One week ago, television was at a status quo. Everything was normal on the small screen. Idol reigned supreme, NCIS ruled with viewers, some shows were renewed, some were cancelled. Nothing out of the ordinary in a week of television.
In a matter of 24 hours, television may have changed forever.
On March 13th, Rob Thomas posted a seemingly harmless pledge on Kickstarter.com asking his vocal fans to show some support for a feature film based on his most popular creation: Veronica Mars. The prospects of a film version of the spunky, snarky detective with a knack for solving crimes involving close friends seemed far-fetched at best, and outright hilarious in all honesty.
But then something happened that no sane person would have predicted: they blasted their goal in less than one day. With a 30-day deadline.
Fans thus far have given close to $4 million towards a film adaptation, ensuring the film has the funds to be made. If all goes according to plan and this movie is legitimately made over the summer, it's a game-changer. And the domino effect has begun: fans are clamoring for follow-ups to Firefly, Chuck and Pushing Daisies, the last of which is already rumored to receive its own Kickstarter campaign from creator Bryan Fuller. Every season, TV favorites fall victim to poor ratings, but numerous casualties leave loud, proud fans in the ashes of their cancellations. Does this give fans a reason to believe they can actually bring a show back from the dead by donating money? It answers the main concern of studios that aren't interested in adapting small screen favorites with no guarantee of profit.
Personally I have a lot of questions about how this goes forward: will all principle cast members return? Does the money ensure a movie will actually be made? If it doesn't, does this make the whole idea a failure? Veronica Mars: The Movie has to be made in order for this to evolve. Otherwise, the idea of fans giving money to see their dream movies happen is all for not.
If this does happen, the potential is endless. On top of possible fan-funded projects for Chuck, Firefly and Pushing Daisies, who's to say the fans couldn't contribute to a new season of episodes for their favorite shows? The downside: it might get costly. But there's no reason to think it's impossible to happen down the road. At the very least, this idea of a wrap-up movie, either for theatrical release or DVD/Bluray, it's kind of awesome. And it doesn't stop there: what about sequels to movies that don't receive support from a studio? I'm guessing you won't see a Battleship 2, costing $200 million, funded by fans, but smaller budget fare, especially horror films, are ripe for something like this.
My main concern is that Veronica Mars actually gets made. The summer isn't here yet. Anything could happen. I hate to burst anyone's bubble, but money isn't everything. I hope it gets made because, like I said, this opens the floodgates. My biggest dream Kickstarter project would be a new chapter in The X-Files saga. Who's to say it won't suck? Anything could happen! And I'm sure everyone has their own personal hopes for this concept.
And it's great that the idea is born with a show like Veronica Mars. It's not as on-the-nose as, say, Serenity II, thanks to Joss Whedon's mega-success with The Avengers. But it's something that Veronica Mars fans, myself included, have wanted for a long time. And it's really cool that creator Rob Thomas and star Kristen Bell are so heavily involved in getting this going. Equally cool is the incentive for donations: $10 gets you cool behind-the-scenes news, $10,000 gets you a small speaking role in the movie. For those with the money, and willing to spend that much to see their wildest television dreams come true, that's a cool gift.
If any speed bumps are ahead on this road, the project and the future of Kickstart-ing are in jeopardy. If it happens, everything changes. Kickstarter may be the future of television as well as film, for getting these little projects off the ground that need funding. It answers that question: what are you willing to do to see your favorite show come back? Answer: give money! I just hope before the money runs out, we get some closure on a few of our favorite gone-too-soon shows.
Harsh Realm: The Movie, anyone? ... anyone? ...
Until next time, stay tuned.
Which long-gone series would you most like to see get a Kickstarter campaign? Sound off below in the comments section.