I’ve never been able to get into Veronica Mars, the UPN mystery series that became a cult hit a decade ago. Kristen Bell, who stars as the spunky high school sleuth, leaves me cold—my favorite thing I’ve ever seen her do was get shot in the head on Deadwood—and the over-reliance on narration made it impossible for me to get through the pilot. It reminded of Brick, a too-cute film, and the half hour or so I was able to watch of the pilot seemed to place the show in my least favorite of all sub-genres: noir pastiche.
But it seems the Internet disagrees with me. This morning, show creator Rob Thomas took to Kickstarter, asking for $2 million to turn the long-lost television show into a feature film. In less than a day, he’s been pledged more than $700,000. He has 30 days to go. Assuming the rate of pledging doesn’t fall off—which it will, until the last week or so—he’ll wind up with enough to make Jaws twice. (He would also need to kidnap Steven Spielberg, force him to build a time machine, and then explain why it’s important he make Jaws two more times.) So it looks like Veronica Mars Goes Big Screen is going to happen.
What have fans bought with their $700,000? $10 buys a copy of the script. $25 gets a t-shirt. For $400, Kristen Bell will follow you on Twitter. For $5,000 you can screen the movie in your home town; for $6,500 you get to name a character in the movie; for $10,000 you get a walk on role:
Here’s the scene — Veronica is eating with the man in her life. Things have gotten tense between them. You are the waiter/waitress. You approach the table, and you say, “Your check, sir.” We guarantee you will be on camera as you say the line. Unless you go all hammy and ruin the scene and we have to cut you out, but that would be a sad day for all of us. Just say the line. Don’t over-think it. You’re a waiter. Your motivation is to turn over the table.
Actually, you can’t do those last two things. Three people have already plunked down their $6,500 to name a character in the script, and someone has already purchased himself a $10,000 walk-on role. I find this incredibly depressing. Anyone who is that desperate for a taste of stardom should mail me a check for $9,999. I’ll write and produce a play for you to star in, where you get to talk for an hour instead of just three words. Throw in an extra $6,499, and I’ll even let you name your own character!
Which producer will be the next to cash in on his fanbase? Will Judd Apatow try to crowdsource Freaks & Geeks: The Movie? How about a kickstarter to revive My So Called Life, Crime Story, or Police Squad, starring a computer generated version of Leslie Nielson? Using digital technology to revive a beloved, cancelled-too-soon TV show is a tempting thing. When the new episodes of Arrested Development are released in May, we’ll see for the first time whether or not it’s a good idea. When the richest, dumbest man on Kickstarter gets a chance to say, “Your check, sir,” we’ll see it on the big screen. But my gut tells me that cancelled TV shows are like dead bodies. They shouldn’t be brought back to life.