Think Nancy Drew if she was only really cool, a hottie to boot and came from a dysfunctional family- then youíd pretty much be describing televisionís teen girl detective VERONICA MARS. I came to VERONICA MARS really late in the game, only to discover that it is definitely one of the best shows on television. Thank God one can get entire seasons of this television show on DVD, allowing newbies like myself to play catch up in a hyper-accelerated manner.
The basic premise of VERONICA MARS follows the exploits teen title character, a high school student who moonlights as a secretary/private detective for her fatherís small time agency. Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) came by her unconventional after school job as a direct result of the murder of her best friend (in the days before the premiere of season one) and the ouster of her father Keith Mars (Enrico Colantoni) as the townís sheriff. Although someone was captured and convicted of her best friendís murder- things just donít add up. Thatís why neither Veronica nor Keith give up on finding the real murderer, which was the major story thread that continued to play out during season one of the series.
While there was a season long arc to the show, each episode of VERONICA MARS also features its own self-contained story that easily stands apart from the season as a whole. All of the episodes contain elements of mystery, comedy, romance and melodrama, in which the professional and personal life of Veronica (not to mention her father) continues to play out. As for the major story arc running through season two of VERONICA MARS, it concerns the mystery surrounding, and ramifications of, a fatal bus crash that took the lives of a number of students. The season two cast of VERONICA MARS also features Percy Daggs, Teddy Dunn, Jason Dohring Francis Capra, Ryan Hansen, Kyle Gallner and Tessa Thompson.
VERONICA MARS: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON ($60) comes to DVD in a six-disc set that features the following twenty-two episodes that were aired in the showís sophomore year: Normal Is The Watchword, Driver Ed, Cheatty Cheatty Bang Bang, Green-Eyed Monster, Blast From The Past, Rat Saw God, Nobody Puts Baby In A Corner, Ahoy, Mateys!, My Mother, The Fiend, One Angry Veronica, Donut Run, Rashard And Wallace Go To White Castle, Ain't No Magic Mountain High Enough, Versatile Toppings, The Quick And The Wed, The Rapes Of Graff, Plan B, I Am God, Nevermind The Buttocks, Look Who's Stalking, Happy Go Lucky and Not Pictured.
Warner Home Video has made all twenty-two episodes that comprise VERONICA MARS: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON available on DVD in a 1.78:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. Levels of sharpness and image detail are excellent for this type of television production. Sure, there are some moments that are a little softer than other, and some of the process work is obvious, but otherwise the picture is fairly impressive. Also, considering that this is a brand new season of VERONICA MARS, the episodes really sweet on DVD. As for the colors, they pop pretty nicely, not to mention, producing pleasing flesh tones. Contrast is generally good for this type of enterprise, without the general sitcom flatness that screams television production. A grain structure is somewhat noticeable in places, but isnít too bad. The elements from which the episodes are transferred are free from debris. Digital compression artifacts are never a concern.
All the episodes that comprise VERONICA MARS: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON come with Dolby Digital 2.0 channel soundtracks, which decode to standard surround. Again, I will state my obvious preference for discrete 5.1 channel tracks. However, the only sonic component to VERONICA MARS that would get an obvious boost from the 5.1 channel encoding would be the music. VERONICA MARS is a fairly talky show, so most of the sonic information is localized to the forward soundstage anyway, with the rears adding bits of ambience and musical fill. Fidelity is pretty good for a television series; the music sounds fine (5.1 would have kicked it up a notch) and the sound effects are reasonably effective. No other language tracks have been included on the DVD, but French and Spanish subtitles are provided.
Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard episode/scene selection and set up features, as well as some supplemental materials that have been spread throughout the set. Deleted Scenes are provided for the following episodes: Normal Is The Watchword, Driver Ed, Green-Eyed Monster, Blast From The Past, Rat Saw God, Nobody Puts Baby In A Corner, Ahoy, Mateys!, My Mother, The Fiend, Ain't No Magic Mountain High Enough, Versatile Toppings, The Quick And The Wed, I Am God and Look Who's Stalking. A Day On The Set With Veronica Mars offers a nearly eight-minute look behind-the-scenes on the set. Veronica Mars: Not Your Average Teen Detective runs five minutes and looks at the creation of the character and the actress who portrays her. A Gag Reel and Season 3 Promo for the show on "The CW" close out the supplements.
As I stated above, VERONICA MARS is definitely one of the best shows on television, and if youíve never seen it, youíve got to check it out. As for Warnerís DVD set of VERONICA MARS: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON, it looks and sounds great, so there is no reason not to pick it up. Highly recommended.
reviews are Copyright © 2006 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied
or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.