Given that it only made about $3.3 million at the box office, according to imdb.com, that’s probably the only Veronica Mars film anyone’s ever getting. (At least it was great fun.)
But that’s not the end of the franchise. Shortly after the movie came out, the story continued in a novel released March 25.
Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line was written by series creator Rob Thomas, along with Jennifer Graham, and it’s only the first of a new series of mystery novels. A second novel by the same authors, Mr. Kiss and Tell, is available for pre-order and will be released Oct. 28.
So how does a television series translate into a novel series? In this case, exceptionally well.
Sure, it lacks Kristen Bell and the rest of the exceptional cast, but the reader can easily hear all their voices in the dialogue and can picture them playing out the scenes as if this were the next movie that will never be.
The basic plot involves a couple of girls going missing during spring break in Neptune, and the local Chamber of Commerce hires Veronica to investigate.
That sounds like just a throwaway storyline, but, without giving away any details, it becomes rather personal for Veronica. Her character growth (or perhaps it’s regression to some extent) continues right where the movie left off, and we see her father Keith trying to get her to confront what it means to be an adult P.I.
The closest comparisons in the pop culture world might be the Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic books currently published by Dark Horse that picked up where that television series left off, beginning with “Season Eight,” and they’re up to “Season Ten” now.
The Buffy continuation also features direct involvement from its series creator, Joss Whedon, but the jump to comic books was initially used as an excuse to do all the special effects that would have ruined their television budgets, such as a giant Dawn and a flying Buffy. Plus, no matter how talented the artist, seeing the characters essentially turned into cartoons takes a little getting used to. I’ve read Season Eight, and it’s fun, but it’s definitely not the TV show.
Veronica Mars, however, doesn’t feel at all tainted. This book is the Veronica Mars fans have come to expect. The characters are all there acting in-character. The rules of the world remain the same, though circumstances reflect the passage of time (and adult language is now allowed, apparently). This very well could have been a storyline in Season Twelve.
The beloved first two seasons felt like televised novels, anyway, so it shouldn’t be surprising that prose is such an excellent fit.
Really, the only major flaw as a Veronica Mars story is that we don’t get to see Kristen Bell acting it out—though she does narrate the audiobook.
Works for this Veronica Mars fan.