“Veronica Mars: the Motion Picture”: My List of Demands

Kristen Bell, Veronica Mars, gamer

File Photos Guaranteed Not to be Used on Anyone Else’s Veronica Mars Article #49: the time she went undercover as a gamer.

Despite the grumpy tone of last night’s entry, I reiterate: I was a fan of Veronica Mars back in the day. I discovered it one day while flipping channels at random, catching the first-season episode “You Think You Know Somebody” (with guest star Aaron Ashmore!) and being shocked at the quality of what I’d written off as a standard WB teen drama, but what instead turned out to be a deceptively Californian detective drama with whip-smart dialogue — reminiscent of Buffy, but with a noir styling all its own.

I later caught up with the DVDs and stuck with the show to the bitter end, by which I mean I was bitter. Eventually I moved on, but I’m not opposed to revisiting Veronica’s world if the occasion warrants.

The March 22nd issue of Entertainment Weekly summarizes creator Rob Thomas’ planned premise:

Set a decade after the show’s third and final season, the plot has Veronica returning to her hometown of Neptune, Calif., after much schooling (a bachelor’s from Stanford; a Columbia Law School degree) when she gets a distress call from ex-boyfriend Logan: His pop-star girlfriend has been murdered, and he’s the prime suspect.

That same issue apparently went to press during the brief window between the Kickstarter kickoff and the moment the campaign attained the $2 million goal twelve hours later. The article is rife with ifs and coulds and cautious hopes. Now we can rest a little more easily, assuming Warner Bros. doesn’t renege or drop the ball somewhere.

That being said, I trust this movie will do the series justice and contain one or more of the following elements that I’d like to think are mandatory:

* A central mystery that plays fair. More than just a strong character ensemble, the show’s mystery-of-the-week premise was a satisfying, high-functioning representative of a pre-CSI genre whose previous standard-bearer was your grandparents’ favorite show, Murder, She Wrote. I expect the movie’s whodunit to be held to the same principles of good mysteries as the show’s better episodes — i.e., that clues within the movie itself will point to the real killer, not something pulled out of a hat in the third act that the audience never would’ve guessed.

* Integral parts for the entire cast. Okay, maybe Sidney Poitier’s daughter doesn’t have to come back. If the rest of the gang returns — including even Piz, Mac, and Parker from season 3 — I’d prefer they not be glorified cameos…or worse, top-billed starring roles that amount to three minutes of screen time. The characters ranged across such a broad spectrum of race and class that some received shorter shrift than others. (Yes, poor Weevil, you are not forgotten.) If everyone’s invited to the party, I hope it’ll be worth their time.

* Logan’s recovery from his season 3 shenanigans. I was interested in watching his path to redemption before season 3 sent him back to the dark side. I’m not convinced he needs to wind up with Veronica, but I’d rather not discover he’s an even bigger jerk now. Just a tiny shred of learning curve would be heartening to see.

* Father/daughter interaction. If Enrico Colantoni doesn’t return as Keith Mars, my heart will be broken. Despite his weaknesses, he was one of my favorite TV dads of the 2000s — perceptive, candid, loving, willing to hold his daughter accountable, and as honest as possible even under the toughest of circumstances.

* Veronica Mars, master of disguise. All a part of the detective game. Veronica regularly suckered people with her adaptable cheerleader-pixie looks, even donning wigs and other people’s fashions as needed for the sake of infiltration or surveillance. This valuable toolbox component had better not be retired.

* The original version of “We Used to Be Friends”. The Dandy Warhols’ indelible theme fused a snappy tune with regretful lyrics, a perfect match for the show’s demeanor. The ethereal, pretentious season 3 remix was a perfect match for some executive’s idea of how an “adult” detective series should sound. The added doom-‘n’-gloom wasn’t a welcome change.

* Creative chapter titles. The show generally had admirably creative episode titles, no mere one-word pithiness. Dividing the movie into chapters would create a great showcase for those mad titling skills.

* The supporting players, even if they’re more famous now. If the Kickstarter campaign leaves Thomas and company rolling in enough dough, imagine the familiar faces we could encounter:

* Max Greenfield, currently on Fox’s New Girl, as Deputy Leo!
* Krysten Ritter from Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23 as Mia Goodman, Mayor Steve Guttenberg’s daughter! (Alas, Mayor Woody will probably still be dead.)
* Aaron Ashmore from Smallville as evil ex-boyfriend Troy Vandegraff!
* The Alyson Hannigan as Logan’s prodigal sister!
* Big-time movie star Amanda Seyfried from Les Miserables as the ghost of Lilly Kane!
* Assorted onetime guest stars such as Adam Scott (Parks & Recreation), Michael Kostroff (The Wire‘s Maurice Levy), and some guy named Joss Whedon, reprising his role as Car Rental Guy!

* Vinnie Van Lowe. Because Ken Marino deserves a boldface bullet point all his own. Best sleazy archrival ever.


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