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Hulu to Revive Veronica Mars

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by holtge, Aug 23, 2018.

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  1. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    The revival will use a new cover of the theme song by Chrissie Hynde (lead singer of The Pretenders) for the credits sequence:
     
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  2. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    Interesting interview with Kristen Bell and Rob Thomas about the revival:
    • As the character grows older, Thomas plans to focus more on the detective work and less on the soap opera. “I think of this as the bridge to whatever version of ‘Veronica Mars’ comes next,” Thomas admits, “because there are personal life things that fans of the show want to see, and if we just stripped it, people might have felt let-down. This one is trying to steer them in the direction of the mystery becoming more of the lifeblood of the show.”
    • The class divide that was such a big part of the high school seasons will also be a big part of the revival: "It’s an unsexy thing to say but we’re going to talk a lot about gentrification in ‘Veronica Mars,’ and this mystery worked well with the story I wanted to tell.”
    • Wallace (Percy Daggs III) has gotten married and had a child.
    • “I continue to be interested in Veronica as a wounded creature,” Thomas continues. “There is so much to admire about the character, but what I tell the writers is to write her like a porcupine: She can lash out — and she can lash out in a big way. She breaks rules that are fun on TV but in real life teeter on vigilantism. I never want to leave the fact that we’re noir behind. That’s always in my head.”
    • Kristen Bell, Jason Dohring, and Enrico Colantoni were the only "must haves" in terms of cast before Thomas would move forward on the revival.
    • Dick was originally in five episodes, but Ryan Hansen was only available to shoot three so his presence was scaled back a bit.
    • Mac isn't in the revival because Tina Majorino wasn't available.
    • Thomas "really wanted and needed" Max Greenfield for four episodes, but CBS would only allow him to do three guest stars.
    • “I think I care a lot more about the story this time around,” Bell admits. “Because I have girls, because we were lucky enough to do it a second time, because I am using my art. And I am invested in those three things. I thought I cared the first time; I really care now.”
     
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  3. NeilO

    NeilO Producer

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    Announced at SDCC today - all episodes are available to stream right now.
     
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  4. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    Excellent news! I'm going to be out of town without broadband internet next weekend, and this weekend I'm going to be trapped inside by 100 heat.
     
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  5. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    Just finished the first episode. This has the potential to be my favorite iteration of "Veronica Mars" yet.

    Hulu, by virtue of being built around providing next day streaming options for broadcast and basic cable programming and by virtue of having an ad-supported tier, is much closer to traditional television than the other streaming services. The version of "Veronica Mars" is accordingly closer to the UPN version of "Veronica Mars" than it would have been if it'd been revived on Netflix or Showtime. This version of "Veronica Mars" still has clearly defined act breaks that fade to black for commercials, and is still paced like a broadcast show.

    But production model of writing all eight episodes and then shooting them all at once also introduces differences from the broadcast model where filming is only a handful of weeks ahead of airing, and writing is only a handful of weeks ahead of filming. Because the writers knew the whole story ahead of time, and weren't adjusting on the fly as the season went on, the narration can lean even more heavily into the series's noir roots. In the original series, Veronica's narration felt present-tense. The stuff she was talking about in past-tense happened prior to the start of the series. In this season, Veronica is narrating from some point in the future; she already knows how this story ends, and she's basically warning the audience that things don't end well. 4x01 is the closest this show has ever felt to Raymond Chandler for me.

    While a number of favorite characters show up in this first episode, it is definitely less interested in fan service than the movie:
    Keith Mars is having memory issues, and they're getting worse. Whether they're the result of the skull fracture he suffered in the movie, or some form of early onset dementia, is left very much unclear to both us and to Keith in this first episode. But when we pick up with them, Veronica is handling the big dollars cases that keep the lights on while Keith is handling the pro-bono cases that make them feel like what they're doing matters. Most of the time, he's as sharp and as competent as ever. But there are moments where he is slipping. And he still bears the physical consequences of that accident, walking with a cane and pursuing physical therapy that he can't afford from a practitioner who doesn't want to be there.

    In the original series, Veronica was the precocious adult and it was Logan's inability or refusal to be domesticated that kept dooming their relationship. In this iteration of the show, Logan has been molded by years of structure and discipline in the Navy. He is ready to settle down. But Veronica is still trapped in who she was in high school. She is traumatized by collapse of her parents' marriage, and especially her mother's subsequent plunge into addiction. Logan is besotted by Wallace's little baby, but Veronica doesn't want anything to do with it. This time, she's the destabilizing one, and not Logan.

    Dick Casablancas Sr. is back after his stint in prison. Having a corrupt real estate magnate promoting a seemingly populist agenda while pursuing policies that would destroy the working class is certainly a timely parallel to real world events. But thankfully, the season premiere doesn't pound too heavily on that nail.

    The sex is more explicit than the original series and the language -- while milder than what you'd hear on Netflix or HBO -- is saltier than what you heard during the show's broadcast run. They have a fun gag to explain why the characters don't use the "f" word.

    Neptune has finally incorporated, so the town has its own police chief instead of relying on the Balboa County Sheriff's Office. She seems competent, unlike the Lamb brothers, but she's blunt and that alienates the local congressman whose brother died in the bombing.

    Unlike the movie, which used a location that sort of passed as the same the Mars Investigation offices, here the original set from the first three seasons has been recreated faithfully. But there's a new door opposite to the door to Keith's inner office, in the wall that always seemed to be off camera during the original run, and inside Veronica now has her own inner office.'

    If the murder of Lilly Kane was Veronica's superhero origin story, then the season premiere gives Matty Ross hers with the murder of her father, the local motel owner, in the bombing. Veronica spots her investigating in the aftermath of the explosion a day or two later, and sees a lot of herself in her. Ross is played by Izabela Vidovic, who was so great as a terminally-ill teenager on Thomas's "iZombie".

    Kirby Howell-Baptiste has been everywhere lately, and she shows up here as the owner of a local nightclub targeted by Dick Sr.'s beautification campaign. She is predictably great in the role.

    Patton Oswalt appears as a pizza delivery guy who is injured in the bombing.

    There is a separate storyline weaving through the premiere, following a hitman and fixer for one of the major Mexican drug cartels. It is only as the episode goes on that we see how he ties into the larger narrative; the ex-wife of the cartel's kingpin was related to one of the bombing victims. She demands justice for his death. The fixer is sent to obtain it.

    Daran Norris is back as Cliff McCormack, Neptune's favorite ambulance-chasing attorney. He, of course, sees the bombing as a goldmine, assuming the perpetrator, once caught, has deep enough pockets. Seeing him in his element is a thing of beauty. He's got that entire hospital wired.
     
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  6. holtge

    holtge Screenwriter

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    Could not agree more, @Adam Lenhardt! Loved this first episode as much as the original pilot episode and some of the best episodes scattered throughout the three previous seasons of the series. All of the witty banter between Veronica, Keith, and Logan is present throughout this first episode in spades! Really, really excited to see what Rob Thomas and his creative staff were able to come up with after so many years away. Can't wait to see more!
     
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  7. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    Just finished the fourth episode, so I'm at the halfway point. So far, this is definitely the strongest season yet for me: all wheat, no chaff.

    A big part of that is how it's structured. The original three seasons were a skillful blend of serialized storytelling and episodic plots, one of the better examples I can think of. Still, there's a certain inherent artificiality to that framework, since real life doesn't work like that. And I'd find that the episodic mysteries felt a bit too pat, while the serialized mysteries felt a bit too drawn out. Here all of the storylines are going at once, on their own schedules, and sometimes crisscrossing with each other. It makes Neptune feel denser and more alive, and it makes the world feel more real.

    So far almost all of the returning characters have felt earned, rather than fan service. Dick's appearances in the first three episodes felt gratuitous but fun.

    All of the characters are dealing with real problems. This season, in particular, shines a spotlight on some of Veronica's flaws.

    The fourth episode ends on a dramatic beat that promises to throw a wrench into the works for the back half of the season.
     
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  8. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    Just finished the season finale. Immensely satisfying run of episodes. Definitely my favorite iteration of "Veronica Mars" to date. How you feel about the ending will depend greatly on what you liked about the show to begin with.

    Thoughts about the finale. Do not read them unless you've finished the new season.
    The entire season finale has such an undercurrent of tension to it. The opening narration of the season premiere was an angry, cynical Veronica whose world had been completely shattered.

    And yet here they bust the Big Bad in the first twenty minutes. Keith saves the day in very public fashion, and discovers that his memory issues are the result of the combination of drugs he was taking for his lingering physical ailments from the accident in the movie; he doesn't have a traumatic brain injury, and he doesn't have dementia. And, thanks to the big payout for capturing the bomber, he can finally afford to get his injured hip replaced.

    Matty Ross escapes Big Dick's house without being hurt by BIg Dick or spotted by the Mexican hitmen or by Clyde. She sells the ring she found in the wreckage of her father's motel, and uses the money to hold out against lowball offers, and then renovate to accommodate Neptune's new higher-end clientele. She has a side job working as the receptionist at Mars Investigations, very much like where we found Veronica at the start of the original series.

    Veronica and Logan have a wedding that is not showy, but perfect for them. They have both worked through enough of their issues that happily ever after finally seems plausible for them. They have matured past the more toxic elements of their relationship.

    But the whole time, I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. Veronica doesn't have any reason to be so angry, or so cynical.

    And then Logan runs out to move Veronica's car. It's street cleaning day and she always forgets. And then I know. And even though we don't see it, it's absolutely brutal.

    So why do it? Is it just for shock value? I don't think so. There has always been this tension when it comes to Veronica Mars between the detective show about solving mysteries, and the lurid soap opera. Rob Thomas was a victim of his own success in that department; a HUGE segment of the Veronica Mars fanbase was watching for Logan and Veronica.

    There were two issues with that: 1) I don't think it's the part of the story he wanted to focus on; and 2) Their love story was always going to be finite. To keep it going would either mean to slow walk their journey to maturity and stability, or mean falling into stasis where the show hits the same happy, boring beats with Logan for each new mystery.

    The easiest way to reframe "Veronica Mars" as a detective mystery series first and foremost is to kill off the love interest.

    I never liked Logan and Veronica together in the original series; I thought he was toxic for her. I didn't really like them together in the movie; I thought they were toxic for each other. But I did really like them together here. This season really won me over on their relationship.

    But I don't mind this turn of events, because their relationship wasn't why I watched the show. I watched the show to see Veronica Mars solve mysteries and stop the bad guys. I want more of that. I'm glad Keith's still in the picture. I hope Matty stays in the picture.

    And having Veronica finally open up only to be brutally traumatized again gives the character more road to travel. If she's ever fulfilled, content, and at peace with herself, the show's over.
     
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  9. Message #29 of 29 Jul 29, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2019
    Greg.K

    Greg.K Screenwriter

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    Had a lot of fun watching this season with my wife. She pegged
    Penn Epner as the bomber early on, I doubted it and thought it was going to be one of the other murderheads - and the show dutifully twisted the narrative to let me gloat (for a few minutes, anyway.)

    She was pretty angry about
    the ending, though. She was one of those in it for the Veronica-Logan relationship (she was yelling at the screen when Veronica's dream sex with Max fakeout was going on) and now doesn't think she even wants to watch another season. But I agree with Adam's take.
     

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