Tuesday, September 28, 2004

THE BOX: Girls Night with the Gilmores and Veronica

Gilmore Girls
5-02: "A Messenger, Nothing more."



For my second episode, this one faired even better than the first for me at least. Remember, I don't necessarily know what I'm missing. Regardless, fireworks flew between Rory and Lindsay after Lorelai delivered a personal letter to Dean. Now publicly labeled as the town homewrecker, who knows what next week has instore for young Rory. To recap, Rory and her mother reconciled and she with her grandmother returned from Rome safe and sound. Lorelai was all hyper OCD like and decided after a straight talk from Sookie to spend the day away from the inn. On their town walkabout, Sookie and Lorelai, and the rest of the town, witnessed a vicious fight between Lindsay and Dean. Luke after a little too much "Hoozah!" returned from the Renaissance Faire and Lane went all spazzy over French fries. Michel was tortured by baby sitting two rugrats that find is hot tempered antics amusing. That's about it. Have I mentioned how wonderful Lauren Graham is lately?

Veronica Mars

I've heard this show compared to numerous other shows over the past month of fall hype. So, playing the Hollywood game, I'd say it's Buffy the Vampire Slayer crossed with My So Called Life with a twist of Twin Peaks and topped off with a splash of Murder She Wrote. If the show succeeds past the so far dismal ratings, watch for Kristen Bell to give Lost's Evangeline Lilly a run for her money as the new "it" girl to come out of the fall season.



I caught the pilot tonight on MTV since I missed it last week. I'm curious how Veronica will do now that she's settled into her for real time slot. Riddled with pop culture references ("King Kong ain't got nothing on you!"), the show's tone easily flows between dark classic noir shots in alleys lit only by the neon glow from the sign of a seedy hotel to sunny beach blonde California high school life 90210 style.

The Pilot 1-01:
Not so great. It's very heavy on the exposition, but that's also necessary to establish the world we're walking into ala "Welcome to the Hellmouth". It did drag slightly but by the end of the show we know kind of where we stand.

Veronica was dating Duncan Kane (Teddy Dunn), the son of a hi-tech tycoon. One dark and dreary night, Duncan discovered his sister and Veronica's best friend, Lily Kane (Amanda Seyfried) pool side with her skull bashed in. Veronica's father, Sheriff Keith Mars (Enrico Colantoni), took a special interest in this case which was garnering nationwide attention (Jean Benet/Lacy Peterson style). He immediately had cause to look to Jake Kane, the patriarch of the recently rich family. Weeks into the investigation, the crime scene video surfaced on the net earning Keith Mars the nationwide reputation of "Bungling Sherrif". The county, outraged, issued an immediate recall election and ousted Keith. His replacement stumbles onto some obviously overlooked evidence leading to the arrest and incarceration of a former worker of the Kane's. At home, Veronica's life spiraled out of control. Unhappy with their new social status, Veronica's mother, Lianne Mars, up and leaves. At school, Veronica finally found herself for the first time on the outside of the "in" crowd or the 09-ers as the show calls them (based on the 90909 zip code). During all of this, she was also ruffie-raped by one of the 09-ers. As Veronica says, she was given the choice of keeping her friends and "happy" life, or standing by her dad. She chose her dad. Oh, and this is just the back story.


"There's a 100% chance that in my new TV show I'm totally dead Laura Palmer style."

The pilot, beside explaining this scenario, introduces us to Wallace (Percy Daggs III), the new kid in town in a brilliant small screen introduction: Butt ass naked duct taped to a flag pole. We also briefly learn the hierarchy of the town from Weevil (Francis Capra), the head of a local biker gang to Logan (Jason Dohring) the rich, popular Brett Easton Ellis type charmingly maniacal sociopath. We, with Veronica, also find out, the back story isn't as open and shut as the community would like to have it... I doubt America will be as riveted to who killed Lily Kane as it was to who killed Laura Palmer, but maybe I should give America a little more credit. Here's the latest news on case...

Casebreak 1-01:
Why is Veronica's estranged mother meeting with Jake Kane in a seedy motel? Why is her father still investigating the case?

While the pilot itself wasn't brilliant, it laid roots for a noirish cult masterpiece to develop. Keep in mind I don't all willie nilly comparing just anything Twin Peaks, the second greatest television show of all time. The heavy exposition will probably die off soon. As it did with the second episode I caught at 9 p.m. on UPN.

1-02 "Credit Where Credit's Due":



The formula so far seems to be an episode based case and further development of the bigger story, the murder of Veronica's best friend Lily Kane which I'll continue to update everyone on with "casebreaks".

This episode featured Paris Hilton as a quite snobby and slutty (typecasting?) 09-er. Weevil, the biker gang leader, gets into an altercation with Logan over a beach bondfire. The next morning, Weevil's Grandma, who happens to be Logan's family maid, is hauled off to jail for identity theft. All eyes are on Logan after the fraudulent card statements reflect motorcycle parts, tattoo parlors, and other item Grandma doesn't seem willing to steal for. Weevil confesses and Grandma is released. The problem is that Weevil didn't actual do it. Veronica is assigned to join the school paper to counter her attitude problem and Wallace has been reassigned to volunteer in the office instead of wasting study hall time. Using their newly found connections, the two take on the task of solving the identity theft case which leads back to Logan's girlfriend, Paris Hilton. After a case of cell phone tracing, Paris leads them back to Weevil's cousin with whom she's been "slumming it". Motive and opportunity aren't looking so good until finally he confesses to Veronica. Logan and the 09-er boys are out for what appears to be an old fashion lynching because someone got to one of their white girls until Weevil steps in and brings everything back to family justice. Paris is cast out of the circle of power and Weevil banished his cousin as well. Through all of this, Veronica ends up on assignment with Duncan, her ex, which leads to some further character development.

Casebreak 1-02: Why does Mrs. Kane hate Veronica and not want her with Duncan? Could it be that Lianne Mars and Jake Kane were having a sorted affair? Could that be the reason why Keith Mars looked to Jake so quickly when Lily was murdered? Also, Lily received a violation on Oct. 3rd. A intersection camera caught her running a redlight 2 hours after her reported time of death. Which means that none of the Kanes have a viable alibi for the actual time of the murder.

In summation, this is show has awesome potential. It has outstanding writing and a breakout lead actress to drive it forward. It has single episode arcs to draw in the new viewer and a grander scheme to bring you back next week. It's weak point is the high school drama form itself which always seems to lose steam after graduation. It's also on UPN and who watches UPN? Viacom on the other hand is brilliantly rerunning the show of MTV in an early time slot to catch on with it's key demographic. If you love mysteries and small town secrets but are tired of forensics and legalese, tune into "Veronica"... A hip Jessica Fletcher with brass ones.

Sidenote: I didn't comment, but I believe Law & Order should just end. SVU and CI are still going strong and have at least a few more years left in them. The original Law & Order is one of my all time favorite shows, but it's losing it's crime roots and becoming way to politically preachy. Coincidentally, this is while Michael Moriatry left the show a decade ago. During a season that my 3 favorite shows aren't on the air (Arrested Development, 24, and Angel) the new shows definitely outshine the perennial favorites.

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