By Tom Gliatto Mark Dagostino Lisa Ingrassia
May 07, 2007 12:00 PM

The CW (Tuesdays, 9 p.m. ET)


Teenage detective Veronica Mars, back for a month’s worth of episodes, still has a harsh blonde prettiness that softens and glows appealingly whenever she’s about to lose her heart to romance. But now that she’s moved on from high school to college, the mysteries don’t have the same long, complicated arcs as in earlier seasons, and the show’s kid-noir atmosphere has thinned out. Watching two new episodes, one with a good guest appearance by Paul Rudd as a boozy, aimless rock star, I sometimes got the sense I’d been viewing a young person’s Murder, She Wrote. But the show remains essentially knowing, sharp and funny, and Kristen Bell continues to deliver one of TV’s most underrated performances as Veronica. She’s a cute yet complicated creature: a kitten with a dangerous sense of curiosity—but also the cool analytic skills to save her skin.