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Kickstarting ‘Veronica Mars’

Will Neal | Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Six years ago, the tiny, adorable, sloth-loving, blonde known as Kristen Bell impressed the world with her widely popular and critically successful series, “Veronica Mars.” The show followed the story of Bell’s title character: a girl who spends her high school and early college years moonlighting as a private investigator under the direction of her detective father in the fictional town of Neptune, Calif. 

The show won numerous awards during its three-season run and delivered consistently solid story arcs that were thrilling, funny, smart, loveable and, most importantly, quite entertaining.
Sure it was a great show, but why am I writing about a series that was cancelled in 2006? Well, in a surprise move that shocked “Veronica Mars” fans across the globe, the actors and series creator, Rob Thomas, announced a Kickstarter campaign to have its dedicated fans fund the show’s long-awaited jump to a feature film. What is far more surprising, however, is that the Kickstarter page reached their $2 million goal in less than 10 hours. The page continues to receive funding and has currently accumulated over $3.6 million from generous and loyal supporters. 

The cast and crew offered various prizes to their fans ranging from signed scripts to walk-on roles, and promised that production would begin this upcoming summer. So for those of you who are neither fans nor familiar with the show, why should you care about this piece of news? To put it simply, “Veronica Mars” has changed the game for all of our favorite cancelled series. But, let’s first explore the bold move that made this all happen. 

While there was certainly a wide range of enthusiasm following the news of the successful campaign, the team’s efforts also faced their fair share of controversy. The campaign’s host website, Kickstarter.com has been known as the premium source of funding for independent projects, so that even the little guys could have a shot at making their dream projects. 

If you’re not familiar with the Kickstarter, it essentially allows users to set up their own fund raising campaign website that includes in text and video an explanation of what they hope to accomplish. There are countless types of projects on the website including fashion, new technologies, music, gaming and (in this case) films. A page will include a desired financial goal the user hopes to hit and the date by which they plan to achieve it. From there, the word is spread to potential supporters. Many users offer prizes and rewards to those “backers” who donate higher amounts. Only if the goal is met by their deadline does the project receive its funding.

Kickstarter has been a revolutionary way to bring to life an idea that can’t quite get off the ground, and it is one that Rob Thomas and the “Veronica Mars” team used to their advantage. Yet, many have expressed the belief that network shows and studios have no place on Kickstarter. However, if we all consider that there is a finally a chance for our favorite shows to return from the dead, maybe no one would be complaining then. 

Let’s take for example the prematurely cancelled cult favorite, “Firefly,” created by the great and powerful Joss Whedon, director of “The Avengers” and creator of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” He has seen the success of the “Veronica Mars” team’s bold move and said he certainly wouldn’t be opposed to a similar move for his beloved sci-fi series someday.  

The success of this Kickstarter campaign has opened a huge door for the potential return for other series, and fans are jumping to the Internet to express their desires for shows they wish to return for a big-screen treatment. What if we had a chance to see Tony and the rest of family return for “The Sopranos” as a feature film? Or to see what happened to the lovable gang of “Freaks and Geeks” more than a decade later?  Maybe we will even see a continuation of the “Battlestar Galactica” saga. 

Only time well tell what shows will rise from this revelation, but just keep in mind that there is a new hope for all of your favorite cancelled shows. And for that, we thank you, “Veronica Mars.”