"Veronica Mars" is back on TV thanks to SOAPnet and you really should watch it. The cult-hit UPN/CW series is airing in syndication for the first time ever -- ever! -- and it's just as magical the second time around. (Or fifth or sixth, if you're me.)
Once you get past the elevator pitch -- a sassy teen sleuth -- "Veronica Mars" is purely thrilling TV. The show launched the careers of both Kristen Bell and Amanda Seyfried and made Steve Guttenberg relevant again. The Gute! As if those bits of information weren't enough convincing, here are more reasons why you need to check out "Veronica Mars."
- You should watch for ... Kristen Bell. Yes, she is a reason to watch the show. It's hard to think about anybody else playing the character -- which Seyfried read for -- because Kristen Bell is Veronica Mars. Bell brought effortless charm to the character and you can't help but root for the scrappy, snarky heroine. Her best friend was murdered, her mom ran out on her and she was raped ... And that's just the first episode. It was a crime Bell wasn't nominated for an Emmy once over the course of three seasons.
- You should watch for ... Veronica and Keith Mars. The relationship between Veronica (Bell) and her father, Keith (Enrico Colantoni), remains one of the most realistic father/daughter relationships to ever hit TV screens. They fought, he punished her, she disobeyed, they made up, but never forgot.
- You should watch because ... It holds up. "Veronica Mars" originally aired from 2004-2007. A lot has happened since then, but "Mars" remains relevant, which is a testament to the writing. Some of the show's pop culture references aside, the story of Veronica Mars and her investigations doesn't age. The character rarely relies on "CSI"-like tools to solve the crimes, meaning technology doesn't date the mystery. VM relies on her wits -- and the occasional Internet search -- to get to the bottom of cases. The writing feels as sharp now as it was eight years ago.
- You should watch because ... There's been nothing like it since. For me, "Veronica Mars" revolutionized the way I watched TV. I had never become so invested in a show, and a particular character, before "Veronica Mars" came along. And l haven't since. There's something very special about "Veronica Mars" Season 1; it was like they captured lightning in a bottle. Everything clicked: the actors, the mysteries, the pacing. Season 1 of "Veronica Mars" was a roller coaster ride of a TV show and I will always put it at the top of my "favorites" list.
- You should watch for ... The fans. I'm not alone in still holding on to the pipe dream of a "Veronica Mars" movie. Series creator Rob Thomas wants to do it, so does Kristen Bell. Could new eyeballs on reruns can increase the likelihood of a movie? It can't hurt. Never too late to jump on the "Mars" train.
"Veronica Mars" airs Monday-Friday at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.; Saturdays from 1-4 p.m.; and Sundays 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on SOAPnet.
Follow Chris Harnick on Twitter: www.twitter.com/chrisharnick