Tonight, something a little more straightforward. At least, inside my head it is. I'm not seeing a lot of dislike for Veronica Mars on my flist, but I have seen some reactions that indicate that there's a segment of viewership who were extremely disappointed in the way the season turned out -- apparently so disappointed that there's a mutiny on board the Good Ship VM. I'd thought it was probably (ugh) to do with shipper wars or somesuch nonsense. But it turns out that's not the case. It seems to be a few cases of very out of kilter expectations. I can see where that'd be a problem for folks. Fortunately for me, I had a different set of expectations.
I've spent some time thinking about why it is that this show has lit a spark in me that other shows with the right surface criteria (solid storytelling, compelling characters, yada yada yada), have not. I enjoyed the early episodes, with their clever flashbacks and compelling mystery. But that's not what caused the spark to go whooshing into full blown bonfire.
I've got reams in me to let loose, but somewhat limited time. At work, they wonder whether I can be concise, and typically I have difficulty with that unless I have a framework to start with. So...with respect and apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning:
Let me count the ways...
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
So, first, I'm a sucker for a whodunit. That's enough to yank me in, but probably not quite enough to keep me. Give me a story that keeps me guessing. Make the mystery what's inside the characters' heads, though? Yeah, baby.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
And, btw, don't take yourself too seriously. Those quiet moments? They're often the ones that mean the most to me, and if you find a way to work the ordinary, everyday of life into your story, you're going to pull me along with you a bit better.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
Give me a hero I can believe in. Make her a girl, and I'm putty in your hands.
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
Give me an underdog, too. It's much easier to root for an underdog to win in the end. Really, it is. And while you're at it, that villain ought to be someone who's got it coming in a big way. I want to feel some serious satisfaction when karma comes to haunt.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
So this underdog-like heroine? Really needs to have some issues. Preferably ones I lived through at her age, or possibly that are ageless. Make her work for it. Nothing turns me off faster than a cardboard knight on a white horse.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,
I've been hurt before, you know. By storytellers, that is. Keep faith with me -- don't let my hero be so lost that I can't believe in her any longer. Unrelenting misery is not entertaining, and I need at least some happy in my endings.
--- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!
Deliver your story well, and regularly and I will be your devoted slave -- drag me into my heroine's life so thoroughly that I can forget that it is not my own.
--- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
It doesn't matter what the A plots or the B plots are. And it doesn't matter how technically perfect your execution is. If you've made me care, I'm yours forever. That's the magic.