Michael Desmond

“Excuse me,” you may be asking, “but who exactly was clamoring for a fourth season of Veronica Mars, a not-wildly successful UPN and (later) CW show from 15 years ago?” The answer to your question is “Uh, ME, that’s who!” Other than that, it’s kind of hard to say who else was clamoring, except, I assume, a significant number of people who also adored this teen noir detective series, starring the always delightful Kristen Bell and created by the extremely clever Rob Thomas (Party Down, iZombie).

Veronica Mars also holds a special place in our hearts for its whip-smart, sassy scripts and a cast well-versed in both drama and comedy, such as Enrico Colantoni as Veronica’s loveable P.I. dad and New Girl’s Max Greenfield as the dreamy Deputy Leo D’Amato. So yes, we Marshmallows (a nickname for VM fans, don’t ask) are an extremely devoted lot who want all the Veronica we can get—though we also have the most to lose if the new season streaming on Hulu fails.

Luckily for us, it’s pretty damn great! But perhaps unluckily for the Veronica Mars neophyte, the show might be a little... umm... confusing? The gargantuan cast of characters is rivaled only by the size of the convoluted Marvel Cinematic Universe, and sooooo many actors from the original series make appearances in season four—which, again, is great for fans but could make the rest of you wonder, “Wait... who was this Lilly Kane person, and why should I care?” In short, Veronica Mars mythology runs so deep it’ll put your butt to sleep. (And that’s without even getting into the details from Veronica Mars’ other reprise, the 2014 Kickstarter-funded movie!)

Michael Desmond

Similarly convoluted is this new season’s plot: Veronica, who’s given up a lucrative law career to partner in her dad’s unlucrative detective agency, is looking into a Spring Break motel bombing that has five possible lines of investigation, and each of those lines have five variables as well, which makes for a truly impressive list of suspects. As if that’s not enough, Veronica must also contend with her beefy boyfriend Logan’s (Jason Dohring) beefy insecurities, a dad suffering from memory problems, and some serious sexual tension generated by the aforementioned dreamy Leo D’Amato. (Did I mention he was dreamy?)

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You’ll need a scorecard to keep up with the landslide of clues, suspects, and red herrings—or you can just lie back and let this cerebellum-wrecking mystery wash over you, confident that Veronica has things well under control. And she does... most of the time. But there’s a dark undercurrent that flows beneath all the snappy dialogue and occasional comedy. Veronica and just about everyone in her hometown of Neptune are fucked-up in their own particular way, and everyone—including our heroes—are corruptible. How Veronica, her dad, and others wrestle with this corruption is what makes every season (and perhaps especially this one) of Veronica Mars so watchable.

Warning: The first episode of season four is a somewhat clunky piece of work, in which the creators try to lay out the mystery while also reacquainting viewers with their extensive cast of characters. But episode two locks in the groove, and by episode three you’ll be clearing your weekend to binge the rest. Is it wrong of me to not want Kristen Bell to accept any other major roles? Because I really want a season five.

All eight episodes of Veronica Mars’ fourth season are now available on Hulu.

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