In the days since the Veronica Mars movie Kickstarter reached its $2 million goal in less than 24 hours, I’ve kept a tab open to the page. In a week, it’s blown past its goal, now nearly reaching four million dollars at the time of this posting. We still have three more weeks–who knows what could still happen?
I have to confess that I was not a marshmallow (V Mars fan, for those somehow not yet in the know) until the last few months. A very good friend of mine had been bugging me for months to watch the show, and I’d been dragging my feet (“I already watch so many shows! I’ll do it during a hiatus!”). Finally, though, I sat down to watch it, and I’ve been unable to stop since. I’m not done yet, but with every episode I know that I’m already mourning the fact that there are only three seasons. And I have to know that I’m not alone in this, especially not now.
The advent of this kind of fundraising, especially in new media, gives us something to hold onto. My hopes and dreams, along with those of every other TV lover out there, are being given the kind of attention we’ve never been able to garner before. We’ve been fighting for years to see our favorite shows renewed, or at least given a full final season with cancelation, and only met mild success.
We’re about to see some big changes in the way television and movies are produced and released. For years, the Internet has been the world’s largest playground, with those early adopters being the ones able to make it turn a serious profit. I know that sentence sounds like it came straight from 1995, but hear me out. The people with the money have been generally the ones able to make the Internet work for them, but things are changing now, and the V Mars Kickstarter (as well as the entire concept of Kickstarter) is a prime example of what change is to come.
We’ve basically been told for years that our input as viewers doesn’t matter, if you don’t have a Nielsen box. And I don’t know about you, but I’ve gone almost 25 years without meeting a single person designated as a national tastemaker simply by being given one of these boxes (and I’ve never met anyone who knew someone who had one, either).
But now our input does matter. Having been denied renewals and watched hopeful shows canceled within weeks of premiering, the general television fanbase has lost its patience for these shenanigans. We’ve seen incredible effort go into fighting for shows-that-could, like Chuck and Community, with moderate reward (and exhausted disdain, can’t forget that–if networks really loved shows as much as their heads say they do, I suspect we wouldn’t actually have this problem). Even people who aren’t direct fans of these shows have contributed to the efforts, just wanting to see success for those who are so passionate about the shows they love.
And that’s what Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell hit upon when they finally decided to launch this Kickstarter. This is the ultimate revenge for the spurned viewer, although the question has not yet been answered just how much Warner Bros is putting into this effort. Despite that very important question, however, this franchise has had life breathed back into it by the fans, and by those who believe in the importance of those brilliant once-in-a-decade shows (and even those who believe in backing passionate fans, as the $10,000 donor did). This was a huge gamble on everyone’s part, and I have to admit, I was nervous. I know the marshmallow fanbase is large, but two million dollars is still a lot of money (the largest Kickstarter in its category, on top of that). I was hoping we’d have the money in a week or two, and that the second half of the month would take care of anything on top of that. Little did I know–or expect–that it would be literally a matter of hours before the goal was met, and a week later, we’re approaching four million dollars.
I mean, that’s it. We’ve done it. This project is definitely happening, and every day adds momentum to the machine.
Since its literal overnight success, there have been rumors of other shows taking this approach. Terriers, Chuck, Pushing Daisies–all shows canceled in their prime, but as cult hits. Had Community simply been canceled with Dan Harmon’s exit, I have no doubt this approach would have been brought up, and possibly been another incredible success story (perhaps the one leading the way for this, in an alternate timeline). I’m not sure that all shows need a movie or more seasons, a la Arrested Development, but at the same time, it’s not about crunching the numbers here and seeing what would work. At least, not at this stage.
Right now, this is about hope. The Veronica Mars team has shown us the light and led the way, and I have no doubt that the TV lovers will be able to start envisioning the change they want to see. We’ve all heard that thing about being the change you wish to see in the world, haven’t we? Well, I think our opportunities are starting to knock, so we should probably open our door to her. And as we all know, a day is never complete without Veronica Mars stepping through and accusing you of evil.