But it's true - Veronica Mars is finally out in cinemas today (March 14), and to celebrate the occasion we're looking back on five of the best episodes from its time on TV.
Narrowing down our list of favourites to just five was agonising, and there are some gems we've missed out – leaving out 'Weapons of Class Destruction', the episode in which Logan and Veronica first kiss, was a particular wrench. Our final, painfully constructed list is below:
Veronica Mars's first episode had a trickier task than most – in the first hour, creator Rob Thomas has to introduce a distinctive blend of sly high school drama and noir murder mystery, weave a web of backstory encompassing Lily Kane's murder, Veronica's rape, Keith Mars's history as sheriff, the town of Neptune and its power dynamics and more, and establish Veronica's witty, pensive voiceover in a way that doesn't feel forced. This is an episode so light-footed and skillfully written that you don't realise till afterwards just how hard it's working.
'Return of the Kane'
Plot-wise, this isn't a standout episode – Neptune's class warfare rears its ugly head again in the main storyline which focuses on the high school's elitist 'Pirates Points' system, but it's the Echolls family B plot that makes this one such a gem. It's the first episode in which we see hints that Logan is more than the "obligatory psychotic jackass" Veronica labeled him in the pilot, and the gradual reveal of his abusive home life with movie star dad Aaron (a sinister Harry Hamlin) is appropriately chilling.
'Leave It To Beaver'
The season-long mystery of Lily's murder was close to a master class in how to sustain tension and deploy red herrings in a way that doesn't alienate an audience. Its resolution delivers all the requisite heart-pounding thrills – placing Veronica in jarringly direct personal danger as she's pursued by a deranged Aaron Echolls – without sacrificing the emotional payoff of Veronica finally letting her best friend go.
'Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner'
This is a strange, singular episode, incredibly dark even by the show's standards. Veronica's efforts to uncover the identity of a child who is being abused lead her to the conservative parents of her comatose friend Meg Manning (Alona Tal). In the episode's disturbing, unresolved final moments, Sheriff Lamb arrives to arrest Veronica and Duncan for trespassing at the Manning house. After hearing their story, Lamb (who has been nothing but an amoral jerk up to this point) silently lets them go. The bizarre lack of any follow-up to this episode doesn't diminish its power.
The second season finale has its issues. The bus crash mystery lacked the emotional stakes of Lily's murder, and unlike in the first season there were a few too many red herrings to keep track of, which led into a resolution that feels rushed and slightly scattershot. But the rooftop sequence with Veronica, Cassidy (Kyle Gallner) and Logan is pure, gorgeous melodrama, and Keith's fake-out death feels devastating instead of cheap thanks to Kristen Bell's gut-wrenching performance. Add in Veronica's fantasy of an alternative graduation day, in which Lilly is alive and her mother is still around, and you're left with a rich, poignant conclusion to a tricky season.
What's your favourite episode of Veronica Mars? Let us know in the comments!