Arriving on television with smart alec style, “Veronica Mars” provided sass and verve in a sleek noir package. With a nod to Nancy Drew, Veronica, played by the avid Kristen Bell, stood incessantly at attention, on the ready with a quip and the necessary street smarts to back herself up.

One of the first casualties of the new CW, the show had difficulty transitioning from a high school based narrative to one set at a university. The first and second season centered around fewer crimes with overarching storylines that lasted the season. For what would turn out to be final season, “Veronica Mars” attempted to be more episodic and got slightly lost along the way.

Still, Bell, playing a teenage detective, brings such conviction and heart to the character that it’s hard not to watch. Jason Dohring, who plays on again off again love interest Logan Echolls, has such a surprising and true chemistry with Bell that no matter how many times the writers have tried to break them up, I have to believe there’s some sort of gravitational pull bringing them back together in spite of themselves.

Rounding out the cast, Francis Capra, Percy Dags III, Enrico Colantoni and Tina Majorino became one of the most motley and enjoyable ensembles on television.

“Veronica Mars” somehow managed to tackle themes like class, race and gender without ever feeling polemical or heavy handed. Unlike today’s CW with shows like “Gossip Girl,” “Veronica” was a show that tweens, teens and adults could love.

Sadly, the growing pains could not be averted. But Bell’s portrayal of Veronica – a true dame with a nod to Barbara Stanwyck and Bette Davis will not soon be forgotten. Hopefully Bell will be able to bring something great to the table on her new show, “Heroes.”

Extras: Interviews with creator Rob Thomas, cast interviews, set tours, unaired scenes with introductions by Thomas, gag reel.

Grade: B

Veronica Mars: Season Three is currently available.