Cult Following

Kickstarter's 'Veronica Mars Movie Project' a Smash Success

When my daughter had a life-threatening illness, this show became her saving grace—so she returned the favor.

Ron Jaffe/Warner Bros., via Getty,Ron Jaffe

The dangers of the Internet are cited so often that a parent is liable to forget it can also be a force for good, as was evidenced by an email my 19-year-old daughter, Bronagh, received from Kickstarter on Friday night.

“Congratulations! Thanks to you and 91,561 other backers, The Veronica Mars Movie Project has been successfully funded.”

Veronica Mars being the main character in the TV series of the same name that was canceled after only three seasons, even before Bronagh was introduced to it by her older sister, Sinead, who had purchased DVDs of Season 1.

The show was Bronagh’s all-time favorite and had been of considerable comfort to her in the aftermath of a life-threatening illness. She purchased DVDs of the subsequent two seasons, but soon arrived at the finale of not just the third season, but also the show itself.

“I think it’s just because not that many people knew about it,” she theorized about its short run. “The cult following had not really started until after the show had already been canceled.”

There was talk of the show’s creator, Rob Thomas, making a Veronica Mars movie, but Warner Brothers had decided it wasn't worth the investment. Word that Thomas had decided to try Kickstarter reached Bronagh via an email from her sister.

“We both donated right away with the hope it would happen,” she said.

When the investment period closed on Friday night, the Daly girls had been joined by 91,559 other Veronica Mars fans in kicking in a total of $5,702,153. That was the most backers in Kickstarter history, as well as the most money for any of its film projects.

Bronagh was one of 23,227 who had kicked in $50 or more. She could not remember the promised rewards because the big reward in her mind was that there would be more Veronica Mars.

She literally cheered when the goal was reached, proof that a kid can love the work of Rob Thomas along with the work Colm Toíbín and Vladimir Nabokov, her other favorites.

“I just love the show and the world the show is in,” Bronagh said—that world is a fictional Southern California town; Bronagh is a Brooklyn kid—“especially Logan Echolls and Veronica.”

Logan (Jason Dohing) is a bad-boy, good-boy love interest, a teenage angster. Veronica (Kristin Bell) is a girl detective.

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“There isn't really a character like her on TV,” Bronagh said. “I tried watching Alias, but it’s just not the same thing.”

Bronagh preferred re-watching Veronica Mars to new episodes of any other show, especially after a very tough encounter with a drug-resistant infection the summer of her junior year in high school.

“It is kind of a comfort show for me,” she said.

She regained her health and she went on to college and, of course, introduced her friends to Veronica Mars.

“Everyone loves it once they start watching,” she said. “It's just like a show that's for everyone, no matter what kind of show you usually like. There’s romance, there's action, there’s family stuff. There’s a lot of different components to it.”

Bronagh herself likes that there's a mystery that is resolved within particular episodes and another, overarching mystery that extends through the season.

“It’s a very well done show,” she said.

Last summer, Bronagh got a dream job as a production assistant on the new show Major Crimes as it evolved from The Closer. I went with her to borrow a car from the sister-in-law of a retired NYPD detective lieutenant we know who now lives outside Los Angeles in a place that is much more like the Southern California exurb of Veronica Mars than the Brooklyn of Bronagh. We stopped for a cold drink on the way back and Bronagh looked across the parking lot to see a yellow SUV.

“It’s Logan Echolls’s car!” she exclaimed.

Bronagh loved the people at Major Crimes and loved the show itself. And when it premièred she made a kind of birthday cake, with only the single word “HAPPY” spelled out in frosting.

But happy was not even the word for how she felt when she got the email that the Veronica Mars movie would become a reality (complete with Bell and Dohring) thanks to her and the 91,560 other backers.

“Would you like to know my favorite episode?” she asked me. She reported that it was the one called "Weapons of Class Destruction.”

“I think I really like it because Veronica and Logan kiss for the first time,” she allowed.

Now, thanks to the democracy of the Internet, where people such as her can band together to bring characters back to life without some network’s approval, she might even get to see them kiss again.