Baron and Toluca: The Anti-Reboot Funded by Fans

Baron and Toluca
Majandra Delfino and Brendan Fehr; stars of Baron and Toluca

ometimes it’s not a reboot of an original show that the fans want. Baron and Toluca is proving just how determined a fandom can be to get what they want.

Recently, Brandon Scott at Sci-Fi Bloggers wrote an article covering adaptations, and why so many aren’t fan favorites. The article was mostly centred on book-to-movie adaptations, but the main issue that Brandon absolutely nailed and remains relevant across the board was, “to make audiences happy, to make the book lovers satisfied, arguably the most important aspect is to represent the books as they are.”

The same can be said for re-imaginings and reboots of older TV Shows. Often-times reboots have a hard time picking up original fans as a dedicated audience. This is mainly due to the expectations the fans have, followed by their disappointment thereafter when those expectations aren’t met. It’s a fine line between completely mirroring the former original show, and creating an entirely new one that merely shares the same title. And as Scott said, to keep the fans satisfied, most of the time you need to represent the books (or the original show) as they are. Generating the magic, the chemistry and the essence of a show is what captures the hearts of fans — and to do that, a reboot isn’t always the answer.

Roswell original cast member Katherine Heigl, with Tabasco bottles from fans.

Roswell, a classic teen drama sci-fi TV series centred on aliens living in plain sight, was adapted from Melinda Metz’s Roswell High series and aired between 1999–2002. It had a huge fandom and cult following, which single-handedly saved the series from cancellation not once, but twice. By sending thousands upon thousands of Tabasco sauce bottles(a favorite dietary requirement of the aliens on the show) to the WB network, Roswell fans were able to convince the WB to produce a second season — and then a third season with new network UPN. It was an incredible feat for a fandom during that time — social media as we know it was not a thing yet, so mobilizing fans took a lot of organization and dedication to the cause. The fact that the WB attributes the Roswell fandom with saving the show from cancellation not once but twice, is a pretty strong indication of just how hell-bent the fandom was on the continued success of the show.

The Roswell fanbase, though 22 years older and wiser now, still remain loyal to the original Roswell show and cast. So you can imagine their absolute glee when Majandra Delfino and Brendan Fehr, co-stars from the original show, announced they were in discussions for a ‘spiritual successor’ to their fans’ beloved Roswell. The only catch — they needed their fans to help make it a reality.

Fehr and Delfino played teens Michael Guerin and Maria DeLuca in Roswell — an alien hybrid boy and human girl, whose natural chemistry nearly set the screen alight and had viewers grasping for the nearest fire extinguisher. They often bickered and humorously fought, but their affection for each other was undeniable and earned them the relationship nickname ‘Candy’ (m&m — geddit?).

Majandra Delfino as Toluca Mendez and Brendan Fehr as Jake Baron
Majandra Delfino as Toluca Mendez and Brendan Fehr as Jake Baron
Brendan Fehr as Jake Baro and nMajandra Delfino as Toluca Mendez

The premise for their new sci-fi drama series Baron and Toluca (B+T) is pure genius. Jake Baron and Toluca Mendez, ex co-stars from a teen sci-fi drama series (sounding familiar…) and exes in real life (and in real real life), find themselves reunited in a familiar part of New Mexico — much to the delight of one and dismay of the other. Their love-hate relationship has seen them move down different paths in life, but when they experience a blackout and a real-life alien abduction, they must set aside their bickering and team up to unravel the eerie abductions that threaten to take them for good.

“After Roswell got cancelled, we felt that nothing on TV captured the distinct magic of the show. That sparked an idea. An obsession really. We went to work with the idea of paying homage to that particular sci-fi genre and the distinct chemistry of Michael and Maria.

From there B+T was born. Not a reboot. Not a prequel. But a spiritual successor to a show we all loved so much. A new, original sci-fi drama that will warm the hearts of our fans of yesteryear and capture the hearts of brand new ones,” explains Fehr.

The trailers are published, the script is written, and now Fehr and Delfino have successfully crowd-funded to produce a full-length pilot episode via an Indiegogo campaign.

The campaign was filled with “perks” for fans to purchase as a contribution towards the funding goal, and included things such as exclusive Baron and Toluca merchandise, and Zoom meetings with the cast of Roswell such as Jason Behr (Max Evans), Nick Wechsler (Kyle Valenti) and Katherine Heigl (Isabel Evans). There were also a selection of props from the show available to fans with lightning-quick reflexes — the likes of Michael Guerin’s infamous ring and screen-worn clothing sold within seconds. The fans weren’t sleeping, we’re unsure if they were eating — all we know is that they have been tirelessly campaigning to make B+T a reality.

Baron and Toluca was 50% funded within a day of launching their crowd-fund campaign, 75% funded in under one week, and 100% funded by two weeks into their initial six week-long campaign. Once the $100,000 goal was reached, “stretch goals” were introduced for continued funding. It goes without saying that one hundred thousand bucks is likely the bare minimum needed to film a pilot of a TV show (and that’s after calling in a few favors), so the stretch goals ensured that any additional funding would secure more sophisticated production, editing and crew for the show. With every stretch goal reached, fans have been promised additional perks too, such as exclusive behind-the-scenes footage and a DVD of the pilot itself. The current funding of the campaign sits at just over $186,000 with perks still available for purchase.

It should be clarified again that Baron and Toluca is not a reboot or reimagining. It is a new series being dubbed a “spiritual successor” to Roswell. Or as it is often referred to; a love letter to the fans. The chemistry that sizzled between Fehr and Delfino in Roswell is still evident 22 years on in B+T, and the easter eggs (subtle nods to the original series) placed throughout the two teaser-trailers have their fans hooked.

Baron and Toluca is set to be a fan favorite, and the words ‘reboot’ and ‘adaptation’ are nowhere in sight. Sometimes to re-hook an audience and keep the fans happy, it’s not a reboot that is needed. It’s the representation of the original actors and a nod to their undeniable chemistry, combined with a really freakin’ cool idea.

Crowd-funding is now well and truly the new Tabasco. Go take a look for yourself — you can find Baron and Toluca’s Indiegogo page here.

~ By Hailey Rodger