Sam Brooks embarks on a search to watch the much-hyped season four of Veronica Mars. For an update, scroll to the end of the piece to find out where you can watch.
The short answer to that question in the headline: You can’t. At least not legally.
The new season of Veronica Mars is not on Netflix, not on NEON, not on Lightbox, not on Amazon Prime, not on TVNZ (not even on Demand!), not anywhere. The Spinoff reached out to all these services, as well as Three, and received various phrasings of ‘Nope, sorry, no plans to pick it up either’ in return.
So if you want to watch it legally, book your plane tickets because you’re going to America to watch it on Hulu, baby.
In the days of yore, when you had to watch television on an actual television, it was common for a TV show not to make it to the Land of the Long White Cloud. But these days, if you’ve got the dosh to subscribe to four different streaming services, chances are you’ll find that show that everybody’s talking about on social media overseas.
Which is why it was so bizarre to find on Friday, when the fourth season of a much-loved television show dropped (albeit a week early), that I couldn’t watch it anywhere. Over the weekend, fans on Twitter were raving about the twists and turns of the season, and especially the ending. But if you were in New Zealand, don’t you dare think about (legally) participating in that conversation! Go watch Mean Mums, you Kiwis.
The Veronica Mars situation is a throwback to that time when New Zealand would get shows months, if not years, after the fact. The wait could be so long that a show might be cancelled before it even got its primetime premiere over here. I still have fond memories of the ridiculously lavish campaign that TV2, as it was then called, ran for LAX, a Heather Locklear show about Los Angeles Airport which by that point had already been put out of its misery after just eight episodes.
Another, more relevant example is the original three-season run of Veronica Mars. The show originally aired on UPN, a now-defunct TV network whose hits included Roswell, Star Trek: Enterprise, a lot of wrestling and, uh, Jake 2.0. Barely anybody watched those first two seasons of Veronica Mars, and when the network shuttered it was picked up by the CW, and ran for one troubled season.
But in New Zealand, Veronica Mars aired in a primetime slot on a Friday night – or at least the first season did. If you wanted to watch seasons 2 and 3, it meant spending your sunny Sunday afternoons indoors. But for that first season, the show was a genuine hit, and people loved it. I’d bet a not inconsiderable amount of money that I’ve talked to more fans of the show from New Zealand than I have from anywhere else, which is why it’s so surprising that no streaming service here has picked up the new season.
That’s especially so when you consider that the first three seasons are there to be watched on TVNZ OnDemand right now! And if you haven’t seen those three seasons, you really should. Veronica Mars, as a character, is one of the greats. She’s flawed without being monstrous, badass without being unrealistic, and has conflicts both internal and external that make her a genuinely compelling person to watch develop over three seasons. Plus, Kristen Bell’s performance is still, to this day, highly underrated and under-rewarded.
Which is all to say: Somebody buy this show now! You’ll get your money’s worth, I promise.
UPDATED: Neon has announced that they’re going to be receiving the fourth season of Veronica Mars for streaming on August 2, as well as seasons 1-3 and the 2014 film.
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.