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Monday Check In: Hulu, Franco on Veronica Mars

by Zan Romanoff

July 8, 2013 | 12:30 pm

So there's no news on the Hulu deal yet-- hopefully updates will be forthcoming when everyone has slipped out of their post-long weekend haze.

But speaking of alternative content distribution, there's a little baby rumor going around that James Franco might appear in the upcoming Veronica Mars movie. Personally I'm a little tired of Franco popping up all over the place-- he's not good enough, and it's not a funny enough joke to justify how long it's gone on-- but maybe I'll come back around if he just keeps doing it. Stockholm Franco'ed. It sounds like a thing that could happen. 

Either way, this does nothing to dim my excitement for the movie, which is based on one of my all-time favorite shows. For anyone who missed it, Mars' original run aired on UPN and then The CW from 2004 to 2007; it's a sharp, clever show about a high school (and then college) girl detective, a modern take on southern California noir. The show's creator, Rob Thomas, has always agreed with fans that it met an untimely demise, and in March he and lead actress Kristen Bell created a Kickstarter for the purpose of funding a follow-up film. There was some controversy about this-- the property is still owned by Warner Brothers, who didn't feel that a film was a worthwhile financial investment but will get a cut of its profits; Willa Paskin nicely sums up many of the early reactions here. (Also worth reading: Joss Whedon's excellent reaction, and some words of the possibility of a Serenity sequel, here.) Obviously it's likely to be impossible to fund television shows via Kickstarter-- the money required for, say, twelve 28 minutes episodes at a minimum is going to be significantly more than the $5 million Mars earned-- but it's exciting to see old material getting new life, and fans being offered the opportunity to fund seeing more of their favorites.

I did donate to the Veronica Mars Kickstarter (though to be fair, this was before the national letdown that was Arrested Development season 4); my feeling is that I fund good art by seeing bad art all the time-- that's how studios work, essentially, using blockbusters to pay for smaller stuff-- and that I'd rather pay more for something I'm dying to see. I have a weakness for tough, tiny blondes (see: Buffy Summers) and cultural experiments that ask us to re-think how we fund the culture we like. Doesn't mean I'm shelling out for the Garden State sequel-- or any of Franco's various personal projects-- but then, that's the whole point, that under this system, I don't have to.  

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