Tag Archives: Dawson’s Creek

Veronica Mars Movie – Fans Rule or Do They?

17 Oct

veronica-mars

Veronica Mars stands in the company of Buffy The Vampire Slayer,  Dawson’s Creek and One Tree Hill, as the kind of show that stirs in me an obsessive mania. The kind of mania that once allowed me to put all thoughts of self preservation aside and bring a handmade Dawson’s Creek pencil case to school. The kind of mania that compelled me to collect a completely valueless Buffy The Vampire Slayer trading card collection. Yes, High School was not an easy time for me. But now we live in the age of kickstarter and obsessive fans who no longer have to papermache or collect action figures. Now they can literally buy a movie. And 6 months ago fans of Veronica Mars did just that, and so the Veronica Mars movie was born.

On our TV screens from 2004 to 2007, Veronica Mars is the story of a teenage private detective with trust issues and a Taser.  Veronica was once a normal, popular high school girl, until her life was completely upended by the murder of her best friend, Lily Kane.  Her father, Sheriff Mars, is convinced that Lily’s parents (particularly her father Jake Kane, a software billionaire) had something to do with their daughters death. And it is this conviction, along with minimal evidence, that gets him kicked out of office and gets Veronica unceremoniously dumped by her social circle. Sheriff Mars becomes Keith Mars, disgraced former Sheriff and current private detective. His wife develops a drinking problem and skips town and Veronica becomes his secretary, or, more accurately, his partner in crime.

The first season of Veronica Mars is amazing and possibly some of the greatest TV ever seen, powered by the fascinating mystery of Lily Kane’s Murder, it can’t be beat. The season spends a lot of time on Veronica’s back story, dividing itself into two, the Nior world that  Veronica now lives in,  and the sunny but  underbellied world of her past. Raking through her memories for clues as to what happened to her friend, we see the kind of girl Veronica used to be, pretty and blonde and unconcerned with the problems of her community.

I love this element of the show, because so often in teen dramas there are outsider characters that aren’t plausible. They are beautiful and sassy and one wonders how they could really be so on the outside, when good looks and personality are the most powerful currencies in high school. Veronica’s back story makes it abundantly clear why she is on the outside and why she is so angry. Rejected for supporting her father, abandoned by her mother and suffering from the devastation of the loss of a bright and powerful friend, she has experienced far to much to function in the shallow world of high school.

Another great and super sexy subplot of of the first season is the hate-turned-love relationship between Veronica and the school’s ‘obligatory psychotic jackass’, Logan. Starting out as the dickhead who smashes up Veronica’s car, Logan doesn’t seem like a potential love interest all. A tough feat in these days of Jerks-with-extremely-obvious-hearts-of-gold. Take note writers, a leather jacket and slicked back hair does not a bad boy make. Those kinds of bad boys have no impact, no danger,  and feel about as bad for you as a carob bar.

Veronica Mars lasted for only 3 seasons, a travesty in the eyes of its fans. However, when you look at the body of work, the show probably got what it deserved. The third season is very disappointing. Where the first two season long mystery arcs succeeded , the third season is made up of three separate arcs, none of which are particularly compelling. The 3rd season also suffers from getting Veronica and Logan together. When it comes to TV, nothing is more boring than a happy couple. All the spice and sizzle of the ‘will they, won’t they’ is dead and all you’re left with is minor arguments and little insecurities. They do break up mid way though the season, but in a rather uninspired way. I have to be honest, when I saw season three I remember thinking, ‘No wonder they cancelled it’. It’s still Veronica Mars, so it’s still awesome, but in comparison to season 1, it just didn’t have it.

So now in 2013 powered by obsessive fans like myself, Veronica Mars is being made into movie. A feat that wouldn’t be possible without the invention of peer funding websites like Kickstater. Based on the quality of the later seasons, I’m not really sure Veronica Mars deserved to be funded. But based on the 6 times I have seen season 1, I can totally understand how the Veronica Mars Movie made over 5 million dollars in crowd source funding.

But is this really a good thing? These websites were not made to fund commercial enterprises. These sites were intended for grassroots funding, like undiscovered bands and tiny independent films. As such, creative projects with big stars and the potential to make large amounts of money really only take advantage of fans obsession and lack of business savvy. They essentially take an investment and offer very limited return. While the real financial benefits are being reaped miles away by people who didn’t believe enough in the project to back it themselves, such as the mega corporation Warner Bros that continues to own the rights to Veronica Mars.

So, do fans really rule the world, or are we still at the bottom of the totem poll, hugging our DVDs and One Tree Hill soundtracks, happily giving away our lunch money to a bully in disguise? Are our nerdy obsessions being valued or taken advantage of?

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The Vampire Diaries: Kevin Williamson is a Master of the Love Triangle

25 Apr

Has anyone seen last weeks episode of ‘The Vampire Diaries’, because if you missed it you are missing out. It was hot, steaming hot. I haven’t seen anything that hot on TV for quite sometime and I’ve watched every episode of ‘Secret Diary of a Call Girl’.

The moment when two characters finally get together is a vital one in the success or failure of any TV series. In some series it happens too quick, everything seems meant to be and after a few minor obstacles the couple gets together 6 episodes in, 10 episodes later the couple has broken up and no matter how much you loved them to begin with, the on again off again can never compete with that pre kiss, pre anything sexual tension.

The OC is a perfect example of this Marissa and Ryan get together eight episodes in and sure it was great but for longevity’s sake it was terrible move. They became a super annoying couple and Marissa’s constant flakiness is no longer seen as damsel in distress but as an idiot looking for trouble.

Getting your meant to be couple together too early, burns through story lines too quickly and doesn’t allow for the vital ingredient in any successful TV romance, the longing. And no I don’t mean the longing between the characters I mean the longing from the audience for it to finally happen. That longing or hope or obsession from an audience member is a powerful tool, it can turn minor flirting into major entertainment and it can power otherwise dull stories, but if you don’t build the longing you can’t use its power.

But that is not to say that you should never get your couple together, the excessive use of the longing is also a crime. Shows like the X Files, Gilmore Girls, Castle are massive abusers of the longing. Once the audience begins to feel that the couple who are essentially perfect for each other will never get together simply because the writing team don’t want them to, the power of the longing disappears and is simply replaced by irritation. Characters can only have so many interrupted moments and lost opportunities before the possibilities of the sexual tension grows stale.

So what’s the solution, how can we have the longing without the irritation, without the feeling that nothing is happening and nothing ever will. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the love triangle. The love triangle allows for there always to be longing for one side or the other and for there always to be action, for the point of the triangle to be swinging from side to side with never ending romantic fodder. Kevin Williamson the writer of Dawson’s Creek, Scream 1-4, Teaching Mrs Tingle and of course The Vampire Diaries is the master of the love triangle. BTW the love triangle always works better with two guys, just saying.

The best thing about Mr Williamson’s love triangles is the slow burn, he totally convinces you that one pairing is meant to be and then slowly and subtly manipulates the story and the characters until you are on the edge of your seat voting for pairing number two. Dawson’s Creek is the first time I was introduced to Mr Williamson’s talents. I was 100% Dawson and Joey all the way but then slowly and sneakily they didn’t seem right anymore. Dawson was immature, he didn’t love Joey enough and Pacey, he was self sacrificing, gentle and rugged. The next thing you know Dawson was chopped liver and I would have been fine with Pacey killing him. And so we have the beauty of the love triangle we get to do the longing over and over again, the writer gently manipulating us one way or the other.

Well fool me once same on you, fool me twice shame on me. Mr Williamson’s new series The Vampire Diaries, is pretty damn awesome but even I didn’t see how Elena and Stefan we ever going to end up in a triangle. Sure Damon has always wanted Elena but given that Stefan is perfection and incredibly moral and Damon on occasion snaps and kills people it seemed unlikely Elena would make the jump. But this season when Stefan agrees to help the evil Klaus to save his brother Damon and gets hooked on killing again, Mr Williamson got a chance to weave his magic once more.

The most important thing is that the switch seems plausible, your character can’t just throw over the love of their life, they have to slowly fall in love with someone else without knowing it. And that is what happened to Elena. Stefan is evil now and Damon is trying to help Elena get through it. Her influence is turning him around and he’s challenging her. Suddenly even when Stefan comes back to the light, Elena is torn and so am I. And so Mr Williamson does it again, turned my sympathies and put me into a truly awesome love triangle.

And this week was the reward, the forbidden make out that finally confirms what the rest of us have known for weeks, Elena has feelings for Damon. Beautifully staged with very little dialogue and tonnes of sexual tension, the couple explode off the screen in a scene, that I had to rewind and watch a second time. Hats off Mr Williamson you’ve done it again.