Veronica Mars: Kristen Bell’s wise-cracking, outsider teen detective series is sunshine noir at its best
Stand aside Nancy Drew, this early-noughties cult hit is a virtuoso blend of teen drama and murder mystery
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“I’m never getting married,” narrates the cynical Raymond Chandler-esque voiceover in the opening scene of Veronica Mars. “You want an absolute? A sure thing? Well, there it is. Veronica Mars, spinster … old maid. Carve it in stone.” The camera pans from shadowy illicit lovers in the neon-lit Camelot Motel to a tiny blond girl in a car, detective essentials at the ready. Thermos, camera, and … calculus homework.
Yes, it’s noir, but not as we know it. Before she was the voice of Gossip Girl, Kristen Bell was disrupting expectations as teen detective Veronica. Created by Rob Thomas, and first airing in 2004 and running for three seasons plus a bonus film, Veronica Mars is a rare beast, a virtuoso blend of teen drama and murder mystery.