How to successfully use the internet to revive a show: The Veronica Mars story

This morning, Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell announced that a Veronica Mars movie was finally ready to move forward. There was one catch, however. Warner Brothers wasn’t convinced that the movie would actually be profitable for them. To raise money for production, Rob and Kristen turned to Kickstarter to raise the $2 million needed. It is the highest goal of any Kickstarter campaign in history, and at the time of writing, they have raised just over $1 million.

It isn’t uncommon for sites like Kickstarer and Indiegogo to be used to make movies or web series. Jane Espenson and Brad Bell successfully raised $60,000 to film the second season of their webseries Husbands. Eoin Mackin (Gwaine from the BBC series Merlin) used Indiegogo to fund his movie Cold. Crowdsourcing is a very effective way to get things funded by the people who are most likely to watch the final product.

However, this is the first time that a series has been revived because of crowdsourcing. Veronica Mars has been off the air for nearly 6 years now. In that time, the fans who watched while it was airing have remained loyal to it, and thanks to positive word-of-mouth on the internet and the ease of internet streaming, new fans have been drawn to the show. Thanks to the internet, the life span of a TV show no longer ends when it is canceled but it can live on and discover new fans as long as people are willing to talk about it. While the circumstances under which they are being made are different, this is the same phenomenon that prompted Netflix to revive Arrested Development.

This type of action won’t work for all shows. It takes a certain combination of factors to make a project of this nature succeed.

First, the show has to be popular and remain popular even after it goes of the air.

Second, along similar lines, it can’t just be a show that has a lot of people who like it and casually watch it. It needs to be the type of show that creates a very loyal, very vocal following. This is why Arrested Development has been revived and its why the movie Serenity exists.

Third, it has to be a project that was really special to the people making it. There are some projects that actors will enjoy working on more than they do others and they will therefore want to come back to that universe. From her message on the Kickstarter page, it’s clear that Veronica Mars was that show for Kristen Bell.

The Veronica Mars movie will very likely be funded and it will probably raise more than the minimum $2 million. It will thrill fans who want to be able to visit Neptune, California one more time and it will open up new possibilities for all those post-show movies that have long been rumored but have never happened because studios don’t find them financially feasible. This is just further proof that we are moving into a new era of television and I am thrilled to be along for the ride.  

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5 thoughts on “How to successfully use the internet to revive a show: The Veronica Mars story

  1. I think I found another show to marathon soon! I’ve always wanted to watch Veronica Mars, and this news is the kick in the butt that I needed to actually do it!

  2. Reblogged this on ConStar Studies TV and commented:
    “Thanks to the internet, the life span of a TV show no longer ends when it is canceled but it can live on and discover new fans as long as people are willing to talk about it. While the circumstances under which they are being made are different, this is the same phenomenon that prompted Netflix to revive Arrested Development.”

    I’m super excited about this (the Kickstarter received its $2mil goal) but am too tired to properly write about it, so here is TVExamined. But this is something I think we’ll see more of in the future. Zac Levi of Chuck fame tweeted about this method being a way to get a Chuck movie. Thankfully we got our Firefly movie and Arrested Development fans are getting another season, but there are so many shows with so many devoted fans who just want some completion. For a way to get back to one of their favorite TV hometowns and hang out with their friends one last time. I for one can’t wait until this is made, I binge watched Veronica Mars are few years ago and loved it. All shows with massive cult followings are fluttering to their own kickstarter pages as we speak (can I get some Pushing Daisies producers/stars to start one? Because I need more of that in my life ASAP.)

    1. Thank you for the reblog!

      I hope we do get to see things funded this way in the future. I would love to see a Pushing Daisies movie or a Chuck movie. I’d really like a Gilmore Girls movie because I just want to spend a little more time in Stars Hollow but I see that one as less likely than the other two.

      1. yeah, I think the highest “priority” shows should be the shows that didn’t get a proper ending, VM ended in the middle of a developing storyline, PD squeezed like three seasons of plot into the last five minutes of the episode; shows like that could definitely use this method when the networks and studios refuse to pay for it (Pushing Daisies would be super expensive, which is the reason they cancelled it in the first place). I can’t wait to see where this takes television and even the threat of canceling a currently running series.

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