UPN's 'Veronica Mars' Garners Rave Reviews

By Michelle
September 22, 2004 - 8:36 PM

UPN's new series Veronica Mars, which debuts tonight and reruns this Friday though it will regularly broadcast Tuesdays at 9 p.m., has earned positive reviews from many critics.

  • Variety (via Yahoo!) called the show "the smartest teen-oriented drama since Freaks and Geeks", praising the private investigator format as a means to explore the insecurity of its 17-year-old protagonist, played by Kristen Bell. The daughter of a former sheriff, Veronica helps out in her father's investigative firm and crosses boundaries not meant for someone as young as she is. "Veronica Mars has the potential to draw in The OC crowd," notes reviewer Phil Gallo, who said it might make sense for this Viacom series to switch from UPN to CBS to find a broader audience.

  • "The show's characters and mysteries are not unraveled quickly. More remains unsolved than solved at the end of tonight's premiere," wrote The New York Daily News reporter David Bianculli, who also enjoyed seeing Bell's return to television from Deadwood: "Bell's acting, very real and often very raw, is this show's not-so-secret weapon." He also liked her interaction with Enrico Colantoni, playing her father.

  • The Hollywood Reporter noted that the premiere was so cleverly constructed that reviewer Barry Garron wondered whether it could sustain the same enjoyable characters and clever dialogue for a season, but noted that if "future episodes are half as good, this still will be one of TV's bright spots." The title character, he said, "has all the sass, strength, resolve and ingenuity of any of literature's classic detectives...embodied in a high school student who daily faces the challenges of peer pressure, social hazing, romantic dreams and the rigors of academics."

  • "Teen drama helps UPN grow up," blared the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which called Veronica Mars "a quirky mix of light and dark, humor and grit, sentiment and substance - The O.C. if scripted by Raymond Chandler." Gail Pennington also praised star Bell and the witty teen dialogue.

  • The Detroit Free Press compared the titular heroine to Nancy Drew, saying that the new series has a "sassily intelligent pop noir spin." Bell, whom reviewer Mike Duffy called "a knockout" as Veronica, "brings a playful comic intelligence and emotional energy to her portrayal of a high school outsider with a whole lotta moxie." He also found the series to be refreshingly original.

Veronica Mars will air tonight on UPN and rerun Friday night at 9 p.m. before moving to its regular time slot on Tuesdays.

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