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Bell & Thomas hope CW switch solves "Veronica Mars" not catch on mystery - Spoilers (whedon mention)

Tuesday 18 July 2006, by Webmaster

The "Veronica Mars" panel began with Kristen Bell’s signature photo dominating the screens in front of us. Fans know the one - she’s leaning forward, hand on her knee, face locked in a "take no guff" expression, a white tank showing off her sinewy biceps as her hair blows back. One would say she’s looking Free to Deliver a Beat Down, but the still has been around since season one - much to Bell’s dismay.

Sitting beside series creator Rob Thomas, she immediately started to protest when she saw the picture.

"Oh, honestly. I am so over it." She shook her head. "Can we get new pictures?"

Bell is a Serious Actress, understand. Though "Veronica" has made her famous, and she loves the character, she’s ready to move beyond the teen idol gig. By the time you read this she’ll have turned 26, officially taking her closer to her 30s than her teens.

Fortunately, Bell’s an actress who looks perpetually 19 - fortunate, because Veronica is going to be a freshman at Hearst College in the fall.

College life isn’t the biggest change "Veronica Mars" has to deal with. This season will have three big mysteries solved at different points in the season as opposed to one spread over 22 episodes. The first will be solved in the season’s initial nine episodes, with no pre-emptions and no repeats. The second is spaced over seven episodes - again, no pre-emptions, no repeats.

And the last whodunit happens over the final six episodes of the season.

Thomas realized by talking to network head Dawn Ostroff and reading Television Without Pity that viewers got too confused by his original model. This new format allows virgin viewers to jump in at any point in the season.

"That’s spoken with the confidence of a man who thinks he’s going to 22 episodes," Thomas said.

Yeah, about that...

Unfortunately, the criminally low-rated "Veronica" only got a 13-episode pick-up this season, a wait-and-see move on The CW’s part. The hope is that pairing it with "Gilmore Girls" on Tuesday will expand "Veronica’s" audience, since they’re no longer competing for the same viewers.

But "Veronica’s" fans are such a loyal crew that they rented a plane to fly a "save our show" message by The CW’s offices. Stephen King recently joined Joss Whedon and Kevin Smith in professing his great love for the series, although he wasn’t available to do a cameo.

"If you say you like ’Veronica Mars,’ there’s a good chance you’ll be asked to be on it," Thomas said.

As for the cast changes Wallace (Percy Daggs III), Logan (Jason Dohring) and even dumbbell Dick Casablancas (Ryan Hansen) are joining Veronica at Hearst. Daggs told us earlier that Wallace will be involved in one of the season’s big mysteries.

We’ll meet two new series regulars as well: A character named Stosh Piznarski will become Wallace’s roommate. And Mac (Tina Majorino), often called the Willow to Veronica’s Buffy, will get a roommate that Thomas says is "everything Mac is not."

"She will be bubbly and effervescent and listen to a lot of Nellie Furtado in the room," Thomas said. "And they won’t hit it off right away, but she’ll have a heart of gold.

And as anyone who saw Duncan Kane orchestrate a hit from a beach in Mexico probably guessed, Teddy Dunn, the actor who played Veronica’s first love, is done with the series.