A long time ago, we used to be friends…

ImageI have a long list of TV shows that finished too early for my liking. The nature of the industry is such that shows that display rare originality, strong characterisation, fully-developed worlds and compelling stories, often find themselves with the plug pulled and their narrative without a natural end.

Over the years, creators have tried to revive such shows in a variety of ways. Joss Whedon continued his short-lived Firefly as a movie and a comic series. Jericho managed to wring a second (ultimately stunted and disappointing) season out of the production company thanks to overwhelming fan support. Arrested Development makes its return later this year thanks to funding through Netflix. And now a new possible solution has been revealed as cult-favourite Veronica Mars succeeds in sourcing funding for a feature film through Kickstarter.

Kickstarter has always been an exciting propositon; what better way to fund art than by sourcing the capital upfront from the eventual consumers? Rob Thomas is one of those television creators who never seems to catch a break. Every show he has put together (including the fantastic Party Down) has been cancelled. For whatever reason, the masses don’t seem to take to his product.

But now his fans have spoken and Veronica Mars, the feisty teen detective, will live again. I remember been entirely gripped by the mystery-laden first two series of Veronica Mars, yet the third series left me a little cold. I’m not entirely convinced we need a movie, but I’m excited about what this means for television and creative media in general.

Kickstarter has been going strong for a while now and has plenty of success stories under its belt (I recently watched the first series of Video Game High School and was pleasantly surprised). Yet the Veronica Mars movie takes the possibilities to a whole new level. It raised a record-breaking $2 million and stands to become the highest-profile project the crowd-funding website has supported.

Naturally, this has lead to speculation about other moth-balled series that could be resurrected in this manner and television creators such as Joss Whedon and Bryan Fuller have weighed in with their thoughts.

This is definitely a development worth keeping an eye on – another step towards a world where consumers decide directly what is worth funding – and an interesting proposition for dedicated creators who witness their creations failing to realise their full potential.


Michael J Fox is coming back!

No news could make me happier than the announcement that Michael J Fox will be returning to television screens in his first regular role since 2001. During his absence we have glimpsed the man in various cameos and guest-starring roles, though nothing significant to truly satisfy those of us who miss him the most.

Fox announced to the world in 1998 that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. His final cinematic efforts – Mars Attacks and The Frightners (no, I don’t count the Stuart Little series) – were a few years prior to this and he finished his regular TV gig on Spin City a few years later.

Whilst I enjoyed Spin City and a number of his other films (the ones mentioned above, along with Doc Hollywood, Teenwolf and Casualties of War), it was his performance as Marty McFly in the Back to the Future series that cemented a very permanent place in my heart for Fox.

So it is fantastic news that he will be back on our television screens once more. According to Vulture, his new show may well be loosely based on Fox’s own life, which kind of makes sense. He has always been a prominent activist, working hard to raise awareness of his disease, so it stands to reason that he might be coaxed back into the public eye with the purpose of continuing his increase awareness of Parkinsons.

Anyone who has read Fox’s book, Lucky Man, knows that he can tackle this subject with honesty and wit. That he will get an opportunity (the show is virtually guaranteed to get a full series order thanks to Fox’s involvement) to apply this passion in a dramatic form is very, very exciting.