What a way to top off a great birthday ... attending the Veronica Mars panel that kicked off PaleyFest 2014! I was a huge fan of this smart, sassy and incredibly entertaining series that aired from 2004-2007 (first on UPN then on the CW) and am thrilled that, thanks to a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign (they reached their $2 million goal in less than a day and reached a 30-day total of over $5 million, making it at the time the third most successful campaign in Kickstarter history), is now a major motion picture opening in theaters today.
The series, created by Rob Thomas, starred Kristen Bell (House of Lies) as teen sleuth Veronica Mars, who lived with her father Keith Mars (Enrico Colantoni, Just Shoot Me), a disgraced sheriff-turned private investigator. Once one of the most popular kids in her hometown of Neptune, California, Veronica became an outcast among her peers and went into the family business, solving cases of her own ranging from the leaking of school purity test results and a fake ID ring to larger, season-long mysteries like the murder of her best friend Lily (Amanda Seyfried). Regular cast members throughout the series included Jason Dohring as bad boy-turned-VM's boyfriend Logan Echolls; Percy Daggs III as best pal Wallace Fennel; Tina Majorino as computer wiz Cindy "Mac" Mackenzie; Francis Capra as biker and VM confidant Eli "Weevil" Navarro; Ryan Hansen as mean boy Dick Casablancas; and Chris Lowell as VM's college boyfriend Stosh "Piz" Piznarski.
(You are looking at the Dolby Theatre, home of the Oscars ... yep, I was sitting in the room where the Oscars are presented!)
When the movie was coming together, Thomas managed to get all mentioned above back for the marathon shoot, and all were present at last night's panel (pictured above L-R: Thomas, Bell, Dohring, Colantoni, Hansen and Lowell). What a fun group this is! It was so great to see them together again and talking about how much they love and enjoyed bringing Veronica Mars back from the TV dead - something almost unheard of. They made certain the audience knew how much their support is appreciated, saying over and over how this film couldn't have been made without the fans - the initial backers of the film who contributed to the campaign, with donation rewards that included early digital copies of the film, fan events with the cast and appearances as extras in the film (the rest has been up to Warner Bros). We were even treated to a special screening of the making-of documentary By the Fans: The Making of Veronica Mars.
Thankfully, they gave away no spoilers of the film, which I personally can't wait to see in just a few hours. If it does well, there's a chance for a sequel or more, so here's hoping this terrific entity has a long life to come!
Here is Enrico Colantoni at the panel.
And here is me with Enrico!
(Context: it was Halloween and I went as The CW ... the whole channel. Enrico happened to be at the party I was at).
Veronica Mars the series is currently streaming on Netflix and available on DVD.