p. 73-74: VERONICA MARS
It is not hard to see both why Thomas might have preferred this opening for the pilot, highlighting maturity, unconventionality, and suspenseful noir, and why UPN forced the more typical opening at Neptune High to appeal to its core teenage target audience with a more familiar milieu, style, genre, and set of characters. These two openings high- light the central challenge of any pilot: demonstrating how the series is both freshly distinct and yet familiar enough to be recognizable and comfortable, striking the delicate balance between similarity and difference that structures commercial television. The UPN opening starts with the familiar and slowly complicates it with intrigue and genre mixture, while the DVD version puts us in the midst of something unconventional for television, a young female-centered noir, and then links it to the more conventional facets of teen drama. Both educate viewers on the program’s norms and inspire them to keep viewing, but clearly each approach speaks differently to various subsets of the potential viewing audience.