‘Veronica Mars’ appears on Kickstarter in hopes of a second chance, then promptly decimates records

 veronica_marsThe TV show Veronica Mars may soon return as a feature film thanks to a new Kickstarter project started by the series’ creator, Rob Thomas.

In the words of thousands of fans around the world right now, “squee.” Feel free to extend that into a shrill yell. Be sure to up the octaves.

When there is a TV show that resonates with a person, a show that just seems to them to be head-and-shoulders above the general swamp of mediocre programming that dominates the airwaves, those fans aren’t quick to simply let it go when that show is cancelled before its time. It’s sort of like holding a grudge, but in a happier way, and often with Cosplay. 

Fans don’t react well when that happens, but in the best cases they mobilize. The original Star Trek was cancelled after just three seasons, but fan support was so strong that it spawned a film which in turn spawned an empire. When the CBS drama Jericho was cancelled, fans mailed in over 20 tons of peanuts to the CBS offices in support of the show. Explaining why they sent peanuts would take longer than it was worth, but the campaign worked, and CBS commissioned an 8 episode second season. The show was again cancelled after that, but the fan campaign alone kept Jericho going despite relatively low ratings. And of course Joss Whedon’s Firefly managed to squeeze out the movie Serentiy after the show’s cancellation after just 14 episodes. A decade later the show still draws huge crowds at ComicCon.

Hell hath no fury like the fan of a show cancelled too early, and to that list of programs that saw a premature death but retains passionate fans, you can firmly add Veronica Mars.

The detective noir drama starring Kristen Bell as a high school – and then college age – sleuth debuted on UPN in 2004 and lasted just three seasons. For years afterwards, both Thomas and Bell discussed the possibilities of a feature film, but despite Bell’s growing popularity and a determined fanbase, the relatively poor DVD sales scared away most potential Hollywood backers.

Earlier today, Thomas began a Kickstarter campaign to raise $2 million by April 12 to fund the film independently. Not only does it look like Thomas will easily reach that mark in less than 12 hours, it appears that the Veronica Mars movie project will smash that initial goal. The project hit $1 million in just over 4 hours and shows no signs of slowing.

Before today, the most successful Film & Video project to appear on Kickstarter was Video Game High School: Season Two, which hit its goal of $636,010, then went on to take in over $800K total. Not only has the Veronica Mars Kickstarter project surpassed that, it did so in a matter of hours.

The top earning Kickstarter project to date is the Pebble: E-paper watch, which received nearly $10.3 million thanks to 69,000 backers. At this rate, there is a good chance that the Veronica Mars project will soon pass that total. But even if it misses that lofty height, the project seems certain to reach its funding goal. Assuming it does, the project will begin filming this summer, with a projected release date of February 2013. Warner Bros. still owns the rights to the property, but according to Thomas, “Kristen and I met with the Warner Bros. brass, and they agreed to allow us to take this shot. They were extremely cool about it, as a matter of fact. Their reaction was, if you can show there’s enough fan interest to warrant a movie, we’re on board.”

Rejoice, fans of cancelled TV series! Assuming the Veronica Mars project reaches its goal, and assuming those involved can release a successful film (which is anything but a given), it could offer new hope to fans of cancelled TV shows everywhere. 

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