How many nights in the last several months have I stayed up far too late into the night, regardless of my responsibilities the following day, because each VM episode that ended, ended with enough grab that I had to immediately start the next one? How many times did I shake an angry fist at the end of said episode? Loads. How many times did I ween myself off for a few days so I could prolong that sweet, sweet Veronica Mars injection, in the hopes to keep the high going for as long as possible? Too many times to count. And how many times, whenever whatever is holding my attention ends, have I wept like a child? Too fucking many.1
But not all shows or books or bands are created equal or even better, can sustain keeping the content compelling for long periods of time. Case in point: years ago when I got hooked into the Laurell K. Hamilton Anita Blake series via my friend Keth who promised I would love the kick ass, no holds barred female lead. Keth was very much right. I gobbled up LKH’s backlist and eagerly awaited each new arrival with near baited breath. But somewhere around books 9 or 10, the kick ass, no holds barred female lead turned into a spineless, walking sperm bank. Anita Blake can’t get out of a damned car without fucking 15 of her closest and dearest friends. And it was not that I was a prude to sex scenes by any stretch of the imagination (I also read LKH’s Merry Gentry series, where sex figured prominently in the landscape as well as I have been a purveyor of Penthouse Letters and other magazines/books for years, where sex (act or discussing of) is in your face. Literally. ), but the whole damned story stopped existing and the books became (in my opinion) general fodder for LKH’s sexual fantasies. Plot? Gone. Editing? Gone. Character development outside of the cut and paste from previous books? Also gone. The LKH love affair is over.
And I digress. There are probably a multitude of reasons why I had not seen Veronica Mars during its original run, ranging from for a number of years in the ’90s and ’00s when I was either without cable or without a television.2 Or perhaps at the time the idea of watching a spunky, Nancy Drew meets Parker Posey character just wasn’t my bag. Whatever the initial reason is immaterial because now I know and now I have gorged and like all junkies, I am left feeling despondent on the lack of Veronica Mars crack in my life. But here is what is interesting to me about Veronica Mars and all the other shows that seem to end far too early: their continual current cultural relevancy and their fan bases, years (or even decades) after the shows demise. Look at Star Trek fans for chrissakes, still waging a war on episodes that happened over 40 years ago. The Veronica Mars solar system is no different. One can currently discuss the happenings of Mars and Neptune on Television Without Pity while checking against the full episodes currently available at TheWB or on Netflix. Or if you’re feeling inclined, you can peruse the Veronica Mars fanfiction over at fanfiction.net or read vaguely scholarly articles on the series via the book Neptune Noir.3
The Veronica Mars solar system:
AND THIS! This is where the problem get perpetuated even more so! It is not enough to just watch the show and go, “Gee, that show was terrific!” No, I need to spend hours on the Internet reading commentary and analysis of episode by episode. Veronica and Piz? Hell no. Veronica and Logan? Hell yes! I need to read the pairings, the clues that I missed, I need to ponder if I need to re-watch the show so soon after finishing it to keep the high going. I want to delve deep under the surface of the show as pure entertainment and frame it as a cultural commentary. I also knew that I was heavily invested when I started dreaming that I was dating Logan Echolls.
Tapping that vein.
When our phone lines got cut due to construction recently, I told TheHusband that I wanted to get VM on DVD to have on hand in case of (another) apocalypse. He looked at me likes I was crazy – and to be fair, we spend so much of our viewing time via the on-demand features of UVese and Netflix, that we have not watched a physical DVD in months so his reaction was not totally out of line. But I think this also says something about not just of my own interests but also of the state of current television when purchasing and rewatching DVDs of expired shows sounds a whole lot more entertaining then watching the current crop of “entertainment.”
So then, of course, after much wailing on Twitter, I was tipped off to the methadone venison of Veronica Mars in the form of Party Down.
And the cycle repeats itself.
1. Shows that have ended far too early: Pushing Daisies, Firefly, Spaced and Wonderfalls to name a few. The first two are available on Netflix Instantqueue and Spaced is on Hulu for when I need to tap that vein.
2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in all of its 90s glory, is another fine example of missed during its original run television. Though to be fair, I have started watching the BtVS via Netflix’s Instantqueue, however, I’m only up to season 2. But interestingly, I have seen all of Angel. (It’s David Boreanaz, hello!)
3. The book is selling for $1.99 on Kindle. I bought it. I am not ashamed to admit it!