Veronica Mars and the Case of the Overused Sexual Tension

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Kristin Devine

Kristin is a geek, a libertarian, and a domestic goddess. She lives in a wildlife refuge in rural Washington state with too many children and way too many animals and works with women around the world as a fertility counselor. There's also a blog which most people would very much disapprove of https://atomicfeminist.com/

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62 Responses

  1. Hei Lun Chan Hei Lun Chan
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    For me Veronica Mars was always about the cases, and her romantic relationships with whomever is always the least interesting part of the show, so Logan was no big loss ¯\_(ツ)_/¯Report

  2. Avatar Michael Siegel
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    Yes, thank you, my God. I hate the will-they-or-wont-they thing. It’s fun for a while but, as you said, it wears out its welcome. It was one of the things that dragged down the X-files as well. And the break-up-get-back-together-will-they-or-wont-they things is even worse. One of the things i genuinely like about Seinfeld was that they never had that. Elaine was interested in either George or Cosmo. And she’d been with Jerry, they’d decided it didn’t work and so it never came up as a possibility.

    I never watched the show but I understand Bones played this out the semi- right way — there was tension, they got together and then they continued working together as a team.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Michael Siegel
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      Newsradio did it the best way: the network wanted will-they-or-wont-they so the writers put them together in episode 2.Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Mike Schilling
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        Lord Peter and Harriet Vane are Married (somewhat) straight away… at least he proposes on their first meeting… she declines on principle – what with the allure and sex appeal of a murder indictment, she wanted to make sure it was real love. By the end we have Murder Mysteries with one, the other, both and even children.

        A good production of Lord Peter and Harriet Vane would be a billion dollar tent-pole (assuming they reveal their super powers, of course).Report

      • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to Mike Schilling
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        NewsRadio totally blew my mind when they skipped the WTOWT. I was actually going to stop watching it (I hate sitcoms but gave it a whirl) but then that happened.Report

    • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to Michael Siegel
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      The X-Files really infuriates me because they could SO EASILY have had it as Scully gradually gets more and more disillusioned with Mulder even as she gets more and more convinced that some of the supernatural stuff is actually real. Sometimes spending a lot of time with a person makes you like them LESS, not more – and in the workplace this is a particular thing. Thanks for reading!Report

  3. Avatar Rebecca
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    I’m happy that you ultimately decided not to watch it, because I invested the time in watching the entire season just for Logan to die at the very end and ruin all of it. I want my time back, or, more appropriately, I want the writer to go back in time and not ruin something that could’ve had a really satisfying ending.Report

  4. Avatar LeeEsq
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    I hate and despise the “all girls want bad boys” trope with a fiery passion. For some reason it just flares up a lot of anger because as somebody who is far removed from the bad boy type, it just sends an impression that “these are the men heterosexual women desire and you are not it, even if you get a woman she might love you but she will never desire you.” Loveable rogues are another source of irritation.

    Years ago, when I still read dating advice sites, a young woman had an essay where she wrote about the difference between the the type of men you have sizzling chemistry with and the type of men you have deep loving connections with. Since this site had a comments section, I admit to kind of flipping because she didn’t seem to consider that a man might want to have sizzling chemistry to even if he wasn’t officially that type of man. It’s treating men as a sort of prop. There is a similar quote from one of those mid-20th century anthropologists, I think Ruth Benedict, about women needing three type of men in her life. I’m not going to find the quote but it roughly translate to a bad boy for thrills and chills when young, a stable loving man to raise a family with, and something else for old age. And I guess if you aren’t the bad boy type, you are just supposed to wait around until women need who I am.

    I’m getting really tired of the entire edifice of heterosexual dating. I’m turning 39 very soon and still looking for a girlfriend when nearly all of my peer group is married with children, maybe even more than once, or at least had a couple of relationships. I’m stuck where women think that I’m a kind/interesting guy but for somebody else or can’t seem to stand me at all. And you can’t complain about this, if you do people have so many ways to attack you “nice guy”, “incel”, etc. For these bad boys, being a real man seems an exercise in eternal self-indulgence while I get to be the sacrifice.Report

    • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to LeeEsq
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      I actually have a piece in my head about the bad boy trope and Veronica Mars. There’s part of the show where they do it right – really more of a cautionary tale where Logan actually and honestly shows (unlike most shows where the bad boy walks around in a leather jacket and does nothing wrong) the many negatives of being in a relationship with a bad boy – and then part of the show where the writers do everything wrong in the bad-boy and somehow Logan magically turns into a perfect superhero and it’s all pretty gross. I should write that.

      But until I do, the relationship between Veronica and Logan is not what you think it is, and should not be now taken as evidence in your larger case that good guys are being wronged by women because they only want bad boys.

      For whatever it’s worth, it sometimes seems to me that out of one side of your mouth, you (rightfully) criticize (some) women as buying too much into tropes and caricatures regarding men, but then out of the other, you totally buy into tropes and caricatures of women. On the one hand you’re like “how dare women reduce men to lovable rogues/incels” but then on the other you are reducing women to shallow, superficial ninnies who want thrills and chills and then to settle down with some poor sap they are taking financial advantage of. Fun fact, a good number of “good guys” who take care of their families are in fact bad boys who settled down as they got older, and a good number of “good guys” wake up at the age of 40 or 50 and decide to run around and be “bad boys”. These categories are not mutually exclusive or set in stone.

      Maybe we’re all just a lot more complicated than a series of Hollywood tropes, the men’s rights movement, and the blathering of mid-20th century anthropologists would have us think.Report

  5. Avatar Mike Schilling
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    Bringing back Veronica Mars seems like the same creative bankruptcy as bring back Roseanne, Will and Grace, Full House, Murphy Brown, etc.Report

    • Avatar Pinky in reply to Mike Schilling
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      I enjoyed the revival of Prison Break. It wasn’t the best season, but I was ok with it. I can’t think of another revival that I watched and liked. Actually, I’m having trouble thinking of any I even watched. If a show has been around long enough to become iconic, it’s probably near (or past) the point that it’s running out of material. In principle, though, I’m ok with revivals. Not every cast clicks. There aren’t that many premises for TV shows, so if you’re going to play out a scenario with a random cast or a dependable one, I have no problem with going back to the originals.Report

    • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to Mike Schilling
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      To me, there’s a difference between bringing back shows that ran (and overran) their course, and then shows that were wrongfully cancelled.

      But yes.Report

  6. Avatar Damon
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    Never watched VM but I’ve watches Farscape a LOT. The “romance” is written well and I concur with the author’s statements. Loved the scene in S 02 E 11 where Aerin scented her hair and then runs off in a huff so as not to be a “slave to” John’s hormones. She can’t tell him she loves him and he won’t either, not until he thinks he’ll doe over the brain implant. Frankly, the writing is some of the best I’ve seen on TV.Report

  7. Avatar Nat
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    Veronica Mars on this set was vulgar, doing drygs, foul mouthed, total jerk (okay she was not warm and fuzzy before, but really ramped up the unlikable part in retro season 4), and very judgemental. I like the more honorable Veronica Mars in the previous seasons.Report

  8. Avatar MJ
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    I had never originally watched Veronica Mars, and was looking for a binge-worthy show. I really enjoyed it. I admit the movie wasn’t as good as the first 3 seasons, but it was adequate. I found season 4 ok. I think that having Veronica have some hard edges made sense. She’s older and has had experience in the real world. I loved that she and Logan were together, but she was reluctant to take the leap. I hated the ending. I actually cried. I was thinking she was going to visit him in some rehab hospital when she was driving. I was hoping for that. I actually miss what might have been between them in a future season. Anger aside at Logan’s death, I will still watch another season if there is one!Report

  9. Avatar Pictricia
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    Season 5: Veronica keeps finding clues that somehow Logan, in his top secret naval intelligence, is still alive and she desperately searches for the man she loves beside her former flame/ FBI agent Leo.

    Here’s hoping because I need Logan Echols/ Jason Dohring alive!Report

    • Avatar Heather in reply to Pictricia
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      That actually makes total sense and once again restores the tension between the two of them except Logan would help her be calmer since she is more jaded and he seems to be a calmer person with a less anger problems. And Leo helping to find Logan along with Veronica that’s a great great twist. Nice!Report

    • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to Pictricia
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      I read a few people speculating about that and I will happily watch if that turns out to be the case!!!

      Even if they don’t bring Logan back, I hope someone gives Jason Dohring a vehicle of his own sometime soon. He deserves it.Report

  10. Avatar Kim Carlson
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    I completely agree! Veronica and Logan were quite the epic love story and he was a huge part of the show. I really wanted to see them solve crimes together! I have watched them for all these years just to have him die? No thank you. Frankly many times I thought she was quite the bitch and expected way too much from him. She definitely should have appreciated him more. How often did she pour her heart out to him or show him that she loved him??Report

  11. Avatar DavidTC
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    This is a…strange take on Veronica Mars, which was never really WTOWT. I think maybe there’s some misremembering of of the early seasons of VM going on there. (Which is not that weird, considering how long ago it was.)

    For most of season one, Logan was still in pure ‘psychotic jackass’ mode, and, no, there was no UST there at all. Then, about four episodes from the end, Logan became less jackassy, and the UST started….along with him being considered as a serious suspect in Lily’s murder, so…a large amount of danger of Veronica working with him to investigate that! And then, after we learned he didn’t do it, they got together, and broke up, offscreen, between season one and two!

    That’s not WTOWT. WTOWT is whether or not two characters will get together at all, it’s not two characters that have already dated.

    The show’s never been ‘Will Logan and Veronica get together?’, the question it’s always asked is ‘Will Veronica end up with Logan or [obviously less dangerous choice]?’.

    This…is rather obvious when you realize the show is a Hardboiled Detective stories, except gender-flipped. (For simplicity’s sake, I’ll keep using the wrong gender-specific terms for the characters, simply because the gender-flip isn’t done often enough for there to _be_ opposite gender terms.)

    The question in that genre isn’t never ‘When will the detective will hook up with the femme fatale?’, because they do that all the time. The question is if they will choose the femme fatale or the nice safe girl. Aka Duncan. Or Piz. Or even Leo to some extent. That’s why those characters _exist_, as a contrast with the dangerous but sexy choice of Logan, femme fatale.

    But then, the creators did something that is not normally done in Hardboiled Detective, and, assuming this was their last story with that universe, honestly redeemed the femme fatale, and had him and the detective ride off into the sunset together.

    But then…Hulu said ‘Okay, let’s make more’ and the writers had a problem. The entire conflict, the entire way romance plots function in that genre, is supposed be between who the detective will choose, with the femme fatale presenting the overt sexuality and danger and everything, and the nice safe girl representing a future and a family and someone they can trust. But they’d…basically turned Logan into a character with all the advantages of both.

    Which would be an entirely reasonable _ending_ to a series, but can’t possibly work within future Hardboiled Detective stories. Not only because that screws up the romance dynamics (And honestly the entire season 4 felt somewhat odd because of that.), but because hardboiled detectives aren’t supposed to be happy.Report

    • Avatar DavidTC in reply to DavidTC
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      That said…I sorta think killing Logan was a dumb move, mostly because I feel the fans never actually understood what the writers were doing, and the rotation of nice safe girls resulted in most of the fans eventually hopping on Team Logan, and the movie shrugging and saying ‘Sure, we can end with that, why not?’.

      Their original intent sorta fell apart when Duncan left the show, and then the movie, and I feel trying to get _back_ to how the show was supposed to work was probably a mistake. And even if they had wanted to go back, they could have done some sort of watered-down thing where Veronica and Logan have a much worse relationship, with a lot of stress in it from his military duties and her putting herself in danger, and even shown that Logan wasn’t quite as picture-perfect as the movie had turned him into….and then had them split up for some reason.

      Which would have allowed the writers to reintroduce another nice girl character (Or just use Leo.) and the dynamic is back.

      Or alternately just made Logan into the nice guy that he halfway was already, shown that Veronica isn’t actually satisfied with a nice safe girl, and introduced some actual new femme fatale.Report

    • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to DavidTC
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      There seems to be an ongoing theme in the comments here where I am told “but the show is a mystery, not a romance” as if mysteries are somehow superior to romances and that by liking the romance angle I’m somehow revealing myself as incapable of getting the point of the show.

      But hey, go back and reread the other comments. Several other people chimed in to concur that they too enjoyed the romance angle – perhaps even more than the mystery angle – and hey again, we get to do that. We don’t all have to like the same things in this world and you are not the arbiter of what is proper/intellectual in this world. And if Rob Thomas is too stupid to see that, and kills the goose that laid the Golden Egg, thereby losing lots of viewers based on some misguided, misogynistic notion that romance < mystery, screw him. When you cross genres, the funny thing is, you can cross genres. Farscape is a sci-fi show with a great romance. Shows can have more than one component. A person can enjoy both aspects, and/or prefer one vs. the other. One isn't inferior to the other just because it appeals more to women than dudes. VM turned the rules of the hardboiled detective show on its head in several ways. It is ridiculous to say "oh how delightful, it's a trope twister" and then turn around and say "but detectives aren't supposed to be happy" - if you break one rule, you can break others. You know, David, your "takedowns" of my pieces where you claim I'm too stupid to understand a plot or character, or too addled to remember things correctly, or where you try to explain to me what I am actually saying, reflect a lot more on you than on me. I have ignored it, made light of it, whatever, but telling someone they're "misremembering" something is so ridiculously insulting and sexist I really feel the need to point it out this time. I am not misremembering anything, you missed a fairly critical element of the VM magic when you watched the show.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kristin Devine
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        One of the X-Men writers, I forget who (Claremont?), said something to the effect of “I was putting so much effort into my story about the mutants fighting both the evil mutants and the greater society that feared and hated them and all of the letters I was getting were talking about who was kissing.”Report

        • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          The problem is, some people see “who’s kissing who” as a problem but there’s a fundamental assumption there that I find kind of sexist. Romance = women = inferior. But love and romance is what makes the world go round. All the wars in the world are fought in some way to get notice/access to women or to be able to provide for a family.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Kristin Devine
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        and if you think romance is too silly to be discussed, consider Battlestar Galactica, which put a sci-fi wrapper around a philosophical discussion that lots of people found more interesting than the laser battles…Report

  12. Avatar Heather
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    Lulvesh@gmail.com now that is a great story concept! Now if we can just get Rob to listen. Logan could now use his connections with the military to help on some of her cases. the new Dynamic that would form would be that Logan would be the calmer one now who would help calm and support Veronica now that she seems to be even more jaded and sarcastic.Report

    • Avatar Heather in reply to Heather
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      I’m sorry, that was a response to Patricia’s comment. If you scroll above then it will all make sense!Report

    • Avatar Constance in reply to Heather
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      Heather I agree on using his military connection. I thought the same thingReport

      • Avatar Constance in reply to Constance
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        Or I thought in one of the seasons they’d bring Duncan back! Then she’d find herself trapped by two people she truly loves or she’d be with Logan and Duncan would have to move on. 🤷🏻‍♀️

        BUT they didn’t have a funeral, didn’t even show a grave so no ones to say he REALLY died. Hardly likely he avoided being killed in a car bomb but maybe he turned around and went back inside for something (granted I think you hear the car engine start). But what I’m saying is there’s no proof really. Not even when she’s driving and “talking” to Logan at the end. She doesn’t exactly indicate he’s dead. Tho she is bitter and I think not wearing a ring (which I would not have taken off!!!!)

        How’s the bomber truly know she’d be in her car at 5pm? Seems a little risky that he’d “miss” killing her. 🤔Report

        • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to Constance
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          I have to admit I’ve been shocked they didn’t bring Duncan back for at least an episode or two along the way.

          They seemed to want to inhabit some in-between with an episodic show and one with story arcs and recurring characters, and too often they’re making IMO wrong choices (keeping recurring characters that aren’t good, writing off good characters in the interest of keeping things episodic)Report

    • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to Heather
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      Yes! I would love to see that, although it does feel a little bit “this was all a dream” LOL.

      Thanks for reading!Report

  13. Avatar Heather
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    I’m sorry, that was a response to Patricia’s comment. If you scroll above then it will all make sense!Report

  14. Avatar Constance
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    I too was disappointed in how that season ended. I get if the Logan has other films to do or other things to accomplish so they had to kill off his character but come on. Just as they had gotten married you had to kill him off that quick.
    I’d only hoped there was a “we are writing a season 5” where either she’s going to visit him in a hospital or we find out she was pregnant maybe. Idk.
    I ended up REALLY liking the show until that last episode and it has honestly left a void in my life. Ugh! Why?!Report

    • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to Constance
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      Yeah, see, that’s what happens to me if I hate the way something ends! It’s not just that I think “welp that was a waste of time”, it’s actually upsetting to me. There’s just enough stuff in the real world that I have to deal with already, and I don’t want to expend my life energy on fictional characters if I hate where the story is headed. Thanks for reading!Report

  15. Avatar Brandon
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    I really want you to watch this season now so that I can read you discussing the folley of criticizing something you haven’t seen. Perhaps you still won’t like it, but at least you’ll understand how utterly ridiculous 95% of this article is.Report

    • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to Brandon
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      I’m sorry you didn’t like the article. The fact is, I have a very busy life and I have to pick and choose what I watch and what I don’t, and this was an article about why I decided to pass.

      Kinda would have defeated the purpose if I had watched the show.Report

  16. Avatar veronica d
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    says:

    I’ve decided that we should scrub season 4 from our memory and hire Kristin to re-write it.

    A Nick-and-Nora version of V-and-L would be pretty choice.Report

  17. Avatar crftgrl
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    I have to agree on so many levels with this article. I was a kickstarter on the movie, we are a dedicated fan base. I mean this premeried almost two months ago and we are still talking about it. The entire season was LAZY writing. She is an adult so she does adult things now like take E and get high and shoots a gun. UM No. Just NO. I would have been mildly ok if they had felt the need to write Logan off if it was done appropriately. If they ended the will they won’t they, with they won’t because VM can’t seem to get her act together emotionally. Or if they used his job to be a killed in action, with a funeral and a goodbye. But instead Rob Thomas DOUBLED DOWN on the very thing he was complaining about the high school romance will they won’t they angle. Rob if you didn’t want us to be invested in the LoVe situation then you should have spent the entire season developing it even more. RT is no George R. R. Martin, I am sorry to say, when he killed a beloved character off it was for purpose, and meaning, and drove the story along, and not by force, and not for the ease of it, it meant something. I’ve been telling friends to watch this show for years, and now that there is a new season out I had a few say ok I think I will and sadly I told them don’t bother. He put the story and all the characters through a grinder and served up a pile of bland mush in it’s place.Report

    • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to crftgrl
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      YES!!

      If they didn’t want us to be invested in LoVe then they could have simply had them part ways when Veronica went to college. He didn’t have to continue that terrible love triangle in the movie. It made no sense to even do that, if he was trying to cater to the people who liked Logan. So it’s very silly of RT to do all that stuff (at the expense of S3 and the movie – not having Logan in either of those – or as a less important character – probably would have improved them) only to be all like “yeah this is getting too hard, car bomb”Report

  18. Avatar Katie
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    I agree with Brandon’s comment. I find it a bit ridiculous for someone to rattle on for that long and to be so critical about something they haven’t even seen? Couldn’t take the article seriously and can’t help but think that you would might change your mind after watching the show.Report

    • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to Katie
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      Sorry you didn’t like it. I’ve wanted to talk about WTOWT and Veronica Mars for a long time, and the ending of S4 gave me the opportunity to discuss something I wanted to talk about already.

      I don’t have time in my life to watch things I don’t want to watch. There’s too much great content out there. This isn’t and never was a Season Four review, it was an article about what bugged me about S3 VM, the movie, and why I’m taking a pass on S4.Report

  19. Avatar thomas collins
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    My all time favorite (book) mystery series is Nero Wolfe. And lets face it, he and Archie Goodwin are an old married couple.Report

  20. Derek Edwards Derek Edwards
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    I honestly thought the show was a season too long as it is. The premiere episode set up a premise that, by the season 2 finale, had been completely resolved.Report

  21. Avatar ACJ
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    I was the season. I also read articles where Rob Thomas was asked about it. He pretty much said they decided to eliminate the “will they/won’t they” angle by having Veronica and Logan getting their happily ever after and then having it cut short. Their feeling is that they’d like to expand the world of VM a bit, and also focus on the hard-boiled detective aspect more. Noir detectives aren’t generally happy, well adjusted people. So it made sense that as Veronica’s life seemed to be falling into place, tragedy struck. I’m willing to give it a chance that they’ll go into interesting places with it.Report

    • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to ACJ
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      See, I don’t think they are going to eliminate it. They’re going to bring in some other guys/gals and have the same dynamic with them, only they’re going to have less interesting characters and less interesting actors and it will be used as a plot device.

      There was just a magic with those two characters that doesn’t happen very often. I wish they could have thought outside the box (and it wouldn’tve even had to be far outside) and made it work, even if it meant changing the way they’d imagined the show would be.Report

  22. Avatar Tom Brunhart
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    Agree with most people’s view on Logan’s untimely demise. I hated the reintroduction of Leo…. the puppy waiting in the wings to be adopted because he wags his tail uncontrollably! I think I will pass on VM 5 because I will never be able to gargle the taste of mush that RT served by killing off Logan!Report

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