I’ve been waiting for this R1 dvd to show up for ages and it arrived just as I’d taken the day off sick with a cold. Perfect. I settled in and watched it in 2 sittings with 10 episodes one day and 12 the next.
First the bad – it’s nowhere near as good as season 1. While I didn’t think season 1 was the greatest thing since sliced bread as some people seem to believe, it was fun tv with some amazingly compelling characters and an engaging plot, which I actually enjoyed more a second time through. Season 2 was still fun, had significantly less compelling characters and a convoluted plot.
The characters – Dick and Beaver make it into the main credits and while Dick is humorous for one scene an episode, Beaver is mostly an irritating whiner. New character Jackie is also in the main credits, it’s just a shame the writers couldn’t decide if she was going to be a bitch or not, but then given the personality disorders displayed in season 1 she isn’t the most schizophrenic character we’ve seen. Wallace disappeared for several episodes and seemed to spend the rest of the time chasing after Jackie when she was a bitch and ignoring her when she wasn’t. *shrug*
Duncan presents yet another personality this season, actually appearing to be a ‘normal’ teenager and acting like the rich boy, class president he’s supposed to be. Then he disappears and is never seen again. Right. The writers continue to throw just about everything possible at Logan, figuratively and literally. He’s a lot more interesting when he’s miserable, sarcastic and obnoxious than when he’s simpering after Veronica, but really, give the guy a break! Mac, Kendal, Weevil and Keith are absolutely superb – fascinating characters that are great to watch, the only reason they don’t get more space is that there’s not much to say beyond “superb”.
Veronica is the glue that holds it all together and she does so admirably. She’s a very believable character, she has a weird life but knows that and just has to deal with it. She cries when she should, laughs when she should, gets angry even though she knows she shouldn’t and lies and deceives when she needs to. Kristen Bell is perfect in this role, absolutely adorable even though at times you hate her. The chemistry between all the characters is spot on, but the father-daughter relationship is one of the best things on tv at the moment.
Then we come to the plot. Oh dear. The good news is that the incidental episode plots are fine, some of them even fun. But just about anything involving the Bus Crash and the Aaron Echolls trial is painfully badly handled. There are so many mis-directs and side plots it’s pretty impossible to keep track. The plotting is very clumsily handled relying on stupidity from far too many officials to draw things out to a full season. Then after dragging it out so long, the resolution and aftermath are squashed into a contrived and rushed final episode. They desperately needed to extend it to at least a two-parter to fill in some of the plot holes and add throw away remarks so that things aren’t so disjointed and hole ridden.
On the plus side, season 3 sounds like it might be better structured, with (apparently) 3 mini mysteries rather than 1 big one. Transplanting to college should be interesting allowing new situations and shaking things up. I watch the show for the characters and chemistry rather than the mysteries, so I’m glad to see the promotion of Mac to regular and the absence of some of the characters that just didn’t work. Hopefully they’ll learn from their mistakes.
DVD Special Features (Region 1)
Another slightly disappointing collection of specials, particularly the complete lack of commentaries. Another occasion where the set has been rushed out before the next season. There are a lot of deleted scenes, although I kept forgetting to look at them and most of them were deleted for pretty good reason. The two featurettes were ok, the day on set with Kristen Bell was interesting and cute, but much too short. The second was something about “not your average teen detective” but I can’t remember much about what it said. The out-takes were fun (as usual) although it’s shame they didn’t do a better job editing them so that you could actually hear things and there wasn’t silence behind some of them. Not terrible, but I expected and hope for a little better, much like the season as a whole.