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Buffy The Vampire Slayer

’Mars’ as good as ’Buffy’ without all the demons

Maureen Ryan

Thursday 1 December 2005, by Webmaster

There’s no doubt that one obsessively dissected Wednesday night drama knows exactly where it’s going.

Though "Lost" has been enjoyable, if occasionally vexing and slow-moving this season, it’s "Veronica Mars" (8 p.m., WPWR-Ch. 50) that has its fans and critics declaring — with good reason — that the show’s second season is better than its first. The ongoing mystery on "Mars" is even more enthralling, star Kristin Bell continues to effortlessly impress and even the guest stars are a treat. What’s not to love?

Wednesday’s outing of "Veronica Mars" is typically engrossing: Organizing a roomful of old files as a high school detention assignment, part-time detective Veronica Mars comes across her mother’s own permanent record. The clues there point to some dark drama: Did her mother spread malicious gossip back in the day? And who has a vested interest in keeping those old rumors under wraps — or in getting them out into the open?

Alyson Hannigan, Willow on the cult drama "Buffy" and a lead on CBS’ "How I Met Your Mother," guests as the hilariously self-absorbed Trina Echolls, a D-list celebrity and the sister of Mars’ ex. Also appearing is another "Buffy" alum, Charisma Carpenter, who plays Kendall Casablancas, a formerly wealthy trophy wife looking to sustain her manicures-and-margaritas lifestyle.

Former "Buffy" fans will be looking forward to the scene that Hannigan and Carpenter share: Their throw-down does not disappoint. Think "All About Eve," but with sharper claws. It’s delish.

Despite the ongoing "Buffy" love fest — that show’s creator, Joss Whedon, has sung the praises of "Veronica Mars" and had a brief cameo on the show a few weeks back — "Mars" inspires heretical thoughts from this "Buffy" fan.

Let’s face it, despite the incredible richness of the stories Whedon told on "Buffy" and "Angel," some folks were just never going to be down with TV shows involving demons, vampires and other assorted mutants. "Veronica Mars," on the other hand, has all of the trademarks of Whedon’s shows: witty writing, great acting, strong plotting, a love of the unexpected and a ferocious devotion to emotional truth. And there are no monsters or demons to put off those who might find such fiends off-putting.

Still, it’s easy to see why "Mars" inspires such fervent, "Buffy"-esque devotion: It’s one of the best-written shows on TV. The show’s ongoing mystery this year — about a bus crash that killed several of Mars’ classmates — has been expertly handled, and the weekly mysteries are more whip-smart than ever.

But if you can’t miss "Lost" on Wednesdays, WPWR-Ch. 50 re-airs every "Mars" episode 9 p.m. Sundays.

8 Forum messages

  • > ’Mars’ as good as ’Buffy’ without all the demons

    1 December 2005 22:51, by Anonymous
    Okay, sure it doesn’t have demons but it also doesn’t have any action. It needs some action. It happens frequently on Buffy. One main reason why I just can’t seem to get into Veronica Mars as much as Buffy, Angel or Firefly is just all these questions and the general mystery aspect of the show. Buffy has questions but they keep it very simple and easy to watch and enjoy. In Veronica Mars, not so much. It doesn’t even seem like the same genre. Buffy tries to live a normal life and supernatural dealings get in the way. Veronica Mars finds every way possible to get involved, maybe that’s it.
  • > ’Mars’ as good as ’Buffy’ without all the demons

    2 December 2005 18:14, by Anonymous
    It’s funny I find it’s basically found all this buffy support ever since joss said he loved the show, now it’s all of a sudden being called the new buffy. I honestly myself don’t find the show charming at all, it’s an ok show to me, but it doesn’t pull me in
  • > ’Mars’ as good as ’Buffy’ without all the demons

    2 December 2005 22:33, by Anonymous
    nah.i like demons.and VM is way to serious for me.buffy was way more witty..and kick ass.(haha at VM and her pepper spray!!)
  • i actually like the show. it pulls me in and really intriuges me and can keep my attention. but theres no doubt that buffy will always be my fav show of all time, i still enjoy vm...and (my personal opinion) it is VERY witty. Take logans reply to trina (aly hannigan) last season "You’re coming home? But who will play dead hooker #2 on CSI??" =D
  • VM will never be as good as Buffy period.
  • > ’Mars’ as good as ’Buffy’ without all the demons

    6 December 2005 02:44, by Anonymous

    ABSO-FUCKING-LUTELY NO FRICKING WAY IS VM AS GOOD AS BUFFY. IT IS ALMOST A JOKE TO SUGGEST IT IS ANY NEAR THE QUALITY OF BtVS! VM is a cute little show, with cute little actors. No SMG No JM No DB No NB or any of the fantastic personalities that made up the Buffyverse. People out there are so starved for some good TV that they are hallucinating on VM. I doubt this show will even be renewed for one more season. Nuff Said.


  • This show has been called the new Buffy since the pilot aired. In an interview from last June JW was asked if he’d watched the show yet, and he said he was going too, the next question was:
    - you know how people call it ?
    - They call it the new Buffy Joss was the last to jump on the band waggon. A lot of Buffy centric sites have been talking about VM way before he got involved, see The Soulful Spike Society.... I love Veronica Mars, I think it’s the best show on the air, and it does have a lot of things in common with Buffy, but mostly in spirit not in form, that’s why many people don’t see the connection. But I won’t say that VM is better than Buffy, it is better packaged maybe, compared to the first Buffy seasons. But VM doesn’t have 7 glorious seasons of intricate yet coherent storylines. I wish people would give shows some time before deciding how amazing they’re supposed to be.
  • Veronica Mars is a very interesting show..I like it very much...But it cannot be classed as Good as "Buffy The vampire slayer"...which in its own rights was totally diffrent ....What they Both do have in common is.the lead actress is blonde and are both strong female roles...Both fighting against the wrongs in life..(and there are demons.Her own demons about Why her Mother left and rumours about her..)..Veronica Mars has proved to be Great...But Buffy lasted 7 seasons and probably would of gone on to an eighth if Sarah hadnt dicided to call it quits..Will Veronica Mars have the same luck to go on that long...Have to wait and see..

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