theTVaddict.com is so dedicated to providing the best in television coverage that I missed all of Monday’s must-see-TV in order to participate in a press conference with VERONICA MARS mastermind Rob Thomas and new series regular Tina Majorino (MAC). Okay, so life could be worse, but at least take solace in the fact that I’ll be up really late tonight catching up on PRISON BREAK, HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER, THE NEW ADVENTURES OF OLD CHRISTINE, HEROES and STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP.
So here it goes, a very detailed recap of Monday’s Press Conference. (I apologize in advance for any typos and grammatical errors)
What is your take on your friendship with Veronica:
Tina Majorino: The friendship with Veronica is one of my favourite parts of the entire show. It’s great to have two really strong personalities getting along so well. They’re [Mac & Veronica] really there for each-other without getting too girly or sorority-girlesque.
Going into college, are we going to see any Neptune Alum show up at Hearst College?
Rob Thomas: We are finding that whenever there is someone we really like we just keep using them and using them again. The president of the fraternity ‘chip’ [who appeared in a few episodes last season] will be back. The best example of this is Ryan Hansen [Dick Casablancas]. He had one word in the pilot and two in the second episode. When we find an actor character we like we tend to just go back to them.
Now that Veronica is in College, will there be more Gays and Lesbians worked into the show. In part because of the relationship with Beaver, could Mac ‘switch teams’?
RT: No plan on Mac switching teams. There are some new key characters, who’s sexuality we don’t make a point to define, but I believe they are gay. As of yet we have yet to write a ‘gay’ storyline
Has the negative reaction to Jackie’s character last year influenced you on how you write new characters this season, especially Parker?
RT: I don’t think so, I haven’t thought of that. Certainly Parker is a different flavour, then Jackie was. She doesn’t come on with that same sort of vibe, but that wasn’t as a reaction to Jackie. If it had an effect, it would be subconscious. I have not consciously thought that I have to make everyone likeable or fans will be displeased. I have learned lessons over time. Generally speaking, anyong we put in between Veronica and Logan, the fans will tear apart. Actresses who I’ve adored, Hannah, Deputy Leo — I thought were wonderful and yet they’ve gotten hammered by the fans. So I try to figure out what I think is working and stick to my gut.
Shows that transition to College often have trouble (ie. Buffy). I wonder if you thought of that and have thought of ways to avoid the pitfalls?
RT: I think the biggest way we’re avoiding the pitfall is that we haven’t kept the characters in high school for fou years. We’ve allowed them to progress as normal beings will. One of the things that high school shows often have issues with is that some shows are built around ‘coming of age’ stories. So when they go to college they have to shift. We weren’t a high school show in the more traditional sense, we’re a noire mystery show. So the simple rules don’t apply. I actually think that having Veronica out of High School will open up stories for us.
Can you talk about the effects Beaver’s actions will have on Mac and Dick Casablancas?
RT: Yes, absolutely. There’s a double edged sword with it. You absolutely see Dick reacting to his brother’s death. He’s a wreck. I want to play some of the reality of it, yet at the same time, the best thing about Dick is the comedy he brings to the show — very fun bad boy kind of frat boy energy. And so spending a half season with Dick wallowing wouldn’t be particularly good for the show. Mac is also dealing with fallout from what happened. We actually hit both those topics really hard in the first episode.
Tina, has the story of last season’s finale effected how you play the character of ‘Mac’ this season?
TM: I think there have been a lot of changes in Mac. But I think it’s quite a challenge because you want to keep the character similar, but at the same time show change because of what happened. I don’t want to lose the ‘fun’ of Mac, so it’s been really challenging as an actress.
Rob, are there any plans to have more bands in the show?
RT: Right now I’m writing the ninth episode, the end of the mystery arc. There is a space for a band. The question always is… should I try and get a ‘name’ band? Having RadioHead play a gig at Hearst College isn’t that realistic. Having a band adds five shooting hours, which is a lot in an already jam packed episode. We wanted to do it a lot last year but we really haven’t had the time.
In terms of major character deaths, is there anything planned this year. Also, have you planned out the specifics of the three mysteries this year?
RT: We do know what the three mysteries are going to be. I can tell you that they’re all going to have a different feel. The first one is the ongoing mystery of the Hearst Serial Rapist. I want the second one to surprise people. You’ll get introduced to the second mystery in the last episode of the first mystery. The inspiration for the second mystery: Steven Soderbergh did a low budget digital video murder mystery called BUBBLE. There are pieces of it, a way that’s its’s set up that I really like. I wanted to have a mystery, for the first time where we start seeing the build-up to the mystery, as supposed to being introduced to the crime after it.
What are your thoughts on the show’s new opening credits (Fans can view the credits by clicking here).
RT: We kind of had to change them because the ones we’ve been using have been so High School oriented (specifically the notebook paper, which was too high school). I was never a fan of our opening title sequence. I wanted to do something more artsy, I wanted to age-it-up, play uo the noir element. Make it feel like Veronica is more grown up.
Do you think we’re going to see Logan mature and become more of the man Veronica deserves and wants to be with.
RT: I worry about characters getting too soft and too likeable. Certainly Veronica and Logan have good qualities, but I’m always interested in softening their edges. They’re bland and uninteresting if they get too nice. Logan has had too much happened to him, if he just became a super student, got a good job etc. It would feel a bit false to me. At the same time I want to make sure they grow and I don’t want to repeat the same behaviors. I don’t want Logan to organize another ‘bum’ fight. That feels like a high school thing to do – if you’re a child that gets beaten by his father. It’s a tricky line that we walk, how much emotional maturity should we give to our characters.
Tina, I’m hoping you could talk about the difference between TV and film.
TM:I find that I’ve been really blessed to play some great characters on television. It’s really hard to find some great characters and the parts that I’ve been playing on TV have worked out really nice for me. Working on TV, you get a chance to be so much closer to everyone that’s been working on the show. You’re working with them for a whole nine months, you get to see everyone everyday. With film it’s 3 months and then it’s over. It’s also nice knowing that you get to go to work everyday.
Now that you’re on the CW and GILMORE GIRLS is your lead-in, have you consciously written the first episode differently to attract as many new viewers as possible?
RT: I will freely admit, the first episode is Veronica Mars for beginners. The case is pretty straight ahead and used to largely introduce us to the new characters. I’ve tried to really front load the episodes with fun breezy banter, that would play nicely with the Gilmore Girls audience, sort of inviting them into the show. It starts feeling more like our show in the final five minutes. The second episode which ranks with some of our best ever, is Veronoica Mars at its best.
Since you’re a series regular this year, will you still have time to be on the second season of BIG LOVE?
TM: Yes, the network has been really great and I’ll be able to be on both series’ next year.
Is there any CW actor whom you’d like to see show up on Veronica Mars?
TM: I don’t even know
RT: For me, it would be the actor who would attract the most people to Veronica Mars. If we could get Lorelai on our show, that would be fantastic.
Did you watch any episodes of Gilmore Girls to see what your lead-in is like?
RT: I haven’t, I’m embarrassed to say. My wife is a fan. But knowing my tastes, she thinks it’s a bit too girly for me. I saw a big chunk of one, we had the actor who plays Logan doing our show, and they sent me a clip of his storyline, he did a great job for us and Gilmore Girls.
Now that you’ve shot a few episode of the new season, how do the execs at the CW feel about the new season?
RT: They’ve been thrilled. The things that they asked for were things I would have done anyway. Largely they wanted something less complicated. A nine episode mystery instead of a twenty-two episode mystery is a lot easier to write. Instead of a cast of 20 players that have bit pieces, it narrows the scope. It comes really fast and furious. We’re just finishing the first mystery, it feels weird for us. We’re going to have no opportunity to tinker with the mystery as we go. We’ll have the whole first mystery complete before we get any reaction from the fans on the first episode.
One of the things I always enjoyed was viewing the fan theories. I enjoyed seeing where the fans thought the show was going, and who was the guilty person. We’d often play up a certain red herring, or make the clues more obvious to ensure the fans were on the right (or wrong) track. With the new format we’ll have less of an opportunity to tinker.
Could you talk a little bit about how you choose the music to go along with specific scenes.
RT: The studio/network hates when I talk about it. One of the reasons we didn’t do a soundtrack this year is that when we’re over budget, the first place they make us cut is the music budget. In year one we were getting in 4 or 5 songs, last year the number went down to 2 or 3. There’s been less music in the show which is something I’m not happy about. I tend to write with songs in mind. I sit there with iTunes, as I write an episode and as songs are occuring to me I put them in playlists and keep them in rotation. I write to music a lot. They always know when it’s my script in post-production because I’ve written all my songs in the script. For the episodes I don’t write the editors tend to add temp music that I will sometimes replace. One of our editors has just fantastic musical tastes, mabye it’s not fantastic, but i think it is because it is kind of the same as mine. When he places music it tends to stay. We also have a great music rep from warner bros. I’ll say i need a song for a soririty party and she’ll send me some suggestions and I’ll drive along in my car for a few days seeing if the music works.