"Mr. And Mrs. Smith Meets The Office"
PK: Right. And there are simple things that you wouldn't even think of -- having never been on the set before, if you've never been to Chuck's bedroom or workstation, you write these little things like, say, a walk and talk of two people going down the hallway, and then you show up to the set and realize it's totally uncinematic or it's boring or it would work better here. I think once you get the chance to see what works and doesn't work, it's a lot easier. I sort of burdened Production with my first script before I knew actors or standing sets or what tended to work or not work, and you sort of hand them your little wish list of what you'd like to see, and then they just have to sort of deal with all the problems. But figuring out these problems is part of the fun of having a new show.
CB: So when you see the final version of the episode, does that help you see what you wrote in a new light? Or, to put it another way, do you find that a useful tool for developing your game, so to speak?
PK: I…guess so. It's pretty hard, it just goes through so many phases.
CB: Sure, and obviously, everything you see on screen is not your doing as a writer. But at the same time, seeing what happened from script to screen, you might be like, "Oh, next time if I do this, that's what it will look like." But maybe not?
PK: It's really hard. By the time it's aired, it's hard not to concentrate on the battles you've lost. Obviously I'm talking about Veronica Mars now, but it's really difficult not to get fixated and have this microscopic vision of things that you wish were better. The best thing would probably be to go back and watch it now, so you're not just sort of waiting for the thing that rubs you the wrong way. [laughs]
CB: So you mentioned the cancellation. After being so well-acclaimed for three years and yet fighting this Sisyphus-like and ultimately unsuccessful battle, were you sour on the industry, or did you not even have time to think about it at that point?
PK: Not the industry. I guess...I read a lot of Television Without Pity at the time, sort of like, turning to you to see the Hope Springs Eternal thread ["the ratings thread" -- CB] actually because I don't feel plugged-in in Hollywood, and I don't feel like the intel I was getting was unbiased and accurate. So I would totally read that stuff, and I guess at a certain point I really came away with what I think was a consensus, the strong voice being that it was a miracle that we had lasted that long and we should be grateful for it, and the numbers didn't support a fourth season, or even a third or second. You know, I didn't come away from it bitter, although if I hadn't gotten a job on Chuck, I'm sure I'd be incredibly bitter. But I don't know -- I don't know if there's a world in which Veronica Mars could have been a hit show. The people who produced it did an amazing job with what they were given. I wish it had been promoted better, but that's not something you can really expect as a writer. The fact that the network picked up the show in the first place was really auspicious, and maybe they were thinking they could become something better -- I don't know if they still feel that way, but it was a courageous pilot to pick up, and to, if not nurture, to let sort of slide by as unencumbered television for three seasons. So, Dawn Ostroff -- she's a genius.