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?