In the wake of the impressive ‘Nuts for Jericho’ campaign, Herc over at Ain’t it Cool News is calling out to fans of another canceled show, Veronica Mars, in an attempt to bring them together to bring back their own favourite show. Now, the amazing success of the Jericho campaign is something that should be inspiring fans of all sorts of canceled shows, and I believe that this is both natural and productive. And, as a fan of Veronica Mars, there is little I would enjoy more than to be able to enjoy one of the most enjoyable TV shows in recent years on a weekly basis again. However, all of this being said, I have to make something very clear to fans getting on this bandwagon:
Veronica Mars is not Jericho.
Jericho was a freshman drama which opened with strong numbers and due to a variety of factors lost those numbers after a midseason hiatus. It was booted from the schedule without really getting a fair shake: it never had a chance to rebuild, facing off against American Idol, and even CBS admitted they never gave it the proper treatment it deserved. As a result, after enormous fan outcry, CBS is giving it a chance and giving it a chance to prove itself at midseason.
The problem for Veronica Mars is that this situation happened…two years ago. When, after weak ratings in its first season, fan support from sites like TelevisionWithoutPity and the show’s creative potential convinced UPN head Dawn Ostroff to save the show from cancellation and give it a better spot on their schedule. It was in the same situation just last year, when Ostroff again saved the show in the move to The CW, pairing it with Gilmore Girls in a last-ditch effort to boost the show’s ratings.
In other words, Jericho and Veronica Mars were in the same position, yes, but Veronica Mars has gone past that point. It has had two years to show UPN and The CW its potential, and both times out it has failed to improve its ratings. As a result, fans of the show can’t claim (As Jericho fans could) that the show wasn’t given a fair treatment, and deserves a fourth season. In fact, I think that they have to admit that Veronica Mars had two more seasons than its ratings dictated. And, as a result, fans need to go into this with lowered expectations: Saving Veronica Mars will not be easy, and it certainly isn’t the same situation as the one CBS faced for the past three weeks.
However, this does not mean I believe they should stop fighting, or that I won’t be fighting with them. Instead, unlike Jericho fans, I believe that Veronica Mars fans should be focused on getting resolution and resolution only. Left with a finale that was meant to lead on to bigger things, fans want to know what happens next. They were left wanting more, and I don’t think it is unreasonable that they should get it. I just don’t think that the show’s ratings, or its three previous lives, dictate another kick at the can entirely.
Rather, what fans need to be fighting for is the opportunity for the show to conclude with a TV-Movie or, preferably, TV Movies. Veronica, as a character, has a lot of life in her. She is complex, youthful, energetic, intelligent, and yet is able to also handle more dramatic work thanks to the deft acting of Kristen Bell. She is powerful and unique, and for me represents a fantastic character to analyze further. And, I believe that the TV Movie genre, something that The CW’s corporate family member CBS enjoys greatly, might just be where Veronica can find a home.
Put Veronica into the FBI, having graduated from the academy. Have her relationship with her father be somewhat damaged, but yet she continues to rely on him with certain cases. Have Mac be her tech girl, working with information of a highly sensitive nature. Have Wallace be her best friend, the one she relies on for a regular life. Bring back Logan as part of the film’s mystery, but do so in a way that seems natural. Throw all of this together, and you’ve got a youth-skewing version of an older-skewing construct that could well be a hit on a Sunday Evening for CBS at some point next season.For me, this is what Veronica Mars deserves. It had two years to prove it could survive as a series, and the reality was that it couldn’t do it. If it had been canceled after that first season, I would be outraged and demand that it be renewed, but it wasn’t. It wasn’t canceled after a weak 2nd season either. Instead, it lasted three full seasons, more or less against all odds, and in my mind it has run its course. The problem is that while it ran its course as a series, the characters and the universe it created has not done the same. I believe there is yet life in these characters, and that there needs to be a way for them to return to the small-screen.
And, while fans of Jericho were adamant that only a second season would do, I believe that Veronica Mars fans should be willing to take whatever they can get. Rob Thomas could write the TV Movies without a full writing staff, and they wouldn’t have to worry about locking down actors or reacquiring sets or soundstages. Veronica Mars deserves to live on, in some form, but I don’t believe that the show has any life left in it. It’s time to embrace something new that, while certainly not perfect, would give us some level of closure while opening the door for Veronica and Keith and everyone else to become part of our lives into the future in a whole new way.