.
He and Kristen have great chemistry.
I also enjoy Kristen's chemistry with Wallace.

No, I haven't laughed out loud. No Buffy guffaws. I've chuckled. I feel the banter is forced at times.
Also, sometimes the dilemma of the week seems to wrap up just a bit too perfectly.
And, the Paris Hilton guest spot annoyed me.

That said, I really do enjoy the show. However, when I first saw Buffy, it blew me away! None of that here. I also don't compare VM to Buffy until I read about critics doing so. I think the comparison is a disservice to VM.

I haven't seen the newest episode introducing Logan's parents (it's waiting for me on my Tivo). I heard it's the best thus far.

Willowy: I have HBO on Demand. I'll look for the Deadwood eps to be offered. Thanks! I'm looking forward to Carnivale's new season.
Fair enough, creepy, fair enough. :-)

I'm just one of those people who doesn't like picking out negatives. It bothered me when people would, and still, do it to Buffy and Angel. Especially in Season 6 and 7, because while I recognize some shortcomings, they never detracted from my overall enjoyment. Plus, some things people saw as character or plot holes I didn't (it takes an awful lot of energy to debate on the Internet, which is why I don't do it so

That's more of a general comment, btw. Not directed at anyone, per se.

Just a note on Paris Hilton: I understood the reason they did it--attract people with her appearance (those who would watch for her, and those who would watch out of disgust to mock her (much in the same way that Howard Stern has lasted as long as he has...*g*), then get them to stay for the quality of the show.

Because notice, she wasn't given many lines, and the ones she was given were delivered passably because they didn't require much of an acting stretch. Rob Thomas was smart in that he knew how to manage her guest spot, and kind of send her up a little bit (check out the great website as well, and Veronica's comments under Paris' [in character] promo photos).


[ edited by pat22_btvs on 2004-11-05 15:18 ]

[ edited by pat22_btvs on 2004-11-05 15:30 ]
VM is my and my husband's designated appointment TV show this season. It came about slightly by default as our 'appointment TV show' has to start at 9 and we were looking for a new show (there would be no joy with an old show in a world with no new Whedon shows). VM just grabbed us - my husband 'got' it immediately, it took me a few episodes. I don't think it can compare to BtVS or AtS at the top of their games, but I do think it compares favourably to their respective first seasons. The arc is great although the story-of-the-week is usually pretty lame. The best thing though is that it is emotionally engaging and you can really feel for many of the characters (this week's episode for instance) - and that is what makes it sooo much closer to the Whedonverse than all the other Charmed/Smallvilles/etc. out there.
Pat, that's just it. For me, there isn't any chemistry between V and her dad. I wish they'd recast, because its really distracting IMO. Kristen is such a good actress, and watching Enrico stumble through his lines isn't very entertaining. Her being so good really shines a light on his being, well, not.

For the record, I loved him in Galaxy Quest. Very funny movie, Alan Rickman is an acting god.
Willowy--I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree then. :-)
As another VM fan, it's one of my weekly must-see shows along with Lost and Desperate Housewives. I don't tape it, but on a couple of occasions I've wished I had because I'm finding that I'm enjoying it even more as time goes on.

The noir-darkness-feel is definitely a few steps removed from early BtVS's snarky bounce, yet there's that high school atmosphere to bring it back around to the same point of reference for many viewers who may, like me, have missed most of MSCL (college got in the way, as I recall). Neptune High could abut the Sunnydale High backlot, just based on the class and social-strata-based portrayals, which are sharply observed and feel authentic. Along with the smart dialogue, crisp characterizations (which mostly steer clear of stereotyping) and ongoing season arc, it makes for an intriguing stew. Also, it is shot and edited quite beautifully, yet with a more immediate, handheld feel that contributes to the sometimes shaky terrain, emotional and otherwise, that Veronica finds herself traversing.

There's the occasional false start or forced moment here and there in the writing, but overall VM has gotten off to a stellar start. I hope UPN continues to be patient with its numbers, and gives it the space to grow and strenghen before chopping it off at the knees like certain other networks would be prone to do.
Is MTV still rerunning the eps? Maybe if UPN loses patience with the numbers, MTV will buy the show. It certainly deserves a season run, maybe two before any decisions are made for the axe.

There are plenty of other crappy shows UPN can can before VM sees the guillotine.
I heard they didn't replay it last week because of a Real World marathon. *shudder* I don't know if it's gonna be a regular thing or not, though.

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