How Veronica Mars became a Cult Phenomenon

With the summer hiatus fast approaching, now is the time to look for new shows to keep you entertained. Or rather, look for old shows that you missed out on when they were on the air. For instance, do you remember a little cult show called Veronica Mars? Rob Thomas’ mystery teen drama is so good, fans were willing to pay for the story to continue. Here’s why…

Veronica Mars (2004-2007): Created by Rob Thomas (iZombie); 3 Seasons à 22 episodes à 45mins.; starring Kristen Bell (When in Rome, House of Lies), Jason Dohring (The Originals, Moonlight), Percy Daggs III, Teddy Dunn, Amanda Seyfried (Mamma Mia!), Enrico Colantoni, Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones), Chris Lowell (The Help!, Private Practice).

For fans of: Detective shows such as Shirley Holmes and iZombie, highschool dramedies such as One Tree Hill and The O.C (although fair warning: the clothes on V.M. aren’t as high-fashion and the parties not nearly as glamourous).

Have you ever loved a show so hard, you would have paid for the story to continue? Cause that’s exactly how fans felt about Rob Thomas’ mystery teen drama Veronica Mars back in the mid-2000s. When the CW network announced in 2007 that they were taking the show off the air after only three seasons, fans were so upset by the news, they took it upon themselves to raise enough money for a Veronica Mars movie. And sure enough, in 2014, seven years after the last episode had aired, the original cast came together once more to give the fans exactly what they wanted. As such, Veronica Mars is an example of a so-called cult tv show, a programme that maybe isn’t as commercially successful as some of its competitors, but that can boast an extremely devoted fanbase.So what was it about this show that people were so drawn to they were turning over dollars to see it continue? Here are five reasons Veronica Mars received cult status…

1. It’s a blend of highschool dramedy and detective show

Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) is not your typical high school student: the daughter of the former sheriff (Colantoni) of a small town in Southern California moonlights as a private investigator. Chiefly, she is trying to solve the murder of her best friend Lily Kane (played by pre-Hollywood diet Amanda Seyfried), while making some money investigating bicycle thefts and student body election fraud.

2. It features a compelling female lead

Veronica Mars is what you would call a real ball-buster: a feisty young woman who will not take shit from anyone, especially not from men. She cares more about seeing justice done than she does about being popular and, as a result, she is fiercely independent. And the best thing: people gravitate towards her because she’s not afraid to be exactly who she is.

Veronica: Leave him alone!
Weevil: Sister, the only time I care what a woman has to say is when she’s riding my big ole horn.
V: So it’s big, huh?
W: Legendary.
V: So let’s see it. I mean, if it’s as big as you say it is, *I’ll* be your girlfriend. Oh, we could go to prom together!

3. And a host of interesting recurring characters

It’s always funny to re-watch an old show because there’s always at least one actor whose career really took off afterwards. On Pushing Daisies, it’s lead-actor Lee Pace, who is now better known for his Hobbit fame. On Roswell, it’s Katherine Heigl (or rather was – her career has really stunted after her public fall-out with showrunner Shonda Rhimes).*** Meanwhile Veronica Mars didn’t just launch the career of lead-actress Kristen Bell, but also that of Amanda Seyfried, who went on to star in big movies such as Mamma Mia! and Krysten Ritter a.k.a Marvel badass Jessica Jones.

Veronica Mars Cast
Veronica Mars features a talented cast of young actors, among them Alona Tal (Supernatural), Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones), and Ryan Hansen (Friends with Benefits)

4. The chemistry between Logan and Veronica

Any great tv show needs to have at least one couple that viewers respond to. Interestingly,  on Veronica Mars, that couple turned out to be Logan and Veronica. Curiously, creator, Rob Thomas, once revealed on a panel that there was never any intention for Logan and Veronica to get together. But once the writers picked up on the natural chemistry between Bell and Dohring – who at one point said that he had a thing for his co-star the entire time they were filming the show – they recognised the potential it offered in terms of character dynamic. The decision to develop a romantic relationship between Logan and Veronica resonated very well with fans, who became incredibly invested in the pairing.

5. The feel-good rock soundtrack

Let’s get one thing straight: the Rob Thomas who created this show is not the same Rob Thomas that used to be the lead singer of Matchbox Twenty. However, like his namesake TV-Thomas has a fantastic taste in music, as he has proven time and again both on Veronica Mars and his current project, iZombie. From the show’s theme song, “We used to be friends” by The Dandy Warhols, to Fountains of Wayne’s “Troubled Times”, the Veronica Mars soundtrack makes an excellent rock playlist.

To binge or not to binge? Binge the first season over the course of 7-10 days. After that, one episode a day should be appropriate.

Where can I watch? Veronica Mars is available for streaming on Amazon, Maxdome, iTunes, and Videoload. Netflix better get on that ASAP!



***By contrast, Heroes and The O.C have proved that the person who profits the most from their time on a show isn’t always the one you thought it would be: rather than lead-actor Milo Ventimiglia, Heroes launched the career of one Zachary Quinto, alias Mr. Spok in the Star-Trek reboot; similarly, Adam Brody became a huge star after The O.C while then it-girl Misha Barton sunk into oblivion.


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