Jeremy Eaton

LOOK. I don't want my readers walking around looking like idiots. TWICE this week I heard someone say, "WHO is this 'Veronica Mars,' and WHY are they making a movie about her?" This is commonly known as "fashionable ignorance": people who pretend to have never heard of Veronica Mars... even though she's the greatest female teenage detective in the history of humankind! (That's right... suck it, Nancy Drew.)

The Veronica Mars movie will be debuting this Friday (March 14) in AMC theaters across the nation, and simultaneously on Video on Demand (including Amazon, iTunes, and participating cable and satellite providers). So here's your choice: Either see it on the big screen, or on your couch, in your underpants, while devouring an obscenely large bowl of Cheetos, taffy, and chocolate syrup. I FRANKLY DO NOT CARE. However, you will NOT remain ignorant about Veronica Mars—because I... will... NOT... allow it!!!

And so? Here's the very LEAST you should know about Veronica Mars. LEARN IT! KNOW IT! LIVE IT!

Running from 2004-2007, Veronica Mars follows the adventures of the titular teen detective as she solves mysteries at California's Neptune High. Formerly a popular cheerleader, Veronica's fortunes go to shit after the murder of her best friend Lilly Kane, and her sheriff father's investigation of the Kane family. Now Neptune High's resident pariah, she obsessively uses the observational skills taught by her single dad to sniff out Lilly's murderer... while solving random student crimes.

THAT IS THE SHORT VERSION. However, it's the details that make VM a cult classic. Not only does Veronica have to contend with a grisly murderer and high school drama, but she's also A) the victim of a date rape drug, B) searching for her missing alcoholic mother, and C) falling into a tongue-wrestling relationship with Logan Echolls—the school jerk, and former boytoy of her murdered best friend!

But don't get it twisted: As much as VM revolves around intrigue, it's just as much about class warfare. The tension here between rich and poor is palpable—and when Veronica is unceremoniously dumped by the "09ers" (wealthy denizens of the 90909 zip code), she acquires a new clique of lower caste pals: best friend Wallace (the loyal "Watson" to her "Sherlock"), teen computer geek Cindy "Mac" Mackenzie, and the morally questionable Weevil (leader of the local Latino motorcycle gang). Veronica's mystery solving abilities are coveted by both the upper and lower class—and eventually come to the attention of Lilly's murderer... whose plans for Veronica are uncommonly violent, indeed.

And it's this darkness that catapults Veronica Mars to the upper echelon of teen dramas. The snappy noir dialogue, the complicated characterizations, the loss of innocence, and the constant tug of war between the haves and the have-nots make this show a brilliant cross between Saved by the Bell and Chinatown. And THAT, my friend, is why the show's fans poured their hard-earned moolah into kickstarting the Veronica Mars movie, AND why it will not be just another ridiculous Charlie's Angels-style remake.

Trust me: You won't have to binge watch all three seasons of Veronica Mars to "get" the movie. But binge watch it anyway. It's objectively terrific—and who wants to go through life being "fashionably ignorant," anyway?

This Week on Television

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 12

10:00 FX THE AMERICANS

FBI agent Stan gets justifiably obsessed with Russian spy Nina—because she's HOT.

10:00 COM WORKAHOLICS

The guys hatch a new (and almost assuredly unsuccessful) plot to get college girls.

THURSDAY, MARCH 13

8:30 NBC PARKS AND RECREATION

Leslie pushes for a new town slogan—to the endless hilarity of local radio shock jocks.

10:00 ABC SCANDAL

President Fitz thinks he's prepared for his debate—until his opponent brings up a... SCANDAL!

FRIDAY, MARCH 14

9:00 CW COLIN & BRAD: TWO MAN GROUP

Comedians Colin Mochre and Brad Sherwood's two-person improv show!

10:00 NBC HANNIBAL

Will's trial begins, and he might not want to use Hannibal Lecter as a character witness.

SATURDAY, MARCH 15

11:00 LIF BRING IT

A controversial ruling by a judge sparks a cheerleading contest riot! YESSSSSS.

SUNDAY, MARCH 16

9:00 FOX COSMOS: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY

This episode features a visit to "The Hall of Extinction." Oooh! I want to see the "print media exhibit."

10:00 NBC CRISIS

Debut! Terrorists kidnap the kids of Washington's movers and shakers... including the President!

MONDAY, MARCH 17

8:00 ABC DANCING WITH THE STARS

Season premiere! Celebrity has-beens attempt to dance themselves out of "Has-beensville."

TUESDAY, MARCH 18

10:00 FX JUSTIFIED

Raylan and Boyd once again unite against a common enemy: hillbilly bad guy Dewey Crowe.