In Buffy, the battle takes place in a supernatural realm. The good and evil are cosmic. For Veronica, the evil is not from some cosmic evil, it grows from within people (which is far more sinister.) Buffy was always saving the world (literally); Veronica saves people that no one else really cares about.

(2004) Film Review

This page was created on October 25, 2004
This page was last updated on June 5, 2005

Review by Darrel Manson
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Created by Rob Thomas

Cast (in credits order)
Kristen Bell .... Veronica Mars
Percy Daggs III .... Wallace Fennel
Teddy Dunn .... Duncan Kane
Jason Dohring .... Logan Echols
Sydney Tamiia Poitier .... Mallory Dent
Francis Capra .... Eli "Weevil" Navarro
Enrico Colantoni .... Keith Mars
rest of cast listed alphabetically
Brad Bufanda .... Felix
Zac Henry .... Mouth
Michael Muhney .... Sheriff Don Lamb

Directed by
Sarah Pia Anderson (episode 105 "Return of the Kane")
Steve Gomer
Mark Piznarski
Marcos Siega

Writing credits (in alphabetical order)
Phil Klemmer writer
Jed Seidel co-head writer
Rob Thomas creator

Produced by
Dan Etheridge .... co-producer
Paul Kurta .... producer
Jed Seidel .... co-executive producer
Joel Silver .... executive producer
Danielle Stokdyk .... executive producer
Rob Thomas .... executive producer

Original Music by Josh Kramon
Cinematography by Victor Hammer
Film Editing by Robert Frazen and Jim Gross
Casting by Deedee Bradley
Production Design by Alfred Sole
Art Direction by Tim Eckel

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Click to enlargeIn the wealthy, seaside community of Neptune, the rich and powerful make the rules, they own the town and the high school, and desperately try to keep their dirty little secrets just that…secret. Unfortunately for them, there's Veronica Mars, a smart, fearless 17-year-old apprentice private investigator dedicated to solving the town's toughest mysteries.

Veronica (Kristen Bell) actually used to be one of the popular girls, walking the halls of Neptune High with the rest of the "beautiful people." But it all came crumbling down around her after her best friend Lilly was murdered and her then-Sheriff father Keith Mars (Enrico Colantoni) was removed from office for naming Lilly's billionaire father, Jake Kane, as the lead suspect. After Jake was exonerated, the scandal cost Keith his job, his home and wife, and Veronica was ostracized by her popular friends, including her boyfriend Duncan Kane (Teddy Dunn), Lilly's brother.

During the day, Veronica must negotiate high school like any average teenage girl. Along with fellow outcast, sophomore Wallace Fennel (Percy Daggs III), she bravely maneuvers her classes, wary of former in-crowd friends, like Duncan and his best friend Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring), and edgy outsiders, like Weevil (Francis Capra) and his P.C.H. Bike Club boys.

At night, Veronica helps with her father's struggling, new private investigator business, sneaking through back alleys and scoping out no-tell motels with a telescopic-lens camera and her math book in an attempt to uncover the California beach town's darkest secrets.

Pushed to the edge of this multicultural, venomous little Peyton Place, Veronica Mars relentlessly continues to search for evidence that will clear her father's name and get her back into the "in-crowd," but what she finds may tear the town of Neptune apart at the seams.

Review by

Pastor, Artesia Christian Church, Artesia, CA

Darrel has an incredible love and interest in the cinematic arts. His reviews usually include independent and significantly important film.
Click to enlargeThe early teasers for Veronica Mars suggested that it would be a cross
between Nancy Drew and Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. I've never been much of a fan of Nancy Drew, but for a new Buffy-esque show, I'm willing to give it a chance.

The show is set in an upscale Southern California beach community. Veronica is in high school with lots of rich snobs. Actually, she used to be part of that crowd. All that changed when her best friend (her boyfriend’s sister) was killed. Veronica’s father, the sheriff, botched the investigation, made enemies, and was removed from office. He now works as a private investigator and Veronica helps out along the way.

Click to enlargeVeronica is now an outcast. Her former friends have dumped her; her mother has abandoned her family. Veronica is very much alone, but also very capable at getting to the bottom of things and solving mysteries. However, the mysteries that really matter to her, what happened to her friend and where her mother is, are beyond her.

We keep seeing hints that imply the circumstances of the killing are not as they seemed to be. There are secrets in this town of tony houses and fancy cars. Will Veronica be able to uncover them?

Click to enlargeOf course, Veronica is not Buffy (who could be?), but there are some similarities. Like Buffy, she is an outsider, very gifted, and tough (but tender). She is beginning to acquire her own little “Scooby Gang” to help her. But the real similarity is the battle between good and evil.

In Buffy, that battle took place in a supernatural realm. The good and evil were cosmic. For Veronica, the evil is not from some cosmic evil, it grows from within people (which is far more sinister.) Buffy was always saving the world (literally); Veronica saves people that no one else really cares about.

Click to enlargeSo far, the episodes are a bit uneven. Relationships still need to be developed. Occasionally, there is an episode that does very little to move the meta-plot along, instead focusing only on a little minor mystery. Buffy relied on having a meta-plot that moved through the season, while Nancy Drew could get by with solving a mystery every week. In that sense, this is a bit of a combination of the two. It needs, however, to concentrate more on being Buffy in this way, and less on being Nancy.

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