I’ve not yet met anyone else (outside my house) who shares my passion for Rob Thomas’ wonderful creation, Veronica Mars. Being a fan of Veronica Mars in the UK has taken a fair bit of effort. Back in the mid 2000s I’d seen Veronica Mars written about a lot during its US run – Salon writers had nothing but praise for this ‘teen drama’ (it’s so much more) but, in the UK, Veronica Mars was broadcast on Living at 3am (ish) and episodes ran sporadically so any attempt to collect to video was thwarted. Other cable broadcasters have shown the show here as have C4 but none of the broadcasters showed any commitment to marketing the show or, indeed to scheduling consistency. Veronica Mars (for the first two seasons at least) uses a series long narrative arc so without promotion it’s a very difficult programme for audiences to dip into. For a long while it was even difficult to get the DVDs in the UK – the fact that I had to buy a region 2 box set from Spain in 2009 perhaps speaks volumes about the changes in accessibility to television programmes in the past few years.
All this effort was worth it though. Veronica Mars dared to go where other teen dramas feared; Veronica’s best friend was murdered before season one begins and Veronica deals with rape, parental infidelity, child abuse and class inequality – all within the first few episodes. Veronica Mars fans may not be common in the UK but they have (like fans of other prematurely canceled shows such as Firefly, Chuck, Deadwood etc.) been vocal in their calls for a return to the world of Veronica and her father Kieth and the socially divided town of Neptune California. This week’s landmark Kickstarter appeal for a Veronica Mars movie proves that there are fair few VM fans out there and a good many of them want to see a film made.
The programme’s smart writing and beautifully drawn characters have clearly stayed with people in the six years since its cancellation. I am clearly not the only person who wants to know how the collection of misfits, spoiled brats and ne’er do wells got on after college. It might not be the most important thing to dwell on but I also live in hope that the theme tune will be returned to its season 1 and 2 unadulterated Dandy Warhols original. Kickstarter provides an alternative funding mechanism that can bypass the traditional big business investors and the power to fund is put in the hands of, well, anyone who might want to be involved.
Not everyone is optimistic about this new funding model though, especially if it means movie producers will see this as a way to avoid taking a financial risk if they can persuade fans to pay upfront for products before they are made. But, as super-fan Joss Whedon says, the thought of more time with the sassiest pint sized private detective in TV history creates ‘unfettered joy’ for her fans. Whedon may not sound overly positive about using Kickstarter to fund the return to the Firefly universe its fan-base clearly wants, but this could lead to more cult TV tie-in films being developed. Maybe Rob Thomas’ other unfairly cancelled work of genius Party Down could be up for a revival before too long!