2004. Flickering neon lights, shadows moving suggestively behind the blinds of a cheap motel, and, encamped behind the massive lens of an awesome camera, a tiny blonde teenager: so begins Rob Thomas’ post-modern noir Veronica Mars. Comparisons of Kristen Bell’s portrayal of the petite P.I. to Philip Marlowe and Nancy Drew in equal measure are made time and again, and for all the series’ naysayers, it earns itself legions of loyal fans, including the likes of Kevin Smith and Joss Whedon.
Fast forward three years and how does it end? Veronica Mars, alone again – naturally – departing the voting booth for the grey and drizzly outdoors, bereft of both conclusion and closure. And they say it never rains in Southern California (but oh, how it pours). Truth be told, by that point, this loyal fan was almost relieved to see it go.
And still somehow, I find myself yearning for this Veronica Mars movie to clear the gates and get made.
The streets of Neptune just weren’t the same once Veronica graduated high school. The mysteries were anesthetized, devoid of the grit that marked its first season as a successful representative of the noir genre, miniaturized into bite-sized chunks, packed with clichés. Suddenly the denizens of Neptune I knew and loved (or loved to hate) refused to behave like themselves. I won’t retread the path of those horrors now, because frankly, I don’t want to remember. Suffice it to say, as a diehard fan, I preferred to see it pass away then continue to try and pass itself off as my beloved show.
There’s been rumor circulating about the possibility of a VM movie for a long time now, longer even than the show’s been off the air. Last year, Rob Thomas claimed he was working on the script and had a backer. This year, he waffled on whether or not that was actually going anywhere. Finally Kristen Bell herself tweeted word about the project’s status: dead in the water.
“Rob and I took it to WB – and they said, ‘There is no enthusiasm’ to make it. So fans have to convince WB! Rob and I are in!”
While Bell begs her followers on Twitter to help her convince Warner Brothers there is an audience for the film, it seems like a long shot. The series’ fans have pulled some pretty big stunts in their time – everything from hiring skywriters to sending CW executives gift baskets filled with Hearst College merchandise to get themselves a season three (and now you see how that backfired, guys) – but has that time come to an end? Does anyone actually care what happens next?
It’s so hard to be sure. Rob Thomas has already burned us before, you must recall. Word at the time of cancellation was that Thomas hoped to pressure the CW execs into renewing the series by refusing to actually end it in any manner that even remotely resembled satisfying. But then, that was the entire season, wasn’t it? In a word, unsatisfying. Fool me once, shame on you; trick me into watching you torture my favorite characters beyond recognition twice, serious shame on me.
And yet Thomas’ choice to end without any kind of closure had its effect. Call me a masochist, but in her time on my screen, Veronica became a part of my life, a character I came to love, in spite of – sometimes even for – her many, many flaws. The footage of the never-made fourth season placed on the DVDs was worse than disappointing: it was wonderful.
Despite having my doubts about jumping ahead to a post-college Veronica (and despite the fact that I have trouble buying rule-breaker Veronica as a fed), that footage was like a promise of coming home again. Though Veronica was the only main character seen, she was back in her old element, cracking wise and taking names, proving once again that, in addition to being just as stubborn and trouble-ridden as ever, she’s still smarter than the average bear.
Is WB right to think there’s “no enthusiasm” for a VM movie? Maybe, in that I’m not the only one afraid that footage was just a fluke. Still, at this point, I think I’d settle for a little closure and a chance to visit with old friends again.
“I’d do the film if I ended up w/ the only copy & no one saw it – I’d do dvd – but I think Vm deserves some props in the theatre,” writes Bell. So do I, Kristen, so do I.
What’s the word, readers? Veronica Mars movie: hit or miss? Are you on board with Warner Brothers or dying for more detective shenanigans?