Look alive, Marshmellows! The long-awaited revival of Veronica Mars is almost upon us – and according to most critics, the new season was worth the wait.
The gang from Neptune is back in this 8-episode revival, all of which drops on Hulu on July 26 (it will be arriving on Canada the same day on CraveTV). This time around, Veronica is focused on the investigation of murdered spring breakers when Mars Investigations is hired by the parents of one of the victims to find their son's killer. The revival officially acts as the show’s fourth season, following its Kickstarter-funded 2014 movie.
The new season promises plenty of twists and shocks, with series star Kristen Bell hinting at a “controversial” plot point that will leave fans reeling. According to the TV critic at The Hollywood Reporter, "If you care about Veronica Mars but maybe don't have time to binge the new season immediately, stay the heck away from social media on premiere weekend. There are things people are going to be reacting to very vocally."
What else do critics have to say? Read on for their reviews of the new season:
"As the show has matured, so has its writing. Dialogue is as sharp and hilarious as ever, allowing the Mars clan to shine as they toss out gumshoe bon mots and pop culture references in dry tones, while it embraces the silly as embodied by characters like Dick Casablancas (Ryan Hansen), the King of Spring Break. This levity is balanced by a well-crafted and wide-ranging mystery that includes elements of class warfare, politics, and deep pockets. There are plenty of twists and surprises to be had, all the way to the last nail-biting moments of the case." -Hanh Nguyen, Indiewire
"Veronica Mars' creator and executive producer Rob Thomas has clearly thought about where these characters would be as adults; more than most revivals, the years since we’ve last seen Veronica and her friends feel palpable. So my 'yes the show is still awesome' comes with an asterisk. Gone is the happy-go-lucky breeziness of the Kickstarter video. Gone is the assurance the movie provided that almost everyone is living their best life. The result, which is an exceedingly honest look at adulthood, might not be the Veronica Mars we thought we wanted, but it is the Veronica Mars that we need. This is, after all, a show that began with the murder of a teenage girl. It has never been happy, happy, joy, joy—and the pall cast over this season is inescapable." -Amy Amatangelo, Paste
"Creatively speaking, there very well could — and should — be another batch of Veronica Mars episodes in the future. At no point in the eight episodes did it feel like series creator Rob Thomas had run out of story, and Bell herself has said that she’ll play the part as long as fans clamor for her to do so. No spoilers, but given how the season finale ends? That’s a very intriguing and welcome possibility." -Kimberly Roots, TVLine
"Suffice it to say that Hulu’s Veronica Mars season 4 revival combines everything you love about the original run of the show with everything you enjoy about binge-worthy television. Updated to reflect the current world climate and to fit into the true crime era we’re now living in, this new season of Veronica Mars feels exactly like how you think a modern run of the show should." - Danielle Zimmerman, Hypable
"For all the good, and for all the fun it is to return to Neptune and watch Veronica continue to be smarter than everyone around her, the new season isn't without its faults. A major twist near the end of the season feels like it belongs in a different series entirely, like it was added more for shock value than anything else, and I worry about its lasting implications and how it might affect the possibility of another season. If it's an attempt by Thomas and the writers to convince Hulu to grant the series more episodes to explore the aftermath, it's a big swing, and not one I am sure will pay off. It's unfortunate that one bad decision in a sea of good ones can so easily color the rest of a finished product, but there's a very good chance that is exactly what will happen for many fans. If they can get past it, there absolutely could be life left in Veronica Mars." -Kaitlin Thomas, TV Guide
"The ending to this new mystery feels satisfying both to the narratives and to the themes of Veronica's life as a woman who can't stop looking for the truth, no matter how much it hurts. The conclusion is darker than some fans may want, but feels like a necessary corrective for this new phase of our heroine's life. It’s a terrific return to form for one of television’s all-time great underseen gems." Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone
"Despite its gutting final swerve and its missteps big (cartel baddies) and small (minor plot holes), the new season works. And even if the takeaway of the season is that anyone you love should run from Neptune as quickly as they possibly can … it still feels good to be back." -Kathryn VanArendonk, Vulture
"In their best moments, these episodes coast on the charm and precision pluckiness of star Kristen Bell and a decently curated cast of returning and new faces. In its worst moments, the new Veronica Mars struggles to generate tension around a thin and dull season-long arc, and strings along tantalizing and long-necessary character growth for a hypothetical fifth season, eschewing closure for an ending that's ill-considered on several levels." -Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter
"Largely, the streamlined focus on having an eight-episode story spread out over the course of 400 or so minutes makes for the kind of season a streaming service like Hulu must be salivating over: this is an exceptionally bingeable revival, with each episode structured both as its own thing and offering enough teasing excitement for the next installment that you just want to keep watching. More to the point, the story mostly feels true to the Veronica Mars world; it’s the truly singular revival that proves its existence almost instantly and is one of the best TV returns to date." -Josh Spiegel, Slashfilm
"A grown-up Veronica Mars, in the hands of the showrunner Rob Thomas, also means a grittier, more violent Veronica Mars. The upgrade doesn’t always work. The eight new episodes feature decapitations, a shootout, and even a particularly gruesome collar bomb. One ongoing subplot focuses on a pair of bloodthirsty assassins hired by the cartel to find the bomber—and no spoilers here, but the season finale leans especially hard into the show’s newfound penchant for brutality. These developments feel outside of Veronica’s wheelhouse. While the show’s original run led to some jaw-dropping turns (a bus carrying high schoolers plummets off a cliff; a plane explodes in midair), it never lost sight of Veronica’s actual skill in planting trackers and outsmarting criminals. She’s not a female Rambo; she’s a careful sleuth, and her most engaging cases were always grounded in insightful character development. Still, her new adventures make for an incredibly bingeable whodunit, and the biggest strength of the show continues to lie in Veronica and Keith’s relationship." -Shirley Li, The Atlantic