Format: DVDBox set, Color, Subtitled
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The second season of Veronica Mars showcases the series' crackling-sharp writing and topnotch acting of star Kristen Bell and the rest of the cast. Veronica still struggles with the class wars in sunny Neptune, Calif., trying to find a balance between high school, love, helping her dad as a private eye, and doing the right thing. The ongoing thread of season 2 is the aftermath of a horrifying tragedy, and as Veronica and dad Keith try to find out what caused it, mysteries only compound. Shifty Sheriff Lamb, town powerbrokers, and various high-school cliques seem to undermine Veronica at every turn. Thankfully, Veronica has more chutzpah than Phillip Marlowe, and the side-of-the-mouth one-liners to match: "Well, actually," Veronica says dryly to a bad guy, "despite popular opinion, you really can't beat the truth out of someone." Some of the show's broad strokes echo the stellar Buffy the Vampire Slayer, yet Bell's Veronica doesn't need the supernatural to tackle a challenge. She's a real girl, conflicted, prickly, lovesick, yearning, sometimes even scared. As Veronica tries to solve the mystery, she must also handle her own heartbreaks, and the moral stumbles of those closest to her. Happily, she's got a great best pal, Wallace (the effervescent Percy Daggs III), and possibly the coolest, most understanding TV dad ever (Enrico Colantoni). The boxed set includes 22 episodes (many with deleted scenes), a behind-the-scenes mini-doc, a cute gag reel, and a short profile film, Veronica Mars: Not Your Average Teen Detective. You can say that again. --A.T. Hurley