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Third Turn for 'Veronica Mars' on Hulu is a Win
July 25, 2019  | By David Hinckley

Reviving cult television shows from way back earlier in this century has yielded inconsistent results. Reviving Veronica Mars is a win.  

Veronica Mars, with Kristen Bell returning as our plucky and guarded private detective, is now streaming on Hulu, picking up more than a decade after the three seasons of the original show and five years after the 2014 movie.  

She’s growing up in real time, explaining in the prologue that she left her hometown of Neptune, Calif., for 10 years and now has returned because she felt like the community could use her sleuthing skills. 

As it turned out, she adds, still in the prologue, she wasn’t entirely correct. Let’s just say she won’t be on the cover of the next Neptune civic promotional flyers.  

But she feels an obligation to stay, because her father Keith (Enrico Colantoni) still runs the family private investigation business and frankly, he needs help.  

He was in that accident a couple of years back and he doesn’t get around like he used to. He also can’t hustle up business like he used to, and while schmoozing isn’t exactly Veronica’s strongest suit, she does have skills that bring in clients.  

To refresh viewers on what that means, her first client is an old acquaintance who has been divorced from a very rich and apparently pretty awful husband.  

The ex is now taking post-divorce revenge by interrupting her life through various electronic devices they had installed years earlier in the house that she won in the divorce. He programs the systems mostly to be annoying, like by playing inappropriate music, though he also has the capacity to spy on her and her new boyfriends.  

Veronica sizes up the situation and turns it around, removing the annoying surveillance equipment and turning off the annoying interruptions. Then she sets it up so the ex-wife can perpetrate similar intrusions on him.   

This whole scene, as the synopsis would suggest, adds up mostly to comic relief, which has been a big part of Veronica’s repertoire since she was an amateur mystery solver back in high school.  

The funny stuff, however, has always been tucked into more serious situations, the first of which Veronica encounters almost immediately after resolving the surveillance crisis. 

It’s spring break time in Neptune, which means idiot students are flooding into town to behave like morons for a week or two.  

The town traditionally tolerates this because these morons spend crazy amounts of money on food and beer and beer. 

For unexplained reasons, an oily real estate broker wants to crack down on all the things that make Neptune so appealing to spring breakers. This threatens a number of local livelihoods, so there’s pushback that tangentially involves Veronica and Keith. 

Then a bomb goes off in a spring break motel, killing four people. Shift gears to serious.  

Not surprisingly, the trail seems to point higher than a disgruntled renter who lost his wifi, and fans of the old Veronica Mars will notice notice that this fits a pattern. Veronica, and Keith, usually are working multiple cases, some short-term and others arcing through multiple episodes. Here, the bombing case will require some time.  

Since original creator Rob Thomas is back for this round, the dialogue remains snappy, the pop culture references frequent and Veronica very cautious about her personal life. 

To help flesh out that last elements, one other key character has returned: Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring), Veronica’s long-time boyfriend. They’re in touch, let’s say, though Veronica still has what we used to call commitment issues. 

Bell, who will also be seen shortly in the – alas – final season of The Good Place, still has Veronica nailed. She’s confident and yet a little lost, which can make life painful for her while keeping it engaging for viewers. 

In keeping with the show’s relocation to a streaming service, rather than a broadcast network, the language has gotten a lot stronger and the love scenes more graphic, though they haven’t gone all the way to indiscreet. 

And maybe best of all, you don’t have to have watched the old show to enjoy Veronica Mars 2.5.

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