Kickstarter began as one thing, and has morphed into something... different from that original thing. I don't know if that's for the better, or for the worse, but as the combination of high-speed internet and file-sharing democratized the consumption of media, it appears crowdfunding is going to democratize the production of media.
And it appears you have Veronica Mars to thank.
This is the link to the Kickstarter page for a Veronica Mars movie, set up by Rob Thomas, the creator of that show (as well as Party Down, another cult favorite). The gist of this Kickstarter is that he's already talked to Warner Brothers, and they've agreed that if Thomas can crowdfund a two-million dollar budget within 30 days, Warners will pick up the tab for marketing and digital distribution.
He breaks it down thusly: He needs about 80,000 fans of the show to put up $25 bucks each, which is basically the cost of a brand new blu-ray. Not that 80,000 fans will need to do that, because a few hours after launching, the kickstarter had already crossed the $100,000 mark, with at least one contributor coughing up over $10,000 in one chunk.
It's safe to say that we're going to be reigniting that friendship from a long time ago (I personally wouldn't be surprised if this thing makes its two mil by Friday, March 15th) but there are questions aside from "Oh my god, who's coming back?" "Will someone drive a truck up Logan's ass finally?" "Where's Wallace? HUH? WHERE'S WALLACE!?!"
The biggest question, and the one I'm sure many other creators are mulling over right now, is this: Instead of just accepting a cult show's early death, at best hoping for a life in the pages of an overpriced, once-a-month comic book, can we tap our fervent fanbases and come back from the dead ourselves?
The answer seems a lot more positive than anyone might previously have thought. Sure, it still depends on savvy negotiation tactics on the part of these showrunners/producers - you have to convince executives that there's some money in it for them at the end of the day - but studios seem to be pretty hungry for video-on-demand content right about now, especially since Netflix is obviously willing to upend the whole system by snatching up projects like House of Cards away from heavy hitters like HBO and AMC. Hell, Netflix has already beaten Ms. Mars to this resurrection game, commanding that Arrested Development rise from its grave.
Rob Thomas is going to get his two million. It's a foregone conclusion. The question is how fast. The faster he gets it, the more likely similar stories start popping up, even as we travel a road that takes us farther and farther away from Kickstarter's initial intent. But down that road is a future where we power on our gaming consoles/cable boxes, to not only watch what we want, when we want, where we want; we choose specifically what it is we want made.
But you're still probably not getting a Firefly reunion.