Vindication of the Marshmallows
To clarify: I'm not talking about the white, puffy things that blow up if you put them in the microwave. No, I'm talking about an altogether rarer and more interesting breed: the diehard fans of cult TV show Veronica Mars.
Cult shows are a particular fascination of mine, mostly because I am myself a fan of many of them (a "cultie," if you will). These most rarea of aves are identifiable by a set of characteristics laid out by geek genius/professor Matt Hills in his essay "Defining Cult TV," which YOU SHOULD READ if you're at all interested in media studies. Seriously, it will blow your mind.
I'll rant about cult narratives more in-depth some other time, but for now, suffice it to say that cult TV shows are narratives (typically SF/ fantasy/ "genre" stories) that attract an especially small yet vocal contingent of followers who feel as though they "own" the alt worlds presented before them. They engage and re-engage with the material, suspending their disbelief to fully immerse themselves in their favored narratives, writing fanfic, generating art and memes, gathering in force to attend conventions and rallying to support their shows when they're in trouble. Think of the hardcore fan bases of Buffy, Doctor Who, Supernatural, etc.
This brings me to Veronica Mars, a neo-noir about a high-school age female detective that aired from 2004 to 2007. Star Kristin Bell is a noted cult actress who's appearing in the Assassin's Creed videogames as well as TV shows Heroes and (as the narrator of) Gossip Girl, among many other works.
Mars fans (Marshmallows) have long bemoaned the show's premature demise, and have kept rumors alive that a Veronica Mars film might be in the works. Now, six years later, that's actually coming true.
Here's what happened: Bell and Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas have been saying for ages that they'd fund a VM movie themselves, but the studio - who actually owns the property - wanted proof that there would be public interest in such a venture. Somehow Thomas and Bell got the studio to agree that if the project raised $2 million on fundraising site Kickstarter, the movie would go forward.
The goal was to raise the money by April 12, but the Marshmallows rallied and raised that money in less than eleven hours. $1 million of that was apparently raised in the first four hours that the fundraising project was open. You can check out the Kickstarter page here, and as you do, take a gander at that tally. It's already up to $2.5 million at this writing, and doesn't show any signs of stopping.
(I also read a rumor on Twitter that Bell would Taser Thomas on-camera if they reached $5 million, but I digress).
Media narratives are changing, adapting to technology, but this is one of the coolest advancements I've ever seen. Thomas and Bell were talking this up in the media and on their Twitter accounts, offering everything from shooting scripts to walk-on roles if people would break out the wallets and pony up, and so it's hardly surprising (but very gratifying) that they succeeded.
We've seen the successful revival of TV show Family Guy, the continuation of prematurely defunct Firefly with its film companion Serenity, and now this latest victory - all thanks to the creation of a narrative world of true quality, and an auteur who really knew how to engage with his fans.
In this day and age, it can feel as though studios are foisting their own opinions about media narratives down our collective throat, but I think Veronica Mars' triumph is yet again proving that the fans have the power. Don't be afraid to engage with your media, people, because in cases like these, all those physically disparate yet intellectually united people can, indeed, make a difference.
Courier Publications reporter Bane Okholm received her M.F.A. in Screenwriting from U.C.L.A. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @MediaHeathen.