Veronica Mars Is the Perfect Series for a Revival
Great news, marshmallows: Veronica Mars is back on the case! Don’t worry, this is a revival, not a reboot. Series creator Rob Thomas is returning, as is Kristen Bell as our titular heroine. Warner Bros. and Hulu are reportedly close to finalizing a deal to bring Veronica Mars back for a brand new season. Even more good news? Bell will continue to appear as Eleanor on The Good Place—another criminally under-watched series.
Veronica Mars was one of very few shows that has ever managed to come close to filling the Buffy-shaped hole in my heart. The series had all the central mystery of Twin Peaks, the socioeconomic divide of The Outsiders, and a heroine who was sort of a mashup of Buffy Summers and Nancy Drew—although Veronica was no carbon copy of either.
Veronica Mars featured unforgettable characters, whip-smart dialogue, and mysteries that never underestimated the intelligence of the viewer. It may have been labeled a teen drama, but like the best of its ilk, this neo-noir worked on many levels. Veronica Mars dealt head-on with issues such as sexual assault, class warfare, and toxic relationships.
The series followed Veronica Mars, daughter of PI and former sheriff Keith Mars. She was a teenager with some seriously impressive sleuthing skills who was doing her best to survive high school, one case at a time. Although she had a stellar supporting cast, the main draw was Veronica herself. She remains one of television’s greatest heroines, not because she’s perfect, but because she is incredibly relatable.
Veronica may have been victimized, but she refused to be a victim. She was a total badass, an inexorable force. She was clever, determined, and brave.
The series ran for three years, beginning on the WB in 2004 and airing its final season after the network had merged with UPN to form the CW. Although the 3rd season was good, one could almost feel the invisible hand of the network interfering in a desperate attempt to make the serialized show more friendly to the casual viewer.
Unfortunately, it didn’t matter in the end. Not only did the 3rd season fail to attain the levels of greatness achieved by the previous two, but the series was canceled anyway. Neither network interference nor Thomas’s season 3 cliffhanger could bring the show back for another year.
Thomas had plans for the series moving forward. He pitched the idea of reworking the narrative around Veronica’s FBI training and even put together a presentation to that effect. Sadly, the network passed, and the footage wound up as nothing more than a DVD extra. It was a great thought. Most teen dramas falter during the college years, so why not just skip them?
The movie that did eventually get made essentially accomplished this same goal, taking place about nine years after high school.
We seem to be in an age of unnecessary reboots and revivals, but Veronica Mars is the rare series that not only deserves one, but actually has more story to tell. The show’s incredibly passionate fanbase helped generate the funds to get the Veronica Mars movie made. It took the Kickstarter campaign less than eleven hours to meet its goal of $2 million, and in the end, fans raised a whopping $5.7 million. The movie was well received by both critics and fans, finally giving the series a proper sendoff.
There were also two novels set after the film, cowritten by Jennifer Graham and Rob Thomas: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line and Mr. Kiss and Tell. Both books were surprisingly good, keeping the show’s essence intact while delivering two incredibly entertaining stories. Honestly, I was kind of blown away. Just because you can write for TV doesn’t mean that you can pen a novel, but I really enjoyed both of them.
Even with a movie and two books enabling Veronica to continue her journey, I can’t help but feel like this revival is necessary. Veronica Mars never got to properly conclude. Sure, it has continued in different formats and has been given more life than most canceled programs, but Bell and Thomas have both stated that it works best as a TV show, and I would absolutely have to agree.
This is an opportunity for Thomas to wrap up the series the way that he would’ve liked. The film’s ending was left wide open, and the novels proved that the series could continue in much the same fashion that it did on television.
If there were ever a series with more material just waiting to be mined, it’d be this one. One of the most impressive aspects of Veronica Mars was the way that it managed to walk the fine line between procedural and serialized storytelling. There were weekly mysteries, but also breadcrumbs connecting to the season’s overarching narrative. iZombie, Thomas’s current show, has been similarly successful at navigating these tricky waters, improving greatly from one season to the next, and the Veronica Mars revival could easily follow suit.
Not too much information has been revealed thus far, but apparently, production on the eight-episode limited series is set to run from October until March. Enrico Colantoni is also expected to reprise his role as TV’s greatest dad, Keith Mars. It’s unknown who else will be returning, but Thomas is clearly still in touch with the majority of the cast, considering that most of them have cameoed on iZombie.
This is also excellent timing, considering iZombie will air its 5th and final season next year. Thomas and writing partner Diane Ruggerio-Wright will be closing the book on Liv Moore, but writing a brand new chapter for Veronica Mars at the same time.
Veronica and her friends have survived adolescence, but if everyone’s being honest, each decade of life has its trials, so their thirties will bring a whole new slew of issues. Fans who have grown up with these characters will be able to relate.
I’m certainly looking forward to finding out what Wallace and Mac have been up to for the past few years; the movie didn’t give them nearly enough screen time. Side note: I’m also really hoping that Backup returns as well. Yes, that would be a really long lifespan for a pit bull, but a girl can dream.
Recent reports have indicated that the series will take place once again in the fictional town of Neptune, and that a serial killer will be on the loose. This seems to hint that the show will return to its roots of giving fans a season-long mystery to unravel.
The those little breadcrumbs dropped through the seasons will really pay off in a Hulu limited series. When the show originally aired, fans had to rely heavily on memory from one episode to the next. This is a series that really lends itself to a more binge-ready format.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer remains my all-time favorite series, but the news of a reboot has left me cold. I was excited by the prospect of the Gilmore Girls revival, and although I enjoyed certain aspects of it, I’m not sure that it was entirely necessary.
This revival could suffer from the same issues in the end, but I’m cautiously optimistic. Everyone involved has remained vocal for years about wanting to return to the project, and iZombie has proven that Thomas and Ruggerio-Wright are still writing excellent television. I can’t help but be excited to return to Neptune. “This face? Right here? My over-the-moon face.”
(image: Warner Bros. Pictures)
Jamie Gerber is a writer who can’t seem to quit her job at the comic shop. She adores all things pop culture and prefers spending time with her pets to hanging out with actual human beings. Jamie aspires to write about the things that she loves at a job that can support her massive Thai takeout addiction.
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