John Carter Of Veronica Mars

I’ve been meaning to watch Veronica Mars for several years, but I’ve never actually gotten around to it. I guess I should get on that.

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I’m always happy when someone finds a way to circumvent the established systems that are in place for keeping people from getting their creativity out to the people that would appreciate it. Garageband, iTunes, YouTube, Kickstarter and a host of other softwares and services (including the Internet in general) that mostly didn’t exist a decade ago exist, in part, to shake up the status quo of the creative industrial complex and break down the barriers between content creators and their fans. They also exist to make large amounts of money for their owners and shareholders.

See, that’s the thing. The systems by which creative people are given license and funds to create a thing and distribute it to their audience aren’t changing all that much. It’s just that we’re slowly removing redundancies, levels of arbitrary approvals, and decreasing the number of obsolete middlemen in order to take a 50 step process down to a 5 step one. I want to make this. Do you want it? Ok, give me money and I’ll do it and then you can have it. Here, I made it like I said I would. Thanks. That’s pretty much how it’s always been, accept now those are the ONLY steps (in most cases), instead of just the major milestones between dozens of other, smaller ones. That isn’t to say creating a thing like a show or a book or an album doesn’t require hundreds of steps, and hours and often times people. It’s just that there are fewer INDIVIDUALS that can tell you, “No. Stop this,” and you’d actually have to stop.

 The Veronica Mars Kickstarter (which funded on its first day and is currently hovering over $3 million) is a different beast than your typical crowd funded project. Instead of a person or team with an idea to make a thing, and all they need is money and time, this is a studio owned property that’s jammed up sideways with the typical Hollywood bullshit red tape. Rob Thomas doesn’t own his show, which means some WB exec said, “We’re not going to give you $2 million to make a movie for a cancelled show that no one cares about. Come at me with a pitch for an adapted fairy tale but with hot teens and we’ll talk business. Now it’s TIME FOR COCAINE!” And Rob Thomas said, “A) I do not front Matchbox 20. That is a DIFFERENT dude. And B) How about I get the Internet to give you $2 milly? Then can we do our movie?” And that exec probably replied, “SURE WHATEVER IS IT HOT IN HERE TO YOU IT’S PRETTY HOT TO ME I DON’T THINK IT WAS THIS HOT BEFORE I DID ALL THIS COOOOCAAAAAAAAAIIIIINNNNNNNNNE!!!! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! AAAAAAAAAAGHGHGHGLGLGLGLG!!!!!”

I honestly forgot what I was writing about during that last part, so I’ll wrap up by saying that this is the first step in a BIG BIG change in how very expensive projects get made or whether they get made at all. There will certainly be some (probably A LOT) of people that take this idea and try to replicate its success in extremely dumb ways, but there will probably also be quite a few worthy projects that get off the ground because of it. I don’t think we’ll get a Serenity 2: Zombie Wash In Space from Kickstarter any time soon, but I bet we get a few more proper finales to some unduly truncated TV shows. It’s a BIG baby step in the right direction.

COMMENTERS: First off, are you psyched for this Veronica Mars movie? Did you love the show or overlook it as “Buffy without monsters” like I did? Second thing: What property do you think would best benefit from a Kickstarter resurrection? A cancelled show, a long rumored and eventually shelved movie project? A video game sequel that never happened?

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43 Comments

  1. Never. Saw. One. Episode.

    This particular instance of crowdsourcing makes me think of that Disney TV documentary show back in the 60s with all the lemmings going over the cliff. It was faked, by the way.

    I am so starting "The Starlost" kickstarter. I wonder what Keir Dullea is doing these days?

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  2. I am super psyched. I did not watch Veronica Mars when it originally aired, but I consumed it quickly a few years ago when it was still available on Netflix.

    For me, it falls in the "Top 5 Shows I Love But They Reaffirm My Wife's Belief That I Am Actually A Teenage Girl" territory. It's a snarky conglomeration of Twin Peaks and Buffy with a John Hughes-ian filter.

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    • That is a great description of the show, actually.

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  3. Video game. I've always wanted another Crono Trigger. Crono Cross doesn't count!

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    • Except for Chrono Cross's music. Chrono Cross's music counts. The rest does not.

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  4. I really enjoyed Veronica Mars – its punchy and despite it's sunnydale style setting, it has a certain noir quality. Like Veronica and her dad are only a snap-brim fedora and a trenchcoat away from a Dashiel Hammet novel. I'm really pleased they're going to make a movie – if it weren't for the fact that overseas supporters can't donate at the moment, I'd have chipped in already. In some respects, this sort of Kickstarter campaign is kind of like just selling the DVD in advance, to get the movie made.

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    • Don't worry, Rob Thomas has daily updates about how hard he's working to get you an avenue for donating. He knows there's another good mil out there from y'all.

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  5. I'm also a huge Aaron Sorkin fan and more than any other show I'd love them to make a new series of Studio 60. That was a great show that was shut down for no earthly reason I can see aside from "30 Rock is already doing this premise, we can't have two shows trying to do the same idea!" On the surface it has the same premise as 30 Rock (even a similar name) but the writing was much wittier, and the handling of the story much cleverer. Don't get me wrong, I like 30 Rock, I have every season so far and it's good for a laugh where I don't have to use my brain. But Studio 60 had some truly great stories to tell and I'd love them to give it a chance to tell them. Plus, the pairing of Bradley Whitford and Matthew Perry was just too good not to use it again.

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    • Very much yes. I used to talk about how I wished TV shows could break away from the network model, and how in some cases I'd gladly pay up front for new seasons to be delivered over the internet. The two examples I always gave were Veronica Mars and Studio 60.

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  6. First: I want to know why male persons put Veronica Mars in the "teenage fan-girl" box, but embrace Buffy in the "gender neutral fan" box.

    Second: I am seeing a lot of ridicule of the Veronica Mars Kickstarter from fan persons that would do the same squeeing and "take all my dollars" if their favorite thing had a chance to reboot. This thing we fans do: spend our dollars on t-shirts, figurines, plushies, autographed photos, movie posters and comics – it gets more emotional when the object of our fandom has been canceled or out of print. We should find community in it, not bring others down because we are sad our favorite thing (Firefly) doesn't have a Kickstarter yet.

    I kicked in some of my dollars (not all of them) to the Veronica Mars Movie Project, squeeing all the way.

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  7. Loved Veronica Mars' first two seasons. Third one less so, but I'm excited for the movie. I also hope the idea of pre-paying for services continues to catch on. More and more restaurants are slowly dipping their toes in the water as well, which is another positive step.

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  8. So in other words, just a typical morning in the Ellison household…

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  9. Yes, Yes, A Thousand Time YES. This was SUCH a good show canceled before its time. I still revisit in approx. once a year.

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    • You're kidding right? There's nothing less fun that watching someone write a comedy show without having any actual comedy. It got boring fast, and I got pretty sick and tired of looking at Mathew Perry pretending to be stressed.

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      • It wasn't a comedy show. It was a drama. The setting was a comedy show, but the show itself was not a comedy. Kinda of like how Shaun of the Dead was about people relate to each other and just happened to be happening during a zombie apocolypse – the setting was a zombie apocalypse, but the show itself was a drama.

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        • Well it wasn't a particularly good drama either….certainly no West Wing.
          I tried to like the characters, but except for Lucy Davis, really didn't. Amanda Peet was a ridiculous choice, and the way her character was written…. I watched at least 14 episodes, I tried to give it a chance.

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  10. Just to be clear, I would watch the crap out of that

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  11. I remember first hearing about the show so many years ago and being really excited, only to watch the first couple episodes and realize that it wasn't set in space at all. I let out an apathetic "meh" and never watched another second of it. :/

    I'm sure it was a terrific show, it just wasn't what I was looking for.

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  12. Well, I kicked in $100 so you can probably guess my thoughts on the Kickstarter. Whedon has already said that everyone's too busy right now for a Firefly Kickstarter but perhaps in a couple years. (SOURCE: http://www.411mania.com/movies/news/276963)

    I think this is a perfectly acceptable thing. I also have many vile words for people who are trying to make people feel guilty about donating to it (there is a sizable backlash right now), but that's not for here.

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  13. I would love to see a Crusade movie – only getting 13 episodes of a planned 5-year story just completely STANK ON ICE. (The fact those 13 were a bit screwy because TNT was out of their minds didn't help.)

    Seriously – if I won one of those ridiculous quarter-billion Powerball jackpots, I'd set myself up a nice trust fund and then drop the rest in JMS' lap and say "More stuff in the B5 universe. Now."

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  14. Much like Buffy, Veronica Mars is one of those shows that I have to add an extra episode to in my head. (BUFFY SPOILER AHEAD JUST SAYING TURN BACK NOW: for example, in my imaginary Buffy episode, Spike emerges from the ruins of the Hellmouth and is totally fine, having earned his promised reward for being the champion. Then he makes Buffy fall for him so she'll stop being so whiny about being tired of being the slayer and how she died and everything.)

    So yeah, I'm excited for this movie :-)

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    • All of that sort of happened in Angel and the Season 8 comics.

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  15. Final Fantasy 12-2. In the opening cinematic, Vaan gets sucked into the airship's magijet-intake; the rest of the game is Balthier and Fran dropping wicked burns on fools and having just FURIOUS sex on things.

    Topmost contributor gets to have lunch with Yasumi Matsuno in his luxury writing-cell, who knows full well that the sooner the game is finished, the sooner he gets to leave and see his family again.

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  16. Could we get a kickstarter for a re-do on the Dead Like Me movie? Seriously that movie was so horrible I cried. Ruuuuuuubbbbeeee……

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    • Hooooo-leeeee-shiiiiiiiiit was that movie INSANE. It would like people that had never seen a single episode of the show wrote the first half, then people who hadn't seen the show or read the first half wrote the second half. It was next level banana pants.

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      • The guys who wrote the movie, had been writers on the show.
        My guess is that they had become meth heads, and they wrote that script lickety split, to get more drug money
        It was beyond awful.

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  17. I would love to see a Kickstarter of Detroit 1-8-7 – that's another show that got axed way too soon. It was a cop show that IMO turned the genre over onto its head, which is why it never got any studio support.

    Also, Michael Imperioli as Fitch is my favorite character of any show, ever.

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  18. I originally dismissed Veronics Mars because (based solely on the TV promos) it looked to me like Degrassi at the beach. But somewhere between the second and third seasons I read an interview with Joss Whedon in which he declared that it contained the most authentic writing on TV and that everyone should check it out and I was (of course) forced to do his bidding.

    I was immediately hooked and even though it only lasted another season after that, it remains one of my all-time favourite shows. I periodically get a hankering for some sassy girl-sleuthing and re-watch the entire series over a long weekend.

    Like so many other quality shows, it ended somewhat abruptly and I long for closure on some key storylines so I'm definitely looking forward to the movie!

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  19. I'm going to be completely honest–I reacted the the exact same way comic!Joel did.

    That said someone needs to bring The War Next Door back right damn now.

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  20. At first I reacted with elated incredulity (although I have never seen Veronica Mars) – fans of a show did WHAT? THAT IS SO COOL.

    But then I read a couple of articles that harshed my buzz a little. One of them talked about how much of the money is going to have to be spent producing and shipping a CRAPTON of merch as "rewards." Something like 30,000 t-shirts? More by now, I'm sure, since I read this yesterday. And signed DVDs and Blu-rays… sounds like a bit of a nightmare to me.

    And like you said, they don't actually own the property. So that has the potential to be all kinds of messed up. (I thought your portrayal of the WB exec was highly accurate.)

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    • Also, by my math, every cast member is signing over 7000 posters.
      If I was, say, Weevil, I would be willing to slam my hand in the car door to get out of that.

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  21. My boyfriend and I both loved Veronica Mars, and we are not teens. I wouldn't call it Buffy without the Monsters, but it did have some great snarky humour and a strong female lead. At least the original creator is behind the project.
    Unlike the Dead Like Me movie, Bryan Fuller was removed from executive producer of the tv show after the first season, and had no involvement with the movie.

    I would love to see a GOOD Pushing Daisies movie.

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  22. There are way too many great shows/movies/games that were either canceled, shelved, or needs a sequel to name. Just off the top of my head, there's Farscape, Babylon 5, Firefly, The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Caprica, Legacy of Kain: Dark Prophecy, Arcanum 2, Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, Psychonauts, etc.

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    • I would have like Caprica more if any of the characters had had any motivations for their actions.

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      • Farscape and Babylon 5 – Do they really need sequels?… I don't feel they left anything undone. As it was, Babylon 5 suffered from pacing problems the last few seasons…due to first worries about being cancelled, then being extended longer than expected.
        Sarah Connor Chronicles and Firefly- yes, there really needed to be more.
        Caprica – I enjoyed it, and would of like to have seen a second season. The Adama stuff seemed ridiculous at the end.
        It has to be better than that awful Blood and Chrome movie.

        I have never heard of the other shows mentioned.

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  23. There are already rumours that Bryan Fuller is contemplating a Pushing Daisies project on Kickstarter. I honestly can't think of any show I'd want to see revived more.

    Okay, maybe Greg the Bunny.

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  24. S1 Veronica Mars is very nearly perfect television. The seasons did get slightly worse as they went along, but all were very much worth watching.
    As far as "Buffy without monsters," there is a degree to which that's accurate, but it's not like the monsters vanish and all that's left is an average teen drama! Buffy's fantasy/horror elements get replaced with VM's noir detective elements. And don't underestimate the "noir" part of that; VM is at its best when it goes really really dark (which it does quite regularly). But it does share that Buffy tendency to keep snarking through everything, and it's clever, hilarious, and horrifying by turns.
    …Plus Joss Whedon liked it so much he did a cameo! Surely that's worth something?

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  25. I have never seen Veronica Mars (don't think it made it across the pond to Germany while I still had a TV), but after all the glowing reviews you all are giving it here, I'm gonna have to dig it up somewhere!

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  26. Joel: You should seriously check it out. And I'm not saying that in the "everyone should check it out" kind of way. I mean YOU should check it out.
    A couple years ago my wife once described it as her favorite show, and she's basically you, but with breasts and no beard.

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  27. Perhaps this is the opportunity that Buck Henry needs to finally get Quark back on the air.

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  28. MechWarrior! MechWarrior!! MechWarrior!!! MECHWARRIOR!!!!!

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