Veronica Mars: Season 3

Veronica Mars: Season 3

Long-suffering fans of a critically acclaimed but low-rated television show can be a fickle lot, willing to turn on their beloved at the first whiff of mainstream audience courting. But when CW teen detective drama Veronica Mars ditched season-long mysteries for more digestible narrative chunks and transplanted its titular character to college, most of us were supportive, knowing full well that mere acclaim wasn’t going to keep it afloat. And it didn’t; this was the show’s last hurrah. But there’s a bittersweetness to this DVD set, because with it comes great hope in the form of the "Pitching Season Four” featurette. In an attempt to restart his struggling drama, creator Rob Thomas conceived of a five-year jump forward in time that would see Veronica Mars on the first day of her new job at the FBI. The 20-minute "mini-pilot” features a radically different look, fresh new cast (The Shield’s Walton Goggins!) and a more age-appropriate role for fab Kristen Bell (now slumming on Heroes) — it’s almost worse now to not just imagine what could have been but see exactly what the CW said no to. It just adds more fuel to our store of self-righteous indignation, already in no short supply amongst Mars supporters. Instead of episode commentaries, we get "Going Undercover with Rob Thomas,” a sort of split-screen mini-commentary where he smartly handpicks specific scenes worth discussing. A lame webisode gallery and a lamer gag reel fill out the extras and we’re left with just the show, which (if we can now be honest, in retrospect) really satisfied neither long-time fans (who groaned through Mars-unworthy romances both old and new) nor attracted new ones. Though even the worst season of a great show is still better than most dreck, the could’ve-beens are pretty heartbreaking. Plus: deleted scenes. (Warner)