While many Veronica Mars fans are in mourning over today's long-expected news of the cult series' cancellation, I confess that I am not among the bereaved. Don't get me wrong. I'm still a fan of the show, and if it had been renewed for another year–likely in the "Veronica Joins The F.B.I" format–I would've tuned in. But let's face it: Veronica Mars never had a huge audience, and the audience it did have consisted of the kind of fickle TV geeks who tend to take any creative stumble as an opportunity to jump on the internet and proclaim, "Worst. Episode. Ever."

(Aside: Who'd have thought, when that phrase was introduced on The Simpsons in a throwaway gag, that it would go on to become so pervasive? Weird.)

Veronica Mars leaves behind a small but significant legacy. Its first season stands as one of the best examples of how to handle long-form serialized mysteries, as well as how to mix genres in ways that elevate every element. The second season, though over-ambitious, was trying for something noble, engaging with the kind of class issues that American TV rarely touches. And the multi-arc third season was pretty good too, encompassing breezy scenes of college life and a few genuinely compelling mysteries.

But there have been signs of trouble too lately, like the way some beloved cast members have gotten shoved aside, and the way the Veronica/Logan romance has swung back and forth about twice too often. (And I don't even want to get into Piz's big Pitchfork speech this week, which was painful in its attempts to sound plugged-in to the now.) In short, there's no reason to believed that a fourth season of Veronica Mars wouldn't have seen the fan base diminish even further, as the old guard turned its back with the usual combination of boredom and disgust that grips some TV fans the longer their favorites stay on the air.

Cancellations suck, but they can also be a blessing in disguise. Veronica Mars–like Arrested Development before it–now gets to live on in near-pristine form on DVD, unmarred by creative bankruptcy and fan revolt. And it gets to be a martyr on behalf of all the "good TV"–as opposed to the merely "TV-good"–that got cancelled before it could go out on its own terms.

Not too shabby, really.

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