On the surface, this may appear to be yet another teen melodrama, but thanks to witty dialogue, unique direction, and exceptional acting, this unpredictable neo-noir sets itself a cut above the rest. That said, Veronica Mars' storylines can often be dark, complicated, and scary for young viewers: one episode features a bus of school kids that goes off a cliff, while another features a rape with complicated implications about power, abuse, and misogyny (that said, this particular plot twist is justifiably lauded for the nuanced, sensitive way it depicts rape and its ensuing and often long-lasting trauma).
The tangled history of Veronica Mars also adds to its allure: the show first premiered on UPN in 2004, and though it was a critical hit and cult fave, wasn't a ratings breakout and was canceled after three seasons. In 2013, creator Rob Thomas and star Kristen Bell spearheaded a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign to fund a Veronica Mars movie, the result was 2014's fan-service-heavy Veronica Mars. Then in 2019, Hulu released a fourth season of the show, with a now 39-year-old Bell as an adult Veronica, and many cast members reprising their roles. It's an unusual way to tell a story, over 15 years and counting, and fans will be delighted to know that the latest season is as sharp as Veronica ever was, with the same sharp wordplay and sense of fun. Now, however, there's an added layer of emotional complexity thanks to the long gestation period. In short, fans will be glad they hung in there. It's worth it.