- Taschenbuch: 213 Seiten
- Verlag: Smart Pop (10. April 2007)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 1933771135
- ISBN-13: 978-1933771137
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 15,2 x 1,4 x 22,9 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 1 Kundenrezension
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 240.130 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
Neptune Noir: Unauthorized Investigations into Veronica Mars (Smart Pop) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 10. April 2007
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I will not comment on individual articles except to say that each author covered verious aspects of this great show, using examples from the scripts of the first two seasons. Even more interesting was the introduction and commentaries by Rob Thomas. As a retired high school teacher myself I had no problems understanding what he was doing.
I have to say that my wife and I are late blooming fans. In fact we met Kristen Bell at a convention, getting her autograph, before we had seen the series. We picked up the first couple episodes of season one at a video store and that was enough to get us to order the first two seasons. Never have we gone through a collection so quickly as we just couldn't ration them out. We now await our order for season three.
I understand there are movements to revive the show or to at least have a movie. TV Guide even rumored that Veronica Mars could show up on 24 as an FBI agent. That wouldn't work as Jack Bauer couldn't keep up with her. Also, Kristen Bell is a superb actress, as witness the Lifetime film Gracie's Choice. By now she probably has had countless offers.
I do hope that we have not heard the last of Rob Thomas and that his genius will again give us something special.
The book is a collection of eighteen essays, most seemingly written between the second and third seasons, dissecting every aspect of the show and no matter why it is you watch the show, whether it be for the noir, the girl power, or the Veronica/Logan relationship, there is an essay for you. Well unless you are like me and watch the show for the latest Dickisms as only survivor still left in Neptune only gets fleeting mentions. And oddly a whole essay is devoted to the cars of Veronica Mars and what they tell you about the show and the characters that drive them, but no one devolves fully into Ronnie's love life instead the writers side with Logan or Duncan with Troy and Deputy Leo left as footnotes.
The book starts of with an introduction from the show's creator, Rob Thomas, which even at seven pages makes the book worth the price of admission as he recounts his professional life between moving out to Los Angeles up to the point of Veronica Mars getting picked up. Most interesting of this part was the pilot he wrote for Fox in-between Cupid and Veronica Mars, but of course since Fox is allergic to quality programming, they passed.
Thomas then also gives an introduction to each essay sometime discounting the essay in its entirety like the one about the cars (Full disclosure: I'm not a car guy) and seemed a little uneasy that someone devoted a whole essay about the campy side of the show (When something on Veronica Mars feels, campy, it means we have failed). The title of the review came from what Thomas said when the network asked what the show was about, but as anyone who has watched the show, it is much more as seen in the essays complied for the book. It would take too long to review each individual but here were the most interesting to me.
Chris McCubbin devoted his essay, The Duck and the Detective, on why Veronica Mars plays better in Red States than Blue. This piece stuck me as a resident of a Red State and life long Republican (well up until my brethren elected the most inept president ever, twice). My television schedule has never been influenced by my political beliefs, I even loved the unapologetically liberal Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, yet it still fascinated me especially after when a few liberals were up in arms because of the abortion pill episode. McCubbin liked to bring up the South Park republicans, but the big difference between South Park and Veronica Mars is that that Matt Stone has said, "I hate conservatives, but I really (expletive deleted) hate liberals" while Thomas readily admits, "he is "part of the Hollywood Loberal Media Elite."
The other essay that caught my eye was the one from John Ramos, Couch Baron of Television Without Pity, I Cannot Tell a Lie. And if You Believe That... Ramos dissects the level of lies, from the white lies that help her solve a case to the big fat ones that have major consequences like when she played her father while helping Duncan get out of the country with his baby in tow. Add to that The New Normal by Kristen Kiddler where she looks into Vee's vigilantism and it interesting to see people complain in season three that Ronnie has gotten so mean. The first season was all about making people pay, the person who killed Lily, the person who raped her and anyone who was an accomplice, even if inadvertent will be in her crosshairs. She still to this day harbors deep hatred for Madison Sinclair for handing her the drink that led to her rape.
Even though there is plenty of great essays for every type of Veronica Mars fan, there will be certainly a few that will not be as good as others depending on what brings you to the show. For me I could do without the essays on the cars as well as the one devoted to the "epic" love. But this is definitely a must read for anyone who has watched the show.
If you haven't seen the show, a few of these essays will seem pointless, but even then most of them will read as well as any media analysis out there. Authors vary from media studies professors to critics, writers, fans, and psychologists.
As expected, the essays are uneven but none fall to embarrassing levels and a few stand out as excellent. Thomas' responses are highlights of the book. He provides the expected anecdotes and "aw shuck"-ing but he adds context that helps interpret the essays.
The book is handicapped by having been published between seasons two and three. Since the show ended after season three, waiting a year would have provided a complete view of the run. As it is, many of the essays are left pondering if or how future seasons will challenge their thesis.
Over those first two seasons, the same episodes and the same lines from the theme appear repeatedly in the essays. This is good: it gives multiple views of the most-effective episodes and draws the (carefully chosen) theme song into most of the character elements in the series. But because of this, these episodes are discussed in detail and the finales of both seasons one and two are the most popular. If you haven't seen these, be aware that you'll know (almost) everything about them by the time you've finished the book.
Whether you like the show, are interested in its popularity, or are interested in media studies and screenwriting, Neptune Noir is a worthwhile read.
Specific comments on a few of the essays:
"Introduction: Digressions on How Veronica Mars
Saved My Career and, Less Importantly, My Soul" by Rob Thomas is the obligatory "How I created the show" reminiscence. It's a fine read, but doesn't add anything to the show itself; it's really about Thomas. It has the expected amount of self-congratulatory tone (how he fell from grace into the writing schlock, how VM was his last, best hope to write something he cared about, yadda yadda yadda) but isn't overly sanctimonious. I was pleasantly surprised.
"Welcome to Camp Noir" by Lani Diane Rich finally provides a term to describe the show. I'd argue that "arch" is more appropriate than "camp," but it's a good term that most people who haven't seen the show can "get." Thomas' reaction (about how much he hates camp) is interesting. The essay does a good job identifying which characters bring the camp/arch elements and which supply the noir (and how the major characters balance or meld the two). A high point of the book.
"Story Structure and Veronica Mars" by Geoff Klock. I was very excited about this one, but it turns out to be a first-year walkthrough of one episode of VM. Not bad, but not what the title promised.
"Veronica Mars: Girl. Detective." by Evelyn Vaughn suggests that VM herself is allowed--in TV culture--to get away with her behavior because of her "girly" elements. Not quite a feminist analysis, this is worth a think.
"Daddy's Girl" by Joyce Millman is the obligatory Freudian analysis of the show as Electra complex. Had to be here and Millman does a credible job with it.
"Daddy Dualities" by Amy Berner is a better analysis of the Kieth/Veronica dynamic. Berner contrasts all of the recurring fathers on the show (including Duncan).
"On the Down-Low" by Lynne Edwards is very short, but provides the most interesting view in the book. Edwards discusses the use of race in the show, from the lynching symbolism in the pilot to the appropriation signifying from American black culture.
"The Duck and the Detective" by Chris McCubbin addresses the question of why VM has so many avowedly conservative fans. I noticed a conservative bent while watching the show (in the traditional, Goldwater Conservative, sense) and McCubbin tries to identify elements of the show that appeal to that demographic--as well as to explain why these don't turn off more liberal viewers.
"I'm in Love with My Car" by Lawrence Watt-Evans discusses the use of cars and motorcycles in the show. VM shows people in cars more than almost any other show on the air and Watt-Evans describes their use of vehicles more as costuming than props, with the model, age, and look of each car chosen to match the character and scene. Certainly Logan's bright yellow SUV/Jeepy thing is a significant part of his character, but the other observations Watt-Evans makes would never have occurred to me.
"Boom Goes the Dynamite" by Misty Hook is the obligatory Veronica/Logal "shipper" essay. Enough said.
"Innocence Lost" by Samantha Bornemann hypothesizes that "teen girl drama" began in 1994 with the much-lamented) Claire Danes vehicle My So-Called Life and contrasts VM with that and Buffy (of course). It's a shallow comparison and a shallow premise (readers older than 25, or who have seen television from before 1990, will certainly challenge the claim that MSCL was completely unprecedented), but Buffy is the elephant in the room of any 20-oriented drama circa 2000, so someone had to do it.
Overall, a good read that helps enjoy the show. It also makes a more informed viewer for other shows in or near the genre.
Just be sure you've seen all of season 2 first.