“A teenaged private I, trust me, I know how dumb that sounds.” Poking fun at the franchise’s own original premise, the first line of the upcoming film Veronica Mars is the beginning of a short two minute monologue that brings the audience up to speed on what happened in the original Veronica Mars television series.
The series, which ran for a total of three seasons on the now defunct UPN and it’s successor, The CW, focused on title character Veronica, a teenager who works for her dad, a former sheriff turned P.I. in the fictional seaside Southern California town of Neptune. The quirky teen ‘dramedy’ (drama/comedy) refused to adhere to the traditional teen hookups and shenanigans that other shows in the genre covered. Although Veronica Mars did include some of those staples, the show tackled much heavier topics through Neptune’s perpetual problems with political corruption and class wars between the rich/social elite and the crime-ridden lower class. It was this wide appeal of both cliché teen drama and important social issues that gave the show such a cult following.
Ultimately, despite appealing ratings numbers and the cult fan following, the show was cancelled after only three seasons due to the creative directions of the then-newly formed CW network (which carried over Veronica Mars from UPN after the UPN/The WB merger).
Nine years later, series creator Rob Thomas and the cast of the show felt it was time for some sort of reunion, both for the fun of it, and to give a proper ending for the fans. An idea for a movie was pitched to WB, the original producers of the show, but the studio was unwilling to fund the project. They were, however, willing to support the project by means of licensing and distribution if the team could get the funding elsewhere.
Thomas and the cast decided to take to social fundraising site Kickstarter, asking the show’s fans to ultimately fund the project, thinking that if there was enough interest in the movie, it would happen via fan donations, and if not, then it was worth a try.
There was more than enough interest. The project reached it’s $2 million goal in less than 10 hours, breaking Kickstarter records for the fastest project to reach both $1 million and $2 million. By the end of the 30 day campaign, the project was the most successful Kickstarter project in history, with 91,585 backers donating $5,702,153.
The film instantly became a reality, immediately beginning pre-production as soon as the minimum goal was reached. In the year since, the hype as grown, introducing new fans, affectionately called ‘Marshmallows’, to the show. Since then, The CW (now under new management) has green-lit a new pilot for a Veronica Mars spinoff series for their internet TV network CW Seed.
The new movie, spinoff, and all the hype surrounding them has both created a whole new generation of fans and given old fans something to look forward to. It’s an unprecedented event that speaks to the power of the internet and social media.
Veronica Mars opens in select theaters and will be released for digital purchase this Friday, March 14th.