Hulu brought fan favorite series Veronica Mars back for a fourth season last summer. Creator Rob Thomas had plans to continue producing short seasons and star Kristen Bell was on board to return. So it was surprising when Thomas said in November that there are no plans for a fifth season.
Hulu SVP of Originals Craig Erwich gave an executive session for the Television Critics Association today. He addressed questions about why the streamer is not proceeding with Veronica Mars.
Hulu has enough Veronica Mars for now
For fans who’d seen the three seasons of Veronica Mars and the movie, the fourth season was a major event. For Hulu, the fourth season made the first three seasons an asset to their library. Now they don’t need any more.
“We were thrilled with the entire Veronica Mars experience that we brought to our viewers,” Erwich said. “It was a really unique set of content in terms of having past episodes and then a new seasons. It was really interesting to see. We watched a lot of new people discover the show for the first time. For fans of the show, the opportunity to check back in and see where she is in her life was very exciting. That collection, that journey of Veronica Mars in terms of the television episodes and in terms of her life as a character exists on Hulu and will exist for a long time. There’s still a lot of Veronica Mars for people to check out. Right now we think that’s a really satisfying narrative experience for them.”
So, that’s great for new viewers to binge the show. It kind of speaks to a fickleness of streaming services. They can give fans revivals of classic shows, but their needs are a little different than a network that wants to keep a show going. It’s still strange. What would it hurt to add a fifth season to that library? Unless it’s just too expensive…
A lot of Marshmallows missed the premiere of season 4
Hulu dropped season four as a surprise on July 19. Many fans were already committed to Comic-Con that weekend, so they weren’t available to watch the show until after everyone talked about it. Erwich stood by the decision.
“It’s a very crowded marketplace,” Erwich said. “When it comes to scheduling or release patterns we look at what’s best for each show. Eventizing Veronica Mars with a good old fashioned stunt was the best way to let people know it was back on the air. It did generate conversation.”
Season four spoilers leaked too soon
Erwich is right. Season four did generate conversation, even with a chunk of the audience preoccupied with Comic-Con. Unfortunately, people on social media couldn’t keep quiet. Not only did spoilers for the mystery leak, but the season finale spoiler got out there before some die hard fans got to experience it.
“That ending is Rob Thomas’s decision,” Erwich said. “He’s been the creator and longtime steward of that franchise. I support the decision that he made. For me, we talk about volume of conversation but the other thing you’re looking for is intensity of conversation. I think the intensity of that reaction is just a testament to how much people like the show.”
Spoilers in the age of social media is an evolving conversation. Most of us know that when we can’t watch a show immediately, we should stay off social media until we do. When that happens on Comic-Con weekend it’s a bit unfair as people will want or need to be on Twitter to share what’s going on at the major cultural event they’re attending.
Ultimately, the success or failure of Veronica Mars rests on the quality of the show. Enough people liked it enough that they wanted to see a fifth season, and the decision not to proceed doesn’t sound based on quality of the latest season anyway. These are strange times.
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