Articles from various sources, online and printed, about Roswell.
There are a lot of articles and I considered marking them by the season, but some of them are
kind of hard to classify. They talk about season 1, but also have stuff about season 2 renewal,
- Best and Worst from Teen Scene, NY Daily News - Oct 11 1999
- Aliens have invaded our civilization - and they look just like you and me, WB.com - Oct 13 1999
- Viewer alienation not a problem for teen drama 'Roswell', CNN - Oct 14, 1999
- Roswell, TV Zone - October 22, 1999
- Fall Teen and Twentysomething Television Programming, tv-now.com - Nov 1999
- 'X' FACTORS - Nov 12 1999
- Say What? on Roswell facts and quotes, Teen Celebrity - Dec 1999
- Aliens have found a home on the WB, Boston Globe - Dec 1, 1999
- HOW DO ANGEL, FREAKS AND GEEKS, POPULAR, AND ROSWELL RATE WITH THEIR INTENDED AUDIENCE - TEENS?, TV Guide Article - Dec 17, 1999
- E!Online Resolutions - Dec 1999
- Roswell, tvguide.com - Dec 9, 1999
- Meet the beautiful people, Xpose special yearbook - 1999-2000 #10
- TV's Sexiest Aliens, From Antarians to Vulcans, AOL Television
- 20 Secrets About Roswell, Twist Magazine - Jan 2, 2000
- Hot Spot, DreamWatch #66 - February 2000
- Kids are ET, Cult Times #52 February 2000
- Who says Roswell Rocks?, Young and Modern - Mar 2000
- Alienated, dishthis.com - Mar 3, 2000
- "Roswell Fans Rally", Press Release on Ad Campaign - April 3, 2000
- Roswell Changes Nights as Fan Campaign Heats Up - April 10, 2000
- Show me the meaning of rich, vh1.com
- From the WB Session 4/13/2000
- Roswell Actors Ponder Their Fate, TV Guide Online - Monday, April 17, 2000
- Roswell is out of this world but shouldn't be out of WB lineup, St Louis Post Dispatch- Monday, April 17, 2000
- Roswell Television Review, fandom.com Apr 30, 2000
- "Roswell" Officially Picked Up, May 12, 2000
- WB Update, Entertainment Weekly - May 16, 2000
- The WB Unveils New Lineup, TVGuide - May 17, 2000
- Fans put the 'heat' on WB, CNN - May 17, 2000
- The Year's Most Memorable TV Moments, gist.com
- ROSWELL BRIDGES THE GALAXIES BETWEEN US, space.com
- Highs & Lows, Dreamwatch - June 2000
- Choosing your own Desinty, anotheruniverse.com - June 6, 2000
- GIST TV: Year's Most Memorable TV Moments - June 7, 2000
- Get up to speed on TV favorites via reruns of these four shows, St Louis Post - June 21, 2000
- Efforts have been Heard
- WB Credits Roswell Campaign, SciFi.com
- How Roswell was Saved - July 2000
- Denver Post Article - July 3, 2000
- Roswell, zap2it.com - Jul 26, 2000
- Eonline tv tidbits
- Sci-fi Roswell set to become more hard-edged, Toronto Star TV Critic
- Men Are From Mars, Starburst Special - Sept 2000
- Fall TV, Entertainment Weekly - September 2000
- Television Mail, Daily Mail - 22nd September 2000
- Roswell Take Two: Less Angst, More Aliens, Space.com - September 28 2000
- Here's hoping that..., San Jose Mercury News - September 29 2000
- TV guide Online
- 'Roswell' may have revealed too much, The Dallas Morning News - Oct 2, 2000
- Roswell: Top Ten Season Two Predictions, Special to SPACE.com - October 2, 2000
- Roswell: Season 2 Begins, Fanfom.com - October 2, 2000
- Space Case Roswell, Entertainment Weekly
- Skin Deep, Cult Times #62 - November 2000
- WB uncovers more ``Roswell'' episodes, Variety - November 5, 2000
- 'Roswell': Year Two - Should We Still Care About Teenage Aliens?, The Futon Critic - 11/21/2000
- CAN TABASCO SAVE A TV SERIES?, Fresno Bee - Nov 30, 2000
- Is Roswell UPN-Bound?
- Spaced Out: Roswell Beams to UPN with Buffy, TV Guide
- WB Retaliation to affect Roswell? Jan 11, 2001
- REVISED Airing Schedule
- Sending Out and SOS, USA Today - May 1, 2001
- There's No Love Greater Than That of a Tabasco Chugger (E! Online) - May 4, 2001
- WB locks in top series to avoid ``Buffy'' replay, Reuters, Variety - May 13, 2001
- UPN Considers Buffy Roswell Combo, Trek Today - May 15, 2001
- Roswell joins Buffy for UPN's fall lineup - May 16, 2001
- "Roswell" Gets Legal Nudging, E!Online Jul 17, 2001
- Roswell VS. SmallVille
- Roswell, Season 3
- Tuned In, LA Times
- Roswell, The Standard Examiner
- Roswell's beautiful alien teens now at home at UPN, Entertainment News Wire
- A Season of Love Alien Style, 'Soap Opera Weekly' - October 3, 2001
- 'Roswell' returns to its original format, TV Star - October 8, 2001
- 'Roswell' grows up, gets new relationships on UPN, USA Today - October 12, 2001
- 'Roswell' Gone and Buried - October 12, 2001
- 'Roswell' has Improved - Nov, 2001
- Roswell's Crashdown, Newsguy.com - November 5, 2001
- 'Roswell' Still Kicking On UPN, Zap2It - November 21, 2001
- Creche Landing, Tv Guide - December 18, 2001
- 8 TV Shows that have been Un-Canceled, wallstcheatsheet.com, May 30, 2014
- Why a Roswell Reunion Movie Will (Probably) Never Happen, eonline, Jun 6, 2014
- ‘Roswell’ Reunion: Shiri Appleby, Jason Behr and Jason Katims Reminisce at ATX TV Festival, Jun 8, 2014
- Brilliant but Cancelled Dramas: 5 First Impressions of TV Shows we Forgot to Watch, Huffington Post, Jun 16, 2014
- 5 TV Couples We'd Like to See Have a Sequel Spin-off Like Girl Meets World, tv.com, Jun 26, 2014
- ‘Roswell’ Reunion 2015 — Is It Happening?, Jun 8, 2014
Best and Worst from Teen Scene, NY Daily News
by Eric Mink
Oct 11 1999
Television just can't resist teenagers: If you're the writer/producer of a drama, making teens part of your ensemble gives you instant access to adolescent angst, the search for identity and, of course, raging hormones. Those exact same qualities make teens equally irresistible as targets of sitcom jokes that are all-but-universally understood.
And if you're a network looking to sell ads to soft drink and snack-food manufacturers, to marketers of trendy clothing and to movie distributors, you're much more likely to attract the teenage viewers they want if you have teenage characters in your shows.
The just-launched TV season includes six new shows in which teens and their principal area of combat, high school, figure prominently, if not exclusively: NBC's "Freaks and Geeks," ABC's "Odd Man Out," Fox' "Get Real" and the WB's "Roswell," "Safe Harbor" and "Popular."
There would have been a seventh, a nasty little concoction for Fox called "Manchester Prep," but the show developed grave problems in concept and production. After a couple of postponements, it was canceled last week before it ever got on the air.
And that doesn't count other new shows in which teens and their troubles figure as important supporting elements — ABC's "Once and Again," for example.
Even six shows qualifies as a mini trend — the apparent result of networks inexplicably trying to mimic such hotly hyped but lowly rated teen-oriented WB shows as "Felicity" — but it's a long way from unprecedented.
Take the current crop's ostensible ancestor: the teen soap "Beverly Hills 90210." Hailed — mistakenly, I think — as breakthrough teen programming when it premiered on Fox in 1990, "90210" was only echoing a TV tradition stretching at least as far back as the ahead-of-its-time "Room 222" (1969) and the cosmically dumb "Welcome Back, Kotter" (1975).
And if the bones of many a forgettable teen show litter the TV-show graveyard, the gleaming reputations and warm memories of others persist. Among them: "The White Shadow" (1978), "The Wonder Years" (1988) and "My So-Called Life" (1994), arguably the best coming-of-age drama series ever.
This year's batch is all over the map, from the sublime to the pathetic. Now that we've sailed past the premieres and into the season, here's a critical assessment:
"Freaks and Geeks" (Saturdays at 8, NBC). This is a beautifully written and acted show, set in 1980 and sensitively attuned to the fragility of teenagers in high school. On the surface, the show pits categories of kids against one another, but it's clear that most differences are just that: superficial. Honest, heartfelt and funny.
"Get Real" (Wednesdays at 9, Fox). It's not getting much of an audience, but this distinctive, quirky and very smart family drama shows unusual respect for all its characters, adults included. A terrific cast and a fresh, invigorating sensibility.
"Roswell" (Wednesdays at 9, WB). The fact that three of the high-school kids are space aliens isn't played for cheap laughs but, rather, underscores the outsiders' nature of teenage perspectives on life. A deft blend of drama, humor and suspense.
"Popular" (Thursdays at 8, WB). Despite occasional moments that ring true, this show is undermined by an impossibly beautiful cast of actors who look 15 years too old to be the high-schoolers they're playing.
"Odd Man Out" (Fridays at 8:30, ABC). It's appropriate for ABC's waning TGIF lineup, but otherwise this is an unwatchable sitcom about a lone teenage boy living with sisters, an aunt and a widowed mother.
"Safe Harbor" (Mondays at 9, WB). Another attempt at family drama by the creator of WB's fine "Seventh Heaven," but this one just seems to be going through the motions.
Aliens have invaded our civilization - and they look just like you and me.
10/13/1999-Roswell article from thewb.com
The aliens in question are the cast of the new show Roswell starring Jason Behr (Dawson's Creek) and newcomer Shiri Appleby. Also joining the cast - Katherine Heigl, Majandra Delfino, Brendan Fehr, Colin Hanks, Nick Wechsler and William Sadler.
Roswell is set in the New Mexico town made famous by the alleged crash of an alien spacecraft in July of 1947. Several witnesses claim to have made contact with the ship's debris, stating that the material would not burn or scratch, and it would return to its normal state after being crumpled. And others recount tales of alien bodies lying dormant in the wreckage. All of this, naturally, has been refuted time and again by the US military. They still say the craft was nothing more than a weather balloon.
But producers David Nutter (The X-Files) and Jason Katims (My So-Called Life) are spinning a new angle on the story in Roswell. They reveal that not only did aliens dive bomb into the American west 50 years ago, but their descendants are living among us under the guise of human personas.
"To me, one of the exciting things about the premise of the show is that the three alien characters in the show don't know about their history," says Katims. "From a writing point of view, it's exciting because as they discover their backstory, the audience is discovering it."
Although it would be easy to define Roswell as a science fiction program, Katims and Nutter have opted to steer away from the sci-fi aspects and focus more on the quest for identity and acceptance. The stories will be told from the point of view of the human residents of Roswell, but will also call upon the unique voice of the aliens. It is they who must struggle to conceal their otherworldly identities while discovering what it means to be human.
Says Katims, "We have a way of doing it in a way that can be personal and hopefully very emotional and not just about the facts about what's happened. It's something we're going to discover with the characters and it will be a long ride and hopefully a really fulfilling journey."
Katims and Nutter have been able to set Roswell aside from thematically similar programs like The X Files by emphasizing the romantic facets of the story. Nevertheless, the show does have aliens, and the actors that play them have taken a strong interest in the events surrounding the alleged UFO crash.
"My father actually sent me the official government records on Roswell, and it's very interesting," says Roswell actress Jessica Heigl. It's all based on the weather balloon, but supposedly now, people that were involved in the supposed crash are able to speak freely. And they still say it was a weather balloon. I don't know. There's still that mystery there."
Roswell actor Jason Behr, who says the movie ET had a strong impact on him when he was a child, is forthright on the topic. "For me to sit here and to tell you that we are the only intelligent life form that ever existed would be very arrogant of me."
If we are living elbow-to-elbow with aliens, and if we are one day to communicate with them, we should be prepared to face a frightening possibility. They may know a lot more about being human than we do.
Viewer alienation not a problem for teen drama 'Roswell'
From Laurin Sydney CNN Entertainment News Correspondent NEW YORK (CNN) (Oct 14,1999)
High-school years are often filled with feelings of alienation, of not belonging, of almost like being from another planet. That's exactly what the creators of "Roswell" are banking on. On the new WB drama, aliens walk the halls of a Roswell, New Mexico, high school. They carry backpacks and gossip. In fact, these aliens look better and talk smarter than any high-school students from any known galaxy. It was some 30 or 40 miles northwest of Roswell that conspiracy buffs say an alien spacecraft crashed in July 1947. Tales of coverups by the United States military have since proved as hardy as cacti in the desert terrain. Among the most persistent allegations is that the remains of downed aliens were taken to a facility called Hangar 18 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (then known as Wright Field) near Dayton, Ohio. Originally, Army Air Corps personnel from the 509th Bomb Group are said to have referred to a crashed "flying disk." The term used shortly thereafter by the military was "weather balloon." Washington for more than 50 years has been dogged by questions about the "Roswell incident." And the southwestern town today has a tourist industry thriving on the subject and centered around such installations as the International UFO Museum & Research Center. The producers of the WB's new show -- David Nutter of "The X-Files" and Jason Katims of "My So-Called Life" -- have layered onto the basic idea a new concept: The alien ship delivered an incubator containing three alien teens. It's those three kids who, in the pilot aired on October 6, found their cover blown when one of them revealed his identity to a friend, along with a power to adjust molecular structure and heal humans. Says Jason Behr , who plays that alien teen, Max, says the show is "about a bunch of high-school students and their friends and how they relate to each other and how they deal with the whole dynamic of that relationship when it's taken an unexpected turn."
A Romeo-and-Juliet tale That unexpected turn comes when one of Max's fellow students, Liz Parker (Shiri Appleby ) is shot while working at her father's diner, the Crashdown Cafe. Max heals her mortal wound with a touch of his hand, leaving behind a telltale silver handprint. Then he asks her not to reveal his secret. A relationship blooms between the guy from outer space and the girl whom Appleby describes as "very smart, into science, biology -- and she somewhat has a crush on this guy." All this, in spite of the strong disapproval of Max's two fellow stranded aliens, Isabel Evans (Katherine Heigl) and Michael Guerin (Brendan Fehr). They fear Max is putting them at risk by opening up to an Earthling girl. "I saw me as he saw me," Appleby's character says in the show, describing the brief interaction. "And the amazing thing was, in his eyes, I was beautiful." "It's kind of like a love story, it really is," says Behr. "But it's about two different people that shouldn't be together but want to." In one of the pilot's most pointed scenes, a Roswell festival, crawling with people costumed as "aliens," sends a mock spaceship on a wire to crash and burn on the ground. The three alien teens look on, made outsiders in the crowd by the fact that they're seeing a tawdry replay of their violent arrival on Earth.
Sky-high ratings, for WB "Roswell's" premiere posted the WB's second-highest debut ever, indicating that these two previously unknown actors, Behr and Appleby, may soon be household names. The sudden success feels alien to Behr, he says: "It's a weird feeling. I feel like I woke up in somebody else's bed." Appleby actually did wake up in somebody else's bed. Although anxious to know whether "Roswell" would be picked up and what time it would air, she was crashing at a friend's house so she wouldn't feel like she was waiting for the phone to ring. "So I woke up at 11:30," she says. "I'm like, 'I'm just going to check the machine; I know I don't have any messages, but I'm just going to check.' Checked, had three messages. They're like 'We've been picked up. Call for details.'" She'd later find out that the WB had ordered 22 episodes of the show, not just 13, and that it had landed in the coveted Wednesday night slot (9 p.m. Eastern) following "Dawson's Creek." "I didn't even know what to do," Appleby says. "It was unbelievable. It was like a dream come true."
October 22, 1999
Jason Katims is probably thanking his lucky stars for Joss Whedon right now. The creator of WB's much anticipated teen alien drama ROSWELL would probably have had a much harder road to hoe with his new creation if it weren't for Whedon's BUFFY miracle, i.e. making the innately silly (a vampire fighting teenager named, well, you know) seem at once believable, moving, and cool.
After all, consider Katims' task: to take a series of, granted, much loved books about the offspring of Roswell aliens going to high school and leech it of all its seemingly indivisible camp factor, and then form it into a version that can snag the attention of increasingly sophisticated teenage TV audience. Pile on the fact the Roswell incident is the threadbare Rosette Stone of 1990s science fiction (no less than INDEPENDENCE DAY, THE X-FILES, SEVEN DAYS, STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE and STARGATE SG-1 have used it for plotting fodder) and Katims had more than an uphill battle to get the project from page to screen. It was a battle he, along with executive producers David Nutter and STAR TREK's own Jonathan Frakes, first fought at Fox. They lost.
"I think that when you develop a show, it's kind of like you know that a lot of other shows are being developed, too, and you hope that it fits in with the schedule," Katims says of his work at Fox, where ROSWELL was originally developed. "In this case, it didn't for Fox, where it didn't fit in as well as it did for WB. I'm not sure exactly why that was."
When asked why ROSWELL didn't fit in with the X-FILES friendly network, Katims, who came from movie production and writing to this, his first TV project, answers like an old television pro. "I don't know if 'edgy' is the right word," for why Fox didn't pick up ROSWELL, he says. "I think there might have been concern from Fox that they felt the show skewed young for their audience. Again, it's not that. It's not that Fox said, 'No, we don't want the show' and WB said 'yes we do.' Fox had never turned the show down. It was just them trying to find a fit for their fall lineup. And that seemed to be the most difficult thing for them."
And say yes WB did. In a move not too surprising for the bold upstart, the WB ordered a full 22 episodes rather than just the 13 most new shows snag. Once that order was nabbed, it was up to Katims, Nutter and series stars Shiri Appleby, Jason Behr, Majandra Delfino, Brendan Fehr, Katherine Heigl and William Sadler to populate the TV Roswell with to characters that will make Melinda Metz's series of popular books come to life. "I read the first one and took a lot of what was in the pilot and used it in the first episode," he says of Metz's original work. "[But] at this point I feel like we have to sort of go our own way and I think that's more because things happen so fast in television in terms of creating story. I feel the smartest and best way for us to go about it is to take these characters an make these our own."
Those characters include the three series stars who, like in the books, play the offspring of aliens who escaped from the legendary 1947 UFO crash at Roswell, and along with the normal struggles of teenage life and high school, have to deal with the emerging knowledge they're not like everyone else. And along the way a major obstacle is Sadler's character, the Roswell sheriff who may or may not have it in for the trio.
"I mean, the place that he's coming from," Sadler says about his character, "his entire belief system is going to be, I think, turned on its head slowly as he collects the pieces of the puzzle. My guess is that finally we'll see some sort of sea changes in his attitude. He's very single-minded and determined to get to the bottom of this mystery at the beginning, because of his father's being chastised for believing in aliens and so on. And all of a sudden, it's happening to him." Adds Nutter, "Our goal is not to make William Sadler the "black hat." Our goal is to give him another dimension and a sense of purpose and a sense that he needs to find the truth as well as these kids need to find the truth about their paths. And I think that journey can be an exciting one and I think a compelling, fulfilling one for him as well."
And it's that search for truth that has more than a few anticipators drawing comparisons to THE X-FILES. Earlier this summer, even executive producer Frakes (who will be directing an episode this season) called it "a teenage X-FILES." Fehr, for one, is ready for them "As to comparisons with THE X-FILES," he says, "Obviously there's certainly a comparison with the alien issues and all the rest of it... David Duchovny -- in that Fox Mulder was searching in a sense for the truth in concerns with aliens and his sister and all the rest of it. [In ROSWELL] You got me, Katherine, and Max on a search of our own, but it's in a sense it's a little bit more personal. It's not our sisters, but it's us, in fact. So in that sense, there's a comparison. But when you take in the age factor and all the rest of it - high school - it's got a little different twist on it." Nutter and Katims too are mindful of the comparisons, and for them that doesn't seem to be a bad thing.
"One thing Chris Carter is so very good at is being able to end on question mark and make the audience lean into the next episode," Nutter says. "I think that's something that this show can actually take as well and have that kind of sensibility that, I think, would be very exciting."
"We've plotted out the first season of the show," Katims says, referring to Carter's famous long range plotting style. "We have ideas of where it's going and of where it's going beyond that. So we have thought a lot about the mythology and all that stuff. To me, one of the exciting things about the premise of the show is that the three alien characters in the show don't know about their history, which makes -- from a writing point of view - it exciting because as they discover their back story, the audience is discovering it. So we have a way of doing it in a way that can be personal and hopefully very emotional and not just about the facts about what's happened. So it's something that we're going to discover with them and it will be a long ride and hopeful really fulfilling journey." o
tvnow.com - November 1999
Fall Teen and Twentysomething Television Programming (excerpt)
Victor Evans, 1999
Now with all that said, let¡¯s finally talk about one the season¡¯s most successful new series, Roswell. Filled with everything you could possibly want in a television show from intrigue and action to a blossoming and thankfully cheeseless romance, Roswell is basically an X-Files with a angst-ridden teenage flair. The show features three attractive aliens (Jason Behr, Brendan Fehr and Katherine Heigl) who have taken the form of teenagers to conceal their true identity in Roswell, New Mexico, playing off the rumored 1947 UFO crash landing that supposedly happened there. However, Max Evans (Behr) risks his secrets when in the season opener he decides to save the adorable townie Liz Parker (Shiri Appleby) who is shot in a freak accident. Now entrusted with his secret, she and the other aliens must make sure no one else finds out about them, especially the town sheriff who definitely has it in for our alien friends. And it doesn¡¯t help that Evans and Parker are totally falling for each other, but, gosh, it makes for great television. I can¡¯t wait to see what happens next.
November 12, 1999
Mulder and Scully get deeper into the Files, while The WB's Roswell gives new meaning to the phrase teen alienation.
Review by Ken Tucker
To see orginal article go to http://www.pathfinder.com/r0/ew/Complete_EW/in?/ew/archive/1,1798,1|27145|2|Jason_Behr,00.html?name1=Jason+Behr&lastresult=0&query=%22Jason+Behr%22+%3CIN%3E+MAJOR&major_ref=ON&mtype=0&list_size=25&direction=
"He's more alive than he's ever been," says Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) of a glazed-eyed, strapped-to-his-hospital-bed Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) in the season premiere of The X-Files, and, seven seasons on, who are we to doubt her? Mulder is still suffering from the maddening voices he started hearing in his head during last season's cliff-hanger, symptoms which have given way to "remote viewing," which is explained as "a form of ESP" (as if Mulder didn't have enough stuff scuttling around in his brain). In West Africa, Scully has discovered shards of a spaceship, which, while perhaps Martian in origin, is inscribed with Koran passages about the source of life. Cut back to Mulder's bed, where the slinky, perhaps traitorous FBI agent Fowley (Mimi Rogers) leans over him murmuring, "Fox, I love you."
In other words, The X-Files is hitting the ground running--albeit knee-deep in murk and murder, conspiracy and cosmic confluences. Written by series creator Chris Carter, the kickoff episode suggests the author's limitless imagination for sustaining his alien-nation tropes, the latest being, as an ex-agent played by John Finn remarks, Mulder "is the X-File." That is to say, Fox has unwittingly been chasing his own tail for the past six years: He himself is the source of all the conspiracies that so entrance Files' fans.
Fans have not been so entranced by other Carter creations. His Millennium--a sort of X-Files with Twin Peaks-style non sequiturs--died a slow three-season ratings death. A Fox press release does list Millennium's Frank Black (Lance Henriksen), however, as making a Files guest appearance Nov. 28--can't wait to see who wins the dour-look competition between him, Mulder, and Scully. And Carter's new show, Harsh Realm, featuring Scott Bairstow trapped in a virtual-reality world, was zapped by the Fox network after three episodes. I thought Harsh was nifty; I admired the way Carter and Bairstow made the hero a grungy dope who had to be clued in to every plot twist by a sardonic D.B. Sweeney, and Millennium's Terry O'Quinn made a fine, sneering dictator of the Realm.
Realm was pulled way too soon, a victim of Fox's disaster of a new season, with shows launched late and underpromoted. But even had their show been given a chance, Carter and Co. may have underestimated the adolescentization of prime time, something former X-Files producer David Nutter has capitalized on with Roswell, The WB's smart, sleek new series that might have been called My So-Called Alien. It features three space invaders who've taken the form of baleful-eyed teens in present-day Roswell, N.M. Playing off that town's supposed 1947 UFO crash landing, Roswell is invaded by cute extraterrestrials Jason Behr, his costar Brendan Fehr (who looks like a young Duchovny, a nice casting joke), and Katherine Heigl.
The trio insinuates itself in Roswell in order to...well, that hasn't been made clear. What is clear is that pouty-cute Liz Parker (Shiri Appleby) has fallen for Behr's Max Evans in yet another example of the way Earth girls are easy. In the pilot, Max made a bullet wound disappear from Liz's tummy by touching it, thus making Liz the first human to know that he is otherworldly.
Nutter's coconspirator is writer and coexec producer Jason Katims, from Relativity and My So-Called Life. Together, they've melded teen and alien angsts. They've taken Carter's seminal contribution to TV--an obsession with trust issues that extends to alien paranoia--and applied it to the age group most likely to identify with alienation. Roswell isn't yet anywhere near Files in emotional depth, and its sympathetic but blank-staring actors only make you appreciate the nuances that Duchovny and Anderson bring to poker-faced emoting. But if this season proves The X-Files' last, there's a chance that Roswell can step into the void and supply TV's highest-quality heebie-jeebies. The X-Files: A Roswell: B
Say What? on Roswell facts and quotes, Teen Celebrity - Dec 1999
Roswell was developed by the same individuals who brought "My So Called Life" and "The X-Files" to the small screen, making it just about the best collaboration that we can think of to explore the subject of teen alienation.
"My paranormal character reminds me of my days in high school." -Jason Behr
The WB has order 22 episodes of the popular show- nearly double that of any other new program- making it their ace in the whole for new teen drama in 2000.
"When it came time to find a humanoid of the female variety, it turned out to be an easy casting call." -Shiri Appleby
Sexy loveline hostess Diane Farr will join the alien high school crew in the recurring role as the sheriff's new love interest.
"Sometimes you go through that little awkward stage where you're kind of growing and changing and tend to get a little withdrawn. I think that's when you do a lot of soul-searching." -Jason Behr
Jason Behr (Max) joined forced with B*Witched at the recent WB Music Awards.
Shiri Appleby (Liz) first got her start doing commercials for M&M's, Taco Bell, and Cheerios.
"I believe that working on Roswell leaves me with no other choice but to believe that there is a possibility of other beings in the universe."
Both Jason Behr and Shiri Appleby spent some time doing episode work - she in Xena: Warrior Princess and he in Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.
As a child, Jason calimed that he loved sci-fi movies, but Battlestar Galactica "scared the beejeebies" out of him.
Alien teens right at home on the WB
By Alex Beam, Globe Columnist, 12/01/99
Every year I fall in love with one new television show. A while back, it was ABC's sanctimonious but energetic ''Nothing Sacred,'' about an inner-city priest. Last year, it was ''L.A. Doctors,'' a glossy, high-concept medical drama; to paraphrase the master of ceremonies in ''Cabaret'' - even the cancer patients were beautiful! This year, it's ''Roswell,'' the WB network's experiment in creative miscegenation, as in ''X-Files'' meets ''Dawson's Creek.''
Roswell, N.M., is the famous, purported landing site of an alien spacecraft in 1947. Hollywood marketers know that place names like Area 51 - another UFO hot spot, featured in the movie ''Independence Day'' - and Roswell have entered the youth lexicon. The show's premise, borrowed from a series of young adult novels by Melinda Metz is: Suppose there were descendants of alien spawn attending high school in Roswell?
Only on American television, you say. But ''Roswell'' surprises, in mostly good ways. ''When you first describe the show, people chuckle,'' admits Jason Katims, the co-executive producer. ''Usually, they think it's something more farcical than what we've been trying to do. We play it real, and we play it true.'' There are no distended green heads, or waist-high ''grays'' running around the set. Apart from a hankering for Tabasco sauce - ''It's a dietary quirk,'' one explains - the three nominal aliens, Max Evans, his sister Isabel, and their friend Michael Guerin, look and act more or less like the kids next door.
That they are not your run-of-the-mill 4-H Clubbers became apparent in the opening episode, when Max healed the drop-dead gorgeous Liz of an accidental bullet wound incurred at the local watering hole, the Crashdown Cafe. Now Liz and her waitress pal Maria know the threesome's secret - and you know how hard it is to keep a secret in high school!
Alien cornball? Of course. But ''Roswell'' has many saving graces. For one thing, it doesn't take itself too seriously. Max, Isabel, and Michael have mysterious powers, but no one's really sure what they are. Max can jimmy a Coke machine and cure bullet wounds; Isabel can hold a CD up to her ear and hear music (cool!), and dry-clean a blouse with her bare hand. But bad boy Michael apparently wasn't paying attention at Hogwarts' Spells & Divinations class, because when his Volkswagen breaks down, his intervention causes the engine to blow up.
Katims and his collaborator, former ''X-Files'' director David Nutter, have plenty of fun with the scripts. Maria, who is sweetening on the surly, otherwordly Michael, gets to say: ''I didn't realize there was this whole other side to you.'' Brendan Fehr, who plays Michael, is a dead ringer for ''X-Files'' star David Duchovny. And in the villainous Ms. Topolsky, the FBI agent working undercover as a guidance counselor X-fans immediately recognize an homage to Marita Covarrubias, the nefarious Uniblonder.
The show has been blessed with some success. WB has committed to 22 segments, a lot for a rookie outing, and it seems to be holding most of the Sure, the show has a few soft spots. The obligatory Native American flying saucer/spirit quest episode proved a bit much for me. And the young cast generally performs like graduates from the Keanu Reeves Acting School. But given that my home recently hosted what we believe to be the first Keanu Reeves Film Festival, that's not quite the insult it seems. spillover audience from the popular teen soap opera ''Dawson's Creek'' that it follows. Both air tonight, if you want to broaden your cultural horizon.
In a telephone interview, Katims wants to unpack lots of heavy baggage about ''Roswell'' as a metaphor for adolescence. But I just want to know one thing: Are the soulful Max and honor -student Liz ever going to be more than just friends? Apparently not. ''It's a great Romeo and Juliet romance,'' Katims says. ''In this story, they can't be together because they're alien life forms.'' As for the profound message, I think I get it. Teenage aliens are a lot like regular teens - or is it the other way around?
TV Guide Article (Dec. 11-17 - 1999)
HOW DO ANGEL, FREAKS AND GEEKS, POPULAR, AND ROSWELL RATE WITH THEIR INTENDED AUDIENCE - TEENS? TV GUIDE ASKED FIVE DISCERNING VIEWERS FOR THEIR REVIEWS.
TV Guide: Of all the shows you were asked to watch, which was your favorite?
Melanie Elkin: Roswell. I was expecting it not to be a great show but I wanted to know what happens next.
McAdoo: I was noticing that in all the shows, there isn't enough ethnicity.
Thacker: I saw two African-Americans on Popular. On Roswell, at the party that they had, I didn't even see any in the background. It was just all white. They really should have a variety of people.
Elkin: I never thought of it before you guys brought it up. Now I really think it's not fair. At my school there's a lot of every race, and I think that's not really shown in these series.
TV Guide: What do you think of Roswell?
Elkin: The acting was the best part, but it could happen, aliens coming to earth. You never know. Soo: They picked the right place to put them: high school. [everyone laughs]
TV Guide: Speaking of which, anybody got a vote for the next heartthrob?
Fuentes: I like Max [Jason Behr] on Roswell. Elkin: Oh, me too. I think he's really gorgeous.
TV Guide: Which shows do you still watch? Elkin: Popular, which is a really cute teen show, and Roswell. I never followed up on Freaks and Geeks.
McAdoo: I'm still watching Popular and Roswell. I like the setting of Roswell, and they filmed an episode of it at my school.
Orginal article can be found at http://www.eonline.com/Community/Wanda/
This Week: New Year's resolutions the stars should make It's the start of a new millennium, and you know what that means: those pesky resolutions. So, I've decided to give 10 of our favorite TV folks a few suggestions (okay, unsolicited) on what they should vow to do--or stop doing. (Don't worry, I'll make some of my own, too.) Here goes:
Brendan Fehr and Majandra Delfino: We all know it. It's time for a coup d'état on the Roswell set. As sidekicks, you're kickin' it. But we want more. You're cuter, sassier and, gosh darn it, we like you more than Liz and Max. So, take charge. Out with the old, in with you two. (Will & Grace, be warned.)
December 9th 1999
To see original article go to http://www.tvguide.com/tv/magazine/990920/ftr5.asp
Wednesday, 9–10 pm/ET, WB
It may look like just another Dawson’s Creek clone — one of the stars even spent time on that teen phenom — but Roswell couldn’t feel more different. The TV equivalent of a thrilling page-turner, Roswell keeps you wondering what will happen next to an imperiled trio of high-school outsiders: Max (Jason Behr), Isabel (Katherine Heigl) and Michael (Brendan Fehr). They’re not just alienated, they’re aliens. Of the E.T. variety. They came to Roswell when their spacecraft crashed in the New Mexico desert in 1947 (apparently they were incubating, only to emerge as 6-year-olds in the 1980s). To avoid becoming alien autopsies, they have kept their background a secret from classmates.
Roswell was originally developed for Fox, but WB landed it by contracting for 22 episodes, a rare commitment for a TV network. To support the series, WB is even planning a Web site, says executive producer David Nutter (The X-Files). "It’s just vital. When we did The X-Files, we would spend nights after an episode reading what people had to say. Our goal is to make this a show with intelligence and life-and-death stakes for the characters." They have succeeded so far. As the kids seek elusive answers to their origins while a nosy sheriff (William Sadler) watches their every move, it’s hard not to get a little bit hooked. Roswell is not filmed in New Mexico; it’s produced in Los Angeles. "It’s the Roswell of our imaginations," says executive producer Jason Katims (My So-Called Life), who developed the show from the teen-friendly Roswell High book series by Melinda Metz. The love story between Max (Behr, who appeared on six episodes of Dawson’s last season) and Liz (Shiri Appleby), a waitress he miraculously saves from dying in the October 6 premiere, is a new-millennium twist on Romeo and Juliet. "They not only come from different sides of the track," says Katims, "they’re different life-forms." Star Trek fans will love a cameo in the first show: Jonathan Frakes of The Next Generation, also an executive producer of Roswell, plays himself at a UFO festival. But as to details of upcoming episodes, cast and producers are tight-lipped: "It’s hard to talk about," says Behr. "If you give away too much, you’ll ruin the ride."— J.W.
Perhaps the unlikeliest choice of our fall favorites, Roswell makes the cut because it adds a tasty new ingredient to the high-school genre: suspenseful intrigue. And it’s the most instantly accessible of the new fantasy-adventure series. Hard to pigeonhole but easy to watch, this engrossing fable is all about secrets, laying out clues and mysteries while presenting a dewy-eyed teen romance. It’s all very earnest, but not without humor. In the second episode, to avoid being overheard talking about aliens, the heroes adopt the code word "Czechoslovakians." Nice touch.
XPOSE SPECIAL YEARBOOK
Meet the beautiful people as Xpose profiles
the 30 stars who brighten out TV screens.
By Gareth Wigmore
There was a time when science fiction stars hid their charms beneath obvious wigs and unflattering silver lurex outfits, but nowadays they’re regularly voted the sexiest people alive. From veteran heart-throbs to meteoric newcomers, we profile the thirty hottest star of science fiction. Watch out for them – they’ll be dominating magazines covers in the year 2000.
Born: December 7 1978
Famous for: making friends with aliens as Liz in Roswell
Other work: includes appearances in Doogie Howser MD, Xena: Warrior Princess and first episode of ER
Although she’s not yet old enough to walk into a Californian bar and buy a bottle of beer, Shiri Appleby is hot property in Hollywood. And though Roswell, a sexy new cross-breed of Dawson’s Creek and The X-Files, may be making her into a star, Appleby’s no stranger to work on television. A veteran of commercials from her early childhood, she’s had dozens of guest spots on shows such as Beverly Hills 90210, and sci-fi and fantasy fan will recognize her from a recurring role in two episodes of Xena: Warrior Princes. She’s also just appeared in Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich’s ill-fated movie, The Thirteenth Floor.
Brought up in San Francisco Valley, with Hollywood just around the corner, perhaps it’s no surprise that Appleby kept shuffling out of school to earn a few bucks in television. But she always made sure that her education didn’t suffer. Even now that she’s probably got thousands of celebrity parties to fill her evenings, and plenty of producers courting her for alternative roles, she’s busy majoring in English at University of California.
It’s always good to have an education to fall back on, but I don’t think Appleby need worry too much: Liz and Roswell look likely to loom large in her life for the moment.
Born: December 30, 1973
Famous for: playing friendly alien Max Evans on Roswell.
Other work: includes the role if sexual predator Chris Wolfe on Dawson’s Creek.
Jason Behr’s move to the new series Roswell could be seen as something of a risk. He made several appearances last year as a character on the wildly popular teen drama Dawson’s Creek, and could probably have been guaranteed steady work on it this year too. But the gamble seems to have paid off, and Roswell’s proving one of the hits of the season.
The 25-year-old may not have played an alien once a week before, but he is a veteran of almost as many episodes of sci-fi and fantasy TV as of teen dramas. He appeared in Lie to Me, a second season episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and in one of the Alien Nation TV movies. Fans of British TV will also be interested to hear that he starred in Lemmings Will Fly, an episode of the US version of Cracker.
Behr’s said that if he weren’t an actor he’d try to make a living as a painter, but he obviously plans to hang around LA for sometime yet. He’s got his sights on the movies, having had a taste of them with a recent role in Pleasantville, and says he wants to work with the likes of Anthony Hopkins and Susan Sarandon. Hopefully Roswell will keep him in work for the foreseeable future, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he got his chance.
from AOL Television
TV's Sexiest Aliens, From Antarians to Vulcans
Jason Behr (Max Evans, 'Roswell')
It's never easy for a boy from out of town to find friends in a new high school - especially when "out of town" is actually outer space. But as Max Evans, aka Zan, king of the planet Antar, Jason Behr had no trouble getting dates, though his heart belonged only to Liz Parker (Shiri Appleby).
20 Secrets About Roswell
Twist Magazine Jan 2, 2000
By: Kristen Shaw.
1. It's not deja vu! if you've heard of Roswell before, maybe you've seen the book series Roswell High. The TV show is based on it.
2. Roswell was supposed to air on Fox. But then Fox wanted to change the whole show to be soap-opera-y like 90210. The Roswell peeps said "no way" and went with the WB instead.
3. Shiri Appleby, who plays Liz, is no alien to TV stardom. She played Teri Hatcher's daughter on the TV sitcom Sunday Dinner, and had a recurring roll on Xena: Warrior Princess.
4. Shiri's super smart (for a human, that is) She takes classes at the University of Southern California while filming Roswell. (She's an English Major)
5. On the show, the teen aliens have a way-weird diet. They dip cookie in wasabi mustard and put Tabasco sauce in their Cokes.
6. But Brendan Fehr, who plays the alien Michael, says he can handle the Tabasco. "Instead of spankings, my mom would make us stick our tongues out and pour Tabasco on them.
7. Brendan broke into the biz after he dropped by a modeling agency to ask for work- they told him to try acting instead. One week later, he got a guest role on the series Breaker High.
8. Before Roswell, Brendan wanted to be a teacher. But his mom encouraged him to put off college and go after his dream of becoming a star.
9. When Majandra Delfino- the chick who plays Maria- was 15, her 'rents told her she had six months to get an acting job, or she would have to totally concentrate on school. Luckily, she landed roles right away.
10. Majandra was in a band called China Doll, with Samantha Gibb, the daughter of Bee Gee Maurice Gibb.
11. He's being low-key about it, but Colin Hanks- the guy who plays Alex- is Tom Hanks' real life son.
12. Colin says he doesn't know if he wants mega-stardom like his dad's because he wouldn't want to go through everything his dad does.
13. Jason Behr, you know, the hottie Max, may look familiar. That's because he played Chris, a friend of poor ill-fated Abby's, on Dawson's Creek.
14. Jason says he skipped out on Dawson's because he was unsure where his character was going. But the sky's the limit on Roswell. After all, his character Max is from outer space.
15. Before landing the Dawson's gig, Jason ruled the tube with roles on Buffy, 7th Heaven, Cracker, and step by step.
16. Jason says he felt a little, well, alienated in high school because his voice sounded like a girl's.
17. Katherine Heigl (Isabel) modeled for the Sears Catalogs, which she says was demanding, and after doing a few TV commercials, she decided she liked acting tons better.
18. As a teen, Katherine was an expert TP-er. She would buy 48 rolls of toilet paper and then attack a neighborhood house with her friends.
19. Talk about zero gravity- Katherines big bro. used to hang her over the staircase banister by her feet.
20. Roswell rumor: Isabel, Max, and Michael are gonna be spending time looking for a fourth alien- the one who may hold the secret to the gang's cosmic past!
By KEITH TOPPING
DreamWatch #66 (February 2000)
North of the border down New Mexico Way, Roswell, so the story goes, is a one-horse town midway between Tucson and Waco. A place that could have been dragged from frames of a John Ford dustbowl Western. With a population of approximately 50,000, nothing remarkable ever happened in Roswell. Until 1947 when something extremely remarkable happened very close to it. And from that moment onwards, the very name of the town itself became synonymous with an incident that raised it to international importance as the centre of 'a cosmic Watergate'.
Except that none of the above is quite true, even without getting into the details of what actually happened during the 1947 'incident'. In the summer of 1947, whilst the whole of America was gripped by a wave of sightings of 'flying saucers' or 'flying discs', the beginning of the UFO phenomena and America's science fiction explosion of the Fifties, Roswell was a military town and airforce base, home of the US Eighth Air Force's elite 509 bombardment group which carried America's first strike nuclear weapons. It was a tight knit community of military personnel and civilians in the heartland of rural America.
On the following chain of events, all accounts both official and otherwise, agree. On 3rd July 1947, William 'Mac' Brazel, a foreman at the Foster Ranch seventy-five miles north of Roswell, found the scattered remains of...something. Brzel drove into Roswell and showed the debris to Chaves County Sheriff George Wilcox. Wilcox called Roswell Army Air Field and talked to Major Jesse Marcel, the intelligence officer. Marcel drove to the Sheriff's office and inspected the wreckage. He then reported to his commanding officer, Colonel William Blanchard. Blanchard ordered Marcel to proceed to the ranch with Brazel, and to collect as much of the wreckage as they could load into their two vehicles, which they did. Soon after this, military personnel arrived at the Sheriff's office, collected the wreckage tht Brazel had left there, and delivered it to Blanchard too. The wreckage was then flown to Eighth Air Force headquarters in Fort Worth, and from there to Washington. Meanwhile, Blanchard authorised Lieutenant Walter Haut, the bas's information officer, to issue a press release telling the local people that the Air Force had found the remains of a crashed 'flying saucer'. Haut delivered the release to Fank Joyce at radio station KGFL, along with the Roswell's other radio station and the town's two newspapers. Joyce then sent the story on the Western Union wire to the United Press Bureau. By 8th July, the story had appeared all around the globe, even making the pages of The Daily Telegraph in London which described the object as a 'flimsy construction, almost like a box-kite." However, in the afternoon of 8th July, General Ramey held a press conference, with Marcel, at Eighth Air Force headquarters, in Fort Worth, TExas, at which he announced that what had crashed was actually a weather balloon and not a flying saucer at all.
And that (despite much local legend about military interference and suspicious goins-on) was the end of the mater as far of the rest of the world was concerned until 1978 when a now retired Marcel told his story in public for the first time on US TV's Eyewitness News. Suddenly Roswell was back in the limelight and a series of sensationalist books appeared soon afterwards (perhaps the definitive one being the smash US bestseller Crash at Corona by Stanton Friedman and Don Berliner). Many witnesses emerged claiming to know fragments of what went on during those four or five days. About how an alien craft had crashed in the desert. How a number of small dome-headed aliens were brought to a military hospital for autopsy. And how the military went to great lengths to protect these secrets, threatening those with knowledge of the events that terrible things would happen to them if they ever revealed what they knew.
By the early Nineties, the Pentagon had reinvestigated the incident and issued a report which suggested that the weather balloon fiasco was in reality a cover story, and that the debris was actually part of a highly classified military operation called Project Mogul, concerned with radiation detection. Other theories abounded - that the craft was actually an early form of a US rocket designed by Werner Von Braun's team at White Sands Air Force Base, and that the alien creatures on board were chimpanzees of the kind publicly sent into space a decade later. In 1995, footage of what was claimed to be the autopsy of one of the alien creatures was released by a British video company to much debate (and in some quarters derision). Genuine article or elaborate hoax? Truth or humbug (as The X-Files episode José Chun's From Outer Space memorably parodied it)? Perhaps we'll never know.
What is certain is that the story was teh kick in the pants that earth-based alien-encounter-tales needed. It is, perhaps, no coincidence that at almost the exact moment that the Roswell incident became public property, in 1978, Close Encounters of the Third Kind was taking the image of aliens away from the Sixties "tall blond men in silver jumpsuits' image and moving it towards small grey creatures with domed heads and large black eyes/ From that moment onwards, science fiction had a new icon to play with.
The Roswell incident, itself, held an almost immediate facination for the SF community, and the entertainment industry was not slow to realise that a potential goldmine lay in the rock and sand of the New Mexico desert. Based on teh scrupuloously documented 1991 book UFO Crash at Roswell, the excellent 1994 TV movie Roswell earnestly told the story of Jesse Marcel (played convincingly by Kyle MacLachlan) and his thirty year search for the truth behind eh government's web of disinformation, misinformation and downright lies. The incident also provided a basis for the TV series Dark Skies which pitted its hero, John Loengard, against the dark forces of the mysterious Majextiv 12 group, set up by President Truman in response to the Roswell incident. Even more importantly, Roswell was a key conceptual element in the investigations of Agents Mulder and Scully in The X-Files, a series that mixed FS's other wide-eyed innocence with hard-edged paranoia and post-Watergate mistrust of officaldom and the stories that they tell to confused and blind the public. Allegedly.
The X-Files used the Roswell incident as a touchstone. The very word itself was screamed by the character Blaine Faulkner in José Chung's From Outer Space at each perceived bit of government chicanery, as if to ward off evil spirits. In The Uninvited, the subversion reaches even more amusing levels, as we have a Roswell-based black baseball team known as The Roswell Greys. But the incident, when it wasn't being subverted, was used to provide a base for episodes such as Deep Throat, EBE and Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man with their ever-decreasing levels of conspiracy theory and paranoia.
Of course, once The X-Files had floated the idea that the Roswell Incident could actually be funny, everybody wanted to get in on the act. Deep Space Nine's Little Green Men (in possibly the daftest conceit in Star Trek history), played the Ferngi version of the Three Stooges, Quark, Rom and Nog, in the middle of the incident, with surprisingly effective comedy results. In the Doctor Who novel series, The Devil Goblins from Neptune (co-written by this author and DreamWatch regular Martin Day) used the incident as a first contact between the alien Nedenah and the more sinister Earth forces of teh CIA. And, of course after the more ridiculous elements of the Alien Autopsy footage were highlighted, many comedians produced some gloriously effective Roswell-related humour.
It was probabl inevitable that sooner or later a TV series would take on Roswell, the town, rather than just its most famous event. A popular novel, Roswell High by Melinda Metz, had already put an interesting twist into the Roswell legend, by wondering what would have happened if the alients had stayed and had children and grandchildren as part of the American dream. The series Roswell High (known simply as Roswell in America) is the story of how hyper-intelligent teenager Liz Parker (Shiri Appleby) and her friend Maria (Majandra Delfino), become involved in the lives of three other high school students, Max Evans (Jason Behr), his sister Isabel (Katherine Heigl) and their outsider friend Michael (Brendan Fehr). And how these five odd bedfellows have their lives changed by a series of incidents and must then keep secrets from town Sheriff Valenti (William Sadler), and their new school councillor Miss Topolsky (Julie Benz). With the guiding hand of executive producer and former The Next Generation star Jonathan Frakes, Roswell has been something of an immediate hit on America's WB Network, fitting in alongside other shows of the teenage years like Dawson's Creek, Felicity, Charmed and Popular. But the WB series it most closely resembles is Buffy The Vampire Slayer. And, whilst lacking much of the quick-fire humour of Sunnydale's finest, Roswell does have its own quietly confident jokes and amusing characters. If you can imagine a slightly more moody and paranoid version of Buffy with elements of The X-Files and Twin Peaks thrown in, then you'll have a pretty good idea of what to expect from Roswell High.
The mystique of Roswell may never be fully xplained. What happened there in 1947 may, or may not, have a perfectly rational and down to Earth explanation, but there are enough people out there who want it to be a place of mystery, that keep the town in teh media spotlight. It is estimated that over a million tourists visit Roswell each year, something that can't be said for towns of similar size and appearance in, say, the UK.
When you see the WB network making a series about the spooky goings on at a school in Shrewsbury, then you'll know that the Roswell Incident has been forgotten. But don't expect that too soon.
The Kids are ET
By IAN SPELLING
Roswell's going to be big. Already a huge ratings success in America, it's ready to impress viewers of Sky 1. We join the cast and crew as they investigate the dangers of revealing secrets in the kitchen...
Aliens have invaded Roswell High. For many years they remained un-detected, but when teh enigmatic Max Evans (Jason Behr) save sthe life of fellow student Liz Parker (Shiri Appleby) their secret is in danger of becoming public knowledge. As the series progresses, the mounting feelings Max and Liz share put the extraterrestrial visitors in greater peril, and arouse suspicions in those around them.
As Roswell's first few episodes receive their premiere in the UK, the series is still very much in production in the US. Some days are more exciting than others on the set of TV's freshman Sci-Fi hit, but they're all necessary.
It's mid-afternoon on a lazy November day when Cult TImes visits the cavernous sound-stage on the Paramount Pictures lot in Hollywood, California. The Roswell team is filming episode 11, entitled The Toy House, tentatively set to air in February. The hour involves, among other things Max and Isabel (Katherine Heigl) trying to decide whether or not to tell their human 'mother' (Mary Ellen Trainer) that they're really aliens. As for the scene in question, it unfolds in the Evans household, specifically in the kitchen. A grease fire suddenly bursts forth from a skillet, imperilling Max's mother and Max leaps into action, knocking the skillet from her hand and extinguishing the fire with a mere wave of his hand. He then, awkwardly tosses water on the burning vegetables in a fairly lame effort to cover his tracks. The incident, of course, foces Max's mother to wonder about Max and how he's always been a little off-kilter, somewhat unusual, perhaps even a tad...alien.
Michael Fields is directing The Toy House and he's putting everyone through a rehearsal in order to finalise the choreography of the scene. There will be no flame-up, as that will be added later via special effects. But burning vegetables do need to be seen in the shot, thus a crewman stands ready with a blowtorc to scorch the carrots, onions and peppers. Another crewman holds in his hands bags of fresh vegetables. In Hollywood even carrots, onions and peppers have stand-ins and stunt doubles, and they probably want residuals. Fields watches intently as Behr and Trainor do their thing and as a cameraman wielding a hand-held camera does his bit to capture the action for posterity. When everyone seem sready, Fields calls for the camera to roll on scene 2P.
On take one, Fields - viewing the action through a monitor just behind the kitchen set - isn't satisfied with the angle at which Trainor holds the skillet. He zips into the kitchen, stands behind the actress and wraps his hands around hers, much like a golf pro teaching someone how to swing a club properly, and shows her precisely what he had in mind. He then heads back to his director's chair. "Michael," she mock complains as he walks away, "you should have hired a pan model." They both smile. On take two, Trainor gets the angle just right. "That was pretty good," Fields says, but he requests another go at it. Trainor laughs. "I have consumed more fumes today..." she says, looking hard at a couple of crewmen who are actually sporting white paper masks that cover their mouths and noses.
Take three looks rather good, and Fields remarks on his delight with it. A first assistant director then chimes in with some bad news. "The vegetables sparked when they hit the ground," he says somberly. "And we can't have that." Everyone groans, some more audibly than others. Finally, on take four Behr walks by at just the right instant, Trainor drops the skillet perfectly, the veggies don't spark as they hit ground zero, and Behr convincingly dumps water on the offending (albeit invisible) blaze. "That was perfect," Fields announces. "Print that."
Wasting little time, Fields moves on to the next shot, a close-up of the burned vegetables on the ground. Behr and Trainor disappear into their respective trailers, while several crewmen race into the room and kneel on the kitchen floor, speedily installing a piece of flooring that perfectly matches the existing floor, except that it's been pre-burned. The scorched veggies can then be strewn on the temporary flooring, providing the desired effect without ruining part of a permanent set. When everything's ready, Fields rolls camera. "Great!" he says following take one. The first assistant bursts Fields' bubble again, however, this time citing technical problems. "I wasn't that happy with it, anyway," Fields cracks as he surveys the area. "Can I keep the pan? If I hae that, people will think that I actually cook."
The director then confers with his crew, and in an moment, they're ready for take two. "Flame 'em up!" he shouts, and take two does the trick. The moment is in the can without a hitch. Fields then comes over to talk for a brief moment. "You probably wanted to see a lot of fire, huge flames, didn't you?" he asks playfully. Believe it or not, it's less expensive and more effective to do that stuff later, with opticals, than to bring in stuntment and risk using real fire. Out little blowtorch is all the fire that we really need to pull it off." Just then, a crewman walks by with the incinerated veggies. Fields cracks up. "This is scintillating stuff," he says, shaking his head. "It's the height of Sci-Fi, and you were here to see it."
Much later on, in his trailer after wrapping his day, Jason Behr is still full of energy and god humour. And he's this way despite the fact that only his taking the time to talk is preventing him from heading home for the night. "The height of Sci-Fi," he says, smiling broadly as he repeats Fields' words. "That's one way to describe it. We've got all kinds of moments on Roswell. We've got big moments, with big action or big revelations, and then we've got the quieter moments, the little things that don't seem too important. But they are all important. Everything is building to something on Roswell. Because the WB gave us such a big order (a 22-episode commitment), we can reveal things slowly. We don't have to do everything at once, in one episode. That's great.
"What I;m trying to do - and what I think we're all trying to do here - is to play the smaller, quieter moments, even the ones that may not seem so important, the same way I'd play the bigger more obviously important moments. If we play everything that way, it can only make the show that much better. That's how I look at it."
YM - YOUNG AND MODERN
Who says Roswell Rocks?
By Alyssa Vitrano
Fans, sure. But find out what the out-of-this-would cast members love most about their show.
When Roswell landed on the WB last fall, it was clear that the show was going to stir up sensation her on planet Earth. Never before have aliens been so smart, so sensitive, so…swoonworthy. But the kids at Roswell High offer much more than mere viewing pleasure. Every week, the very human extraterrestrials provide a cool way to explore some of the toughest battles of teen life: the struggle to figure out where you fit in, the fear of exposing your true self (no matter how bizarre), and the devastation of falling for someone who’s a different species! Just think of Max and Liz as the Romeo and Juliet of TV land. But hey, don’t take our work for it. Here’s why the actors themselves think Roswell rules.
Tapping Into Teen Power
Any teenager growing up and changing and experiencing life hasn’t yet realized his or her full potential. On the show, the aliens are learning what their powers are and trying to figure out where they fit in this world and what they can achieve. You can apply that situation to a lot of people in high school. – Jason Behr (Max)
I’m really excited about the friendship between Liz and Maria. They’re best friends till the end, and it’s nice to see girls like and trust each other on TV, not being catty. I’ve had some really close girlfriends growing up, and those friendships are what keep me going. – Shiri Appleby (Liz)
Dealing with Differences
The Whole alien-outcast theme allows us to explore the issue of prejudice. People in Roswell are afraid of the aliens and don’t see them for who they are; they see what they think they are. And that’s really the basic of all prejudice. Maybe kids will watch this and start to be more understanding and compassionate toward each other – Katherine Heigl (Isabel)
Explaining the Strange
The plot’s sort of reassuring. I had a teacher in high school who I swore was from another planet – he always looked and acted the same, never had moods. So it would make sense to find out some people aren’t of this world! – Majandra Delfino (Maria)
Exploring the Unknown
Aliens and the supernatural are things we know very little about, so a well-done sci-fi show shapes and molds our views. You do watch a movie based on any significant historic period and you know what happens. But with this you don’t know what to expect, what the aliens can do. There is no right answer. – Brendan Fehr (Michael)
By Manuel Mendoza, KRT
There's a new girl for Max!
"Roswell" creator Jason Katims drops this little nugget of things to come while standing inside the show's gaudy Crashdown Cafe, and you can almost hear the chat rooms starting to whir.
The Crashdown is where Max Evans, sensitive alien boy, saved the life of Liz Parker, skeptical Earth girl, launching one of the TV season's most intense romances on one of the season's best new shows.
As played by Jason Behr, 26, and Shiri Appleby, 21, you'd never know that Liz and Max are different life forms. Rarely have two young actors created this kind of chemistry on a screen of any size.
That chemistry reached a new level of intensity on Wednesday (March 1st) night's groundbreaking "Sexual Healing" episode, complete with metaphorical orgasms.
After that, it's difficult to imagine anyone else catching Max's eye, but it will happen this month -- and into the May sweeps -- when Katims introduces an outgoing new student as a potential love interest.
"Liz is ready for some action, too," jokes a dolled-up Appleby shortly after driving onto the Paramount lot to film her "Blind Date" episode. "She's so over the alien."
Based on a series of children's books called "Roswell High," "Roswell" is among the latest wave of teen shows unleashed by the WB network, home to "Felicity," "Dawson's Creek" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Closest in tone to the latter, it uses teen aliens as a metaphor for teen alienation just as Buffy uses vampires as a metaphor for the horrors of adolescence.
"Roswell" combines the genres almost seamlessly. The aliens' fear of getting found out by the authorities, along with an almost primal search for their roots, drives the plots. But it's the relationships fostered by those hopes and fears that give the show its oomph.
X X X
Between scenes. Majandra Delfino and Katherine Heigl are sitting in a booth at the Crashdown, finishing each other's sentences.
The diner, which mocks the town's alien-crash mythology, is painted a sickly orange and green, the walls covered with pastel art of aliens among the cactus. One makes a peace sign.
The "specials" board lists a misspelled "Extra Terestral Taco Salad" and a "Chocolate Milkyway Shake." "Today only," it says, "add Unidentified Fried Objects to any sandwich for 25."
Both Delfino and Heigl say they've been recognized in public since the show started, mostly by little girls at malls. Delfino has also been noticed in her Miami hometown.
"In South Beach, I'm big with the gay men," she says. "I walk down Lincoln Road, and they're like, "'Oh my God, we love Maria!' But Miami's weird."
Only 19, Delfino has been busy. She was a regular on "The Tony Danza Show" and appeared in the film "Zeus & Roxanne." She also has three other movies in the can, including a parody of the rampaging teen-horror genre.
Heigl, 21, is even more of a veteran. A model by age 9, she's been acting since she was 12. She played Gerard Depardieu's daughter in "My Father the Hero," Peter Fonda's daughter in the TV movie "The Tempest," as well as having roles in "The Bride of Chucky," "Under Siege 2" and Steven Soderbergh's "King of the Hill."
And she has a cameo in the upcoming Cinderella story "100 Girls."
"There's nothing worse than not doing anything," Delfino says.
Heigl: "And sitting around."
Delfino: "Like vacation."
Like Liz and Max, both their characters are up for a little romance. In fact, when her intense makeout sessions with Max cause Liz to have visions, some of which may be clues to the aliens' origins, Maria gets jealous and seeks out Michael. But their mashing produces only the usual results.
Heigl, whose character also seeks out a little experimentation (with Alex) before the episode is over, doesn't seem to know much about the story line. "We'll talk about that later," Delfino tells her.
X X X
Shiri Appleby's cat is biting her on the head. Then the phone interview is interrupted twice more when call-waiting beckons.
"This is the rudest thing," she says upon returning. "I'm sorry. If it rings again, I'm not going to answer it."
Then it does. But she said ...
"I know, but I have to (take the call). I'm a girl!"
Appleby confesses that she was nervous about these latest love scenes, "not only because Jason and I are just friends but also because of having to put this on tape and having people see it, like my parents."
She and Behr discussed her fears, and once the cameras rolled, "it was a really amazing experience," she says. "It was OK to feel insecure and feel nervous because this person was going to hold your hand and do it with you. I wasn't going to feel ashamed or embarrassed afterward if something didn't feel right."
She also credits Katims for not pandering to the teen audience.
"He doesn't write trying to sound like a teen-ager or what he thinks teen-agers say. He just writes from a real honest place of what it's like to grow up. He's not talking down to teen-agers. He's allowing us to really be ourselves."
Press Release on Ad Campaign 4/3/00
"Roswell Fans Rally"
LOS ANGELES - Fans of the WB teen, sci-fi drama, Roswell are joining forces to show their support for this unique Jason Katims Production. "We (the fans) have incorporated ourselves as ALIEN BLAST" says Kristi Bergman, co-founder of the fan movement.
The movement started as a letter writing campaign, prompting all devoted fans to drop a note to the WB telling them how much they enjoy the show. Letters came pouring in and soon after, Tabasco bottles were also mailed. "Roswell is HOT! is another facet of our campaign. The aliens have a dietary quirk which has them using Tabasco sauce on just about everything: fries, nachos... chocolate cake!" says Kim Hedland, co-founder and ad-designer for ALIEN BLAST. "It’s definitely attracting attention", says Bergman. Support has been received from all over the world, including France, England, Australia, Puerto Rico, Canada and of course, the US. Word was sent out over the Internet that it was time to rally! Fans who frequent www.Crashdown.com came together and annex sites were quickly created, like Fionna Boyle’s "Save Our Show - Roswell" site at how.to/save_roswell.
So, is the show in danger of being cancelled? "We don’t believe the show will be cancelled, but it has not been picked up by The WB yet" says Lena Dangcil, co-founder and LA party coordinator. "We wanted them to know what a huge fan base the show has, especially on the Internet", continues Dangcil. Look for the first of the series of ads launched, paid for, and designed by ALIEN BLAST on April 10th in Variety. "The ads were a group effort done completely over the Internet. The response has been amazing", says ALIEN BLAST publicist, Kelly Lyons "We raised enough money in donations to place a series of ads and make some charitable contributions".
ROSWELL will be moving it’s airtime from Wednesdays at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT to Mondays at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on The WB starting April 10th. If you hadn’t had a chance to tune in you may want to. They have a talented cast of young actors including: Jason Behr, Katherine Heigl, and Brendan Fehr as resident aliens, as well as Shiri Appleby, Majandra Delfino, Colin Hanks, Nick Wechsler, and William Sadler. The writers are also truly out of this world. Don’t miss it, Monday nights 9 p.m. on The WB. ALIEN BLAST’S final statement: "
ROSWELL. We Believe."
'Roswell' Changes Nights As Fan Campaign Heats Up
By Scott O'Callaghan
Special to SPACE.com
posted: 03:46 pm ET
10 April 2000
As part of the WB Network's mid-season strategy for boosting ratings, teen alien drama Roswell moves to Monday nights starting April 10, following the network's highest-rated show 7th Heaven.
Meanwhile, fans worried about the show's renewal have taken an ad out in Monday's West Coast edition of entertainment daily Variety in support of the show.
"WE BELIEVE," the ad, which places the Roswell title over the image of a glowing hand-print, proclaims. "We would like to thank The WB for the hottest show on television. We are looking forward to next season!"
Coincidentally, Variety ran a piece on television series "on the bubble" -- adrift without concrete word of either cancellation or renewal for another season -- in that same issue. Roswell was one of those programs languishing in limbo
While the WB has said little about next season so far, it has only confirmed renewal of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel to date, and this was largely to prevent the popular Buffy -- which will soon outlive its initial contract -- from leaving the network.
Fans of Roswell, though, have been forced to wonder what the network has planned for their show.
A truly hot publicity campaign
The Variety ad, sponsored by an organization called "Alien Blast," is only the latest salvo in a fan-based movement in support of Roswell.
Dubbed "Roswell is hot!", early efforts invited fans to send letters of support along with bottles of Tabasco sauce to network executives.
Since the aliens on the show love the spicy taste of Tabasco and fans consider the show's photogenic cast "hot," organizers came up with the condiment campaign as the perfect symbol of fan support.
Entertainment Weekly has reported that the network has received at least 1,000 bottles of Tabasco sauce, while fan sites have reported a number three times as large.
The campaign is now turning to fan-friendly media giants like MTV and television hosts Rosie O'Donnell and Jay Leno as further ways to get news about Roswell to the general public.
The WB Network had high expectations for Roswell from the start, including an initial order for a full season of programs (22 episodes).
But the show's ratings have not lived up to those expectations, generally languishing significantly below those of UPN science fiction heavyweight Star Trek: Voyager, which also ran on Wednesday nights.
The move to Monday night will take Roswell out of Voyager's path. Fans from both series will now be able to watch and enjoy each, instead of relying on videotapes of shows not watched.
SHOW ME THE MEANING OF BEING RICH
By C. Bottomley
Who wants to be a millionaire? Lance Bass of 'N Sync and Howie Dorough of the Backstreet Boys already have plenty of cash, thanks. But after selling millions of records, both boy-band studs are going to make TV appearances. Bass will appear on the popular game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, while Howie will play an alien on the WB series Roswell.
Lance couldn't increase his millions on the show, though, even if he tried. With tough questions like "Which one of these four people isn't in 'N Sync? Is it Abraham Lincoln..." we think he's a shoo-in. Other participants playing for charity will be music stars Queen Latifah and Vanessa L. Williams, actor David Duchovny, and comics Dana Carvey, Drew Carey, and Ray Romano. Rosie O'Donnell, Kathie Lee Gifford and - BAM! - loud-mouthed gourmand Emeril Lagasse are also taking part.
The rules have been changed so no one will suffer the humiliation of being unable to put key conflicts in the Hundred Years War into chronological order. Instead, each guest will warm the chair opposite Regis. Let's hope for the sake of ABC's coffers there aren't too many winners. You can see if Lance is a brain when the shows air May 1 through to May 3.
If he uses Howie Backstreet as his lifeline, then we've got a real news story. But while the Backstreet Boy's chum A.J. tries his hand at being Johnny No Name, Howie is flexing his acting muscles. He appears on the season finale of troubled WB show Roswell. A spokesperson for the WB said Howie will have a cameo as an alien who visits the New Mexico town. With only one line, however, it's a bit of a stretch to call it a real acting role.
Despite the size of the part, MTV is already reporting that this could lead to bigger things. The channel says Howie is negotiating to star in a feature film called Bloom. He is apparently up for the role of a bully out to spoil a young boy's bar mitzvah preparation. His first appearance as an actor was in 1989's Parenthood, as a kid in a classroom.
Roswell producers are just hoping that somebody is watching. Although the show about alien kids with hormonal hang-ups seems like a Buffy with tentacles, fans are worried network executives are about to give the show the axe. Prompted by the fan site www.crashdown.com, they've mailed thousands of Tabasco sauce bottles to producers.
Why? It seems the alien kids have to quaff the yummy pepper sauce whenever they eat anything sweet. The New York Post reports that Roswell is indeed getting another chance. The show is moving to Monday night at 9 PM ET, right after 7th Heaven.
"The final six episodes of the season are running in order beginning Monday, and fans of the show are going to go bonkers," said Roswell executive producer Kevin Brown. "One of the main characters will get shot, and we'll have a grittier, edgier sci-fi emphasis." Hmm, who wants to get their face sucked off?
From the WB Session 4/13/2000
There's a rumor going around about one of the BSB's getting a role on Roswell, is that true?
TheWBAndrew: The rumor is true. Howie Dorough is going to be on the season
finale of Roswell.
Do you plan to show repeats of Roswell all summer?
TheWBJay: The network will show repeats of ROSWELL over the summer. Probably
starting sometime in June.
Do you know what the title of the Roswell ep scheduled for 5/15?
TheWBJay: The season finale of ROSWELL is titled Destiny.
Where is the wrap party for Roswell being held?
TheWBAndrew: in Los Angeles
TheWBJay: i'll be there
TheWBAndrew: I might go too
How tall is Shiri Appleby?
TheWBAndrew: ...I don't know for sure...but I think it's around 5' 2
TheWBAndrew: rather...she's around 5' 2
When will you be having more celebrity chats like you did last week?
TheWBAndrew: We're still trying to arrange the Majandra chat (as requested by all the fans out there)
TheWBAndrew: we're going to try and do as many as possible...if there's someone you'd like to see...e-mail us at email@example.com
TheWBAndrew: thanks again everyone...questions can always be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org...general comments to email@example.com
Roswell Actors Ponder Their Fate
TV Guide Online
Monday, April 17, 2000
With an apparently successful move to Monday nights and a revamped emphasis on science fiction, the cast of Roswell is paraphrasing a popular mantra from that other alien show: "The fans are out there."
Thanks to a massive Internet campaign, viewers from across the country are bombarding the WB with bottles — make that cases — of Tabasco sauce (a tasty treat for the fictional aliens of Roswell). The network has received thousands of bottles to date, but can the saucy effort save the freshman series?
The threat of cancellation permeated the atmosphere at the cult show's season-ending wrap party in Los Angeles last week. "If the WB's gonna say no, they're gonna say no," Brendan Fehr (Michael) laments to TV Guide Online. "But if the network is on the fence, this helps. Fans sending stuff in could really push it one way or another."
Co-star Katherine Heigl (Isabel) is flattered by the effort. "It's been a real awakening for us. I don't think any of us realized that people out there were so devoted to the show. It's made us work harder and appreciate being there."
Even an actor who comes from Hollywood royalty is blown away by the fan response. "The fact that there are people out there that I don't know, and who I don't tell to watch the show, who are putting this much effort, time, money and commitment into it, that's something that doesn't happen that often," a grateful Colin Hanks (Alex) tells us.
Coincidentally, Hanks recently launched his own SOS effort, to no avail. "I was a huge fan of Freaks and Geeks. I went to its web site and posted a bunch of stuff and sent e-mails to NBC along with everyone else."
Hopefully Roswell's saga will have a happier ending. — Eric Irondale
Roswell is out of this world
but shouldn't be out of WB lineup
By Chelsea J Carter
Appeared St Louis Post Dispatch
Apr 17th 2000
Once upon a time there was a critically acclaimed television show, an ahead-of-its-time teen angst drama called "My So-Called Life."
Low ratings killed it. Then its writer gave birth to an adult version- "Relativity." It suffered the same fate.
Both shows were forerunners of this season's spate of teen and adult dramas.
Now, Jason Katims, who brought those two intelligent shows to television, is at it again, with "Roswell"- a "My So-Called Life"- meets "The X-Files" drama based on the "Roswell High" book series by Melinda Metz about the fabled 1947 spaceship crash in New Mexico.
The problem: One of the most fun and well-written shows about teen-agers on television this season is in danger of being cut from the WB lineup. Now it's being aired Mondays in a new time slot against "Allie McBeal."
Come on, WB. There are at least five reasons to renew it.
The two have put together a show that proves that teens are indeed an alien breed- long-suffering, confusing, a bit hysterical yet resilient. Katims and Nutter also have threaded an intelligent alien conspiracy through the show, using a proven formula popular with "X-Files" audiences.
"With 'Roswell', we can tell a story about people trying to find who they are in this world with life-and-death stakes, stories that have a largeness," Katims said.
For example, in a recent episode one of the three teen aliens (played by 22-year-old newcomer Brendan Fehr) is beaten by his foster father- a real bad guy- who keeps him around for the monthly checks. Between a rock and no place, the teen makes a choice that frees him from the beatings but could leave him out in the cold- literally. From there, it's all about making the right choices and living with the consequences.
Of course, the bad guy gets it in the end from a mysterious alien shape-shifter.
Reason 2: Executive producer Jonathon Frakes.
A "Star Trek: The Next Generation" veteran, Frakes knows something about compelling sci-fi, not to mention first-season low ratings struggles.
"If we listened to everybody that first season on 'Next Generation', it wouldn't have survived," he said. "The key to both shows- 'New Generation' and 'Roswell'- is that although both deal with outer space and aliens, the shows are really about relationships- loyalty, friendships, commitment."
Reason 3: The cast.
Jason Behr, 26, and Shiri Appleby, 21, star as the out-of-this-world soul mates, supported by a strong ensemble with Fehr, Majandra Delfino, 19, Katherine Heigl, 21, and Colin Hanks, 22.
If they seem a little young, they have the adult supervision of the often underrated William Sadler ("Shawshank Redemption").
Like the characters they play, the "Roswell" actors know they are in it together, for better or for worse. They've been seen, sans Sadler, arouns town bowling, going to dinner and, at least in one case, doing karaoke together ("Pretty chessy, but fun," says Behr).
Heigl ("My Father, the Hero") says part of the reason the chemistry works on the show is the off-screen chemistry.
"There's a dynamic there that extends beyond the set," she said. "It's not often you get to work with a bunch of people you really like. They are really good at what they do."
Frakes pubicly compares this cast to that of the "Next Generation."
"When we first started 'Next Generation,' the only person in the cast that anyone had heard of was LeVar Burton," Frakes recalled. "The cast of 'Roswell' reminds me a lot of us when we were first starting out on 'Next Generation'- excited about it."
Reason 4: THe fans:
Forget Nielson ratings and look at the target audience, the ones who helped establish "Roswell" as a cult favorite on the Internet with more than 100 Web sites referring to the show (two dozen popping up in the last month alone), praising everything from the cast's out-of-the-world good looks to the supposed alien conspiracy in our midst.
Reason 5: "Roswell" is simply better than anything else in prime-time these days. Especially those millionaire shows.
So, WB, what's the final answer?
ROSWELL: Television Review
Needs to drop the teen angst in favor of exploring the science fiction premise.
Author: Frederick C. Szebin
Somebody at the WB had a nifty idea when it was decided to set an SF/suspense series at a Roswell high school. Since most teen-agers are alienated anyway, it seemed like a cool idea to make some of them the descendants of aliens from that New Mexico event in 1947. And backed by some of the creative talent from The X-Files, the show seemed to have all it needed to make the most of its concept. But like many of the plans of mice and men, Roswell didn’t meet its potential, thanks mostly to the excessive ladlings of teen angst and sappy romance.
Set up: there were indeed survivors of the Roswell crash, human-like children that were in pods and found themselves wandering the desert until picked up by locals driving by. These kids, brooding Max (Jason Behr), ‘sister’ Isabel (Katherine Heigl), and troubling making Michael (Brendan Fehr) are alienated teens in more ways than one. They are not the popular set at school, and aren’t even from this planet. They have no memories preceding their youthful walk in the desert, are able to manipulate molecular structures with a touch, can melt their own cheese, listen to CDs just by holding them to their ear, and have an interesting love of Tabasco sauce, which they practically drink out of the bottle.
They’ve always been seen as a little weird, and pretty Liz (Shiri Appleby) finds out just how weird when an argument in the diner she works at explodes with a gunshot that lands right in her cute little belly. Max, breaking the unwritten rule of his sibs, uses his powers to heal her, thereby awakening the throbbing teenage passion these two handsome brooders have had for each other for years. Out of the loop for the first half of the season is Liz’s childhood bud, Alex (Colin Hanks, Tom’s boy), who is later duped into having some of his blood switched for hurt Max’s when some of his is taken in a hospital after an accident. It’s at this point when Alex is so fed up with Liz’s lies that she finally tells him the truth, bringing him up to speed with another of Liz’s buddies, Maria (Majandra Delfino), a quick-witted, world-wise young lady who briefly partners up with Michael, and experiences some of the alien love Liz has been getting since October.
A wrench in their works is Sheriff Valenti (William Sadler, who isn’t used nearly enough), whose own childhood experiences have manifested themselves in an obsessive urge to find who has been leaving little silver hand prints on murder victims, a temporary signature that soon fades, which peaked Liz’s curiosity in the pilot when her own handsome mid-drift had one. Apparently there was yet another survivor of the fateful crash who may be a serial killer, but that doesn’t stop Michael from trying to get leads on him, yet another tenuous connection to their mysterious past.
The pilot was handsomely mounted, quick-witted, romantic and suspenseful, but pilots are supposed to be that way. There was a nice moment in the second half when Roswell residents celebrate the long-ago crash with a cheesy saucer and little rubber alien bodies scattered about it that are set to flame as the real secret aliens look on in horror. Later episodes, with some good stuff in them, appeal directly to the Tiger Beat set with Liz and Max making constant mooneyes at each other even when they’re supposed to be broken up. It is a romance so perfectly made in heaven (the heavens?) that Max’s constant demand that they stay apart because they’re "so different" becomes dramatically exasperating and one wants to slap the boy and tell him to knock it off. One occasionally amusing episode was set around Liz being set up by a radio show to meet a handsome young man for a contest date, which was nicely interrupted by a drunken Max who used his powers to romance the girl as she deserves, only to sober up, not remember any of it, and leave her behind. Not romantic. Annoying. And maybe a bit anti-climactic.
This rocky romance is constantly cutting into anything interesting about the aliens and their past that makes it into the scripts. An almost good story about Michael nearing death after taking a potion at an Indian sweating ceremony was brought to a screeching halt a few times as Behr brooded and Appleby widened her lovely brown eyes.
Frankly the best character is Maria, with Delfino being the most appealing member of the young ensemble. Her humor and personality shine through much better than the brooding of the other characters. Hanks’ character doesn’t brood too much, so he probably deserves extra notice. Not quite a geek, he follows nicely in dad’s footsteps.
The X-Files’ David Nutter (who finds himself terribly burdened by youngsters these days because of this show and his not-entirely-unsuccessful feature, Disturbing Behavior) is co-executive producer, and Roswell showcases all the weaknesses of lesser episodes of the Fox program: a half-developed concept, needless interruption on what should be the episode’s main thrust, viewer frustration at what might have been. The makers have missed the train to Roswell by spending so much time on the smarmy romance and not nearly enough on studying the mysteries of these people, their roots and purpose. There is some potential here if the young actors cease their James Dean impressions and are given scripts that more fully explore the mysteries at hand. And for God sake, if you have an actor as good as William Sadler, use him to his fullest abilities. He has talent, strength, a face that looks like it has lived, and doesn’t look like it has spent too much time at the make up table, or soaking in Noxema.
"Roswell" Officially Picked Up
Fri, May 12, 2000 10:46 PM PDT
Fans of The WB's critically-acclaimed sci-fi series "Roswell" don't have to worry about saying good-bye to their favorite aliens on the season finale Monday. UltimateTV has learned that the show has been renewed for at least thirteen episodes for the 2000-2001 season.
Since its move to Monday nights in April, "Roswell" has garnered some of the best ratings in the 9 p.m. timeselot since The WB began. It currently ranks 125-season-to-date among all shows,with a average rating of 2.6/4. It is the second highest-rated freshman show on the net behind "Angel," which has also been renewed.
While the show began the season with high expections on Wednesday nights at 9 p.m, its storylines, which blended teen romance with science fiction, found strong competition from UPN's "Star Trek: Voyager" and NBC's "The West Wing." The move to Mondays, plus a surprisingly ingenious fan campaign to save the show (by sending in bottles of Tabasco sauce to the net) apparently helped The WB decide to pick the series up for a second season.
Along with "Roswell," freshman comedy "Popular" is expected to return along with "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "7th Heaven," "Charmed," and "Dawson's Creek." The WB officially unveils its new schedule Tuesday morning.
WB Update- Entertainment Weekly
May 16 2000
By Craig Seymour
WB UPDATE Good news for three of the network's struggling shows: ''Felicity,'' ''Jack & Jill,'' and ''Roswell'' have been renewed for the fall season, WB executives said today at a presentation for advertisers. ''Roswell,'' the sci fi romance series that had been floundering in various time slots this year, recently found its niche on Mondays at 9:00 p.m., and also got a boost from fans who deluged the network with bottles of tabasco sauce. ''I think that changing the direction -- to more action and sci fi -- saved the show,'' says actress Katherine Heigl, who plays one of ''Roswell'''s tabasco-swigging alien teens. ''And I think that the fans saved the show, with their hot sauce campaign. It was a vote of confidence.''
The WB Unveils New Lineup - TVGuide
Wed, May 17 2000
The WB's upcoming season will feature a "surprisingly functional" group of actors portraying college students, vampires and witches, jokes Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Sarah Michelle Gellar.
Buffy, Dawson's Creek, 7th Heaven and Charmed were all named as returning series at the network's annual presentation to advertisers yesterday in New York. The Frog network also renewed freshman hits [b]Roswell[/b], Angel and Popular.
"We're approaching another season without sweep stunts, newsmagazines, specials, reality series or even lifelines," joked WB chief Susanne Daniels.
The network's seventh season kicks off in July with two new series: boarding school drama Young Americans (featuring Dawson's Creek recurring star Rodney Scott) and the animated Baby Blues. Also new is the dramedy Gilmore Girls and Darren Star's Grosse Pointe, a comedy about what really goes on behind the scenes at a soap.
Hoping to beef up its comedy programming, WB has picked up ABC's Sabrina, the Teenage Witch starring Melissa Joan Hart. Hart accidentally said, "It's great to move to Fox, uh, the WB." Eddie Murphy's animated The PJs moves from Fox to WB — no wonder Hart is confused. Nikki Cox (last seen on Norm) stars in Nikki, and some ex-Mad TV writers will present the sketch show Hype.
In an unusual move, Felicity returns to Wednesdays for 11 weeks through December. In January, Jack and Jill takes over for 13 weeks and then Felicity returns in April. This will give WB viewers 35 consecutive weeks of original programming and a lot of time for Keri Russell's hair to grow back. — Eddie Roche
Fans put the 'heat' on WB- CNN
Wed, May 17 2000
After several years, ABC is abandoning its "TGIF" schedule of teen-oriented shows on Friday, replacing them with adult fare. The WB is reaching for that mantle, and picked up ABC's most popular Friday show, "Sabrina the Teenage Witch," to air in the same 8 p.m. time slot.
The WB's young comedies on Friday include the new "Grosse Pointe," which spoofs the behind-the-scenes lives of actors starring in a teen drama.
The network, whose ratings sagged this year, scheduled six comedies on Sunday nights. It picked up the animated show "The PJs" from Fox and moved to Sundays three programs: "The Jamie Foxx Show," "The Steve Harvey Show" and "For Your Love."
It is introducing a unique time-share arrangement for "Felicity" and "Jack and Jill" on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. Since both dramas lose a large part of their audience during repeats, the WB will air only originals, with "Felicity" in the fall and "Jack and Jill" in the winter.
Jordan Levin, executive vice president of programming, said write-in campaigns helped save shows that were in trouble, including "Felicity," "Popular" and "Roswell." "Roswell" fans sent 6,000 bottles of Tabasco sauce to WB executives.
"My chili has never tasted better," he said.
The Year's Most Memorable TV Moments
Compiled by Leslie Ginsparg
When a show evokes emotion - makes us laugh, cry or gasp in shock - that's good television. Those classic TV moments remind us why we spend hours on end staring bug-eyed at a box.
Here's Gist's list of the top 10 classic TV moments from the 1999-2000 season, in no particular order:
Michael Finally Lets Go (Roswell: "Independence Day")
The freshman season of Roswell was rife with moving moments, but none more poignant than when teen alien Michael (Brendan Fehr) finally reached out to earthling Maria (Majandra Delfino), his on-off girlfriend. The duo's romance was rocky from the beginning, with verbal sparring masking their true attraction. After they finally did get romantically involved, Maria expended a lot of energy trying to get closer to Michael, while he, wary of getting close to anyone, constantly pushed her away. But it all came to a head one night when Michael, after having been thrown out of the house by his abusive foster father, showed up outside Maria's bedroom window, standing in the cold, pouring rain and looking like a lost puppy. She eventually allowed him into her room, where he broke down and cried. She gently comforted him. He didn't utter a word. He didn't have to. His tears and the agonizing look on his face said it all. The moment brought Michael and Maria's fledgling relationship to a whole new level and left viewers rejoicing in his emotional breakthrough. — Jenny Higgons
ROSWELL BRIDGES THE GALAXIES BETWEEN US
On the WB’s Roswell, which chronicles the adolescence of three aliens living in New Mexico, normal anxieties about fitting in are blown up to galactic proportions. Despite its otherworldly concerns, the show's first season also sneaks in a subtle message about what it means to be human.
Max, Isabel and Michael -- all stranded by a UFO which crashed outside of Roswell in 1947 – have to confront the pressures of growing up as well as mysterious shapeshifters, guidance counselors on loan from the FBI and parents who don't understand who or even what they are
Their dislocation is made worse by being at a naturally insecure age. Roswell’s aliens have more than zits to worry about. They might wake up one morning with tentacles.
My so-called extraterrestrial
Television drama sometimes tries to be too realistic, presenting only the everyday events that most teens experience. Shows like the short-lived Freaks and Geeks fail because they regurgitate verbatim the trivialities that we don't need to watch on TV.
In contrast, fans and critics met Roswell’s far-out premise with immediate enthusiasm. Fans sent thousands of bottles of Tabasco sauce – which the aliens put in everything from pizza to ice cream – to the WB to ensure the show’s renewal.
Many of those bottles were sent by teenage girls, who traditionally do not care for science fiction. Roswell caught their attention because no matter what otherworldly metaphors are employed by the show, its core of emotional reality is easy to relate to.
After all, what parent hasn't wondered whether their offspring is from another planet? What adolescent hasn't felt that they live on a hostile, alien world?
This Earth thing called romance
Much of the first season focused on the mercurial relationships between the visitors and the three humans -- Liz, Maria and Alex. They have a lot in common – Isabel once told Alex that to understand her anxieties he should simply multiply his own by a hundred.
Some of the relationship issues are completely mundane. Michael and Maria have a conversation in the Eraser Room – it’s the one about how they just make out and never talk – that duplicates almost word-for-word a conversation between Angela and Jordan in My So-Called Life, the teen drama which Roswell creator Jason Katims wrote for back in the mid-1990s.
On the other hand, most of the dating problems get an interspecies twist.
Liz has to worry about being used for sex, not for the usual reasons but because she’s having visions of the original UFO crash when she makes out with Max. Is she being used . . . for breeding stock?
Max’s alien mother appears as a hologram in the season finale to tell Max that he’s already betrothed to another alien.
As for Liz’s parents, they’re already bothered that their little girl is growing up. If they ever find out about Max’s origins, it’s safe to say that the old "you’re from two different worlds" speech will take on a new meaning.
On the morality of Roswell
On the surface, Roswell is a fairly simple allegory of adolescence, but there’s a profound take on humanity of all ages hidden underneath.
After being captured and interrogated by government alien hunters, Max asks one of his tormentors "who's inhuman now?" Roswell is not the first series to question what makes one human, but it is one of the first to give a satisfying answer.
The first season presented FBI moles, shoot-outs, car crashes, harrowing escapes, near misses, a brutal torture scene and murder. What initiated it all was a simple act of compassion.
In On the Basis of Morality, German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer asked why the suffering of another human being could move a bystander to endanger his own life. Believing reason unable to answer this, Schopenhauer explained it as a transcending of empirical perception.
When such an act of altruism happens, Schopenhauer wrote, the barrier between "I" and "Not-I" temporarily dissolves so that one suffers with the other individual, "in spite of the fact that [their] skin does not enfold [his] nerves."
Early in the series, Katherine Topolsky, the FBI agent posing as a guidance counselor, shows Max a picture of children playing. He identifies himself as the child who is hiding behind a tree in the picture.
Max may be secretive, but in the pilot he sheds his concern for his secret as quickly and efficiently as one might shrug off a t-shirt. When Liz is shot, the barrier between two different people – two different life forms, two different planets – is shattered.
On Roswell, compassion seems to be the key to humanity. Both Max and Liz repeatedly cite the day he saved her as the day each of them truly came to life.
The psychic connection Max and Liz make in the pilot reverberates throughout the entire season. Max proclaims to Liz that "knowing you has made me human," and who are we to disagree?
Highs & Lows / Dreamwatch June 2000
Roswell High bears many similarities to another highly popular teen fantasy series, as Keith Topping discovers when investigating it's possible demise..
We all know the scenario so well. It's a universal constant in science fiction, isn't it?
You find a series that you really like. You start to get interested in the characters, investing time and emotional attachment to them and their story. You look forward to forthcoming developments and then, just when you think that the future is in good hands and that nothing can go wrong, a bit of horrid reality shattered your little bubble universe and the rumours start that you series days are numbered. Typical. Most readers will, I'm sure, be able to quote dozens of examples of bygone favourites that have ended on the whim of a TV executive somewhere who, frankly didn't understand the whole concept of what the series was all about. And even if there was only you and four of your mates watching it well, what the hell, you liked it.
Television, being the business of compromise that it is, we sometimes have to take the rough with the smooth. True we only got five years of Quantam Leap when another two or three would have been nice. True, Dark Skies had far more potential than it was ever allowed to display. True (and just to prove that the principle is neither new nor wholly confined to the US networks), there is no way that Star Cops deserved to last only nine episodes. But sometimes, such threatened cancellations can really hurt. The latest victim of the rumours circuit is Roswell High. If you believe everything you hear, then all we may ever get to see of this strangest of strange love stories between Liz Parker and Max Evans is twenty two episodes. Just one season of looking at a world of hormone charged teen angst set amid the staggering New Mexico landscape. A mere six months worth of stories of alien children and suspicious adults. Roswell ('High' suffix added only for overseas sales) is one of the best new series (SF or otherwise) to have emerged from the US in the last five years. It's right up there with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Stargate SG-1. Yes, it really is that good.
For those of you who have never watched it on Sky, you're missing out on a genuinely impressive piece of imaginative, clever cross-genre television. A teen soap that wants to be science fiction, or an SF show with pretensions to be Dawson's Creek? In reality Roswell High is both. And it's neither. In actualy fact, it's so much better than any oneline description of it that, like Buffy, you have to wonder how it was that the series ever got off the ground in the first place. But once it did, it matured rapidly, showing a fine ability to be wryly amusing whilst keeping the dramatic storylines of creator Jason Katims and executive producer Jonathan Frakes never far from the surface.
So, the question has to be asked: Why on Earth is Roswell High in trouble with its ratings at all? Everybody should be watching it. The simple truth is that Roswell is possibly a victim of its own chameleonic abilities. Many viewers simply don't know what to make of it. The series to which it is most akin, Buffy, also had these problems early on when its critical standing was far higher than its audience appreciation. Roswell High's very clear agenda, from episode one really, was to stand aloof from the vast lore of the town that gave the series its name and to send up the whole idea of little green men and dodgy autopsy footage (the episode The Convention which poked merciless fun at SF and UFO conventions and all of the stereotypes that they throw up, is particularly noteworthy here). So, if Roswell doesn't want to be a series that takes the staple elements of your average SF concept (and it seemingly doesn't) then what, exactly, does it have that makes it so watchable? So special? The answer to that is simple. It's got a terrific cast. Again, Buffy is the most obvious template here; an ensemble piece centered around, but not exclusive to, a pair of central characters with comic and aesthetically interesting foils that can be paired off to great effect. (Anybody else see an obvious link between Maria's role in Roswell High and Willow's in Buffy? Or compare the pairing of Isabel and Alex with Cordelia and Xander?) Ultimately, like Buffy, Roswell features a superb bunch of young actors: Shiri Appleby (Liz Parker), Jason Behr (Max Evans), Brendan Fehr (Michael Guerin), Katherine Heigl (Isabel Evans), Majandra Delfino (Maria DeLuca), Colin Hanks (Alex Whitman) and Nick Wechsler (Kyle Valenti), all of whom are attractive and charismatic and can do comedy and dramy in equal measure.
Beside them are some equally impressive representatives of the older generation; actors like William Sadler, Julie Benz and Mary Ellen Trainor who add the same anchoring qualities to proceedings here that Anthony Stewart Head and Kristine Sutherland bring to Buffy. But where Roswell goes even further than Sunnydale's finest is that it can afford to drop its adult characters at will and spend entire episodes concentrating purely on its teenage stars and the sometimes near-the-knuckle nature of their trials and tribulations. (Buffy, of example, was well into its second year before it got anywhere near doing a storyline on child-abuse with Ted. Conversely, Roswell was doing so, openly and with an sense of outrage, by episode fifteen -- the staggeringly adult Independence Day).
The back story of Roswell High is relatively straightforward. Liz Parker is a highly intelligent sixteen year old high school girl from UFO mecca Roswell, New Mexico, working in her spare time as a waitress at her parents diner, the Crashdown, with her feisty friend Maria DeLuca. One evening, whilst on shift, she is shot during a argument by two meathead customers. As Liz lies, dying, on the diner floor her life is saved by a mysterious "laying on of hands" by the darkly brooding local hunk, Max Evans. Liz keeps Max's gift a secret but, when confronting him with it later, he is forced to reveal that he, his glamourous sister Isabel, and their wild-outsider friend Michael Guerin are not from 'around here'. They are from... 'up there'.
After an effective pilot that sets up the characters nicely and displays a keen sense of dry humour, subsequent episodes detail the alien trio's search for clues as to their ancestry, whilst simultaneously attempting to hide their secret from sinister local sheriff Valenti, whose son is Liz's ex-boyfriend and who has his own agenda for wanting to discover aliens in Roswell, and the attentions of the alluring but mysterious school counsellor Kate Topolsky. Writers like Thania St John (a Buffy veteran) and Cheryl Cain tap effortlessly into the teenage psyche and episodes like Monsters (focusing on the uneasy alliance between Maria and Isabel), 285 South ( a mini-road movie) and River Dog (where Topolsky's elaborate trap for the aliens comes close to success) demonstrate an accurate understanding of what, exactly, makes these characters so interesting.
The outrageous sexual undercurrents of an episode like Heat Wave shouldn't be underestimated either, whilst St John's epic The Balance casts the group into Michael's psyche in an effort ot save him, literally, from himself. In Roswell High there are frequent revelations and dramatic twists, but there are also moments of quiet reflection and touching resonance (Sexual Healing) that takes the viewer a long way from where they probably imagined they were going to in a seriers about alien teenagers. A character like Alex, for instance, appears at first glance to be nothing more than a literal Zeppo. A comic wall for the others to bounce insults and sarcasm off. But Roswell's view of outsiders is essentially proactive. Again, like Buffy, here all of the characters have something to stand outside of and be embittered by. And for that reason, if nothing else, Roswell scores again over many of its contemporaries.
The world of Roswell High School is a world in which growing up and becoming normal may be a horrible reality for some, but it is also an impossible dram for others. Roswell began well in the US, a Wednesday night feature on the WB network fitting perfectly into the mid-evening slot that Buffy had made its own on Tuesday. But the ratings have been sluggish as conservative viewers opt for less challenging (and, as a consequence, less demanding television).
It's difficult not to criticise heavily those who choose to watch Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, ahead of Roswell (although to be fair, earlier in the season, Roswell's competition included Star Trek: Voyager and NBC's acclaimed West Wing). The WB have got nervous and, in an effort to attract new viewers have taken the desperate step of moving Roswell to Monday nights. Initial response seems positive but it remains to be seen if, in the long term, Roswell has any sort of future. If there's any justice in the world (which, in television terms, there usually isn't) it will.
Choosing your own Destiny
By Jason Henderson
webdate: 6/6/00 3:18:28 PM
At times slow, at times remarkably sweet and savvy at once, Roswell wrapped up its first season with a guarantee from the WB that it would return for a second. That's a respectable victory considering this was the season that gave us Chris Carter's new series Harsh Realm, which Fox pulled almost immediately, and in which TNT cancelled Babylon Five: Crusade before the first episode even aired. So in retrospect, what made Roswell keep on ticking?
Roswell spent its first season introducing us to a small family of aliens, the descendants of the original pilots who fell to Earth back in 1948 in Roswell, New Mexico. All are teens: two of them, cuddly Max and Isabel Evans, have been raised as brother and sister by unknowing parents. One, the troubled, muss-haired Michael, has been bouncing around the foster system for 16 years. A fourth remained elusive until season's end, when her appearance could do the most damage.
Max, played by Jason Behr, became the focal-point alien, and he shared the spotlight with Shiri Appleby as Liz, a mousy, smart girl with doe eyes and a soft spot for hunky guys who save her life over and over again.
Right away, the tone of the show became a strange hybrid of 90210, The X-Files, and most importantly, the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. It was a fresh mix, marked by both astonishing naivete-- the romances are so old-fashioned they make Peyton Place look racy-- and smart, modern, pop-culturally-aware dialogue. Each episode followed two tracks.
Track 1 followed the alien plot, with the teens sneaking around and meeting in cafes with strangers to get information while being tailed by mysterious agents of the FBI. These were scenes so shamelessly X-Files that you either accepted it or didn't, with the marvelous conceit that this was a universe where teens could be important and commanded fear and respect. Paranoia reigned supreme. The guidance counselor turned out to be an FBI agent out to capture Max, and then she turned to his side, only to be destroyed. The aliens have powers that they're only beginning to learn how to use--Max can heal, whereas Michael has heat-bearing powers, and Isabel is something of a psychic. Max's chief nemesis early on was Sheriff Valenti, played by the invaluable William Sadler, who sought the alien's secret to avenge the memory of his disgraced, alien-nut father. Max and Michael wanted that secret too, because they didn't know their origin. And somewhere out there, a killer alien named Nasedo circled the camp, either trying to destroy or enlighten them.
Track 2 was pure romance, and sweet, gentle, saccharine romance at that, only saved by the calculated charm of the players. Liz and best friend Maria (Majandra Delfino) gossiped and obsessed about Max and Michael, who Maria took up with. Max and Liz became an impossibly perfect supercouple of sorts (Max sends flowers before he shows up for a date,) while Michael, so unaccustomed to intimacy, fumbled his way through romance, forgetting to pick up checks and getting Maria into trouble. (Love means never having to say you're sorry for stealing your girlfriend's car). Cold and smart Isabel Evans (Katherine Heigl) had an on-again, off-again respect/love affair with nebbishy Alex Whitman, the constant fifth wheel. The alienness of the trio gave the show wonderful opportunities to riff on typical teen stories--budding sexuality, the strangeness of the opposite sex, the mysterious and scary feelings they arouse. Hilariously, here the human teens discover that fooling around led to amazing visions and mind-sharing, so that after a while, Max could "debrief" Liz on the current state of affairs by kissing her.
Then, in the second half of the season, the story kicked into high gear, slowly edging its way out of the 90210 arena--wisely, since by now viewers were comfortable with the characters. It turned out that there were in fact two more aliens: Nasedo, a mysterious shape-shifter who killed without remorse, and Tess, the fourth alien teen, who was raised by Nasedo and knows far better how to use her powers. In a whirlwind of plot development over the last four or five episodes, Tess sashayed her way into Max's life, threatening sweet Liz's hold on him. Nasedo revealed himself to be the four teens' guardian, only killing in order to protect them until they learn their destiny.
And learn their destiny they did: Max, Isabel, Michael and Tess are human-DNA-riddled recreations of alien freedom fighters from their homeworld. They've been sent to this planet, in a plot reminiscent of both Highlander II and Sailor Moon, to fight their old enemies (also sent here, presumably for some contest of champions) before they can return to home and glory. The teens are meant to be mated, Michael to Isabel, Max to Tess. In the season ender, when Max is re-awakened to his calling as Freedom Fighter Numero-Uno, the rest of the globe-scattered enemies wake up, too, promising a less high-school oriented plot for Season 2.
Presumably, we'll see Max leading his rag-tag band against one enemy after another. By now, the powers of the four are well defined, with Max as leader and healer, Michael as warlord, Isabel as brain-invading interrogator, and Tess as illusion-caster. Left in the cold, of course, are the romances; we see Liz wander away in tears when she realizes there's no place for her in all of this. But this being a romance, she'll most likely be back. (A favorite motif line for Roswell was "You choose your own destiny. In the end we're left with a much stronger show than we started with, albeit perhaps a more adventurous one. We'll see how the team does next season.
The Year's Most Memorable TV Moments
June 7, 2000
When a show evokes emotion — makes us laugh, cry or gasp in shock — that's good television. Those classic TV moments remind us why we spend hours on end staring bug-eyed at a box.
Here's Gist's list of the top 10 classic TV moments from the 1999-2000 season, in no particular order:
Michael Finally Lets Go (Roswell: "Independence Day")
The freshman season of Roswell was rife with moving moments, but none more poignant than when teen alien Michael (Brendan Fehr) finally reached out to earthling Maria (Majandra Delfino), his on-off girlfriend. The duo's romance was rocky from the beginning, with verbal sparring masking their true attraction. After they finally did get romantically involved, Maria expended a lot of energy trying to get closer to Michael, while he, wary of getting close to anyone, constantly pushed her away. But it all came to a head one night when Michael, after having been thrown out of the house by his abusive foster father, showed up outside Maria's bedroom window, standing in the cold, pouring rain and looking like a lost puppy. She eventually allowed him into her room, where he broke down and cried. She gently comforted him. He didn't utter a word. He didn't have to. His tears and the agonizing look on his face said it all. The moment brought Michael and Maria's fledgling relationship to a whole new level and left viewers rejoicing in his emotional breakthrough.
Get up to speed on TV favorites via reruns of these four shows
By: Gail Pennington
St Louis Post June 21st 2000
We've all done it- meant to catch a TV series that everybody's talking about, but for one reason or another never managed to tune in. Before long, we may well decide we're too far behind to figure out what's what and who's who.
Nevermind. That's what rerun season is for. Here, to get you started- just as the summer is starting- are vital statistics on four series worth watching this summer. All will return in the fall, so now's the time to get on board.
Mentioned The West Wing, Once and Again, Judging Amy...
When: 8pm Mondays on Channel 11
The attraction: The show is based in roswell, N.M. So what do you suppose the secret is?
Fun Facts: The aliens (code name: Czechoslovakians) can manipulate molecular structure to change an item's shape or color; that power also allows them to heal, although they leave a silver handprint on the body. Their other powers include "dreamwalking," sending telepathic messages and moving object by telekinesis. Otherwise, they're just ordinary teens with an extraordinary fondness for Tabasco Sauce. Campaigning successfully to get "roswell" renewed, fans sent bottles of Tabasco to WB executives.
Shiri Appleby is Liz Parker, a high school sophomore. Liz works at the Crashdown Cafe, owned by her parents, where the series opener found her fatally shot in a fracas.
Jason Behr is Max Evans, Liz's classmate, who mysteriously saved her life by laying his hands on the wound. Doing so gave away an important secret- he's a space alien- and endangered his life, but Max couldn't let Liz die; he's loved her since the first time he saw her.
Katherine Heigl is Isabel Evans, Max's "sister." Ten years earlier, they woke up in incubator-like pods in the desert, looking like 6-year-olds. Wandering naked, they were found and adopted by the Evanses, Diane and Phillip.
Brendan Fehr is Michael Guerin, a pod child like Max and Isabel, who hid when the Evanses found them. Michael, brilliant but rebellious, wound up in foster care, and who lived with Hank, a cruel alcoholic. More recently, he got his own place.
Majandra Delfino is Maria DeLuca, Liz's best friend, who also knows the aliens' secret. Maria and Michael are a couple.
Colin Hanks (son of Tom) is Alex Whitman, Liz and Maria's sweet pal, who eventually learned what's up with his odd classmates. Alex has a crush on Isabel and she recently reciprocated his feelings.
Emilie DeRavin is Tess, the new girl in town who Max seemed obsessed with and even kissed. Near the end of the season we learned that she also is an alien.
William Sadler is Sheriff Jim Valenti, who's desperate to expose the truth. Jim likes Maria's mom, Amy (Diane Farr).
Nick Weschler is Kyle Valenti, Jim's son and Liz's exboyfriend. Kyle is clueless.
Sound bite: "Five days ago I died, but then an amazing thing happened. I came to life."- Liz in her journal.
Loose ends: Oh, so many. Throughout the season, the aliens struggled to stay out of the government's clutches while also learning the truth about their past. In the last few episodes, Max was captured and subjected to medical experiments, then learned he was chosen leader of his people. The season finale ended with a cryptic message: "It has begun."
Recommended Web Site: www.crashdown.com, with voluminous episode summaries and character profiles.
EFFORTS HAVE BEEN HEARD!
Each and every night, many of us teenagers have been going to bed and praying for our favorite tv show, Roswell. As we sign petitions and send in our bottles of Tobasco sauce, we wonder is anyone actually paying any attention? Today, we recieved the answer to that question. YES, we are being heard. Want the results? Well here you go:
Dear Roswell Fans:
We just wanted to take a moment to thank you for all of the attention you are giving to the future of ROSWELL. Your support is overwhelming and appreciated.
Thats not all! Yet another reply (Kevin Brown is the executive producer of Roswell:
As you know the show is being moved to Mon. night as of April 10, following the WB's top-rated show 7TH HEAVEN. Although this at first might seem like a mismatch, the fact is that all the so-called "compatible" family-type shows they've put there have tanked, including most recently SAFE HARBOR (and that one was created by the same person who created HEAVEN!). Indeed, the last show to be successful in that time slot was BUFFY, so we are hoping to repeat that success. Plus it gets us away from the one-two punch of VOYAGER/WEST WING and gives us only ALLY MCBEAL to contend with.
As you probably also know, the move is coinciding with a new direction for the show - one that takes it more into sci-fi and less liz-and-Max-staring-solefully-at-each-other (not that we still won't have some of that). I of course have seen these scripts and think they are terrific.
The hope now is that we can make ROSWELL the WB'S X-FILES, which in my opinion is what I always hoped it would become once we ended up on the WB, and which I think they could use.
What would be great is if you and your fellow fans could bombard the WB with letters, emails, etc. to that effect, i.e. that while you all like X-FILES or VOYAGER there was no show out there that younger fans could call their own - until ROSWELL - and how you can't wait for the new shows, etc.
Interestingly, one critic early on coined our show "Romeo and Juliet" meets "X-Files" and while I thought that was very clever, the truth is we were doing too much of the former and not enough of the latter. (The network thought so too, by the way; this new direction is something they've been pushing for a while.) I know that a week or so ago there was a bit of panic amongst the fans when the WB announced they were picking up BUFFY and ANGEL; everyone thought that meant none of the other shows were picked up. In truth that was related solely to the fact that Fox Studios (the producer of both shows, as well as ours) was in a position to pull BUFFY off the WB (its contract was up for renewal, a la "E.R."), so the WB wisely and quickly gave them early pick-ups on both shows.
However, there is no guarantee that we will be back, even though they all love ROSWELL. Indeed, a lot will depend on how we do after the move, which will be promoted and will finish out the season with all new episodes (six in all I believe). So the more help we can get from you, the more the WB (and Fox as well) knows you're out there and responding to the new direction, the better.
As the person who found this project (I won a huge bloodbath of a bidding war over the ROSWELL HIGH books, using my own money!), brought all the others into it (including Jonathan Frakes, Jason Katims and David Nutter) and saw what was my very first series turn into a cause celebre and the only show of the 1999-2000 season with a full, 22-episode order, you can only imagine how much this show means to me. But the reason I do what I do is for people like you an your fellow fans, so your support means a lot to me.
Again, thank you for responding and to you and everyone else for your support.
WB Credits Roswell Campaign
In announcing the renewal of its teen alien series Roswell for a second season, The WB gave credit in part to the unprecedented effort by fans to support the freshman show. Fans sent in thousands of tiny bottles of Tabasco sauce, accompanied by letters, urging the network to renew the series. (Tabasco is the condiment of choice of the series' alien characters.)
"Stability in scheduling is always something that you strive for, and we have accomplished that this season by keeping every one of our anchor dramas in their season-ending timeslots," said Susanne Daniels, the network's president for entertainment, in a press release. "Roswell and Felicity came into their own creatively and ratings-wise the last eight episodes of the year, and they both earned their way onto the schedule," she said, adding, "the Tabasco sauce, e-mail campaigns and demonstrations also got our attention."
HOW ROSWELL WAS SAVED
Agenda for Next Season:
Less Teen Angst, More Science Fiction - July 2000
By J. Max Robins
Last fall, executives at WB touted Roswell as their most promising new series. The drama about a trio of high school students, who are actually aliens living in Roswell, NM, infamous for a rumored UFO crash landing, seemed like a teen X-Files. But, despite tons of promotion, positive reviews and a choice time slot after Dawson’s Creek, the show delivered lackluster ratings. By midseason, Roswell seemed destined for cancellation. In protest, avid viewers barraged the network with more than 3,000 bottles of Tabasco sauce, the aliens’ beverage of choice, in a campaign to keep Roswell alive.
Roswell was renewed — but it wasn’t the hot sauce that saved the day. WB executives believed they could lift the series beyond cult status if they changed the show’s direction. The execs also admitted that they had a surfeit of angst-ridden hard bodies on their schedule. "The show had these terrific characters, but they were spending too much time navel-gazing against school lockers," says WB’s executive vice president of programming Jordan Levin. "For a lot of the adult audience they see kids and lockers and they say, 'This show isn’t for us.' Roswell was originally developed for Fox and I think the direction [the show’s creator] Jason Katims got was to do more of a relationship show. But we really wanted science fiction — someting that really explored the mystery of Roswell."
Katims admits that Roswell was difficult to position from the start. " I think we may have gotten lost in a sea of [WB] shows that looked like all they were about was young people and their relationships," Katims says. "We began last season with these three aliens who were just beginning to discover where they came from, which made it quite natural to move more toward science fiction. At the end of the season we found out that Max (Jason Behr) is [an alien] leader, his sister Isabel (Katherine Heigl) is a princess and that their friend Michael (Brendan Fehr) is a soldier. We’re creating a mythology that allows us to tell stories of family and power." The increased emphasis on suspense and extraterrestrial mystery will also give the show’s adult characters a more prominent role, Katims adds.
Of course, WB’s Levin hopes that these measures will win Roswell new viewers. "Our research has already shown that we have begun to pull in that male sci-fi audience and more adults overall," Levin says. "We can broaden Roswell’s appeal without losing its core viewers."
July 03, 2000
They said that "Roswell" was hanging by a thread, that the powers that be at
the WB network had the show "on the bubble" between renewal and cancellation.
Millions of fans worried, but somehow-call it intuition, gut instinct or
simply wishful thinking-Majandra Delfino wasn't one of them. The actress, who
stars in the show, says she wasn't all that surprised when
creator/producer/writer Jason Katims called with the news that the network
had renewed "Roswell" for a second season.
"I hoped. I knew," says Delfino, who plays Maria DeLuca on the low-rated but
critically lauded sci-fi series. "I felt the WB was saying 'Yeah, it might
not' just to get us scared, to motivate us."
"I just felt that we did so well once they changed our night," she adds,
speaking of the show's shift from Wednesdays to Mondays. "I thought, 'How
could they not pick us up?' "
Suspicions are the lifeblood of "Roswell" of course. Who are the benevolent
aliens? Who are the rotten ones? Can our hero aliens-Max (Jason Behr), Isabel
(Katherine Heigl) and Michael (Brendan Fehr), who grew up on Earth in human
form-trust their human pals Liz (Shiri Appleby), Maria and Alex (Colin
Hanks), to keep their secret?
As the first season unfolded, Maria evolved from a jittery ditz into a
formidable young woman. She stood up to her mother, devised impromptu action
plans to help her alien friends dodge the FBI and threw herself hard into a
relationship with the often emotionally remote Michael.
"I liked that they explored all of that and didn't just make her the dumb
blond," Delfino says. "They made Maria a free spirit with a brain."
No dumb bunny herself, Delfino-who plays piano, writes music and is something
of a mathematics wiz- spent part of the "Roswell" hiatus in Cincinnati,
acting in director Steven Soderbergh's buzzed-about drama, "Traffic." She
plays a drug-abusing high schooler, who's a bad influence on Michael Douglas'
In only a couple of weeks, however, Delfino will be back on the "Roswell"
set. The WB greenlit 13 new episodes, and the network will decide whether or
not to produce another nine soon after the first few shows air.
Delfino reveals that the second season will continue the sci-fi emphasis that
dominated last year's latter episodes. And, despite unmistakable intimations
that Isabel and Michael were meant to be together, the actress believes fans
will see more of Maria and Michael.
"Listen, that's all my fan mail is about," the actress says of the fiery
Maria-Michael relationship, which contrasts sharply with the love-dovey,
Romeo-and-Juliet bond between Liz and Max. "Everyone was dying because
Michael kissed Isabel. They were so afraid that meant Michael and Isabel had
to be together."
"It was all, 'Let's please keep Maria and Michael together,' " she says,
laughing. "As if I write the stories. So there are some really diehard fans
of Michael and Maria. But I'm sure they won't be separating us," she says.
"The fans need to relax."
WB's Daniels on 'Roswell,' Williamson
Wed, Jul 26, 2000 10:57 AM PDT
LOS ANGELES (Zap2It.com) - The fans do have a voice; at least they did in the case of saving "Roswell." WB entertainment president Susanne Daniels and network CEO Jamie Kellner admitted this week that the fan campaign of sending in bottles of tobasco sauce to show support for the show was very effective. But not all messages were friendly.
"It's not all very nice," said Kellner of some of the fan mail he received. "Some of those messages are 'You idiots, you don't know anything about what we like."
Daniels said she had to change her email address three times because of the amount of email she received. However, Kellner noted, the extra step of sending the sauce bottles stood out.
"I've gotten a lot of emails and letters," he said. "I've never gotten anybody to send me stuff that costs money, and it was remarkable."
"The Internet is a viral medium," Kellner said, of how the campaign spread.
While "Roswell's" future is still dependent on what happens next season, the two execs were much more upbeat about "Dawson's Creek."
"I think the show really hit its stride (at the end of last season)," Kellner said. "With '90210' out of the time period this fall, 'Dawson's Creek' will be the show to watch."
However, fans shouldn't expect the return of show creator Kevin Williamson anytime soon. Daniels said Williamson has nothing to do with the show, but has expressed interest in talking to the net about future projects.
from Eonline tv tidbits
Roswell is also getting a harder sci-fi edge. That means scaled back
intergalactic smoochin' between Max and Liz and more focus on
extraterrestrial action to attract a wider audience. Will the makeover work?
Who knows? But the retooled series better not anger its Tabasco-wielding
fans, or the show's execs may end up soaking in hot sauce.
Roswell from Toronto Star TV Critic
Sci-fi Roswell set to become more hard-edged
By Rob Salem
Toronto Star Tv Critic
When we last left Roswell, our alien teens had received a mysterious message
from home, bringing them another step closer to discovering their destinies
here on Earth.
And Brendan Fehr's brooding bad boy, Michael, was still reeling from having
been forced to kill an evil FBI agent.
But that was an entire summer ago, on an entirely different channel.
Roswell returns for its second season tonight, moving to CITYtv Mondays at 8
(except tonight's premiere at 10), also seen nationally on the Space cable
channel Friday nights at 9, repeating Saturdays at 5.
And with the change in venue comes a whole new attitude, as the show takes
on a harder-edged, much more science-fictional approach.
Starburst Special #43 (UK) (pp 94-96) - Sept 2000
Men Are From Mars…My boyfriend is an alien!
Teenagers have it hard nowadays, especially atRoswell High…
Roswell was an ideal target for producers eager to develop a hit TV series.Something happened in the notorious New Mexico town in the summer of 1947, and ever since exactly what it was has been the source of intense debate. From serious conspiracy theory documentaries to big budget dramatizations and even, believe it or not, a musical – The X-Files’ worldwide popularity drew attention to the so called Roswell Incident, using the event as part ofits ongoing mythology arc, and soon everyone was hopping on the bandwagon. Even Star Trek had its own take on the UFO crash. Wasn’t it about time we got ‘Roswell the Tv series’?
Well yes, and no. The flipside of all this media attention is that everyone knew what happened from every conceivable angle. And even if they didn’t, stories of the Roswell incident are an easily exhaustible commodity, especially when you have to fill 22 hours a year. Ultimately, what made thetopic so alluring was that Melinda Metz had taken the abandoned wreckage and crafted her own conclusions into a series of popular children’s books called Roswell High. Set in the more accessible era of the current day, Metz created her Roswell alien – or, rather, aliens – in the guise of attractive teenagers. Given the popularity of WB shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dawson’s Creek, it wasn’t a surprise that the TV series producers David Nutter and Jason Katims developed from these books was quickly snapped up by the station.
For the TV series both the romantic and Science Fiction elements were played down. The books were very much in the style of an action adventure series where the teen aliens and their human friends, slowly pairing off as the range progressed, had to evade the machinations of the local Sheriff. While that basic concept remains, the TV series makes a stronger issue of the aliens’ reluctance to date their human friends, and keeps us very much in the dark about their alien origins.
The first of these two changes is very much in the series’ favour. After the runaway success of Dawson’s Creek, it can’t be a bad idea to give the audience more of what they like; Max, Michael and Isabel’s non-terrestrial origins giving plenty of cause for deliberation when romance is on the cards. So: they cast Dawson’s Creek star Jason Behr (who played heartthrob Chris Wolfe) in the lead role and in the female lead role Shiri Appleby, someone who, in a bad light, could pass for Katie Holmes (who plays Dawson’s best friend), and took it from there.
Being obtusely mysterious about what we’re dealing with, on the other handis a little more questionable. It’s symptomatic of the X-Files generation to sell a series on insubstantial promises of major revelations. Nevertheless, to be fair, it is this very fact that drives the plot. Sheriff Valenti, whose Dad got a very bad name for himself by chasing aliens wants to expose the aliens at Roswell High. Now, in such circumstances, you’d probably sit tight and not give him anything to go on. The aliens, however, want information as badly as Valenti, and by searching for the key to their origins, they inadvertantly let things slip.
In a nutshell then, the series deals with ‘relationship stuff’ and ‘alien stuff’. By the middle of the first series Max has paired off with Liz. Michael (male alien #2, played by Brendan Fehr) has made his move on Liz’s friend Maria (Majandra Delfino), and Isabel (female alien, Katherine Heigl) has started making eyes at Alex (played by Colin Hanks, son of the more famous Tom). Unfortunately, the more people they let in on their secret,the greater the chance of discovery. Which, in a round about way, is why they can’t get too attached, the alien issue being in many ways a metaphorfor all sorts of teenage hang-ups. “I used to say teenagers were the alien samong us,” comments David Nutter. “And I think all teenagers kind of feel that way in many respects sometimes. Our challenge is to kind of embrace that… and have a lot of fun with it.” And indeed they do: while Max and Liz’s relationship is a model in sexual tension, Michael and Maria share amutual mistrust. In 285 South, one of the best episodes thus far, it reaches comic proportions when they find themselves trapped in a motel room together and end up in a pile on the floor just as their friends barrel through the door. Despite vowing “Not if he was the last alien on Earth, ”Maria soon finds herself locked in a cupboard with her pants down histrousers.
Even so, sometimes it is all ‘work, work, work’ and a lot of the kids sparetime between lessons is taken up researching their past. Max got a job working at the town’s UFO museum, so that he can rifle through their files. This and a key stolen from the Sheriff’s file on EBEs, precipitates a trip into the desert, eventually leading the group to a Native American reservation where they meet a wise elder called River Dog, who has met the alien Valenti’s father was tracking. The discovery of this fourth alien is central to the alien’s quest to discover who they are and where they’ refrom. The second half of the season will present us with the possibility that their elusive search is not just one of their kind, but also family. The burning question is, however, is he just another alien trying to fit in,like our fantastically attractive friends, or does he have some hidden agenda? Jason Katims promises: “a hint of the possibility that the fourth alien might just not be all good”. A grey area worth exploring.
All in all, the series shows extraordinary promise. It may seem a little slow: we are 11 episodes in and we have no clue as to what caused 3 pint-sized aliens to become stranded in the desert 10 years before, while Max and Liz’s on-off relationship is a little frustrating at times. But Jason Behr believes, “Everything is building to something. We can do things slowly, play to the smaller quieter moments.” And certainly, as Roswell gained momentum, it garnered much critical acclaim. It was lauded by many as the best show of the 1999 season. The New York Post described it as ‘wise, witty and watchable beyond its years’, while elsewhere it was a ‘soulful drama mixing X-Files paranoia with WB young adult concerns.’ At this time, however, it is unclear whether there is a future for Roswell. Despite performing quite credibly in the ratings, it didn’t do as well asmany other WB shows – perhaps owing to its unfortunate clash with Star Trek: Voyager when it was shown on Wednesday nights. Additionally, it was hoped that the show would attract a large teenage audience, and the demographics have shown the average age of viewers to be significantly older. It has been rumoured that the WB only wish to renew two out of the four dramas that debuted last autumn, and since Science Fiction requires a larger budget, Roswell may sadly soon be back in the past.
The second season will emphasize sci-fi over swooning, but ''we won't lose the relationship part of the show,'' exec producer Jason Katims assures us. ''We're not throwing the baby away with the bathwater.'' Max (Jason Behr, above) will pursue his dual destinies to lead the aliens and to hook up with Tess (Emilie de Ravin, now a series regular). Katherine Heigl's Isabel, meanwhile, ''will come into her own as an alien,'' the actress says. ''But she's not going to morph into a green creature with four eyes.'' Anyone who's seen Heigl's eye-popping pinups will be thankful for that. (Oct. 2)
By CHRISTOPHER MATTHEW
Daily Mail 22nd September 2000
While we're on the subject of secrets and mysteries, perhaps someone at the BBC could explain why Roswell High has been scheduled for Thursday evenings at six, immediately preceding Buffy.
It's practically the same plot. American High School girls with flawless complexions, shiny lips and exaggerated speech patterns get to grips with strange forces.
In Buffy, it's vampires, in Roswell High, it's aliens - more precisely three pupils, Max (Jason Behr), Isabel (Katherine Heigl) and Michael (Brendan Fehr), who are descendants of aliens who crashed in 1947 and somehow survived.
Not that any of them look even distantly related to the Central Casting alien with the big head and insect-like eyes in the famous photograph which purports to show scientists carrying out an autopsy.
Indeed, apart from Max having funny-shaped ears and Isabel being able to fine tune a car's air-conditioning and radio with a simple hand gesture, they look and sound exactly like everyone else.
So much so that, if you didn't know better, you'd think highly-strung earthling Maria (Majandra Delfino), sinister Sheriff Valenti (William Sadler) and the creepy curator of the town museum (Steve Hytner) were the real aliens.
In fact the reason they behave so oddly is because they're all harbouring secrets, too. Valenti suspects there's more to the threesome than meets the eye, Maria knows there is and isn't telling, and the manager knows that something sinister also happened in 1959.
Max knows something about 1959, to, and he knows the manager know. But he's too busy making eyes at Liz (Shiri Appleby), and who can blame him? Mind you, being Maria's best friend, she knows something, too.
And there's this mysterious key…But perhaps you know something I don't. It wouldn't be too difficult.
Roswell Take Two: Less Angst, More Aliens
By Scott O'Callaghan
28 September 2000
Every ensemble show needs time to introduce its characters. The first season of Roswell did just that, and now it's time for those characters to grow.
The last six episodes of the first season are a good indication of what is to come. Look for more aliens, more science fiction, and fewer heartfelt sighs.
Roswell's early ratings struggles developed when the show tried to be all things to all people. The teen angst elements dominated the alien teen aspects, but the "My So-Called X-Files" focus kept the show from standing out from other offerings on the WB Network.
The focus has shifted to Roswell as science fiction, and it is a welcome change indeed.
Aliens among us
Last season's finale showed us more aliens lurking beyond New Mexico. We know they're here. They know the teens are out there. Now it's time for our heroes to do something. They have destinies to fulfill, and the clock is ticking.
Furthermore, the vision of Max and Isabel's mother in "Destiny" raised the dramatic stakes. Now these aliens aren't just any alien teens; they're some of their planet's major political figures, placed into new bodies. Max isn't just a lead figure in the series, he's the leader of a world.
This gives the aliens, as a group, a purpose as they strive to help their kind back home, while individually each has a specific role within their community-in-exile.
This new development promises action. These characters are no longer reacting to the strangeness around them, trying to fit in. They have a reason to make decisions, to act boldly, and to reclaim what is theirs. Matters of the heart
But what of the humans? The vision that brought the aliens closer to home has also locked Alex, Maria, even Liz out of their friends' lives.
Even though Liz saw the vision, the aliens sent her away, and now the humans -- once allies and lovers -- now stand outside the action. All of our favorite humans will need to find new roles for themselves, both in the aliens' lives and in their own. They cannot simply assume that they will always be involved with the "Czechoslovakians." As Season Two begins, we can only wonder what will become of the romantic relationships established in the first season.
Since Tess is the incarnation of Max's bride, she seems to have a real claim on his affections. And Michael and Isabel, who have thus far never shown romantic feelings for one another, are incarnations of another alien couple who were to marry.
What will become of the humans? Is Liz really Max's soulmate? Will Michael and Maria's fiery romance continue to burn? And what of Alex's pining for Isabel?
While romance is certain to be an ongoing subplot of the series, it appears to be taking a seat behind the newly emphasized science fiction plotline. Human romance may stand in the way of the aliens' destiny, unless the writers have something very sneaky up their sleeves. Outsiders, friendly and otherwise Sheriff Valenti should be a pivotal part of the changes. Once a rogue alien hunter, he now knows the truth about Max Evans and the others, and is indebted to Max for the healing of his son, Kyle.
Where Valenti spent much of Season One following in the footsteps of Fox Mulder, jumping at every hint of extraterrestrial involvement, his new relationship with the aliens changes everything. Now, the sheriff can pursue his search for the Hand Print Killer without treating Max as his prime suspect.
He can also work to protect the aliens, running interference for them with any outside authorities. He can help them if -- when -- other aliens arrive, searching for Max and his friends.
It's useful having an authority figure who knows the truth. But what will Kyle have to say about being healed by his archrival, Max? Will Kyle be as likely to protect the person who stole his girlfriend? Things are just heating up in the Valenti household.
Season Two will also open with Nasedo – acting as Agent Pierce – in charge of the FBI special unit on aliens. He can misdirect the FBI and pass information from the most secret parts of the government to our heroes.
But we are left with questions about just who Nasedo is and what his assigned role was with respect to the others. We also wonder about his sense of morality, knowing that he has willingly killed to protect the others.
Most of the questions of season one have been answered – but here’s no shortage of new questions emerging as season two begins.
Here's hoping that...
By Mike Antonucci
San Jose Mercury News
29 September 2000
. . . ``Roswell'' lives long and prospers. Let the WB's ``Roswell'' find success, as a niche hit, or as the network's most-improved-and-almost-respectable ratings climber. Something, anything. It's a largely undiscovered, misunderstood gem that's much more than a sci-fi show. It's the most worthy returning program that's in danger of not surviving the season.
From TV guide Online
Where we left off: After the kids united to rescue Max (Jason Behr) from evil FBI alien hunters, Max, Michael (Brendan Fehr) and Isabel (Katherine Heigl) received new romantic marching orders from a celestial apparition. To save the alien race, Michael and Isabel must ditch Maria (Majandra Delfino) and Alex (Colin Hanks) for each other, and Max must throw over the devoted Liz (Shiri Appleby) for shifty fellow alien Tess (Emilie de Ravin).
The big news: Executive producer Jason Katims promises to start his show’s sophomore year with a bang. "What happens to one of the characters in the first episode — not necessarily one of the kids — will lead to a major discovery, and someone may get killed off," he teases. Well, it is about mystery.
They’ve got the power: With the government and unnamed evil aliens closing in on them, Max, Isabel and Michael will start refining their special gifts. And it’s about time, says Heigl, whose Isabel used her dream-walking abilities in the season finale to communicate with Max when he was being drugged and tortured. "Isabel can’t pretend anymore that she’s a normal high school girl," she says. "I think she’s going to feel like she has more control."
Match unmade in heaven: While Katims plans to maintain the momentum and suspense of last season, he’s also making room for some romantic regrouping. "We probably should start the season with all the characters in therapy," he says. Behr agrees that his character, Max, should definitely hit the couch. "He suffers from an overwhelming sense of abandonment by his parents and Liz," he says. "Max’s struggle is to decide whether to live a normal life as a human with Liz or to accept this enormous responsibility."
Matt says: Can this irresistibly gripping show build upon its rabidly loyal following in large enough numbers to convince WB to extend the 13-episode run to a full second year? It certainly deserves the chance.
'Roswell' may have revealed too much
By Manuel Mendoza / The Dallas Morning News
In their first year, the teenagers of Roswell survived heartbreak, an FBI
hunt and shaky ratings. The same can't be said for their looks.
Without naming names, two of the characters return for their sophomore
season with the kind of retro-trendy Hollywood hairstyles that are sillier
than they are cool. Compared to the funny makeovers, the new runway-ready
wardrobes are a minor distraction.
A bigger one is the convoluted mythology now at the show's core.
When it first premiered last fall with one of the year's best pilots,
Roswell focused on the relationships between a trio of teen aliens and the
Earth kids who learned their secret. The race to find out exactly where they
came from and why they're here – even as the feds closed in – was the
central plot device. But it wasn't what the show was about.
At its best, Roswell used their peril to illustrate what teens go through
during their formative stages. The alienation metaphor was rarely strained,
and the budding romance between Max (Jason Behr), one of the aliens, and Liz
(Shiri Appleby), the girl whose life he saves, was sweet and moving.
But the emphasis shifted as the producers sought to draw in the sci-fi
audience, tying up the narrative threads by season's end. The aliens
discover they are exiled leaders of their home planet, where civil war has
The first two new episodes pick up in that same mode. Having spent the
summer worrying about the repercussions of killing the FBI agent who was
after them, Max, his sister Isabel (Katherine Heigl) and best friend Michael
(Brendan Fehr) have a new nemesis, a nosy congresswoman connected to the
There's also the business of their enemies back home, who may be coming to
Earth for them. According to a fourth teen alien, Tess (Emilie de Ravin),
who showed up at the end of last season with a mysterious adult protector,
she and Max, as well as Isabel and Michael, are destined to mate.
None except Tess is so hot on the idea. Each has ongoing relationships with
humans, though last season's finale tore those apart.
To viewers who haven't seen Roswell, all this may sound ridiculous. Some
people don't get Buffy the Vampire Slayer, either. Those who do are waiting
to see whether the producers can repair the damage caused by giving away too
much too soon and by getting away from what made Roswell such a great show
to begin with.
8 p.m. Mondays, The WB (Channel 33). Starring Shiri Appleby, Jason Behr,
Katherine Heigl, Majandra Delfino, Brendan Fehr, Colin Hanks, Nick Wechsler,
Emilie de Ravin and William Sadler. Created by Jason Katims. 60 min.ROSWELL
Roswell: Top Ten Season Two Predictions
By Scott O'Callaghan
Special to SPACE.com
posted: 01:46 pm ET
02 October 2000
Yes, once again the intrepid reporters of SPACE.COM have been in the secret
government files. Here's our list of the things we're absolutely, positively sure we'll see in season two of Roswell.
10. We hear David Duchovny isn't too busy these days. Maybe he can guest
star as an FBI agent?
9. Cat-fight between Liz and Tess, Dynasty-style!
8. Special Guest Star: John DeLancie as "Q" -- hey, it seems to work for
7. Maria spends 4,000 years in suspended animation, just so she can change
her hair and emerge with a stringy long blonde do. And live underground and
fight aliens with her midriff exposed. Yeah.
6. Alex's band "The Whits" rides again - doing nothing but ABBA covers.
5. On that note, what if the Backstreet Boys come back? They're all aliens.
Evil aliens. But in this very special episode, they can play humans.
4. In the all-singing, all-dancing "Cabaret" homage, Kyle gets in touch with
his sensitive side. Sponsored by Maybelline.
3. Julie Benz's "Agent Topolsky" character escapes the Initiative and
becomes a vampire in Los Angeles.
2. Alex gets some. Okay, we don't believe that one either.
1. In the season finale, we learn the alien teens' true species. They're
Gungans. "Meesa always love you, Liz!"
Stick around with SPACE.com for all your Roswell needs, from the goofy to
ROSWELL: Season Two Begins
Once on the brink of cancellation, now back for a second season.
By Edward Gross
Last season, Roswell was a show virtually on the brink. Its aliens-and-teens mix had not quite connected with viewers beyond a strong Internet cult following, and cancellation seemed likely. Then, the WB and the show’s creative staff, in a last ditch effort, moved Roswell to Monday nights and shifted the focus away from teen angst and more toward science fiction. The gamble paid off; the show’s ratings started going up, and it was given a 13-episode renewal.
The second season premiere picks up where year one’s finale left off, moving the characters to the next level. At the same time, it is continuing to walk the fine line between relationships and sci-fi—a direction that the WB, Paramount and executive producer Jason Katims thinks is the right one. Helping them to achieve this goal is the addition of producer Ron Moore, who has just a bit of genre experience thanks to his decade with the Star Trek franchise.
The writers have pointed out that if you were to follow the course of the first season, Roswell was in the position of having to "find" itself, and one of the discoveries was that if the drama were to continue being played out purely in a high school setting, it would quickly burn out creatively. Exploration of the alien mythology and upping the sci-fi quotient was the direction to go. "At the same time," offers one member of the staff, "it’s not like the writers are going hard-core sci-fi, because they don’t feel that would work either. Roswell has a unique premise, and one of the things that keeps it special is that the characters and their relationships are so well established and the little triangles within the cast work so well."
The heart and soul of the series remains the relationship between Max (Jason Behr) and Liz (Shiri Appleby), which is where everything more or less began. In many ways, everything that happens on the show—even if Max and Liz are not front and center—pivots around that relationship." Fans will find a good mix in the first five episodes of the season, all of which have science fiction elements to them that tend to drive the plots a little more; nonetheless, it has been emphasized, the stories will be about the kids, their relationships to each other and the complications and heartbreaks they experience.
"One of the things that has happened," says the staffer, "is that the characters realize there are consequences for their actions. Like killing Pierce at the end of last season—in the first episode there are consequences of killing that man that come back to haunt you. Usually in TV, you kill a guy and you never hear about him again or what happened to his body. What’s great is we pick up on that three months later and explore what happens. There remains a strong, continuing storyline so the things that happen in one episode spill over to two or three others."
Roswell can only hope that it will spill over to the ratings as well.
EW: Space Case-Roswell
''Roswell'' is becoming more sci-fi to win a bigger audience. Fans saved the
WB show last year -- but this season, improved ratings are a must for
by Craig Seymour
''Roswell,'' the WB's cult hit about teenage aliens, is back for a second
season after being saved by a novel fan campaign last May (they flooded
network offices with the aliens' preferred condiment: Tabasco sauce.) But
even with a choice time slot, Mondays at 9 p.m., the show's prognosis isn't
out of this world. The Oct. 2 premiere drew 4.1 million viewers, but lost 36
percent of the audience from the WB's 8 p.m. lead in, ''7th Heaven,'' while
last week's second episode was watched by 3.9 million people and lost 39
percent. If things don't improve for the series -- which averaged 3.5
million viewers last season -- industry observers say it's a goner. ''The WB
will be watching it closely over the next few months to determine its
future,'' says John Spiropoulos, associate director of audience research for
Initiative Media. ''To survive, it needs a much bigger audience than it's
To lure new viewers, ''Roswell'''s producers plan to radically shake up the
formula that earned it a vocal -- if limited -- cadre of fans last season.
This includes shifting the focus away from the star crossed romance between
alien boy Max (Jason Behr) and earth girl Liz (Shiri Appleby) that provided
the show's emotional core. ''We learned that simply having a human in love
with an alien was not a potent enough story to build the entire show
around,'' says executive producer Jonathan Frakes, who may be better known
for playing Commander Riker on ''Star Trek: The Next Generation.'' ''So the
focus this season is more on the aliens.''
By MICHAEL GARDNER
Cult Times #62 November 2000
Are you a romantic? Or are you itching to see Jason Behr's face split open to reveal green tentacles? Either way, Roswell may be for you.
There's a beautifully coy scene in the pilot episode of Roswell (or Roswell High as it's known to British viewers). So
far it has been an ordinary day in the Crashdown Café. Maria DeLuca nudges her friend Liz Parker and glances
back over her shoulder. "He looked at you!" No, surely not. Could Max Evans really be showing an interest in the
shy and bookish Liz? And the bombshell that drops about 20 minutes later - that Max is not of this Earth - is
merely a novel complication to this central thread. Or at least that's how it all started. Claims were even made (by
sniffy broadsheet newspapers, probably) that the alien trappings of the series could simply be viewed as a metaphor
for more workaday teenage problems. Sure, the odd glowing hand soon put paid to any locked doors, but alien or
not gimmicks were low on the ground. Once Max had brought Liz back to life, their special powers only
warranted the odd throwaway comment. Perhaps an attempt to secure the same kind of popular appeal enjoyed by
'Dawson's Creek', the series was resolutely about Max and Liz, and quite how they could be happy together when
they were constantly worrying that Max was about to be carted off and cut into bits.
In a way, such an approach is eminently sensible. The opposite extreme would have been to give them all fantastic
powers. Max could have had the ability to become invisible, Michael could have been some kind of magician and it
could have all gone a bit 'Dungeons and Dragons'. Nevertheless, viewers were bound to be a little disappointed, just
like when 'Deep Space Nine' started. The pre-publicity had made quite a big deal out of the fact that Odo was a
shape-shifter. 'Fantastic!' we thought. 'Every week he could be something different; there'll be exciting twists,
amusing misapprehensions, funny hats.' Sadly, however, he was a bit of an amateur, not to mention a little
po-faced about his marvellous ability. Equally, when you hear there's a new TV show featuring three aliens, you
might expect a little more. If I could stroll around in other people's dreams, play CDs with my little finger and
make tomato ketchup change colour, I'd be doing it every week. Discretion, however, is the better part of valour.
And if you foolishly use any otherworldly powers you possess to do party tricks you'll soon be noticed. And Max,
Isabel and Michael were in hiding. Even so, the question of whether Max had to hid from Liz as well could only
hang in the air for so long.
Whether it was a worthy approach or not, 'Roswell' soon exhausted much of the potential in concentrating on
Max and Liz's snowballing romance. Rather too much time was expended establishing the balance of trust
between the three aliens and the three humans; Liz was to discover that dating Max placed her in danger; and the
bond between the two of them soon resulted in the quest to find more about the aliens' origins being a joint
project. Eventually, these issues began to wear a little thin. And, combined with a thirst from some quarters for a
little Sci-Fi excitement, ratings began to dwindle. The WB (where it was broadcast) moved it from Wednesday
nights to Monday and began to focus on some of the Sci-Fi issues.
By the end of its first 22 episodes, the friends' worst nightmares had come true, they'd finally made some allies and
in 'Destiny', the season finale, we finally discover exactly where the aliens come from and who they are. This
information, however, came with a price. When 'Roswell' returns to SKY 1 next year, it is going to be quite a
different series to one about a girl being eyed up in the local diner. We decided to make one or two helpful
The following section contains references to events that happen in the second half of Season One, if you're
watching the series on BBC2 you may wish to stop reading now.
Liz and Max - Sort It Out!
No matter how addictive 'Ballykissangel' may have been, everyone's got to agree that the will-they-won't-they
storyline, if left to run and run, gets a little repetitive. To begin with, Max decided that he couldn't get too close to
Liz. Then they 'got with the kissing' and by mutual assent became an item. Then Tess comes on the scene and
Liz, sneakily hiding behind the coat-tails of 'fate', goes off in a huff. With any luck, Season Two will settle for
sizzling sexual tension or matching bathrobes, and not end up dancing fruitlessly between the two.
There are three things of note when sizing up 'Roswell's' new arrival. The most obvious of these will have already
been guessed by the smutty-minded among you. The others? The first is her 'arranged marriage', the second is
her own special gift. Now, I can't really believe that she'll entice Max away from Liz, and her ability to distract
people could easily become a plot device. Our conclusion: they need to find something to do with her. Or are we
happy with her just standing around looking pretty?
Who Shot the Sheriff's Son?
Poor Kyle. Not content with simply giving him the boot, Liz dumped him in a round about kind of way with all
that 'Oh no, Max and I are just friends' rot. And, to add insult to injury, although he struck a few heroic poses in
the Season One titles, his contribution to proceedings didn't amount to much. No matter how sad that might be
however, maybe it should stay that way.
Despite Kyle's good looks and rippling muscles, we didn't really blame Liz for leaving him for some weird guy with
funny ears, because Kyle is boring. Unless they expand his character beyond an interest in football and being sulky
with his dad, he'd be better off on the sidelines.
Mother Nature Gave Them Special Powers
During Season One we got used to calling the miraculous abilities Max, Isabel and Michael possess 'alien powers'.
They are, of course, nothing of the sort. One day all humans will be made like that.
This is quite an interesting development. And although I don't advocate giving the humans special powers too and
turning the series into 'The Tomorrow People', it's worth investigating. The aliens hold the key to future human
evolution in much the same way Gibson Praise did in 'The X-Files', and even what they did to Max in 'The White
Room' wasn't as grisly as what they did to that little boy.
It's A Secret
For a long time it was just Max, Michael and Isabel's. Then Max told Liz, Liz told Maria. Alex pestered Liz and
Maria till they told him. And Sheriff Valenti chased them around and around util they got in such a pickle that
they needed to tell him. Although, he knew anyway and was just being awkward. If it carries on this way it won't
be long before the whole of Roswell, New Mexico is in on the secret.
If Max and co do have an alien invasion on their hands, it could admittedly all become rather academic. But the
success of the final episodes of the first series owe a lot to the paranoia generated by all the people on their trail
who might know something. As time went on it became harder and harder to sustain the lies. Nasedo in his guise
as Agent Pierce, has probably thrown the FBI's special unit off the scent for the time being. It's probably safe to
say, however, that our group of friends will still have to contend with the attention of government agencies as well
as the impending extra-terrestrial threat.
The Phantom Menace
It's a fairly obvious observation to make: the scenario described from the start of this article is a million miles away
from Space aliens with ray guns. At the end of 'Destiny' we caught a glimpse of something waking, possibly all
around the globe, and a Howie from the Backstreet Boys wiggling his eyebrows at us. Well, we'll have less of that,
thank you! The producers of 'Roswell' are going to have to tread very carefully indeed to make sure that recent
revelations blend in with the established tone of the series - it would be a shame to lose that.
The following section contains references to events in 'Skin and Bones', the first episode of Season Two.
As we go to press the first few episodes have already been aired in America. Following the same 'academic calendar'
used in 'Buffy', the summer months have passed and it seems to be business as usual. Max is pleading Liz to come
back to him, Maria is in much the same position with Michael, and a new authority figure is on the scene to meddle
in the same way Valenti did last year. Lurking in the shadows, and shedding bits of skin all over the shop, is an
altogether new problem…
Sunday November 5, 2000 11:41 PM ET
WB uncovers more ``Roswell'' episodes
By Josef Adalian
HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - The WB believes in aliens.
The network has ordered nine additional episodes of its sophomore sci-fi drama ``Roswell,'' giving the show a full season run of 22 episodes.
``Roswell'' garnered solid reviews last season and decent ratings but still barely managed to get renewed for a second year. The WB ultimately ordered 13 episodes, spurred in part by a strong fan-based campaign to save the show and a decision to emphasize more of the show's sci-fi elements. Jason Behr, Katherine Heigl and Brendan Fehr star.
So far this fall, ``Roswell'' has given the WB its best 9 p.m. Monday Nielsen numbers since ``Buffy the Vampire Slayer'' moved out of the slot in January 1998. The show's core strength lies with young femmes: It averages a 5.4 rating/18 share infemale teens and a 3.6/10 in females 12-34.
Among adults 18-49, ``Roswell'' has been averaging a 2.0/5 -- an 82% increase over the network's slot average last season. It has posted similar gains in other key demos.
Not surprisingly, ``Roswell'' creator-executive producer Jason Katims said he is ``extremely excited'' about the full-season order.
``This is just a great feeling, a great boost of confidence for all of us at the show,'' Katims told Daily Variety. ``We've just gotten a lot of great support from the WB and (producer) 20th Century Fox.''
'Roswell': Year Two - Should We Still Care About Teenage Aliens?
By Brian Ford Sullivan
The Futon Critic 11/21/2000
I remember hearing this great story once. It was about a young man who saw his true love get shot in a scuffle between two men at the local diner. Horrified, the young man rushed over to help her and surprisingly he could. But with that gesture nothing would ever be the same for that young man or that girl he saved. He could no longer keep the secrets of his life from this girl now that she had seen he wasn't like every other guy. Slowly he opened his heart to her all the while opening himself up to more and more danger. Those around them were drawn into the mix as well making that one single moment all that more significant. Quite simply the world changed because a boy loved a girl.
I'm not sure exactly when I stopped believing in that story but I know it was definitely after October 2, 2000. You see, I'm one of those people that believes in the power of storytelling. I think that the stories we hear help us better understand our own lives and the events that have happened to us. I certainly believe that the world can change because a boy loved a girl and last year I got 22 reasons to stick by that belief.
It's very rare when a story can sweep you away and for all intents and purposes a show named "Roswell" did that to me. It certainly wasn't a perfect story, but it had just the right amount of drama, humor and wit to keep me hooked. It's a story told by a girl who fell for someone from "up there." On paper it sounded extremely hokey, but then again it seems so were the ideas behind "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Now & Again" when they first started. But for some strange reason this show about teenage aliens satisfied me, in a way only putting down a great book after finishing it or staying up all night chatting with friends can.
I could give a nice long diatribe about what I liked about the show but what I seem to always come back to are the moments that made it memorable - Max walking along the sidewalk flaring the streetlights for Liz, Michael showing up rain-soaked at Maria's doorstep, Isabel seeing into Alex's dreams about her, and Sheriff Valenti begging Max to save his son's life. I can't put into words how those scenes worked, I guess only if you've seen them then you can truly understand.
But there's one thing even the most casual viewer of the show can understand - what is currently running under the title "Roswell" is not the show I described above.
Now I know that's probably the harshest thing I've said about a show, but truth be told, I can't think of another way to put it. "Roswell" is now the story of four royal members of an alien civilization reborn in human bodies sent here to Earth after losing their throne to a rebellion. Doesn't sound like a story about true love does it?
There is however something decidedly unfair about that statement, after all "Roswell" was all along that story as well. The problem is that the "alien" story I just described above previously just existed as something out on the periphery. Certainly it was undeniable this aspect was always in the background, but like all great science fiction, that aspect existed only as excuse to look at life through a different prism. We all know stories of true love. But do you we know the story of true love the way "Roswell" told it? No we didn't, and I think everybody who tuned in wanted to hear about how that story was told through that prism. They didn't tune in to really know about the prism itself. Certainly hearing about the aliens origins and history provided some neat catalysts for stories, nevertheless the core of the show was the relationships between these characters and their development as individuals figuring out their place in the world.
But now the tables have turned. Now we have simply a science fiction story about a science fiction story. Aspects of the characters we knew before are now simply shuffled in the background for the sake of finding out more about the science part of this story. It's as if watching the characters and relationships we knew before exist only as shells (sorry, can't bring myself to use a "skins" pun) of their previous existences. This isn't the story of a boy who's love for a girl changed the world around them any more.
It's that dry, statement I said before - four royal members of an alien civilization are reborn in human bodies and sent here to Earth after losing their throne to a rebellion. No longer an insight into an aspect of human drama, "Roswell" now exists as a passive study of that prism we looked through before. And if feels that way too - cold, lifeless and not a fraction of the same feeling we got before watching it.
Now we have "The X-Files" meets high school and the show has opened itself up to the same pitfalls that show falls into week after week. Now it's all about introducing strange new elements without any hint of explanation or even worse, explaining new things in a confusing way. ($20 to the first person who can tell me what the hell the Granalyth is.) Each character's credibility is chipped away week after week as they are lobotomized by elements that make no sense. Even when presented with answers, the characters react in ways inconsistent with what we've been shown before. It's like watching a house of cards tumble or your favorite football team collapse after a great season.
I could go into a "Nitpicker's Guide to What's Wrong With Roswell" (TM pending) but it's almost too ridiculous to even attempt. The Skins' self destruct button that looks like it belongs on the back of Dr. Evil's Fembots; an overgrown moppet child doing his best B-movie-villian riff; a giant snow cone in the aliens' home base; evil twins that talk like Joey from "Friends"; and the ultimate crapshoot - a pulse shot from a rod stuck through a billboard alien's "yoohoo" sending the entire town into an alternate dimension. It's almost as if there's a wager going on on how bad they can make this show.
But enough of all that, let's get to the core of all this - why all these changes?
I could go into some giant conspiracy rant about how the WB wants to destroy this show, how they don't get it, how this is evidence of a network sending unwanted notes to a show that is already working. The truth is though that no matter how true any of that may be, the same people are still in charge over at "Roswell" (with the noted addition of Ronald Moore, who actually penned the only palatable episode so far this season) that were there last season. Every interview I read or comment I see from the cast or crew says that they wanted these changes, that they wanted to lean more towards the sci-fi aspects, that they didn't find the voice they wanted last season.
Is this the same show that people sent bottles of Tobasco sauce to the WB for? Is this the same show that inspired thousands of people to send this site heartfelt e-mails about how they wanted this show to come back? Or more to the point - is this that story we all fell for when Max Evans healed Liz Parker and changed the world around them?
The resounding answer is no.
What is left behind is that every Monday I and the rest of the fans of "Roswell" tune in and see that story fade further and further away - like trying to hear someone screaming through ice as they fall to the bottom of the sea. We're a few weeks away from not being able to hear that story we all fell for anymore. Soon all that will be left behind will be the memories of that story when it was true, of the moments that we remember - of images like that of Max placing his hands on Liz for the first time - and look upon fondly.
Sadly it seems that story is over and another is being told.
CAN TABASCO SAVE A TV SERIES? IN THE CASE OF A TEEN DRAMA, YES.
By Rick Bentley, the Fresno Bee - 30/11/2000:
Susanne Daniels, WB Network entertainment president had a close encounter of the e-mail variety so intense she had to change her online address three times.
Fans of the network's series Roswell - a Dawson's Creek meets X Files style show - were hot about the fact the series was about to crash and burn after only one year. The WB had no reason to have faith in the show. It attracted an anaemic average of 3.6 million and ranked 134th of all shows last year.
Numbers were low, but loyalty was high.
Fans flooded the WB offices with letters and e-mails of protest. At least 6,000 of those correspondents included bottles of hot sauce, a quirky trademark drink of the alien cast.
"I've never gotten anybody to send stuff that costs money," Jamie Kellner, WB chief executive officer, says. His office received everything from tiny sample bottles of hot sauce to one bottle more than a foot tall.
The result of this fan support was the return of the show this year. A wise move. This year there are a million more viewers each week and the show has leaped to 89th place. That's a galactic hit in the WB world.
A couple of factors have helped turn this story of strangers in the strange land of Roswell, N.M., into a success. A huge leap was when the show shifted orbits from the 9pm Wednesday time slot where it had gone head-to-green alien head with UPN's sci-fi genre offering Star Trek: Voyager.
The other big change was a swing from less coming-of-age stories to more blowing-up-the-world tales. Roswell was transformed from a teen alien series to a show about aliens who happen to be teens.
Katherine Heigl, who plays the emotionally confused Isabel Evans, was never worried the producers would completely abandon the human element of the show.
"That is what makes the show so interesting. We are dealing with emotions on a very human level. But we are not completely human. They are not going to let go of that," Heigl says. In the same breath she adds that the special powers to enter minds her character has are equally as important. They add another dimension to the character.
Although she's only 21, Heigl has been in the acting business long enough to know how fans and actors eagerly embrace complex characters. The Washington, D.C., native started working in front of the camera as a model when she was 9. Three years later she made her film debut in That Night.
It was the 1994 feature My Father, the Hero with Gerard Depardieu that brought Heigl to national attention. Since then she has appeared in the movies The Bride of Chucky, King of the Hill, Under Siege 2 and Prince Valiant.
Heigl plans to keep working on films during breaks from the series. She has no problem leaving her alien persona on the television series set.
"It was interesting that the first day back to work on this season everything was so familiar. I just slipped back into her skin again," Heigl says. "That is what I love to act, why I love my job. I am fascinated by the process of being able to play all of these different characters.
"Every week when I get the new script to this show, it is like a Christmas present to me."
Those scripts often parallel typical sci-fi stories with scenes of these young people just trying to deal with life. If fan mail to Heigl is any measure, it would be a disaster to forget that at the heart of the show is a group of young people who feel different. They feel like they don't belong. They are struggling to find their identities.
And then there are the aliens.
Heigl has been told by fans that they can relate to the emotional problems the cast faces. It seems you don't have to have a birth certificate from Mars or Venus to be young and confused.
"That is the point of some of this, to make people realise they are not alone and that our differences make us united in some way. It makes us realise we are all good and bad at different things. We are different races. We are different people. And we need to learn to embrace that. That is the underlying theme of Roswell," Heigl says.
At a minimum, fans will get to see that theme played out through this year. WB executives have ordered enough episodes to fill out the rest of this season for a total of 22. Each extra episode ordered can be attributed to the hot mail-in campaign that amazed Heigl.
"It made us - the cast and crew - realise that our efforts were appreciated. Their Tabasco campaign put it into the WB's head that this show had a fan base," Heigl says.
Is Roswell UPN-Bound?
E! Online's "Watch with Wanda" column has reported a rumor that UPN may pick up The WB's faltering teen alien series Roswell next year if the frog network cancels it after its second season ends this month. Officially, The WB has said it hasn't made up its mind about the low-rated show, but reruns of Roswell are not currently on the network's summer schedule.
UPN has already agreed to pick up The WB's hit series Buffy the Vampire Slayer for two years, following the failure of producers to renew their contract with The WB. UPN also made a commitment to adopt the Buffy spinoff series Angel for two years if The WB dumps it as well.
Spaced Out: "Roswell Beams to UPN with 'Buffy'
The Roush Review by Matt Roush
A year ago I argued for WB to save 'Roswell.' Now I'm wondering why anyone would want to spare it.
Having watched this teen-alien romantic thriller deteriorate in year 2 from guilty pleasure to pleasure-free embarrassment, I was shocked when UPN rescued it from arch rival WB's cancellation heap. (UPN outbidding WB for 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' is another cutthroat matter entirely.)
In the fall, 'Buffy' will no longer be teamed with its spin-off 'Angel'
on Tuesday, thanks to the game of corporate chicken between companies, ('Angel" stays behind on WB, now airing Monday sat 9 p.m./ET.) Instead, 'Buffy' will be followed on UPN at 9 p.m./ET by 'Roswell,' which in theory makes sense but in reality is like displaying a Picasso alongside an Archie comic.
'Buffy' layers its violent allegories with emotional empathy, nimble wit and barbed humor, all of which is beyond 'Roswell's' muddled reach.
"You aliens are the most pathetic group of people I've ever met,"
muttered the sheriff's son, Kyle (Nick Wechsler), in a May episode that had me chuckling in agreement as he mocked the E.T.'s 'boring and brooding' nature.
By then the show had become so convulted, comic-relief human Maria (Majandra Delfino) was opening each episode with a recap on a chalkboard. As if we still cared, espically after that "alien summit" episode in New York City, a laughably self-important low point.
Truth is, "Roswell" did improve in its last weeks, spinning a mystery around the death of good-guy Alex (Colin Hanks) that was reavealed to be the handiwork of alien siren Tess (Emilie de Ravin), who seduced fellow alien Max (Jason Behr) into impregnating her with, yes, an alien baby.
When Max and Liz gaze at each other, it's possible to recall the show's early irresistibility. Alas, that spaceship has sailed.
And with WB fighting back in the same time period this fall with the promising 'Smallville,' about a teen Clark Kent who'se just learning how super he is, I figure my alienation from 'Roswell' will only intensify.
WB Retaliation to affect Roswell?
11 January, 2001
Here's an except from an article thats kinda freaky!
Another topic: the fate of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, completing its fifth season on WB this May. It is contract renewal time, as with other shows like NBC's Frasier, and producer 20th Century Fox is threatening to move the show to its own Fox network if WB doesn't pay a hefty increase from the $1 million per episode it now pays. An exclusive negotiating period with WB ends next month.
WB president Jamie Kellner says he has offered to ''take all the revenue we can generate with Buffy and deliver it to (Fox) in a wheelbarrow,'' a figure said to be about $1.5 million. But he refuses to lose money on a show whose ratings have declined, and industry executives say he could cancel two other shows from the studio, Angel and Roswell, in retaliation.
Grushow says Buffy will stay at WB if that network is prepared to make a ''fair'' proposal. But so far, he says, ''that has not remotely been the case.'' Besides, ''they don't have wheelbarrows at the WB, they have Mercedes.''
REVISED Airing Schedule
Tentative New schedule:
WB Released this memo and it could still be revised once again as of Monday April 2nd this is what they released...
Please note that the "Roswell" episode "Off the menu" (216) will now air on May 14th and "Heart of Mine" (217) will air on April 16th.
Revised air date schedule for "Roswell":
4/16/01 Heart Of Mine
4/23/01 Cry Your Name
4/30/01 It's Too Late & It's Too..
5/7/01 Baby, It's You
5/14/01 Off The Menu
5/21/01 The Departure (1 hour season finally)
Sending Out an SOS
1 May 2001
Note from Tara (deah): I only copied Roswell parts.
Readers say "Roswell" should stay. Sci-Fi fans rally for the WB show in USA TODAY'S Save Our Show Poll.
"Sending Out an SOS"
You didn't really like most of the prime-time TV shows hovering "on the bubble" between renewal and cancellation, but you cared enough to weigh in anyway.
The results of USA TODAY's fourth annual Save Our Shows poll are in, and 38,415 readers voted, more than three times the 12,667 who responded last year.
Cover Story Roswell which 44% of fans want renewed, and Fox's X-Files spinoff, The Lone Gunmen, which 40% would like to see return.
Roswell, which drew similar fan support in last year's poll, follows the adventures of three high school aliens.
A Roswell fan from "day one" Deborah Kelley of Edgewater, Fla., says "the show gripped me right away. I couldn't wait till the next week. To me, Roswell, is the best show on TV and the only one I look forward to watching."
"I cried when I found out that the show was taking a break for a while," wrote Erica Furst of Baltimore, adding ominously: "Just imagine what I will do if it really goes off the air!"
Roswell producer Jason Katims seems genuinely flattered by the outpouring: Nearly 16,000 voted to keep the show in USA TODAY'S poll, significantly more than any other show. The bad news: Roswell and Gunmen remain long shots for new seasons.
Roswell also has suffered from low ratings, and barely survived last season until fans deluged WB with Tabasco Sauce (a plot point) to demonstrate their support. A further complication: network irritation with the drama's producer, 20th Century Fox Television, which is moving Buffy the Vampire Slayer to UPN this fall. (WB may cancel Buffy spinoff Angel as well, but that series would shift to UPN.)
Katims says the Buffy drama makes renewal "more of a challenge" but hopes level heads will prevail. "There might be a lot of heated feelings, but it's stories you have to look at, not the politics or business involved."
That of a Tabasco Chugger (E! Online)
Last week, when I asked you all to vote for one show to save, I had no idea what I was in for. I've been bombarded with so much email--thousands every day--my computer's ready to internally combust.
Of course, I should have known better. I mean, Roswell's at stake.
Never have I witnessed such an outpouring of fan support. In addition to email, I received e-cards, greeting cards, some kind of blue alien rock candy (I haven't been brave enough to try it) and, of course, plenty of Tabasco sauce to wash it all down.
The biggest thing I learned (other than that I should've asked for a dollar per vote): There is no fan more dedicated than a Roswellian.
That's exactly why, if what my sources are saying is true, UPN is one lucky duck. A little birdie close to the net told me UPN has already picked up the sci-fi teen drama, in addition to the kick-ass vamp show that created such a stir last week. Of course, no one at the WB is allowed to talk, saying only that Roswell's future "has not been decided."
So, just in case Roswell's fate isn't as concrete as it seems, I'm keeping my promise to write a support column and send it off to the powers-that-be at UPN, Fox and the WB, so they can see how truly devoted Roswell's fans are and why the show deserves to stick around for a third season.
It's rather unbelievable that the WB would give up on Roswell, which arguably has the most devoted following of any of their shows, especially now that Slayer peeps have jumped ship. With two cult series out of the picture, the Frog net may have a major viewership crisis on its webbed hands.
Sure, Roswell doesn't pull in numbers like 7th Heaven or Charmed, but its low ratings really shouldn't be attributed to low quality or low interest (as evidenced by my inbox).
If you ask me, Roswell's biggest ratings hurdles are actually the WB's own fault. The show gets very little promotion compared with other Froggy series, and it suffered from far too many reruns this season to gain any kind of momentum in viewership.
It also has one of the worst time slots--Mondays at 9, right after 7th Heaven. The latter may be the WB's highest-rated show, but it pulls in a completely different demographic (ahem, goody-goodies) than the dark, angst-filled Roswell. Did they really expect those viewers to stick around?
As for the quality of Roswell, I'll turn it over to the people who can say it best--the diehards who voted to keep it:
• "Roswell has inspired the largest and most impressive 'Save our show' campaign that the Industry has ever seen. To let go of this gem of a show, with its intoxicating mix of humor, drama and sci-fi, the WB would have to be insane."
• "A show like Roswell is hard to find. I would not waste 40 minutes and gas every Monday night to haul my VCR to the next town to record the show if I didn't feel it was a winner. Please give this show another season."
• "I'm a 50-year-old, inner-city junior high special-education teacher. I was hooked on Roswell the first time I watched it. I honestly don't know what I'll do if it is canceled!"
• "It's hard to believe a show with so very many devoted fans could be on the verge of cancellation. It's absolutely my favorite show. Survivor be damned!"
One last word of advice to you network execs: Get the Tabasco chuggers on board, give 'em a good time slot, a little promotional TLC, and I promise, they won't let you down.
As for the fans, come chat about Roswell's fate and what's coming up on the show this Monday at 6 p.m. ET. I've also got the goods on season enders--everything from Buffy and Felicity to Will & Grace and ER.
From dee: You said Tess is pregnant and the aliens are going to say goodbye to their human friends, but I read it's only Tess who's going to go. True?
Tess definitely tells Max she's pregnant and that the baby can only live on their home planet, but that doesn't mean it's true. As most of you have probably sensed, you can only trust Tess as far as you can throw her with your telekinetic mind.
Sunday May 13 11:28 PM ET From Variety
WB locks in top series to avoid ``Buffy'' replay
By Michael Schneider and Josef Adalian
NEW YORK (Variety) - Taking great lengths to avoid losing another series, in the wake of ``Buffy the Vampire Slayer's'' defection to UPN, the WB has sealed multiple-year deals with four of its top-rated series.
Meanwhile, the network has also locked in an ambitious ``Buffy''-free fall schedule that includes eight new series, with major changes on every night of the week except Wednesday.
The WB negotiated a one-year extension with Columbia TriStar TV that keeps ``Dawson's Creek'' on the network through the 2002-2003 season.
Also finalized are deals that mean Spelling's ``7th Heaven'' and Viacom's ``Sabrina, the Teenage Witch'' will remain on the WB for at least two more years.
In addition, the WB is close to pacting with Spelling to hold on to ``Charmed'' (sans Shannen Doherty, who announced her intention to depart the show Friday) through the 2003-2004 season.
``We're picking up our three highest rated shows and our most important sitcom, and we were able to do it in a way that wasn't public and wasn't acrimonious,'' the WB's co-entertainment president Jordan Levin said.
Levin and co-president Susanne Daniels said the network had been in talks to renew the quartet of series even before 20th Century Fox moved ``Buffy'' to UPN late last month.
As for the fall schedule, which will be unveiled to advertisers Tuesday morning, Levin defended the decision to make a number of major moves.
``It's a fair amount of change but it's not that much different from last year,'' Levin said. ``Every 8 p.m. show is a returning show.''
The WB's new lineup also includes former ``Buffy'' companion series ``Angel,'' but not fellow 20th Century Fox TV stablemate ``Roswell.''
In a surprise switch, ``Angel'' will shift to Mondays at 9 p.m. following ``7th Heaven''; UPN is now seriously considering picking up ``Roswell,'' though a deal is not yet in place.
The executives said they ultimately opted to hold on to ``Angel'' in the hopes that it will recruit its own audience in the tough post-``7th Heaven'' timeslot (opposite ``Ally McBeal''). WB execs were also reluctant to give up ``Angel,'' which would have then been paired with ``Buffy'' on UPN, giving the rival latter a strong night.
``(But) we suspected that (UPN) would put 'Roswell' behind 'Buffy,' so either way we're handing them a night,'' Daniels said. ``It's also important for us to keep and grow our male audience, and 'Angel' ranks high with men.''
Also, apparently there are no hard feelings between the WB and 20th Century Fox TV, despite the ``Buffy'' situation. Not only is the WB picking up the 20th laffer ``Deep in the Heart,'' starring Reba McEntire, but it also gave up its option on ``Roswell'' early enough for UPN to seriously consider the show.
``Picking up the Reba show is doing what's best for ourselves,'' Levin said.
``Deep in the Heart'' will be part of the WB's strong play for family audiences on Fridays, launching four half-hour laffers geared at the same teen and young adults viewers who once watched ABC's ``TGIF'' grid.
``This represents an idea of what we want family shows on the WB to be,'' Levin said. ``Smart and funny with an emotional core.''
The WB will also resurrect its Wednesday 9 p.m. ``wheel,'' this time alternating ``Felicity'' with the Miramax drama ``Glory Days.'' The WB has ordered a full 22 episodes of ``Felicity'' but will air eight editions of ``Glory'' half-way through the year.
The WB will also launch a ``reality wheel'' Sundays at 7 p.m., airing the skeins ``Lost in the USA'' and ``No Boundaries.''
Overall, the WB will add just one new drama in the fall: ``Smallville,'' a retelling of the young Superman mythology. By contrast, the WB is scheduling five new comedies and two new non-fiction series.
Besides ``Roswell,'' other series not expected to return include the dramas ``Popular'' and ``Jack & Jill,'' as well as the laffers ``Grosse Point,'' ``The PJs,'' and ``Jamie Foxx,'' which already aired its final episode. The network may still opt to pick up other series, such as ``The Oblongs,'' while ``For Your Love'' has already been picked up.
The WB has also given a midseason order to ``Young Person's Guide to Becoming a Rock Star.'' Other midseason announcements are forthcoming; the drama ``Dead Last'' will bow in this summer, while the WB will also air a Turner movie on Wednesdays.
UPN Considers Buffy Roswell Combo
By Christian from Trek Today
May 15, 2001 - 10:44 PM
When UPN unveils its Fall schedule on Thursday, it is now expected to announce that Roswell will be airing after fellow former WB series Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Tuesday nights.
After two years of struggling ratings, the WB officially cancelled Roswell yesterday when it announced its own Fall schedule. However, MediaWeek reported today that UPN was intending to pick up the series and air it on Tuesdays at 9:00pm, after Buffy. Airing as Buffy's lead-out show, a position held by Angel over the past two years, should certainly be beneficial to Roswell, which this year was paired with non-SF show Seventh Heaven.
Speaking to the New York Post today, Roswell executive producer Kevin Brown agreed with that. "I know that UPN has been seriously interested in Roswell for several weeks," he said. "We very much appreciate [that]. We think now that UPN has taken this step in enlarging their audience with Buffy, I don't think anyone can imagine a more killer night than putting Buffy and Roswell together. To me that has got homerun written all over it."
If Roswell is indeed acquired by UPN, this will at least in part be due to its very dedicated fanbase. Last year, the fans sent the WB thousands of bottles of Tabasco sauce (the spicy sauce that the show's aliens like to add to their sweet food), a campaign that was credited with winning the show's renewal. To persuade UPN to take over Roswell, over 10,000 bottles were sent to the network over the past month. "Aren't these the kind of fans that networks pray for?" Brown said.
With Buffy and Roswell expected to fill UPN's Tuesdays, much of the network's Fall schedule is now already known. Mondays will continue to be filled by the succesful urban comedy block. Enterprise and Dead Zone are expected to be shown on Wednesday, while Thursday remains 'Smackdown' night. Unless UPN drops its Friday movie or expands to another night of programming, this will likely mean former Voyager lead-in shows Seven Days and Special Unit 2 will not be renewed for another season.
In related news, Reuters reported yesterday that News Corp. was no longer interested in taking a stake in UPN. "I guess we toyed with it but decided not to," the company's chairman, Rupert Murdoch, was quoted as saying. After News Corp. acquired several important UPN affiliates last year it entered negotiations with UPN parent Viacom over getting full or partial ownership of the network, but when it already extended its UPN affiliation agreement as part of the Buffy deal Viacom was no longer under as much pressure to give News Corp. an interest in UPN.
Viacom itself, meanwhile, appears to be fully supporting UPN. With the acquisition of several high-profile science-fiction drama series, it will be hopefully be able to significantly improve its image next year and in turn strengthen ratings. Full details on how the network attempts to accomplish this will likely be released on Thursday.
Posted: Wed., 5/16/01, 9:58pm PT
'Roswell' joins 'Buffy' for UPN's fall lineup
Marks 1st time since '97 that 2 series jumped in unison to another web
By MICHAEL SCHNEIDER
NEW YORK -- The alien teens of "Roswell" will join "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" on the trans-network express from the WB to UPN next fall.
UPN sealed an 11th-hour deal Wednesday afternoon to pick up 22 episodes of "Roswell" from 20th Century Fox TV and Regency TV. Both sides had been hammering out an agreement all week, but UPN had hoped to land a smaller pickup. The weblet ultimately agreed to sign up for a full season.
"We were fortunate that a show that had been growing on the WB became available," said UPN CEO Dean Valentine. "We realized that it's a terrific show and that it's got a fanatical audience."
The "Buffy"-"Roswell" move marks the first time two network series jumped in unison to another web since "Family Matters" and "Step by Step" left ABC for CBS in 1997.
'Moesha' moves out
Meanwhile, UPN has decided not to bring back the Big Ticket sitcom "Moesha," starring Grammy Award winner Brandy, for a seventh season this fall.
That means the grappler net, which announces its lineup this morning at Madison Square Garden, slides into next season without its two longest-running series. "Star Trek: Voyager," the skein that launched UPN in 1995, airs its series finale May 23; "Moesha" first bowed in January 1996.
"Buffy," which the netlet snatched last month from the WB, now becomes the oldest skein on UPN. "Moesha" was first developed at CBS, which then passed on the series. UPN picked it up and quickly used the series as a springboard to turn its focus on young, urban comedies.
Valentine said he believed the show "had run its course." The laffer had already taped its season finale; that episode will now wind up as the series' last episode.
"It was time to freshen up the night," he said.
'One on One'
Family laffer "One on One" will take the empty slot on UPN's Monday night comedy block. The sitcom originally came from Fox Television Studios and Greenblatt-Janollari, but FTVS opted out after it decided "One on One" didn't fit the company's financial model.
Sources said FTVS saw limited international potential for the series. Bob Greenblatt and David Janollari will remain as exec producers on "One on One," but FTVS agreed to hand the series' production over to Paramount Network TV -- with the stipulation that UPN renew Greenblatt-Janollari's "The Hughleys."
Here's a look at UPN's fall schedule:
a.. Monday kicks off with "The Hughleys" at 8 p.m., followed by newcomer "One on One." The 9 p.m. block remains the same, with "The Parkers" leading into "Girlfriends."
b.. Call it WB night on UPN: "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" keeps its Tuesdays at 8 p.m. timeslot, followed by "Roswell" at 9 p.m.
c.. Newcomer "Star Trek: Enterprise" takes the 8 p.m. slot, an hour earlier than where predecessor "Star Trek: Voyager" had resided. Midseason sci-fi hour "Special Unit 2" airs at 9 p.m.
d.. "WWF Smackdown" body slams its way onto Thursdays for a third year.
e.. After having tried (and failed) to capitalize on "Smackdown" by airing series on Friday, UPN brings back its Friday night movie.
Among midseason contenders, the Lions Gate/Paramount entry "The Dead Zone," starring Anthony Michael Hall, is expected to make the cut. Series not returning include "7 Days," "All Souls," "Celebrity Deathmatch," "Chains of Love," "Freedom," "Gary & Mike" and "Level 9."
"Roswell" Gets Legal Nudging by Mark Armstrong Jul 17, 2001, 10:30 AM PT
Just how much do some Roswell cast members relish their new life at UPN? So much, apparently, that show producer 20th Century Fox needed to threaten legal action against at least one actor who didn't show up to promote the nearly canceled sci-fi series.
After getting canned by the WB last year and then picked in the 11th hour by hand-me-down happy UPN, most of Roswell's cast members smiled graciously for reporters Monday at the Television Critics Association Press Tour in Pasadena, California. In attendance was the show's female contingent--Shiri Appleby, Katherine Heigl and Majandra Delfino.
But notably absent were costars Brendan Fehr and Jason Behr--and when reporters asked where they were, an awkward silence fell over the room.
That's because it apparently takes more than free drinks at the Ritz-Carlton to get them to show up. In a letter sent anonymously to E! Online, lawyers for 20th Century Fox threatened legal action against at least one of the show's stars if he didn't make the media rounds in Pasadena.
"Make no mistake, such a cavalier disregard of your documented commitments to the series will not be tolerated," the letter reads. "We are hopeful, however, that [20th Century Fox] has either been misinformed as to your intentions or, if you actually did not intend to appear at the TCAPT, that you will reconsider your ill-advised decision and agree to honor your contractual obligations."
Although the name addressed on the letter was blacked out, sources at the studio confirm it was sent to Fehr, the 23-year-old messy-haired Canadian who plays Michael Guerin on the quirky extraterrestrial series. Another source, meanwhile, claims the letter was sent out to the entire cast.
Either way, the letter seems to make painfully clear that not everyone is thrilled that Roswell was resurrected for a third season. Of course, it's been a running joke that most stars dread the TCA Press Tour and all its mandatory flesh-pressing. But for a series that scraped through last season on the WB (averaging 4.1 million viewers), you'd assume its stars would do anything short of dousing themselves with Tabasco sauce to get the free publicity.
"It's very important for the network to have its stars there for a show as important as Roswell," a studio source said. "When we were told Brendan wasn't going to be able to attend, there was some concern." So out came the lawyers.
Fehr apparently had a reasonable excuse for not showing up Monday: The actor is currently in his native Canada, where he's filming public service announcements for the Ontario government warning kids about the threat of sexual abuse. The other absentee costar, Jason Behr, was also working on another project and later excused by the studio from attending the press day.
Fehr's manager, Jim Sheasgreen, says he doesn't know who sent the letter out to the media, but he adds carefully, "I think it's already been expressed that not everyone was particularly excited about going back for a third season."
As for the rest of the Roswell crew, most of the show's stars remained mum about the subject while schmoozing at a UPN party Monday night. When asked about the letter, Shiri Appleby responded, "I don't really want to talk about the letter. I'm here, I'm being supportive, and I don't want to talk about any of the negativity."
A source close to the show said the studio's biggest concern was with Fehr, but the matter has since been dropped. "He's a good kid," the insider noted, "but Brendan has always been just a big pill."
Fehr's manager, meanwhile, insists the actor will be back in Los Angeles and ready to work when Roswell's production begins July 23.
Roswell VS. SmallVille
When Surfing the net and other viable sources for
Roswell in my continued attempt to keep current. I saw
a few articles that were Heralding the new WB yet to
be seen series, "SmallVille." Not that anything in the
series interests me and if it does, well we all have
VCRs or Digital TV to do the trick for us anyway. What
got me pretty upset was the Roswell Bashing that many
a writers thought appropriate for the almost three
Many have said that SmallVille will be an instant hit,
be mindful that if it isn't it will be chucked just
like Roswell was. I read somewhere that Smallville
will be just another out of place alien drama/comedy. which
I applaud. You would think that the WB would have
learned from its experience with roswell that you just
can't give up faith on something that is slow in
numbers, but has a very loyal fan base. (I.E. Tabasco
chungin' teens across America can vouch for that.)
If anything, I really just wanted to say that for the
past three years Roswell has been an outlet for the
teens that can't identify with "Seventh Heaven" or
were too young to remember "Beverly Hills:90210." We
are loyal mainly because we understand how it feels
not to be accepted or even to know where you are
coming from, whether it be mentally or physically.
But I say to myself, no matter, I can confidently say
that with a strong lead-in like "Buffy". Roswell will
do just fine. The only real thing I feel sorry for on
the WB is "Angel" which has a Family lead in after
"Seventh Heaven." If mom and dad after watching a
potentially threatening family situation solved in
an hour are unfortunate enough to stumble onto Angel's
turf, well lets just say that by this time next year,
Roswell and Buffy could have another addition.
Don't get me wrong I hope that SmallVille proves
entertaining and delightfully refreshing. But even if
those were the cases, if not enough ratings come in it
will be chucked into the has been file, maybe not even
being picked up. But I guess time and ratings will
tell, in the meantime, I know where my loyalties lie.
Roswell, Season 3
by: James Kern
"The stories are getting a little bit out of high school," said Jason Katims, executive producer of the show, during UPN's fall preview for the Television Critics Association in Pasadena, Calif. "Isabel (Katherine Heigl) gets into a serious relationship and falls into a precipitous marriage. Max (Jason Behr) goes on a quest to find his child, and Liz (Shiri Appleby) goes along with him, and that quest will take him out of Roswell and onto the road."
Other story arcs will include Michael (Brendan Fehr) getting a job and Maria (Majandra Delfino) beginning to pursue her musical career.
with these changes in store and new promotional ads going up for roswell on upn ( just saw one on sunday at about three O' clock, interview with series executive producer Jonathan Frakes)
Roswell is sure to pick up those lost sheep that went astray for this year and garner a whole new audience with its lead in show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". Best of Luck for your third season roswell!
'Roswell' Arrives Intact on UPN
By MARK SACHS, Times Staff Writer
The aliens have landed.
After a two-year stint building a near-cult status on the WB, "Roswell" begins a new incarnation at 9 tonight on UPN.
The young-adult drama with a science-fiction pulse, scripted tonight by executive producer Jason Katims, was cut adrift by the WB (a subsidiary of Tribune Co., which owns the Los Angeles Times) in May.
UPN President Tom Nunan attributed the problems to lineup shuffling by that network and mismatched lead-ins such as the softer family drama "7th Heaven."
But now, with fellow WB refugee "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" leading the way, "Roswell" may find a larger audience for its quirky charms.
Those charms arrive intact for the new season, with the plot line's budding romance between lead alien Max Evans (Jason Behr) and earthling Liz Parker (Shiri Appleby) being challenged by the FBI, Utah police and, perhaps most formidably, by their respective parents.
Even for those uninitiated in "Roswell's" interplanetary machinations, tonight's episode offers deft use of flashbacks and time-stamped subtitles to get you up to speed.
Evocative music, offbeat humor and stylish direction by Allan Kroeker get "Roswell" off to a rousing start. And although it has an occasional wobble in the acting and a hormonal precocious ness that may offend some, where else can you get such dialogue-with-a-wink banter as in a scene with Max and Liz?
"Liz, I just want to put everything that happened behind us."
"Yeah, I know that. I would too if I had impregnated an alien who had murdered one of our best friends and then left the planet with my unborn child."
"So you're still holding on to that?"
Out of this world.
The Standard Examiner
Nancy Van Valkenburg, television writer
What's a nice space-alien teen to do when a murderous space vixen seduces him, then steals his broken-down spaceship to flee with their unborn child, leaving him stranded on Earth with his supremely ticked-off human girlfriend?
Well, how about robbing a convenience store?
"Roswell" returns at 8 p.m. Tuesday (KPNZ Channel 24), moving to UPN for its third season. Let the angst-driven weirdness begin.
"Roswell," for the uninitiated (and that will be most of you), is a sullen teen soap about moody, small-town teens who feel like outsiders.
And they should, because they are either space aliens or alienated humans who are close friends with space aliens.
The WB canceled "Roswell" for low ratings. Seems the small-town-teen-space soap never quite found its niche. Go figure.
Consider the premise: Three aliens, raised by adoptive human parents who don't know their secret, attempt to blend into the teen scene in Roswell, N.M.
Their plan works great until the early moments of the premiere episode, when alien Max (actor Jason Behr) uses his otherworldly power to save the life of human Liz (Shiri Appleby) for whom he had the hots.
Max and Liz become a sort of interplanetary Romeo and Juliet, surrounded by the other aliens and a few of Liz's trustworthy friends.
From there, it becomes a full-blown soap, packed with hidden identities, villains, misunderstandings and betrayals. Hence the aforementioned murder, alien embryo and stolen ship.
Now consider UPN's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," which also fled The WB for UPN. Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) leads a group of humans(two of whom are self-taught witches), joined by a vampire and a former demon. (They also had a werewolf, but he left to make movies and do cartoon voice-overs.)
So why is "Buffy" a hit with critics and viewers while "Roswell" strikes out?
"Roswell" takes itself seriously. We laugh at "Roswell." We laugh with "Buffy."
"Buffy" is totally aware of how absurd it is and laughs at itself throughout while still managing to make a few points about how it feels to be different from those around you.
"Roswell" needs to lighten up a little and to laugh at itself.
Need more proof that humor can extend the alien life span? "War of the Worlds" lasted two years; "Mork & Mindy" lasted four.
"Starman" lasted one year; "My Favorite Martian" lasted three.
"The Visitor" lasted one year; "ALF" lasted four.
Maybe the pouty "Roswell" aliens should eat a few cats, or try to work the phrase "Nanoo, nanoo" into their conversations.
Truth be told, I am not a space doctor; I only play one in this column. I'm not sure what prescription could make "Roswell" better. So, fans of the small-town-teen-space-soap genre, enjoy it while you can.
Roswell's beautiful alien teens now at home at UPN
By BRIDGET BYRNE
Entertainment News Wire
LOS ANGELES - A door slams in the face of a good looking, dark haired young man. A beautiful blonde girl sits on her bed, weepy and disconsolate, distractedly fingering a guitar.
It's the set of Roswell, the aliens-are-us series, in which gorgeous young things - whether descendants of an alien culture or homegrown Americans - are bursting with all the glorious mood swings of teenage passion.
The hour long science-fiction young adult drama now airs on UPN, Tuesdays, 9-10 p.m., ET/PT. This third season of the show, which previously stuttered along for two years on rival network The WB, is now in a prime timeslot behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer which also jumped networks.
Roswell is the small town in New Mexico rumored to be the site where an alien spaceship crashed in 1947. Enter the possibility for these hot alien teens to be living and loving there.
This day an episode entitled "Beyond the Music," planned to air at the denouement of November sweeps, is taking shape in Hollywood on the Paramount stages that contain sets of the town's homes and the Crashdown Cafe, where the seasoning of choice is Tabasco sauce.
Not surprisingly the cameras are focused on a potential love triangle. This one is between Maria and Michael and new arrival Billy, described in the script as "the classic archetype of mysterious drifter and soulful artist," but sardonically dubbed by Michael in a line of dialogue as "Billy Bob Thornton."
Clayne Crawford is guest starring as Billy opposite Majandra Delfino's (pretty human) Maria and Brendan Fehr's (alien, but much better looking than your average human) Michael. Maria's bedroom is the setting.
Director Jonathan Frakes keeps the levity high as the actors prepare to act moody and mysterious.
"My philosophy is that if people are laughing it's more likely they will be spontaneous," he says, while praising the talents of the show's clan of "sexy, smart, talented, bright, young" stars.
Both Frakes and the show's executive producer Jason Katims mention the multi-layer aspects of this series; the challenge of weaving science-fiction, teen angst and comedy together to play to a new audience on UPN without alienating the small but intensely devoted group of fans who have been there since the beginning.
"UPN wanted to make sure that the backstory wasn't too complicated... that it wasn't so drenched in mythology that you felt like you had already missed the boat on the show if you tuned in now," says Katims. "That was very good news to me because I felt the second season got a little too complicated from a story point of view... and when we do that I think we get away from what is the core of our storytelling, which is just very relatable story lines... I think the science fiction part of the show is what should lift the show up to metaphor. It should make it feel magical, but it shouldn't take over what the show is about."
Although the main characters are still teens this season they are faced with more mature issues. "We've extended the canvas a bit by taking them into the workplace, on to the road, into a precipitous marriage... [they're in] territory we haven't really explored before," says Katims, whose previous credits include the insightful, emotional shows Relativity and My So-Called Life.
"The crux of the metaphor of this whole show is that when we are teenagers in a certain way we all feel like aliens and, as I've been doing this for a couple of years, I will go a step further and say we all feel like aliens no matter what age we are," says 40-year-old Katims, stressing he is also working to strengthen the "family drama" aspect his show. "It speaks to outsiders. In a weird way I have always thought of this as an immigrant story - dealing with how much of the other world do we hold on to and embrace, and how much do we let go... [in order to] assimilate."
New writers this season include Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz, friends and co-workers who as editor and writer at the publishing company Daniel Weiss Associates created the Roswell High books, the first volume of which inspired this series, produced by Regency Television and Twentieth Century Fox Television. Those books were aimed at the tween market, but Burns' notes this series has clearly grown into "less of a high school show."
Max (played by very handsome dark-haired Jason Behr), and Max's sister, Isabel, (played by very pretty Katherine Heigl) are teens of alien heritage trying to feel at home in Roswell. The series also stars Shiri Appleby as Liz, another pretty human teen who knows the aliens' secret as does Kyle, played by Nick Wechsler. One of the few adults who knows the secret is Sheriff Valenti, played by William Sadler.
Metz and Burns, entertainment buffs who tease each other about their "hokey" tastes and "nerdy" obsession with movies and television, are amused by, and amusing about, their transposition from New York to Hollywood. Their first script will be about a New Year Eve's party. Their office is a trailer on the Paramount lot. Being on site enables them the benefit of dropping by the set, a valuable insight for this embryonic screenwriting team who had sold some previous scripts but had never seen them produced.
And what do these young women who first dreamed up this fictionalized Roswell think landed at the real Roswell?
"I believe the spy weather balloon story," says Burns.
"I feel that I should have [an opinion] but I really don't know," admits Metz.
"But I certainly don't think it was beautiful teenage aliens," laughs Burns.
A Season of Love Alien Style
Posted on Wednesday, October 3, 2001
From Roswell Ate My Soul
Featured in 'Soap Opera Weekly'
The third season of Roswell - and it's first on UPN - launches October 9 with alien/human hybrid max trying to make contact with his extraterrestrial son. Since the traitor Tess was sent back to their homeworld pregnant with Max's child at the end of last season. Max is desperate to contact and then find his son, says staff writer Laura Burns. "It kicks off the whole season for Max...and for Liz, because their relationship is really very different from the one that they have had up until now. They're together in a completely differnt, much more mature and sexually charged way than they have been before. The very first scene of the first episode is a shocking new way to see Max and Liz."
"You're just kind of dropping in the middle of their new life, " writer Melinda Metz says. "They walk different, they talk different. It's very interesting." Burns notes, adding that the pair gets into major trouble. "In the quest for Max's ship, they are living outside the law," and soon become fugitives. "Sometimes they're referred to around there as Bonnie and Clyde," Metz says.
Max's sister, Isabel, meanwhile, has landed her own love interest, new character Jesse Ramierez (Adam Rodgriguez), a slightly older man employed by her father's law firm. "She just wants something of her own," Metz says. "This is the first time Isabel's really gonna have that kind of great love of her own. She's willing to throw caution to the wind to be with this man."
Jesse is introduced in the season premiere. Metz says, "When Max's dad gets pulled into the Max and Liz situation, Jesse is with him, as a lawyer...and secretly Isabel's boyfriend."
"We'll find out what's been going on with them for a while now," Burns adds, noting there's a wedding in their future. Isabel's old flame Alex will return as a ghost in the third episode to counsel her.
What about always-brooding Michael? "He's been living on Earth his whole life, waiting to go back to his home planet and now their only way home is gone," Burns says. "He's stuck on Earth and he's going to start putting down roots."
Metz's adds, "It's a wake-up call for him. 'Do I really want my life to be like this?' He never really thought he was going to be around. He didn't prepare himself for the future. Now he's gonna start doing that and growing up a little bit, and it will have a surprising effect on his relationship with Maria. She's usually the caretaker in the relationship, and now here's Michael being all grown-up."
Roswell the tv series sprang from the Roswell High book series. Editor Laura Burns and writer Melinda Metz launched the young-adult novels through Pocket Books in 1998, but were not affiliated with the show until this season.
Metz says they intially met with the show's executive produced Jason Katims in L.A. on a job-seeking jaunt. "We hit him up for tips, 'What's the secret handshake? What should we do if we want to get a job?' And I guess he took it to heart. 'When UPN picked the series up (from the WB), he called us up and gave us jobs, and we love him for it."
While the writers have been contributing to the season from its start, their first official episode is slated to air New Year's Day 2002. Metz says it will feature "lots of wackiness, lots of New Year's Eye high jinks."
'Roswell' returns to its original format
Monday, October 8, 2001
By Dave Mason, TV Star editor
PASADENA -- The change of networks means an easier-to-follow "Roswell." Majandra Delfino, who stars as all-too-human Maria DeLuca on "Roswell," won't have to step up to the blackboard to explain the plots before each episode this season.
"It did get complicated," Delfino told TV Star. "The WB stressed the need for sci-fi, but the plots upset the majority of fans."
With its move to UPN, "Roswell" is focusing on relationships, changes for the characters and stories that are over at the end of the hour, Executive Producer Jason Katims said.
"Roswell" begins its third season at 9 p.m. Tuesday on Channel 13. The back-to-basics approach should prove popular with fans, who watch the show less for pure science fiction and more for its characters.
The season premiere, in fact, is an easy-to-follow story that says a lot about alien Max Evans (Jason Behr) and his human girlfriend Liz Parker (Shiri Appleby).
"Roswell," based on the "Roswell High" books, makes the feeling of teen-age alienation literal by making some of its teen-age characters descendants of the aliens who supposedly crashed in Roswell in 1947. The young aliens were incubated and "hatched," but appear in every way to be teen-agers. It's their powers that can give them away.
Last season ended with alien Tess taking the only way home to their native planet after betraying the group and becoming the mother of Max's (Jason Behr) son.
"Tess is somewhere out there in the cosmos, and she may return at some later date, but for now, she's gone," Katims said at a UPN news conference at the Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel.
This season will feature coming-of-age stories for the human and alien characters, who will be challenged in ways viewers haven't seen, Katims said.
There are plot spoilers in the next four paragraphs.
Katims confirmed Max will try to find some way to leave Earth and get to his son. Liz will join him on that quest.
This season, Adam Rodriguez joins the cast as Jesse Ramirez, a love interest for alien Isabel Evans (Katherine Heigl), Katims said. I can't say too much, but I urge fans to follow this story. For one thing, the romance will lead Isabel to stay in Roswell and go to a community college instead of heading off to a university.
And alien Michael Guerin (Brendan Fehr) will get a job and try to build a life for himself on Earth.
Tuesday's episode (again, here's another plot spoiler) begins with Max and Liz in a store robbery. But the story goes far beyond that.
"Roswell" appeals to viewers because the characters, including former Sheriff Valenti (William Sadler), are outsiders and underdogs, Katims said.
Appleby said fans tell her they're waiting for the day when Max and Liz are really a couple.
"Hopefully, that will happen," Appleby said. "I would love to see her not cry in a whole episode. Personally, I'm ready for her to smile and run around and be a fun kid, so hopefully this year will lend to that."
Appleby said she liked the storyline last season in which Liz, without much support from anyone, investigated the death of Alex (Colin Hanks, Tom Hanks' son). "She was able to fight for something that she believed in, and so I think it sort of gave her a sense of independence.
"I think you'll see her actually become more of a young woman and more of an independent person versus just chasing after a boy," Appleby said. "She's actually going to form more of her own opinions."
That's a good change for Liz. For too long, she's been reacting to events she couldn't control, and I think it's time for her to provide more of the leadership.
When The WB canceled "Roswell," the producers and stars didn't know whether UPN would pick up the show.
"As bizarre as it is, I had, like hundred-dollar bets going on with everybody that we'd for sure come back," Delfino said.
"She didn't actually specify on what network, so ..." added Heigl, sitting near her.
Heigl had darkened her hair and cut it for another role before the news came of UPN picking up the show. She admitted it was easier to keep her new hairstyle for UPN than it would have been on The WB, which faced a good-natured controversy with the media over star Keri Russell cutting her hair on "Felicity."
'Roswell' grows up, gets new relationships on UPN
Posted on Friday, October 12, 2001
From USA Today
By Bill Keveney
A return from the grave may be a great story line for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but it's pretty much the everyday state of affairs for its fellow UPN transplant, Roswell.
In just two years, the story of alien teens who have assumed human form was let go as a pilot by Fox, barely survived its first year after fans mass-mailed Tabasco bottles (an alien delicacy) to WB, and was then picked up by UPN for a third season after WB canceled it.
"There's something about this show that wants to live," executive producer Jason Katims says. "It has had a relatively small audience, but an incredibly passionate audience. There is clearly the potential for growth."
Katims says Roswell (tonight, 9 ET/PT) may get that opportunity at UPN, feeling the network will promote the new arrival more than WB would have pushed a third-year show. Getting the slot after Buffy doesn't hurt, either.
On UPN, Katims hopes to move Roswell toward the relationship stories that appealed to him at the show's beginning, but were sometimes overshadowed by story lines about the alien mythology. More stand-alone stories will make individual episodes more satisfying, he says. He hopes to give a higher profile to the humor that is sometimes eclipsed by the brooding nature of the show.
This season, the three alien teens — Max (Jason Behr), Isabel (Katherine Heigl) and Michael (Brendan Fehr) — are still in high school, but stories will have a more grown-up feel. Michael learns responsibility as a security guard, working the graveyard shift at a pharmaceutical company, while Isabel gets into a serious relationship with a new character, lawyer Jesse (Adam Rodriguez).
Max hits the road to search for his missing son, starting in Utah with his terrestrial girlfriend, Liz (Shiri Appleby), one of the few humans who know the alien secret.
"Max and Liz are together. They've declared their love again. It's what our audience has been waiting for," Katims says, referring to their Romeo-Juliet relationship.
Max and Liz also end up getting arrested, which draws their parents into the story. They will be much more involved than they were during the first two seasons, Katims says.
Max's travels will lead to other adventures, such as a trip to Los Angeles, where he auditions for a role on the latest Star Trek show, UPN's Enterprise (talk about shameless cross-promotion). Jonathan Frakes, a Roswell executive producer and star of Star Trek: The Next Generation, directs and guest-stars in that episode. Joe Pantoliano (The Sopranos, Memento) also appears in two episodes as a Hollywood producer who has information about Max's alien past.
"Roswell is at its best when it's telling stories that are a blend of relationship stuff and science fiction," he says. "I'm looking at (the third-year pickup by UPN) as a wonderful opportunity for us."
"Roswell'' Gone and Buried
By Micahel Wintfield
HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - When the network snagged the sci-fi actioner from the rival WB earlier this year, it said it had bought 22 episodes for 2001-02, the show's third season. But Thursday, UPN CEO Dean Valentine said the network has the right to cut that order to 13 episodes based on ratings.
Unlike WB import ``Buffy the Vampire Slayer (news - Y! TV),'' ``Roswell'' hasn't been scoring out-of-this-world Nielsen numbers since moving to UPN, and has been losing it's viewers to the teen drama "Smallville" on the female network - TheWB.
Reuters last reported that UPN had yet to make a finalized decision about Roswell's future, however, "A decision has already been made." a UPN Spokesperson said.
UPN grabbed the sci-fi alien drama in an 11th-hour deal from TheWB, hoping to hype the network this season by attracting more female demographics. "This year has been anything but easy" UPN CEO Dean Valentine said. "We were hoping to attract more viewer ship by
the heavy promotion on 'Roswell' but ratings-wise the series has been going downhill."
"It was an ultimately hard decision for us to acquire, although we know Roswell has [an] incredible audience. The series just wasn't on our list as an improving series. November Sweeps stole the Tuesday 9 PM hour to the rival networks.
When asked for a comment about Roswell's future, Mr. Valentine had stated that they would drag the series into February Sweeps, and if "Roswell" continued to disagree with UPN's demands, it was it for the show.
"Let's just say that we have a bunch full of developments for next season. We can't afford to lose any more money because our budgets our strictly in the air here."
In an earlier interview, Dean Valentine said that he is hoping 'Buffy' spin-off 'Angel' would get it's wings on UPN, in an effort for The WB to cancel the show.
As for 'Roswell', UPN CEO Dean Valentine also stated that the network is planning to have the series finale sometime in February or early March. "The show deserves a final episode [which adds to a total to 13 episodes], at least for the fans."
UPN will premiere the midseason comedies ``As If'' and ``Leap Years'' in ``Roswell's'' 9 p.m. Tuesday slot sometime in March or April -- bumping ``Roswell'' repeats. And as for the show itself, its good as dead. It will take a miracle for the show to improve in ratings -- and this time, don't except for the tabasco bottles to work.
Roswell Has Improved
"Roswell" has improved dramatically from last season by giving the fans what they want--simpler, more straightforward stories that emphasize relationships over science fiction. Any TV genre, whether it's sci-fi, sitcoms or Westerns, succeeds best when the stories are driven more by characters than plots.
That's proven in Tuesday's 9:00 p.m. EST/PST on UPN) episode, in which Isabel (Katherine Heigl) is going crazy trying to take care of all the last-minute details of her wedding to lawyer Jesse Ramirez (new cast member Adam Rodriguez).
Isabel and Max Evans' adoptive parents have objected to Isabel's wedding to Jesse, who's several years her senior. And Max, Isabel's alien brother (Jason Behr), objects for another reason: He doesn't trust Jesse and is worried he could be an FBI agent or an alien out to get them all.
That sets the stage for an episode with the right mix of love and angst, a
combination that always works well on "Roswell." "Roswell" is at its best
when it emphasizes its alien characters' human vulnerability over their alien powers. Sure, they were born on another planet and reincarnated as humans in Roswell, New Mexico, but in the long run, we're all more products of our environment than genetics.
Executive producer Jason Katims and the writers are proving that with stories that are much easier to follow than last season's mazelike plots. Fans can now miss an occasional episode without getting totally lost.
And Heigl, Rodriguez and Behr do a great job in Tuesday's story. Heigl does her best job ever of playing Isabel; she has a knack for making emotions compelling and believable.
Behr plays Max with the right low-key style. He's a boiling pot of
unexpressed emotions, and he boils over at the right moments. While Tuesday's episode focuses on Isabel's problems, the writers take time to touch further on Max's relationship with Liz Parker, played realistically by Shiri Appleby. Liz is a stronger character this season, thanks to the writing and Appleby's acting.
The third season of "Roswell" is continuing to use the metaphor of aliens to show teenage inalienation. The series, which moved to UPN from The WB this fall, is taking that one step further by showing the gap between the kids and their parents. To misquote "The X-Files," the truth isn't always out there. Sometimes it's down here on Earth, where even all-too-alien kids can find all-too-human love.
Posted on Monday, November 5, 2001
By Ilana Rapp
There’s been a crashdown -- right here in this column! The entire focus of the article I was going to write about the UPN television show “Roswell" has completely changed. Why? Because “Roswell" fans are so passionate about the show that I didn’t want to leave any information out. So welcome, my human and alien friends alike, to the very first two-part editorial I have ever written.
“Roswell", which has distinctively combined science fiction with the heart-wrenching disconnection and angst of 21st century American teenhood, is well on its way to achieving cult television status. This post-modern blending of genres from writer / executive producer Jason Katims (“Relativity," “My So-Called Life") moved from the WB to UPN this season.
For those of you who are still pondering if you should begin watching the show, now in its third season, I say go for it! Odds are you’ll be hooked faster than a speeding spaceship. Also, check out the newsgroup alt.tv.roswell for some current tips on what’s going on. Meanwhile, here’s some background information:
July 3, 1947. The crash of a spaceship – an event officially but never effectively denied by the United States government – leaves three young aliens to grow up in the sleepy, backwater town of Roswell, New Mexico. Joined together by their common, otherworldly heritage, Max Evans (Jason Behr), his sister Isabel (Katherine Heigl) and Michael Guerin (Brendan Fehr) keep their true identities a secret from their families and friends. But the shooting of a classmate, Liz Parker (Shiri Appleby), forces Max to use his astonishing powers to save her life, and draws Liz and her best friend Maria DeLuca (Majandra Delfino) into the extraterrestrial trio’s secret world. On the peripher of this extraordinary secret, the aliens must also trust their real identities with the local sheriff, Valenti (Willian Sadler) and his son (and Liz’s former boyfriend), Kyle (Nick Wechsler).
Complicating their overwhelming desire to uncover the truth about themselves – who or what they are and where their true home might be – is the need to keep one step ahead of both terrestrial and extraterrestrial adversaries. “Roswell" explores the emotional drama of the ultimate outsiders – surviving descendants of alien beings – attempting to find their place among humans as they struggle with adolescence.
Besides alt.tv.roswell, there are numerous “Roswell" websites, groups / clubs and message boards that have evolved since the beginning of the show. Fanfiction (aka fanfic, aka FF) for “Roswell" has become so intense that there are sites now set up specifically to handle these stories written by fans. And it’s a good thing too, because how else are viewers going to satisfy their craving for “Roswell" during the off season?!
I posted a bunch of questions to “Roswell" fans that I was going to integrate into the original article I had planned, but the response was so overwhelming, that integration could perhaps take years, even lightyears! So, stepping away from my usual format (see previous articles ), for the remainder of this article I’m going to give a biography of the characters and actors, and in the second-part of the article coming out the third week of November, I want to share the fans’ answers to my questions. So, if you’re NEW to “Roswell," the character information should be quite helpful. And for those who already know this information, it will be quite interesting to read the differences and similarities in the answers to the questions coming in the second part.
Shiri Appleby plays Liz Parker, one of the human teenagers who knows the secret of her three alien friends in the New Mexico town made famous by the supposed crash of an alien spacecraft in 1947. Most recently, Appleby completed the independent feature film “Swimfan85." She is committed to completing her education.
Jason Behr plays Max Evans, one of the three aliens who have hidden their identities behind human facades in the New Mexico town. Behr is a native of Minnesota and will soon be seen in Miramax’s “The Shipping News," in which he co-stars alongside with Kevin Spacey, Cat Blanchett and Julianne Moore.
Katherine Heigl plays the alien Isabel Evans, Max’s sister. Heigl has eight feature films to her credit and also stars in the upcoming teen comedy “100 Girls."
Majandra Delfino plays Maria DeLuca, a human who was let into the aliens’ secret world. Delfino was born in Caracas to Venezuelan and Cuban-American parents and moved to Miami
with her family at age three. Delfino is also an accomplished ballet dancer.
Brendan Fehr plays Michael Guerin, an alien teenager. During this past hiatus, Fehr completed work on the independent film “A Wilderness Station," which is based on the short story by Alice Munro and will be released by Lion’s Gate. Oh, in case you didn’t know, Fehr is an avid sports fan.
Nick Wechsler plays Kyle Valenti, a human who knows the three aliens’ secret. The fifth of eight sons, Wechsler grew up in Alburquerque (not far from the setting of “Roswell!"). He began his acting career in high school, turning in what he modestly describes as “awe-inspiring performances" in every succeeding school play.
William Sadler plays Sheriff Valenti, who knows the teenaged aliens’ secret. Though he currently lives in Los Angeles for the filming of “Roswell," Sadler and his wife spend as much time as possible in their restored 1790-era farmhouse in upstate New York.
So please stay tuned! In two weeks the second part of this article will be thrust onto the online world. But to give you a sneak peak, here are the questions with fan Amy Burroughs’ answers!
1. What draws you to Roswell? (ie, storyline, special fx, etc)
I think the thing that drew me to Roswell from the very beginning is the love story between Max & Liz. It was the perfect story of two people who loved each other and wouldn't let anything stand in their way. I guess it was the soulmate concept of two people being meant for each other and even when faced with tremendous odds, they managed to stay together. I know the show has dramatically changed since season one, but the show had me hooked from the first episode and I just can't stop watching.
2. Who is your favorite character and why?
Liz is definitely my favorite character. Her strength and wisdom always shine through. Liz would sacrifice anything for the people she loves, including her own happiness.
3. If you could change anything about the series, what would it be?
Where should I begin? Well I would definitely get rid of the "search for Max's son" storyline. I also really liked Tess and I hate that they completely ruined her character.
Finally I wish they would address some of the issues that came up in season two such as the end of the world and Liz's powers. Most of all I just wish they could bring back the romance we saw in season one with Max & Liz's relationship.
4. If you could have a role on the show, either one that exists or a new character, which role would you choose?
I would like to have the role of Serena who was supposed to be Liz's friend from the end of the world episode. I think it would be a very interesting element to the show to introduce her.
'Roswell' Still Kicking On UPN
Posted on Wednesday, November 21, 2001
LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) - It's not often that a show celebrates its fans, but "Roswell" probably owes the fact that UPN picked it up after being canceled by The WB to pure fan loyalty and dedication to the show.
"I do believe that the fans have more to do with the show being on the air than the networks will even admit to," agrees the sci fi series' executive producer, Jason Katims.
So, that's why UPN, Katims and the show's leading cast members threw a party recently to help give something back. The network gave 23 fans of the series a chance to visit the show's set and attend an all-star party featuring a performance by the band Remy Zero, via a nationwide radio and Internet contest.
Not only did all of the show's main stars attend, including Jason Behr, Brendan Fehr, Shiri Appleby, Katherine Heigl and Majandra Delfino, but they graciously spent most of the evening signing autographs and taking pictures with the teary-eyed teen fans.
"Roswell" has a "tremendous, tremendous group of fans and that has meant an incredible amount to me," adds Katims. "It started in the first season, when we came on the air [and] we were struggling a little bit."
In fact, the show's main characteristic appears to be its ability to endure struggling.
"This has been the story of this show from the very beginning. It has been on the bubble from the day it was born," agrees Katims. "It was developed for FOX, wound up moving to The WB, then at the end of the first year there was that whole Tabasco campaign to keep the show alive and at the end of the second year we died. And, just like an alien, it was brought back to life after death. And here we are and we're still fighting."
"This is a show that wants to live."
Since moving to UPN, "Roswell" has continued to struggle. While it now has a great lead-in from fellow refugee "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and more promotion from UPN than they had at The WB, its ratings continue to be low. So far this season, the show has averaged a 1.4 rating/3 share among adults 18-49 and 3.2 million total viewers, while for the amount of weeks, "Buffy" has pulled a 2.7/7 and 5.6 million viewers.
"The numbers I think, have been a little disappointing to me -- I was hoping to do a little better," admits Katims. "'Buffy' is a tremendous lead-in and I was hoping to hold a little bit more, but I can't think of a tougher timeslot. So, I wish we were doing a little bit better, but time will tell."
The competition he mentions during the 9 p.m. hour is indeed heavy, with "Roswell" competing with NBC's hit comedies "Frasier" and "Scrubs," FOX's "24," ABC's established drama "NYPD Blue" and The WB's teen hit "Smallville."
Hoping to draw more viewers, Katims and the show's writing staff, have come up with some big new story lines -- involving Maria (Delfino) realizing that Michael (Fehr) may not be a good boyfriend for her.
"We did a really moving episode coming up with Maria examining two things: Maria and Michael's relationship when an old boyfriend of hers from band camp comes to town; and also Maria realizing she's lost that music side of herself and how much she's given up," says Katims.
Also in trouble are the relationships between Liz (Appleby) and Max (Behr).
"Liz starts to realize she's literally changing and she doesn't know why. Something is happening to her, something alien and she thinks it's from the fact that Max healed her and it's making her change. So she starts to also reconsider everything that's gone on," the executive producer teases.
Adding to Liz and Max's problems, the show's writers are toying with the idea of bringing back Tess (Emilie de Ravin).
"We don't know yet. We definitely have that as one of the possibilities of what we may do, we're definitely considering that."
Not to leave out Isabel (Heigl) and Jesse (Adam Rodriguez), who just tied the knot last week (Nov. 13), Katims says they'll also be facing some big issues this January -- but in a humorous way.
"We examine the marriage between Isabel and Jessie, the alien and the human. We go between two realities; one is the reality of the show as Isabel tries to hide being an alien from Jesse, and then we go to the '60s sitcom version. The 'Bewitched' version of it -- where Katie Hiegl and everyone else in the cast play as if they're in a '60s sitcom playing themselves. In that reality, Jesse knows that she's an alien."
But what Katims is most excited about this year, is the way the characters have become more accessible.
"What I like about what we're doing this year, and what I'm very proud of, is that all of the episodes are grounded emotionally and that they have some way for us in the audience to connect to them," he says.
"These are stories about people trying to make a life for themselves. To me, that is where the show is at its strongest."
Posted on Tuesday, December 18, 2001
From Tv Guide
Now in its third season, Roswell — the cult favorite about alien kids coming of age in Roswell, N.M. — has experienced tough going of late. At the end of its sophomore season, its original home network, the WB, dumped it. And although UPN picked it up, the series has been far from a ratings success this year. In fact, although it has increased ratings for UPN in its Tuesday night timeslot, it routinely loses the Nielsen wars to ABC's NYPD Blue, CBS's The Guardian, Fox's 24, NBC's Frasier and the WB's Smallville. Understandable, perhaps, but still — not a good sign. And the news continues to get worse: UPN recently announced that it has reduced its season order of episodes from 22 to 19.
What's unfortunate about all of that bad news is this: Roswell is, in fact, a well-done drama that adroitly mixes paranormal flourishes with comedic and touching moments. Tonight's Christmas-themed episode is a good case in point. While "Christmas Nazi" Isabel (Katherine Heigl) is intent on making her first Christmas with husband Jesse (Adam Rodriguez) a success, brother Max (Jason Behr) meets an autistic boy who he thinks may be a link to his own lost son.
What's unfortunate about all of that bad news is this: Roswell is, in fact, a well-done drama that adroitly mixes paranormal flourishes with comedic and touching moments. Tonight's Christmas-themed episode is a good case in point. While "Christmas Nazi" Isabel (Katherine Heigl) is intent on making her first Christmas with husband Jesse (Adam Rodriguez) a success, brother Max (Jason Behr) meets an autistic boy who he thinks may be a link to his own lost son.
The episode opens with Max commiserating with friend Michael (Brendan Fehr), who can't understand why his girlfriend Maria (Majandra Delfino) has broken up with him. The two stop by a burger joint known as the Crashdown, where they meet up with Isabel, Jesse, Maria and Max's girlfriend Liz (Shiri Appleby). While Isabel holds forth about her plans for creating a "perfect" Christmas, Max can't help but notice that a little boy is staring at him. Soon enough, the boy — Samuel — approaches him and says one word: "Daddy." Although his mother quickly corrals him, explaining that he's autistic, Max is stunned, and comes away believing that his own son is attempting to use the child to communicate with him.
Meanwhile, Isabel's efforts to make the holidays memorable include overseeing the town's annual Santa Village, where Maria and Liz volunteer as helper elves to Michael's Santa. The result is some amusing repartee between Michael and Maria, especially in one scene where he tells her to get him something to drink. Fed up with his bossiness, she invites him into her "little elf house" to give him a piece of her mind — only to have the moment interrupted by a child's prying eyes. It's a laugh-out-loud moment, to be sure. Jesse, however, isn't laughing: Isabel's efforts to create the perfect Christmas mean that his cherished stocking, which he made in kindergarten, has been banished to the back of the tree; and his hopes of chilling to football must take a backseat to her whims. In essence, their first Christmas isn't theirs — it's hers, with Jesse along for the ride.
These disparate plotlines ultimately intertwine and do so in delightful fashion. Only a hard-hearted Grinch would fail to be charmed. Myself, I say UPN would do well to not only hold onto Roswell, but find it a new home on its schedule — say, Wednesdays at 9 pm/ET, where it would make the perfect companion to Enterprise.
'Roswell' teen aliens ready to move on
Posted on Sunday, January 6, 2002
From Scripps Howard News Service
By Dave Mason
HOLLYWOOD - Shiri Appleby, who stars as Liz Parker on the alien series "Roswell," is ready for her character's own independence day. "I'm glad the writers have made her stronger," Appleby said. "You see her growing up." In fact, it would be good for Liz to learn she can be happy without Max Evans (Jason Behr), the alien teen-ager she has loved since he saved her life in the "Roswell" pilot, Appleby said.
"I really want her to move on in her life, rather than be in a relationship with him," Appleby said. "She's a little bit possessed. She's not discovering who she is without him."
But Appleby said she's glad "Roswell" has returned to focusing on relationships instead of purely science fiction. She didn't say what the writers have planned for Liz and Max in future episodes but noted she knows fans like that relationship.
Appleby talked about the show with a reporter as she and other stars mingled with fans during a "Roswell" party at the "Soul Train" set at Paramount Pictures. "Roswell" is produced at another sound stage on the same lot. A trip to Hollywood, the party and a tour of the "Roswell" sets made up the grand prize for winners in a national radio contest.
Most of the young fans there were dedicated viewers, bringing photos for Appleby and others to sign. Some of the folks said they hadn't seen "Roswell" but entered the contest for the trip to Hollywood.
Getting everyone to see "Roswell" remains a problem for the show, but the series is getting adequate ratings for the network it's on. "Roswell," which recently was No. 108 in the ratings, airs at 9 p.m. most Tuesdays on UPN.
During that week, it was the network's sixth-highest rated show and wasn't that far behind reruns of "Enterprise" or "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."
("Roswell" is preempted this week (Jan. 8); the network is airing the half-hour sitcoms "The Hughleys" and "One On One" instead.)
UPN picked up the series, based on Melinda Metz's "Roswell High" book series, after The WB canceled the show last year.
Moving on with their lives is a theme for Appeby's Liz and the rest of the "Roswell" characters this season.
"Now that they are on Earth to stay, they have so many choices to make," Metz said. Metz, who joined the series as a staff writer, co-wrote last Tuesday's episode, which showed how the characters celebrated New Year's Eve.
For the most part, the "Roswell" characters "are still in high school; they're on Earth permanently," Metz said, adding, "I think 'Roswell' is a parallel for kids who feel alienated, who feel they're complete outsiders."
Ronald D. Moore, the former "Star Trek" producer and writer who is now the co-executive producer of "Roswell," explained further. "Ultimately, it's a show about growing up," said Moore, who with Brannon Braga co-wrote the scripts of "Star Trek: Generations" and "Star Trek: First Contact."
Majandra Delfino, who stars as the human Maria DeLuca on the series, said it's time for her character to move beyond her boyfriend, the alien Michael (Michael Fehr). "He's not a very good boyfriend," she said.
Arguably, neither is Max at times. He led Liz into trouble by getting her to help him to pretend to rob a convenience store so he could get a look at a spaceship. Later, Max found out the ship couldn't be flown, but don't expect him to give up on trying to leave Earth. The son he had with not-to-be-trusted alien Tess is elsewhere in the galaxy.
There's room for smiles amid all the gloom on "Roswell." This season, Max's alien sister Isabel Evans (Katherine Heigl) got married, showing the characters can have their own lives.
And you can expect more humor.
(There's a plot spoiler in the next paragraph.)
An upcoming episode, "I Married An Alien," is a spoof of "Bewitched" and includes something you've never heard on "Roswell" - a laugh track.
When Isabel starts dreaming of a simpler life, she begins to see everything in terms of a 1960s sitcom, Moore said.
Appleby's life, meanwhile, is a world apart from Liz's.
For one thing, "I've never had a serious boyfriend," Appleby said. Appleby is continuing her studies at the University of Southern California, and she recently starred in the upcoming independent movie, "Swimfan85." In it, "I'm the girlfriend of a boy who has a fatal attraction," she said, comparing the plot to the Michael Douglas-Glenn Close movie.
(Coincidentally, "Swimfan85" is produced by Douglas' Further Films. Jesse Bradford and Erika Christensen also star.)
"It's a serious psychological thriller," Appleby said. "It was fun and really sexy and very interesting."
"Roswell," meanwhile, is making time for music. William Sadler, who plays former Sheriff Jim Valenti on "Roswell," said he's enjoying Jim's new career as a country band leader. In fact, Sadler wrote the songs the band played at Isabel's wedding.
Sadler joked he was ready for a "Roswell" episode to end with an announcement, "Tonight's episode included music by William Sadler."
"I'm having fun with the band," Sadler said, "and I would like to see him (Valenti) have a romance and solve a mystery.
"When I was sheriff, I was the biggest problem these kids had. Then I became their friend, and I was still the sheriff."
Valenti's involvement with the alien teenagers led him to lose his job as sheriff, and his new country band is the first sign of him moving on with his life. Yes, that's the theme for everyone this season on Roswell.
We Mount a Plan of Attack for Saving the Most Endangered (Worthy) Series
Posted on Wednesday, January 9, 2002
The first New Year's resolution I ever made was nearly two decades ago, when I vowed to stop spending so much time "vegging" in front of the TV after school. I did so at the urging of my parents, who were convinced the countless hours I spent nose-to-screen would eventually make me blind.How good am I at keeping resolutions? Just check out the photo above.
Unfortunately, most network execs have far better willpower when it comes to their beginning-of-the-year resolutions, which most often entail axing low-rated shows, regardless of how well loved they are by critics and bespectacled couch potatoes.
In some cases, as with Inside Schwartz and Emeril, we'll be dancing the funky chicken cordon bleu as the networks make room for (hopefully) better shows. But there are a few series on the brink of cancellation that should not be there--and the big wigs need to know we care before it's too late.
Below you'll find the three shows most undeservedly on the endangered series list, plus the 411 on what you can do to help save them.
This WB castoff has certainly had its ups and downs, but the show is still worth saving. It just needs a new time slot away from Smallville's ratings of steel.
Code Red: UPN recently trimmed Roswell's episode order from 22 to 19, and a source close the show tells me that UPN is searching for a replacement series for the fall, to follow Buffy.
Operation Tabasco: I don't have to tell you seasoned Roswell fans what to do--you know the drill. And hopefully, you can get fired up one more time.
Click here to sign a petition started by some die-hard Roswellians:
Or send your support letters to:
Dean Valentine, Adam Ware or Patrick Morgan
11800 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90025
A 'Roswell' movie?
Posted on Tuesday, January 15, 2002
From SyFy Portal
The series is facing possible cancellation from UPN, but suddenly there seems to be talk about a possible movie for "Roswell."
According to a source at Ain't It Cool News, there was talk from a technical advisor of the show at Fangoria's Weekend of Horrors convention that executive producer Jonathan Frakes -- best known for playing Cmdr. William Riker in "Star Trek: The Next Generation" -- is pushing for a possible movie based on the series ... possibly using different actors.
"Frakes has an idea to make a feature length film after the season, should it be canned," the source said. "They want to make it a big movie -- an adventure like Star Trek -- with the original stars and some largers stars in it. It's all a bit speculative at the moment, but none the less, found it interesting."
While SyFy Portal normally doesn't report unconfirmed second-hand source reports, the Australian movie site Dark Horizons reported that actor Colin Hanks, while promoting his new movie "Orange County," told radio host Howard Stern that tidbit of information.
Please note that Twentieth Century Fox has made no announcement about any possible "Roswell" movie, so please treat this at any other rumor would be treated.
UPN has yet to give a backorder renewal to the series, which has suffered dismal ratings.
End of Tabasco Road? 'Roswell' may face extinction
Posted on Saturday, January 26, 2002
From New York Daily News
Like the spaceship that got them here, the aliens on UPN's drama "Roswell" may soon suffer a crash-landing. UPN programmers revealed this week that it will shelve the show for seven weeks beginning in March in order to launch two sitcoms.
The news may soon get worse. UPN executives are said to be talking about cutting back the network's episode order for the show, never a good sign.
So far, UPN is on the hook for 20 episodes, of which 15 have been produced.
UPN acquired the show last spring, after the WB, which aired it for two seasons, decided to pass on a third. UPN also picked up "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," which was made available after the WB refused to pay the asking price of producer 20th Century Fox Television.
"Roswell" is built around a group of aliens living in the bodies of attractive young people in the title town in New Mexico.
While "Buffy" can be considered a success for UPN, "Roswell" has not been.
After 11 telecasts this season, "Roswell" has averaged 2.94 million viewers. Last season, by comparison, the show averaged 4.05 million viewers.
"I have a feeling the future for this show is not bright," said analyst Sharianne Brill of ad-buyer Carat.
Being on the edge of cancellation is nothing new for "Roswell" and its followers. Near the end of its first season, sensing the show wouldn't be renewed, fans swamped executives at the WB with thousands of bottles of Tabasco sauce, the aliens' favorite food.
They did so again last spring, when the WB was ready to walk.
"Roswell is such a cult show," Brill said. "From the time it began it was almost canceled, and the only thing that seemed to get it renewed was the Tabasco campaign."
This time, however, there doesn't appear as much support for the show. UPN has gotten fewer than 100 bottles of Tabasco sauce, along with e-mails and letters.
However, "Roswell" is the highest-ranking show at the fan Web site Savethatshow.com, where viewers vote to save their favorite programs. Of the 8,774 voters on the site, 6,801 asked that "Roswell" be saved.
At the unofficial "Roswell" fan site, Crashdown.com, a grass-roots campaign is underway to save the show. According to the site, fans of the show have considered sending Snapple caps to UPN and CBS, which runs UPN, suggesting the network "not put a cap" on the show.
"Speak up about 'Roswell' to friends, family, co-workers, classmates and anyone else you can think of," wrote one visitor to Crashdown.com.
"There's a lot of forces at work against 'Roswell,'" Brill said. "It's being massacred by [the WB's] 'Smallville.' There's another teen alien in town."
WE COME IN PEACE, Cinescape - 4/2/2002
The midterm "check-up" can't be easy for any producer to live through, especially if the series in question is fighting for a return season. For a time, Roswell seemed to be as homeless as the aliens on its show, but ever since it was given a new life on UPN the programme continues to steadily build an audience. And while the show has made the move to a new network, creator and executive producer Jason Katims insists that audiences don't start counting them down for the count.
"Things have been going really well," says Katims. "UPN has been great with us. They really have been happy with the direction of the show creatively, and are very enthusiastic and remain that way."
Viewers shouldn't be daunted by the fact that the show is on a new network and they definitely shouldn't feel as if they've walked right into the middle of something they can't understand.
"That was one of the intentions when we started on UPN, to make it welcoming to a viewer that wasn't familiar with the show," says Katims. "Not make you feel like, 'I don't know what the hell's going on."
While UPN has been excited about the creative direction of the show, the numbers have been a little slow to develop. This is something that Katims can't help but be a little frustrated with.
"You know, we're all a little disappointed with the numbers," says Katims. "The number are not what we had hoped for. And I think that's partially due to a very, very competitive timeslot. We knew it was going to be competitive, but it turns out that it's even tougher than we thought. So, that's the one challenge. And we're continuing to hope that we build on that, and things have been going very well."
Even if the numbers aren't where Katims and the network would like them to be, the show continues to move ahead in new directions.
"We're doing a total of 20 episodes this season," says Katims. "In terms of next year, we don't know yet. We're in the same position we always happen to be in around this time in the year, which is a wait and see position."
But Katims isn't as nervous about being in this "wait and see position" as one might think. Remember, this is familiar territory for him. He is very aware of the importance of past experiences and the enthusiastic fan base that the show has, and he considers them both assets.
"I have some experience with that now, and I know that the only thing that I can do about that is make these stories and these episodes the best we can possibly make them," says Katims. "We have a wonderful cast on the show. We have a small but passionate audience. We have a great crew and team of producers behind the show. So we have a lot going for us. When push comes to shove that means a lot, it really does. I hope we have a chance to come back because I think we have a great idea of where we could take the show next year."
KATIMS ON NETWORK SWITCH AND MORE - 9/2/2002
"I think [the new direction is] good and bad," Jason Katims tells Cinescape Online. "This is a show that's grown and evolved over three years, and I'm very proud of that. I think that we've been through a whole lifetime of these characters, and they've gone through a lot. They've changed and they've grown up... There have been moments when I feel that we've gone a little bit too far in certain directions at certain times. For example, in the middle of the second season, I felt that the show got too drenched in mythology - too complicated. I think we've lost a little bit of the heart of the show."
That confusion may have promoted The WB to let the show slip to UPN, notes the site.
And while Katims did not have an official announcement about whether the show will be back next year, he did promise, "We're planning a two-hour finale this year, and we definitely know what we want to do. We believe that it will be both a satisfying conclusion to the series, and will also serve as almost a pilot to launch the show into a new direction, which we think well play well with UPN. Hopefully, we'll be able to move in a new and improved version of the show. There has been a little talk of one or two two-hour movies subsequent to that. But, I'm hoping we'll get another season on UPN."
Twilight Vs. Roswell: Are aliens more romantic than vampires?
Posted Dec 2nd 2008 10:02AM by Mike Moody
Filed under: Other Sci-Fi/Supernatural Shows, TV on DVD, OpEd, Video, Vs., Reality-Free
Even before I caught Twilight on the big screen, I was comparing it to Roswell, the great teen sci-fi/romance series that aired on The WB (and later The CW UPN) from 1999-2002. The Twilight ads and trailers seemed to tell the same story Roswell told more than nine years ago: A sensitive girl is saved by a supernatural hunk who makes it his mission to protect her at all costs. The two fall in love, but the relationship is complicated by his other-worldly circumstances.
It's not exactly the most original story in the world. This sort of thing goes back to Bram Stoker's Dracula, (and probably further back than that). Still, after watching Twilight, I was a bit shocked by its similarities to Roswell, especially since Roswell wasn't half as popular as Twilight. I haven't read the Twilight or Roswell book series, so I can't tell you if the similarities persist in print (but my friend Stephanie can). I can only compare the big screen and TV versions.
From major plot points to character motivations, these two franchises have a lot in common, but one clearly stands above the other. Let's compare, and you'll see what I mean:
Roswell - In the pilot, we're introduced to Liz Parker (Shiri Appleby), a bright Roswell teen who writes everything down in her diary. In the first scene, she's saved from certain death by Max Evans (Jason Behr), her quiet biology lab partner who just happens to be an alien. Max's secret and life are threatened when he publicly uses his powers to heal Liz from a gunshot wound.
Twilight - In the opening scene, we're introduced to Bella (Kristen Stewart) a lonely teen who just moved to the dreary town of Forks, Washington. Bella is soon saved by her quiet (wouldn't you know it) biology lab partner Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), a vampire masquerading as a normal teen. Using his supernatural strength to save Bella from being hit by a car puts Edward's secret and his life in jeopardy.
Roswell - Max and Liz form an alien-powered bond when he heals her. They exchange emotions and memories instantly and fall deeply in love. Unfortunately, Max's alien roots and a revolving door of big bads get in the way of their happily ever after.
Twilight - Um, Edward likes the way Bella smells. That's about it. Her aroma is so intoxicating that he feels the need to gawk at her from a distance day and night. (Is this love or just animal magnetism?) Bella seems to dig that Edward isn't a nice, polite, normal teen who can go out in the daylight like all the other boys. Her sweet stank attracts a sociopathic vamp who tries to kill her and Edward, which briefly gets in the way of their romance.
Roswell - Liz Parker's voice is the first thing you hear in the Roswell pilot and in most of the following eps. Her diary entries narrate the bulk of the series and give each ep a warm, intimate feeling, partly thanks to Appleby's sincere voice.
Twilight - The movie opens with a voiceover from Bella, and the voiceovers continue throughout the film. They don't offer much in the way of warmth or intimacy. Instead, they feel mopey and stock, but that might have something to do with Stewart's unimpassioned line readings.
The Lead Characters/Actors:
Roswell - Appleby is endlessly appealing as the sharp, warm and capable Liz. She might be a sensitive teen, but she's rarely mopey, even when circumstances keep her apart from her first love. Jason Behr's subtle turn is perfect for Max, a character who's pulled from the sidelines to become a benevolent leader and protector.
Twilight - Bella is written as a bright girl who's experiencing the thrill of first love. Stewart plays her as an angsty, pretentious, and unlikeable emo kid. Pattinson fares better as the valiant Edward, but it's clear that he comes from the John Lovitz school of ACTING!
Twilight and Roswell both feature supporting characters with supernatural gifts who feel threatened by the main characters' relationships. In Twilight, these characters come off as one-note, but Roswell's supporting characters were, of course, allowed to develop over three seasons. Also, both franchises portray Native Americans as somewhat mystical people. In Roswell, they have a spiritual link to the aliens. In Twilight, they're territorial onlookers who might be werewolves.
So -- at the risk of having my likeness burned in effigy by a mob of angry teens -- I must admit that Roswell is the better franchise. Maybe it's an age thing (I haven't been a teen for ten years), but after re-watching the Roswell pilot, I found it to be warmer and smarter, better plotted and acted, and more compelling than the movie version of Twilight. It's also way more romantic. I think Twilighters should give it a shot (especially since you can stream it for free online). It's got all of Twilight's basic elements, but it's a lot less pretentious. Plus, there's more of it (three seasons worth)! Sure, Twilight might seem edgier and more glamorous, but all the hair product and Paramore tracks can't hide the fact that it's one of the most unromantic "romantic" movies out there.
Stream the Roswell pilot and judge for yourself.
This is from TV.com
Posted in Sept 2009
Top 10 Shows that were Canceled too Soon
(WB, 3 seasons, 61 episodes, ended in 2002)
This WB classic mixed aliens and humans long before District 9 was around -- and
the aliens were a lot cuter, too. Katherine Heigl, Shiri Appleby, and Colin Hanks
all got their big breaks on Roswell, but the honeymoon lasted only three seasons.
Roswell and Twilight: Which Supernatural Sweethearts are Superior?
Written by Sherryn Daniel, Special to CC2K Sunday, 08 November 2009
With the premiere of New Moon, the next film in the Twilight series, less than two weeks away, CC2K contributor Sherryn Daniel reflects on whether the series has some hidden commonalities with a sci-fi offering of a decade ago, the WB series Roswell, and debates the merits of each.
Teens, tweens, and even young girls get flustered when they see or even think about Robert Pattinson, the sexy actor who plays vampire with a bite in the Twilight movies (based off of Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling book series). Many even seem to relate to the character Bella, the lonely, emo heroin from the books and in the movies. But what most Twilight fans don’t realize that in 1999, the WB had a teen drama called Roswell that pretty much has the same plot with aliens instead of vampires. The show never had as much popularity as Stephenie Meyer’s creation, but it did have just enough to become a cult classic.
Twilight is the story about a lonely teenager from Forks, Washington, who gets saved by a supernatural hottie, vampire Edward, and she lets him make it his mission to protect her at all costs. Bella was saved from getting smashed by a car when her quiet yet hot biology class partner Edward Cullen uses his vampire strength to halt the car, he puts his secret and life at risk for hers. Of course, the relationship is fraught with other-worldy peril—but they’re soulmates, after all, so they can overcome all obstacles.
Roswell was based the Roswell High book series by Melinda Metz. The storyline in the first Twilight book/movie and Roswell’s pilot resemble each other tremendously. Roswell’s pilot is the story of a sensitive girl named Liz Parker (Shiri Appleby) who has lived in the hum-drum town of Roswell, New Mexico, her whole life. She has dreams of being a famous molecular biologist and has close knit friends whom she grew up with. One day, she gets shot at her family’s restaurant but is saved by her quiet yet hot biology class partner Max Evans (Jason Behr), an alien masquerading as a human teenager. By using his healing powers publicly, he puts his secret and life at risk for hers.
Both of the series have a gripping plot and an addictive romantic storyline that hooks viewers into being lifelong fans. But even though they have extensive similarities, there are distinct. It begs the question: which is best, Twilight or Roswell?
Roswell and the Twilight film feature voiceovers from the female leads but there is a stark difference between the tones they use. Appleby conveys warmth and sincerity when she talks about her life changing, whereas Stewart’s voiceover is shrill and simply pronounced words coming out of her mouth. Both female leads are straight-A students and highly proficient in science.
Another similarity is found in the attraction between the otherworldly hunks and their objects of desires in that Edward is strangely attracted to Bella because of her unique scent while Max has loved Liz from the moment he laid eyes on her, and they formed an alien-ignited bond after he healed her. Of course they fall in love, and Max’s alien roots gets in the way of their happily ever after. Since Bella’s scent tantalizes Edward, it makes him not only drawn to her but it draws in a murderous vampire who tries to kill her and Edward throughout the story, but they do love each other and form a bond over their time together.
Liz and Bella are both depicted as “average” girls. But Bella differs from Liz because she is portrayed as an angry, pretentious, loner who doesn’t seem to have any other dreams except chase after Edward and doesn’t put forth effort into making lifelong friends like Liz does.
Both stories feature sexual tension by way of biology (class). In Roswell, the tension can be found in Liz’s and Max’s soulful stares. However, in Twilight, the main tension consists of Bella reiterating in her head, over and over again, that yes, Edward is smoking beautiful.
Max’s alien family—his sister Isabel (Katherine Heigl) and friend Michael Gueren (Brendan Fehr)—oppose the budding relationship. The three of them play gorgeous loners in their high school. Similarly, Edward’s family members are also attractive loners who initially oppose his relationship with Bella.
One important difference between Roswell and the Twilight movie is that the secondary and tertiary characters are well rounded and also have their own storylines. In the Twilight film the audience can only grab bits and pieces from who the background characters, who are only on screen a very short period of time.
Both the show and the Twilight books and movie use Native American mysticism, and the music selection from Stephenie Meyer’s playlist (which she published on her website) list is very similar to the music selected for Roswell: largely dark with romantic tones. Older male authority figures also play important roles in both stories: Bella’s father is cop who complicates his daughter’s relationship, while Roswell’s Sheriff Valenti does the same exact thing.
Some may argue that Twilight does not resemble Roswell and that it’s better than this cancelled WB/UPN show. When I was a tween, I watched Roswell and fell head-over-heels with the story of an alien from the 1947 crash saving an every day girl. Of course, I had a mad crush on Jason Behr (the 90s version of Robert Pattinson, in my opinion). And when I watched Twilight in theaters, it felt very similar to my beloved alien TV show.
I personally think Roswell is better than the Twilight film because the pilot is warmer, wittier, and better plotted. Although both are enjoyable, you just don’t get as much realism and soul with the Twilight film as you do with Roswell. That said, Roswell also had three seasons to develop its characters and storylines, so perhaps New Moon will allow Twilight’s characters to grow and evolve the way Roswell’s characters did.
Roswell: the best late 90s alien teen soap opera on the WB EVER
by Anna Breslaw 9/18/10
(This is an internet article. It is pretty snarky, and a little lose on the facts.)
For those of you who weren't thirteen-years-old and female in 1999, Roswell was on after 7th Heaven in the pre-CW golden days of the WB, and almost nobody watched it.
That isn't to say Roswell didn't have its glory days — the pilot debuted strong but began tanking fairly quickly. Executive producer Jason Katims (My So-Called Life) was good at making shows about teens who stared longingly at each other, but he didn't know nothin' about no aliens, so WB execs called in heavy-hitting Star Trek writer Ronald D. Moore.
The two guys must have thumb-wrestled for who got to write episodes and when, because Roswell was an utterly inconsistent miasma of adolescent hormones, stewing in a genre which one might call, very loosely, soft scifi. Soft to the point of flaccidity. And I obviously watched the shit out of it, because...well...fuck 7th Heaven.
To this day, every time I hear Dido's "Here With Me" it's like doing an amyl nitrate popper of my own middle school heart. If you don't want to live in these opening credits, something is wrong with you:
Yes, Katherine Heigl was on Roswell. Although I'm sure if you asked her about it, she'd probably murder you and then flail away at your formerly inquisitive corpse, weeping tears of blood.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. What was Roswell about? Two high school girls in Roswell, New Mexico – the protagonist Liz Parker and her sassy best friend Maria – are waitresses at Liz's parents' diner, the Crashdown Café.
This is where everyone "hangs out," like the Bronze from Buffy The Vampire Slayer, but for mouth breathers. Liz (Shiri Appleby, who later starred in the Oscar-nominated Swimfan) keeps a diary throughout the series that serves as the show's main voice-over narration. She's a "good girl," or at least literate, as evidenced by her reference to Shakespeare.
Maria, on the other hand, is being raised by a single mom, and it very clearly states in the WB Teen Drama Handbook circa Y2K that girls raised by a single mom are, on average, 60% sassier than those from nuclear families. Below, Maria wears a belly shirt because she doesn't have a father.
They're also friends with Colin Hanks. In a typical pilot episode twist ("Oh no, random man we never see again pulls out a gun!"), Liz and Maria and Colin Hanks find out that three of their classmates are extraterrestrials. When they were little, they came out of pods in the woods of New Mexico and got adopted by normal families. The FBI is looking for them, but they've successfully blended into high school. Until now.
More importantly, two of them are guy aliens who happen to be totally cute, and Liz and Maria like, totally like them, and they totally like Liz and Maria back.
Max is the ringleader of the three. He and Liz are soul mates, which we're expected to take for granted from the first moment they lay eyes on each other and keep in mind throughout that their love is True and Important. Maria's romantic counterpart is Michael, the guy alien "badass." We know immediately that he's a badass because his There's Something About Mary coif in Season 1 clearly indicates his a lack of respect for authority, doy.
Michael and Maria's tumultuous relationship is the foil for Liz and Max's pure and relatively chaste love. At first, Michael and Maria hate each other. Eventually they progress to an "on-and-off argue and make out" situation, and Michael stops gelling his hair to reflect his character development.
Amazingly, there are tons of fan videos for Michael and Maria on YouTube set to terrible late ‘90s songs like the one below, because ROSWELL LIVES ON IN OUR MINDS AND OUR HEARTS. Well, at least betwixt the neurons and ventricles of the four of us who watched it.
The third alien is Katherine Heigl, who's the Meryl Streep of the show because the rest of the cast acts with their hair. She plays Isabel, a cheerleader who dislikes Liz and Maria until Colin Hanks teaches her the miracle of trust.
So Liz, Maria, and Colin Hanks and the aliens are all bound together by this big secret. And the thing about teenage aliens is, since they're aliens, they sometimes teleport and heal and can't control their powers. And since they're teenagers, they sometimes get scared of feelings and act like dicks for no reason. And everything is just, like, so complicated.
Roswell's antagonist, Sheriff Valenti, is the stereotypical "I know something's weird about those damn kids but I just can't put my finger on it" local cop who hangs around the Crashdown Café trying to overhear the kids' conversations and follow them around in his station wagon. The fact that a grown man was constantly tailing these attractive, plucky kids instead of oh, solving crimes, always made me highly uncomfortable. If there's ever a Roswell reunion episode, there needs to be a scene in which Sheriff Valenti proves on-camera that there's not enough bound-and-gagged teenagers on his police computer to staff a Dairy Queen. You will have saved the purity of my childhood.
No true Roswell scholar can discuss the series without tackling the keystone episode "Sexual Healing." Because it's a WB teen drama, sex is a Big Deal. So in lieu of actual penetration, the brain-trust of the Roswell writers room crafted a wonky orgasm metaphor: when the kids French-kiss each other, and it gets "intense," they suddenly see each others' pasts in telepathic visions. And apparently it feels just gangbusters.
Max and Liz discover it first. They're making out, and then Max sees Liz as a little girl in Roswell and Liz sees Max's home planet. Liz tells Maria about the visions, and then Maria tries it with Michael and it works for him but not for her, but she lies and tells him that it does because she doesn't want to hurt his feelings. GET IT?
As the series progresses, it gets increasingly out there and more focused on the extraterrestrial element. It's like Ronald D. Moore clocked Jason Katims on the head with a ball-peen hammer and stashed him in a WB broom closet. In brief, Colin Hanks gets his brain sucked out through his ears and dies because he had to go make the movie Orange County. Emilie DeRavin joins the cast as Tess, Max's "rightful wife," according to some prophecy we didn't know about until the first episode in which she appears. Max From The Future visits and tells the kids stuff. It was craziness, and then it was canceled.
Whatever. It was still better than 7th Heaven.
Top 10 Protests That Saved TV Shows from Cancellation, howstuffworks.com, March 11, 2011
by Becky Striepe
The sci-fi series "Roswell" premiered in 1999 on the WB and ran for three tumultuous seasons before the network canceled the show. For much of that time, it was the devoted fan base that kept "Roswell" on the air through a series of campaigns and gimmicks.
The best-known campaign to keep "Roswell" on the air during the first two seasons was "Roswell is Hot!" Fans started an online petition and sent in letters and bottles of Tabasco sauce, a favorite of one of the show's characters, to show the WB that they supported their favorite show. The WB received over 3,000 bottles of the hot sauce, and network executives said that the campaign contributed to the show's survival.
In 2001, the WB dropped the show, but UPN picked it up for a third 22-episode season. The deal included buying rights to "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," and UPN hoped that airing "Roswell" after the popular "Buffy" would give the show a ratings boost. Unfortunately, ratings for the show remained low, and a Tabasco campaign couldn't save it for a fourth season. UPN canceled Roswell permanently in 2002.
The 33 Best forgotten teen shows of the 90s, buzzfeed, April 4, 2013
by Summer Anne Burton
1999–2002, The WB/UPN. An effort to ride the coattails of the success of The X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Roswell was about a bro named Max, his best pal Michael, and his sister Isabel (Katherine Heigl!), and their attempt to fit in at a Roswell, New Mexico, high school despite the fact that they are totally actual aliens. They befriend Maria, Liz, and Alex (Colin Hanks!), local non-aliens who provide a love interest for each of the aliens. Then Emilie de Ravin (playing another alien) shows up and screws with the perfect balance. Anyway, this show was part epic teen-romance drama, part science-fiction thriller, and all parts the best. The love/hate/fight/make out dynamic between hot troubled alien Michael and hot troubled human Maria was particularly compelling.
8 TV Shows that have been Un-Cancelled, wallstcheatsheet.com, 30 May 2014
The WB sci-fi series was a show about citizens who are living in Roswell not by choice, but to fulfill a destiny given to them by members of their dying race. It premiered in 1999 and ran for two seasons before the network pulled the plug, writes How Stuff Works. It’s thanks to Roswell’s devoted fans that it even made it that long. “The best known campaign to keep Roswell on the air during the first two seasons was ‘Roswell is Hot!’ Fans started an online petition and sent in letters and bottles of Tabasco sauce, a favorite of one of the show’s characters, to show the WB that they supported their favorite show. The WB received over 3,000 bottles of the hot sauce, and network executives said that the campaign contributed to the show’s survival,” according to How Stuff Works.
Despite fan efforts, the WB dropped the show in 2001. It was saved by UPN, which picked it up for a third, 22-episode season. UPN and WB’s deal included UPN buying rights to Buffy the Vampire Slayer – UPN had hoped that airing Roswell after Buffy would help give the show a ratings boost. While the show did have loyal fans, it just didn’t have enough. The show was canceled after its third season.
The complete list:
1. Family Guy
2. Cagney & Lacey
6. Charles in Charge
7. Star Trek: The Original Series
8. Arrested Development
Why a Roswell Reunion Movie Will (Probably) Never Happen
by Tierney Bricker - Jun 6, 2014, eonline
"Oh I am what I am."
Is there still life in Roswell, the WB's beloved cult series that ended in 2002 (with a few stains from the thousands of Tabasco sauce bottles being sent to the network in an effort to save it from cancellation)?
According to some of the series' stars, the short answer is no.
Creator Jason Katims and castmembers Shiri Appleby, Nick Wechsler and Brendan Fehr are set to participate in a reunion panel at the 2014 ATX TV Festival in Austin on Saturday. But before the on-stage reunion, the two stars, who played human Kyle Valenti and alien Michael Guerin respectively, chatted with E! News about why they can't see aRoswell reboot happening, even if reunions are all the rage given the recent reprisals ofVeronica Mars, Heroes, The Comeback and Arrested Development.
Fehr, who currently stars on NBC's new hit drama The Night Shift, admitted that many of the cast and crew members felt unsatisfied with how the series ended.
"I think we all feel in some small way that we were cut short," he said. "And that's not to blame anyone or whatever else, I'm just saying everyone gets their time and then you're gone, but it was one where I felt there was so much more potential for that show to go on longer. There were so many more stories to explore and so much more to tell."
So it seems like a movie or series would be a good idea, right?
"No. I don't see it," Wechsler, who now stars on ABC's soapy hit Revenge, said when asked if he could envision a reunion happening. "I just don't see it." (He did acknowledge that fans are definitely clamoring for some kind of on-screen reunion, saying, "They're still hanging on and they still want a movie.")
And Fehr agreed with his former co-star's sentiment, but not for any lack of love for Roswellor his character, who he loved playing because of his "brokenness." (Yes, we fought off the urge to give Fehr a hug just because we still get all emotional over Michael's struggles.)
"I will say no to any kind of movie or anything like that, only because I don't have the imagination to see where that character is," Fehr explained of being hesitant to return to the fan-favorite role of Michael. "I'm not sure I can get back in his head that way. Because my youth and inexperience played such a big part in that role, that after getting married and having three kids, you're like, 'Can I put myself back in that headspace and find that?' I think I could, but I've never gone down that path. So I can't see it, just because of lack of imagination more than anything else. But it would be interesting to see what others think."
Though many feel it was canceled too soon, Roswell, which also starred Jason Behr andKatherine Heigl, still boasts a dedicated and loyal fan base, which Fehr admitted is somewhat suprising.
"Because it's been 15 years and that's a long time, so just the passion that still exists for that show is surprising," he explained, "But at the same time, because the loyalty of those fans…I mean, back in the day, you felt it and you knew it. There was something about the passion and the show that it doesn't surprise me at all that it's still going strong with those people that loved it."
Wechsler added that the continued passion from Roswell fans is "crazy, but not in a bad way. It means a lot though that people have stuck with us. It means more to me now."
‘Roswell’ Reunion: Shiri Appleby, Jason Behr and Jason Katims Reminisce at ATX TV Festival
JUNE 8, 2014, Laura Prudom
15 years after The WB/UPN’s “Roswell” first premiered, the cast and creator reunited at the ATX Television Festival in Austin to regale a packed theater with their memories of filming the cult alien drama. Stars Shiri Appleby, Jason Behr, Brendan Fehr, Majandra Delfino and Nick Wechsler were on hand, along with creator Jason Katims and several hundred fans who eagerly crammed themselves into the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema for a trip back to the eventful New Mexico town.
In a surreal turn, “Jersey Shore” star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi — apparently a diehard fan of the short-lived but much-beloved series — flew in from the East Coast specifically to attend the reunion panel, and even asked a question during the Q&A. (The reality star wanted to know whether the cast believes in aliens — Appleby and Delfino said yes, for the record.)
Katims recalled reading the first book in the young adult series that spawned the show and admitted to being “charmed” by the central love story and larger, more mythic themes. “It was an idea I never would’ve come up with on my own,” he admitted. “It seemed like an incredibly romantic idea to me, these two characters, Liz and Max, being in love but having this very real thing that kept them from being together. I’d never worked on anything that had the kind of stakes that this show had… That was the thing that I was drawn to, and I was also drawn to the fun of the idea.”
As with many series in Katims’ oeuvre, “Roswell” primarily explored the inner lives of teenagers, telling personal, character-driven stories in much the same way as “Friday Night Lights” or “Parenthood,” but filtered through a more fantastical, sci-fi lens.
“With everything that I’ve done, it’s always been about– the thing I thought I could bring to the show that’s unique to my voice, is hopefully a way of building these characters so that you were really invested in the relationships and really cared about them, and hopefully if you bought into the premise of the show, you could enjoy it because of the relationships and the connections between [the characters],” Katims explained. He said that his interest in writing teenage protagonists started with his work on “My So-Called Life,” when the writers embraced the idea that “when you’re a teenager, life is an emergency.”
“I think there’s something about writing about that period in somebody’s life that is really compelling to me because it’s a time when we’re really formed, it’s a time where you’re both a child and an adult at the same time,” Katims explained.
The cast agreed that their time on “Roswell” was a formative experience — and in many cases, provided their breakthrough role.
“‘Roswell’ was the first time I had a real story and was given a lead,” said Appleby. “I think I was so excited to have a real character, something to grasp onto. I was at the same age, excited about falling in love for the first time, sort of feeling a little uncomfortable with myself. Jason’s writing is so good, it was so easy to sink into it emotionally — every script I would get that was his, it felt like a really well-written fit for me… I look back on this character and this time with so much fondness.”
Behr recalled, “When I first read the script I was really drawn to the two worlds that Jason put together. There’s a very real, honest human emotional feeling to it, and had all the metaphors of being a teenager and being somebody who was really trying to find themselves … I feel like that’s something everybody wants, to just be seen for who they are and appreciated, and what Jason did so wonderfully in his script was that there’s no hiding in that, there’s no pretense, [Max's reactions are] just coming from his very naked, honest perspective, and [Liz] gets to see it. Those human elements of just wanting to be understood, I was very drawn to, and then to have the science fiction element that ties it together with these experiences, like a first kiss — what that might look like — we were able to show that in a very different way.”
Fehr admitted that while he had originally auditioned for the role of Max, he really fought to play Michael, because the character was “an outsider of the outsiders.” The actor also seemed to consider the job an important learning experience, and seemed to imply that he might’ve done things differently if given the chance.
“I get to look back on all the mistakes I made in terms of how I handled things … you were just a child, there’s a certain level of maturity and experience you don’t have,” Fehr mused. “Looking back on it, it’s taught me how to be a better actor in terms of being professional and appreciating what you have… We were so young — just as a cast, we were all learning at the same time, and if we had been in the place we are now, it would’ve been different. I don’t have any regrets, but I think we all know that we’ve matured in some way that it would be a much more interesting experience — it would be easier on some levels.”
For Delfino, the hardest part of the experience was letting it go: “I had a really hard wake-up call leaving the show, going onto other projects where the writing, the dialogue required so much more from me, workwise, to make it ring true,” she said. “That was a big learning experience where you realize, ‘wow, my first big job was so easy.’ You’d read your dialogue and know it after one pass because it was so exactly what you felt and what you knew, and then you get out there into the business and don’t necessarily encounter that every time… What we were handling was grade-A material.”
Wechsler, now an integral part of ABC’s “Revenge,” admitted that he always doubted his own abilities during his time on “Roswell” and told Katims he was “touched” that the creator gave him a chance when he was still relatively new to the business.
“I was nervous — I think it shows a bit [in the pilot], that I was feeling my way through it,” he admitted. “I would try to entertain myself — I would find moments to do weird shit, or give it a slightly weird read … I look back on this time so fondly, because I loved not knowing any better. I always felt like, ‘I’m not really an actor.’ I had to learn so much over the course of it, but [Jason] started to tweak it in the direction of my strengths. Once it ended and we went out into the acting workforce, we had a harder time with other dialogue.”
Katims spoke of the actors with a paternal fondness, admitting, “It was an incredibly talented cast, for a lot of them it was a very early role, and that is always really exciting, to work with people at the beginning and to [see them] go from that initial excitement and nervousness to really owning it. The great thing about doing TV to me, is you have a long life and you tell many stories, and the actors just get comfortable in their roles and own those roles and become those characters… you start learning from them who their characters are.”
As for where the characters are now, the cast deferred to Katims’ vision (although Delfino offered, “I’m assuming Maria would have baby aliens? Three or four baby aliens.”)
“It was funny, last night when we all met and I’m talking to all these guys and they’re starting to tell me about their kids and their families,” Katims said. “To me, I’m frozen in time with you guys at a very different part of your life, so that would be the first thing I would think about, if I were gonna tell that story, is what they’ve been through over the last 15 years and catch them at another phase, catch them in adulthood.”
Brilliant but Cancelled Dramas: 5 First Impressions of TV Shows we Forgot to Watch, Huffington Post, 06 June 2014
(The article had some animated images, so some of the things may not make sense without the images)
It's summer, which is typically the time of year we find our TV viewing schedules a little light. In order to steady our shaky remote finger until the fall, we've decided to go deep into the archives and take a look at some of the supposedly great, albeit now canceled, shows that we let slip through the cracks (even if it was 20 years ago).
Here are our first impressions of brilliant but canceled TV dramas, based solely on their pilots.
5 First Impressions from the My So-Called Life Pilot:
1) Just try to not fall in love with Jordan Catalano. #30SecondsFromFail
2) It's a plaid party. Bring your own oversized flannel.
3) Ok, buying tickets to the Tori Amos tour, ASAP.
4) Quotable Quotes for 800, Alex.
5) Why weren't we watching this in real time? (Oh yeah, we were too busy living it.)
Would We Keep Watching: Despite the show celebrating it's 20th anniversary, and how dying one's hair "crimson glow" or having a bisexual guy-liner-sporting sidekick might have struck a more controversial chord when it first aired, it was still able to take us back to our fragile youths and successfully made our stomachs yearn, ache and flutter. (Though it's highly possible it's because we skipped lunch.) We're watching the next episode, even if it is past curfew.
-- Richard Ogawa
5 First Impressions from the Twin Peaks Pilot:
1) Twin Peaks sure looks like a verdant, bucolic treasure, but this green font implies something X-Files-y and sinister...
2) Yep, called it. The world's best looking corpse just washed up on shore.
3) Did all of the teenagers in Twin Peaks just exit a time machine from 1956? Saddle shoes, letterman jackets, and A-line skirts, oh my. Oh, and what's up with this guy?
4) Charlotte's first husband from SATC. This guy is really into trees and pie. And rabbits. Does he suffer from a traumatic head injury?
5) Log Lady. More of her, please.
Would We Keep Watching: With contemporary shows like The Killing and Top of the Lake that handle similar territory, Twin Peaks feels clunky and awkward (like when your Aunt mails you an article she cut out of the newspaper). But there are glimpses in the Twin Peaks pilot of an interesting world that may come to life in the series; Log Lady, Eye Patch Woman, and the cop who cries at crime scenes. As connoisseurs of the odd, we'd give it a second episode to win us over.
-- Courtney Hyde
5 First Impressions from the Firefly Pilot:
1) Hi Castle! Hi wife from Homeland! Hi awesome dude from The Barney Miller Show! Firefly is a veritable "Who's Who" of people you know from other stuff.
2) It's pretty hard to concentrate on anything else except for Kaylee's eyelashes. OMG...her EYELASHES! They're too natural looking to be fakes. Will the eyelashes be part of a larger storyline over the course of the season? We hope so.
3) It's like a miniature Battlestar Galactica except they're not fleeing Cylons. They're fleeing the Alliance. But what if they're fleeing the Alliance because River is kind of a Cylon? Don't tell us what happens.
4) The "Space Western" theme going on, especially the showdown when they stop to sell their cargo to Patience, the chick who shot Castle--we mean Mal. The Fireflycrew are straight up renegade space cowboys.
5) Wait, this got cancelled after one season? ONE SEASON?
Would We Keep Watching: We're in. Watching the 90 minute "Serenity" pilot, which apparently turned out not to be the actual pilot? Research on the free-flowing tubes of the interweb tells us that this compelling pilot got ditched and then shown at the end of the series run. We don't know what happened here, but we're watching the rest of the series--also known as the rest of the season. We know we're going to be outraged when the show abruptly ends, but it's nice to have something new to be outraged about. Raging over the finale of Lost is so 2010.
-- Liz Brown
5 First Impressions from the FlashForward Pilot:
1) There are so many obscure, yet amazing actors in this! Seth McFarlane, Zachary Knighton, the British guy from Smash, one of Roger Sterling's wives on Mad Men. The list probably goes on, which could be reason enough to keep watching.
2) Um, random kangaroo in the street? This global black out maybe kind of fun!
3) This "global phenomenon" theory seems to have caught on preeeetty quickly. Minutes after the blackout happens, cable news has "experts" doing a roundtable discussion about it. Wait, never mind, that actually seems totally plausible.
4) Why are they using such terrible cell phones? Smart phones were a thing in 2009.
5) If every episode of this show ends with a confused, brooding look into the dark future/abyss, we're probably bowing out now.
Would We Keep Watching: We'll give it one more, but we kind of want to flash forward to the end.
Pilots are tricky, and FlashForward proves why. Within minutes of everyone regaining consciousness, it's on the news? And it's assumed that everyone had glimpses of the future? So much detail is glossed over that we never quite felt invested. Luckily, the final scene had a skin-tingling twist creepy enough to get us to episode two.
-- Raef Harrison
5 First Impressions from the Jericho Pilot:
1) We forgot that schmaltzy mainstream rock was a THING for TV shows of the mid-aughts. We've got The Killers in the opening and Snow Patrol to take us out.
2) It's that crazy nurse from The Mindy Project! We're pleased to note that this character, the owner of Jericho's only grocery store, also appears to lack a last name.
3) Ignoring advice from the prescient outsider = rookie mistake. Bad stuff in disastrous scenarios always goes down like the mysterious stranger exuding tactical expertise says it will. Especially if the well-intentioned sheriff says it won't.
4) Is it just us or is the kid who works in Mindy Project nurse's grocery store a young Jesse Eisenberg?
5) With the closing scene featuring a pretty blonde amid dead crows...
we can't help but think of The Birds.
Would We Keep Watching: This show had a lot going for it. It's interesting to see how many elements from the pilot are used in today's shows: kids trapped on a schoolbus is reminiscent of Crisis, the town losing power brings to mind Revolution. The ever-popular notion of post-apocalyptic survival is well-trodden ground, but the twist of a small-town setting and unknown origins of the disaster piqued our curiousity enough that we'd happily check out the next few episodes.
-- Katherine Rea
5 First Impressions from the Roswell Pilot:
1. Roswell of course stars a very young-looking Shiri Appleby, but the pilot also features plenty of other familiar faces from before they were quite so familiar: Katherine Heigl! Colin Hanks! Pre-facial hair Jack from Revenge! Marshall from Alias! Toby from The West Wing!
2. Aliens apparently have a deep abiding love for Tabasco sauce.
3. Main character and regular human being Liz bought into this 'Max is an alien' thing waaaaay too easily. Even if he did leave a silver handprint on her stomach.
4. The creepy, suspicious sheriff is way over the top, especially considering he's dealing with teenagers. This may be the most predatory-looking non-predatory scene ever involving a high school girl lifting her shirt.
5. This city-wide UFO desert party looks amazing. Except for the whole 'burning the alien' thing.
Would We Keep Watching: Hell yes. Teen drama. We're all in.
Roswell was created by Jason Katims, the creative force behind Friday Night Lights, and the shared DNA is evident in the pilot. In spite of its very sci-fi concept, the episode plays heavily toward the relationship side of things, revealing that alien Max has been secretly in love with human Liz for years. Given Katims's later track record (and Emmy) with a high school-based drama, we'd stick around to see where this Romeo & Juliet love story is going.
-- Kristen Knox
5 First Impressions from the Veronica Mars Pilot:
1) If you replace Kristen Bell's narration with sound bites from old Humphrey Bogart movies, you'd have yourself a classic (and creepy) Film Noir.
2) What network was this on anyway? The teeny bopper, high school backdrop clashes against a plot filled with sex, lies & videotape. I'm not lying - there is actually a videotape.
3) The high school bully, Logan (Jason Dohring), has frosted tips. I'm sure Freddie Prinze Jr. had that hair back in the '90s.
4) Why is Amanda Seyfried playing a bit part as a dead girl? Oh wait, this was one of her first roles in Hollywood. I'm sure this was a big deal for her before she landedMean Girls.
5) Plain and simple -- I'm hooked. I need to avoid all spoilers until I finish all three seasons and the movie.
Would We Keep Watching: If Veronica Mars was a scrapped car, you'll find that its spare parts still work well in other engines (Pretty Little Liars proves that high school murder mysteries can run more than 3 seasons). But in its heyday it struggled in the ratings war against its contemporaries -- The OC and Gilmore Girls, to name a couple. It obviously runs circles around those shows, but maybe the fast paced, edgy plot scared away those who were looking for a modern Nancy Drew, leaving the diehards to crowd fund the movie after it was canceled. Alas, brilliant rarely equals ratings.
5 TV Couples We'd Like to See Have a Sequel Spin-off Like Girl Meets World
By Kaitlin Thomas for tv.com
Jun 26, 2014
It's been 14 years since Mr. Feeny dismissed Cory, Topanga, Shawn, and Eric for the last time on Boy Meets World (I'll wait while your panic attack subsides). On Friday, a new generation of fans will begin their own journey when Girl Meets World, the highly-anticipated sequel featuring Cory and Topanga's daughter Riley, debuts on the Disney Channel. Which got me thinking: What if some of our other favorite TV couples had children and what if they had their own shows? What would those shows look like and what would our favorite characters be like as adults? Naturally, I had to find out.
Pacey Witter and Joey Potter, Dawson's Creek
Pacey and Joey's courtship was more than a little bumpy throughout Dawson's six seasons,but they still stand as the pinnacle of true love for an entire generation (dude, he bought her a wall). In Lilian's Way, they have two children—Lilian, named after Joey's mother, and her little brother Ben. Intelligent and witty, Lilian is precocious and Ben has a thing for boats and loves very loud, printed button-up shirts. The family resides in New York City, but still spends plenty of time in Capeside (and the Ice House) visiting with Doug and Jack and Bessie and Bodie. During the summer they take trips to LA to hang out with Dawson, because otherwise he's likely to makethis face forever.
Seth Cohen and Summer Roberts, The OC
Seth and Summer were a perfect example of opposites attracting, and after four sometimes messy seasons, they married in the series finale of The OC. The couple waited to have children, however, until Seth's younger sister Sophie was a little older. Together with their twins Parker and Luke, Seth and Summer live in Manhattan Beach, California where Seth is a successful comic book artist and Summer leads a non-profit organization. They still spend every other weekend with Ryan and Taylor (who have adopted a child of their own) and live nearby. Sandy and Kirsten visit during holidays like Chrismukkah and much to everyone's delight, neither of the twins inherited Sandy's eyebrows. Parker and Luke's adventures are chronicled in Manhattan Beach, where despite being complete opposites, they enjoy sailing, surfing, the musical stylings of Benjamin Gibbard, and avoiding any and everyone named Oliver.
Amy Pond and Rory Williams, Doctor Who
Yeah, yeah, so they already have a pretty fierce daughter and Amy was rendered infertile as a result of what happened to her at Demon's Run, but if Steven Moffat can do whatever he wants and say it works because time travel, then surely I'm allowed to imagine a world in which Amy and Rory have a few more little gingers running around in addition to the son they adopted in 1946. After they were sent back in time by the Weeping Angel, the couple settled in New York City where Amy is an author and Rory eventually becomes a doctor (the medical kind, not the time-traveling kind). In The Ponds, they adopt Anthony, as well as a little boy named John Williams and little girl named Octavia Williams. The children are raised on tales of faraway planets and galaxies, enjoy fish fingers and custard, and look forward to visits from their strange relative River Song, who always calls them sweetie and brings them presents 100 percent not suitable for children.
Logan Echolls and Veronica Mars, Veronica Mars
After spending nine years apart, Veronica returned to Neptune to run Mars Investigations and Logan and Veronica reconciled meaning that everything was once again right in the world. The couple waited until Logan was discharged from the Navy to have children, but now they have two daughters—Lily and Lynn—who are petite, blonde, and way too sarcastic for their own good. Solving mysterious cases in middle school, they're always getting into trouble in Neptune. Their parents are very overprotective and only trust them with Grandpa Keith, who has mostly retired and now proudly showcases his #1 Grandpa mug, despite saying he's not old enough for grandchildren. He also still insists on asking, "Who's your daddy?" even though it's kind of creepy now. And speaking of creepy, the girls are forbidden from spending any time with Dick for obvious reasons.
Michael Guerin and Maria DeLuca, Roswell
Having already faced more than their fare share of drama as teenagers, Michael and Maria eventually settled into a good rhythm after the gang escaped the dangers of Roswell. Married and living without fear of being discovered in an undisclosed location in the U.S., they now have three alien/human hybrid children named Alex (obviously), Jamie, and Maya. In 285 South, their powers have recently surfaced, and no one knows for sure what they're capable of, let alone how to teach them control. Like most siblings, they spend a lot of time arguing like their parents, but they have a passion for music, which Maria still dabbles in, and they naturally have to put Tabasco Sauce on most foods. They see Max and Liz and are close with their children, but like most of the world, they have lost touch with Isabel. They see Kyle every once in awhile when they're up in New York, but they keep mostly to themselves for protection. Of course, young aliens discovering their powers will not be denied and the trio often find themselves in a world of trouble.
‘Roswell’ Reunion 2015 — Is It Happening?
By Bryan Murray, MediaMass, July 8, 2014
Rumors of a Roswell reunion had the internet in a frenzy on Monday (July 7) as reports claimed that The WB confirmed a revival of the popular sitcom for 2015.
Can you believe it's been 14 years since Roswell first aired?! (14 years, 9 months, 2 days to be exact.)
Why in the world did Roswell end?
When Roswell came to an end after 3 years in May 2002, million viewers tuned in to say goodbye to Tess Harding (Emilie de Ravin), Max Evans (Jason Behr), Isabel Evans (Katherine Heigl), Maria DeLuca (Majandra Delfino) and Liz Parker (Shiri Appleby). And since then, they have been itching for a reunion.
Would a Roswell reunion disappoint people?
Roswell aired from 1999-2002 and is considered one of the most influential TV shows ever on pop culture. Although no original episodes have been shot since, it has remained a regular feature on many station's schedules. But Heigl said she's not sure if Roswell would work today. “I don't want to see old Isabel Evans,” she told a journalist (Heigl turned 35 in November). “Everyone’s going to have different vision of what the character is like, so to have that materialize is going to disappoint most people,” she added.
Still hoping for a Roswell movie?
In a recent interview, Katherine Heigl said she can't imagine a Roswell reunion hitting the big screen. “I'd rather people go, ‘Oh, please! Please!’ than ‘I can't believe you did that. It was horrible.’”
Co-star Julie Benz (who played Kathleen Topolski) has also previously explained, “It would be terrible to do something and have it not be good,”. “It was so terrific ... If we did a Roswell movie and it sucked, then it would, you know, blemish it.”
On the subject of whether there could be a Roswell film, Shiri Appleby stated : “I think it's a bit of a case of ‘the book is better than the movie’.”
What about a Roswell reboot?
Recasting Roswell for a modern reboot. Hollywood is known for remaking remakes of films or tv series and the studios might think it would be great to bring the story back with a new set of characters.
Be it in the form of a Roswell reunion, a Roswell movie, or a Roswell reboot, if you had to start filming today, who would you cast in what role?
20 Years Later, A Ranking of the 20 Best Shows in CW History, BDCWire, 1-15-2015
20 years ago this month, networks UPN and The WB were launched, later banding together to create The CW. An angsty generation of teens would never be the same.
With the anniversary upon us, we compiled a list to commemorate some of the best CW shows of all time.
THERE ARE TWO RULES FOR THIS LIST:
1. Dramas only. Sorry, “Pinky and the Brain.”
2. Any UPN, WB, or CW drama is eligible.
And that’s it! Onto the list.
From a 10-book series to a TV favorite, “Roswell” is one of the most underrated sci-fi dramas ever. But as much as we loved our alien and human friends, we’re still holding our breath for a “Roswell” movie, 13 years after the show’s cancellation.