When it was first announced, little was known about Play It Again, Dick - the web-based spinoff from Rob Thomas and The CW’s cult TV series Veronica Mars - aside from the tidbit that it would star Ryan Hansen as his Neptune counterpart, Dick Casablancas. At the time, the project was overshadowed by the Veronica Mars movie (read our review), which was partially funded by the show’s vocal following. Thomas originally told HitFix that the series would center on a fictionalized version of Hansen who decides to capitalize on Veronica Mars’ popularity and pen a spinoff focusing on his character.
Now, while debate over whether Veronica Mars will (and should) receive a sequel is still ongoing, it’s been almost seven months since Thomas or The CW released any information about the spinoff webseries. However, with filming on Play It Again, Dick officially wrapped, multiple characters and actors have been confirmed as well as a premiere date on The CW’s online platform: CW Seed.
Buzzfeed confirmed that in addition to Hansen, fellow Veronica Marsveterans would appear in the series. Kristen Bell, Jason Dohring, Enrico Colantoni, Percy Daggs III, Daran Norris, Francis Capra, Kyle Gallner, and Christopher B. Duncan will all reprise their Veronica Mars roles on Play It Again, Dick in addition to portraying fictionalized versions of their real selves. Ryan Devlin — who played Mercer Hayes in the third season — will play a fictional version of himself and take on Teddy Dunn’s role: Duncan Kane.
These cast members will be joined by Chris Lowell and Ken Marino, who will play fictionalized versions of themselves; Amanda Noret and Lisa Thornhill, meanwhile, will reprise their characters Madison Sinclair and Celeste Kane. Robert Buckley and Rose McIver — stars of Thomas’s upcoming CW series, iZombie — will portray original characters on Play It Again, Dick, which will premiere the week of September 15.
When Thomas talked to Hitfix about Play It Again, Dick, he said the tone would be more similar to his short-lived Starz series — with an equally passionate cult following – Party Down, which focused on a group of actors, writers, and various wannabes living in Los Angeles working as caterers and waiting for their big break. Fans of Veronica Mars who also enjoyed Party Down will be excited by the meta nature of Play It Again, Dick, as it will hopefully capture the best of both of Thomas’ previous series.
However, the webseries is only working with eight episodes in its first season — each lasting eight to 10 minutes. Fans might be excited to see their favorite characters and actors return, but Play It Again, Dick will need to work them in efficiently so that the episodes don’t feel rushed. Avid followers of the series and its creator will appreciate fan service, but not at the expense of quality storytelling and television.
Still, Veronica Mars owes much of its recent success to its fans, so a little bit a fan service wouldn’t be out of the question. Additionally, if the video Thomas released along with the movie’s Kickstarter is any indication, the show’s stars — including Hansen, Bell, Dohring, and Colantoni — are as big of fans of the series as those who followed Veronica Mars’ success from the comfort of their homes.
Play It Again, Dick will premiere on CW Seed the week of September 15th, 2014.
Molly Freeman blogs at Screen Rant.