Cherish Thread Editorials
On the Fanfourm board the Dreamers kept a thread called Cherishing Max & Liz.
As season 2 and 3 unfolded they became frustrated and angry that the
wonderful Max and Liz relationship was being ruined.
TPTB started promising that Max and Liz would get back together almost from
the moment that the episode 'The End of the World' aired. They literally said,
'Max and Liz will be together again in a month', and then it was 'by the end
of Jan', next it was 'in the Spring', etc, etc.
But we all know what really happened.
You can see how betrayed the dreamers felt by unkept promises and
just plain untrue spoilers that were leaked by Jason Katims and the networks.
There were a lot of angry dreamers out there. So they started posting
editorials to show their anger and disappointment.
Sorry, I didn't record who wrote these.
Cherish Thread Editorials
October 17, 2000 - On the road to a 'harder edge'
February 15, 2001 - The Cost of Ratings
May 23, 2001 - It's Not a Fairy Tale Any More
October 16, 2001 - The Day the Ratings Fell….
October 24, 2001 - Stop the Negativity - I want to get Off!
November 4, 2001 - Myth, Magic and Metaphor…..
December 2, 2001 - Where do we go from here?
March 4, 2002 - Am I a fool for Max and Liz?
March 12, 2002 - The Unvarnished Truth
May 26, 2002 - My last word...
October 17, 2000 - On the road to a 'harder edge'
It is clear that the relationship created in the first season between Max and Liz is being downplayed. Apparently the relationship is being reduced to merely the 'ordinary' if the rumors are true. This disappoints me because their special, romantic and almost 'mythic' relationship is a major part of what made Roswell unique. Their love story gave Roswell a point of view from which to tell stories about the alien/human struggle to be safe; to explore who they are, why they are here and how their differences affect their relationships. Sadly, without Max and Liz's love story, Roswell has no distinctive point of view in which to showcase any of its highly advertised mythology or science fiction; Unless you view boobs, blondes and leather, with murder and violence apparently the harder 'edge' the show is boasting about, as a viable alternative.
I do not have a problem with science fiction. I enjoy science fiction. But science fiction without a distinctive and consistent point of view is confusing and tiresome. I am saddened by the loss of the human perspective on Roswell. Four aliens on a quest to self-discovery means nothing without a human connection. This season may be about 'discovering our alien side' but without a contrast to human behavior, without the struggle between human and alien nature created by interacting with their human friends, working with their human friends - how do we the viewer relate? Filling them in after the fact at the Crashdown doesn't count. It's patronage.
Enough rumors and spoilers are circulating for me to be quite certain that TPTB are attempting to set up a triangle between Max and Liz and Tess. Attempts at making the character sympathetic have already occurred. It is bad enough that the character of Tess can literally 'mind rape' Max by planting sexual images in his mind on this show without culpability in the name of science fiction, but is it really necessary to use sex like this in the name of sexual tension? I understand that the prevailing opinion at the WB is that the pseudo POV of boobs, blondes and leather equals higher TV ratings but eventually even young viewers, whether they know it or not, will tire of a show without a distinctive point of view. I am not naïve; I understand 'sexual tension', and viewer response to it. But if characters depart to radically from established behavior, even in the name of sexual tension, the very thing they want to keep us panting for is destroyed. Pretty soon nobody will care because the characters we cared about no longer exist.
If Roswell chooses to replace their intelligent heroine and role model, Liz, in favor of Isabel as 'sexy, warrior princess' or Tess as 'sexy, alien consort' while destroying a unique and beautiful love story in the name of a 'harder edge', viewers, both the coveted young, the undervalued old, and even the new viewers seduced by the boobs, blondes and leather directive, will turn away. We will turn away because as 'humans' we may thrive on change, expect change, but we depend on the ideal of love, the constancy of love, to make it worth the struggle change brings. It is certain that Roswell needs change to survive, what it also needs to survive is to cherish what made it unique to begin with, the romance of Max and Liz and the unique perspective their union brings to science fiction.
February 15, 2001 - The Cost of Ratings
When Jason Katims came together with Shiri Appleby and Jason Behr in Roswell to give us the romantic characters of Max and Liz - they gave us something beautiful, something profound! Beautiful in it's basic simplicity that love can change the world and ultimately profound in the affects that it had on those of us who fell in love with these characters and their love story during season one of Roswell. What is also amazing are those of you who didn't have season one as a backdrop but were still drawn to these characters from the few but powerful moments Max and Liz shared in season two! That's how much chemistry, how much power these characters have!
Max recognized Liz from the first moment he saw her - and has loved and protected her ever since. We were purposefully led to believe, as we witnessed their story unfold, that the love between Max and Liz is special, different, magical and that they are soul mates; that neither space, nor time, nor destiny can break their bond, their faith, their connection to one another. With the added complexity of Max being an alien, the romance of Max and Liz is truly out of this world. It is unique on television and has stirred strong feelings in so many of us that go beyond normal and into the realm of the extraordinary.
But for the past season this romance seemingly just as purposefully, has been undermined, ignored and trampled in the name of 'alien nature' and the quest for ratings. What I don't understand is why this beautiful and unique love story had to be sacrificed at the ratings alter. Why it couldn't have been woven into the new science fiction elements as a point of reference, a place to return, to put everything 'alien' in perspective.
But this was not the case and the message sent instead is that 'alien nature' is merely a metaphor for rationalizing the death of the faith, fidelity and love as witnessed between Max and Liz in season one; that love and character are expendable in this ratings experiment.
I keep imagining that there must be a memo from some high up exec that says - 'get the sexy good looking guy in bed with the little blond' - thinking it will up the ratings because the prevailing theory is that men and boys love blonds and the ideas of love, trust and fidelity are concepts they can easily dismiss. It's all about ratings. Sex equals ratings, especially when it involves blonds with cleavage. And the WB is exploiting it as well as the actresses. The fact that it cheapens a beautiful love story means nothing to them. The fact that it is out of character means nothing. Love is boring. Faith and fidelity are theoretical concepts that can be ignored. These things can be explained away. It's just another obstacle. To achieve the end, what we were asked to believe in season one can easily be rewritten.
It's very sad. It didn't have to be this way. Ratings could have been achieved without sacrificing something magical and unique to television - and now we will never know, if this latest rumor turns out to be true. Where is it written (except in television) that you have to have sex with someone to figure out if they are right for you? What handbook states that sleeping with someone you maybe once knew is the only way to prove to yourself that what you felt and believed your whole life isn't a lie? Isn't this 'I loved you in my past life' just an excuse to make it all right? And isn't it a contradiction to what we were led to believe in season one?
It really is very sad because in the end - those higher ratings if achieved are only temporary and in their wake the unique union that might have kept you going for years is destroyed. I will say it again - a trust with your audience will be broken - and it will be difficult to rebuild. I know they must think - it's just an obstacle to overcome. Sex is just sex - but Max is 18 and a virgin and so is Liz and if their love is unique - they should only give themselves to each other. Perhaps this is old fashioned in today's Hollywood but this 'fairy tale' is what we believe in and ironically exactly what sets the characters of Max and Liz a part from all the other 'couples' on TV!
Why am I a Dreamer? The romance and love story that is Max and Liz is simply magical...mystical and transports me to extraordinary heights of wonder and feeling! It stirs my soul and has awakened my dreams. I am saddened that it has been treated so cavalierly by TPTB!
May 23, 2001 - It's Not a Fairy Tale Any More
In creating what I'm sure the Roswell writers believe is a 'flawed hero' and 'a dramatic cliffhanger', they have made it very difficult for some of us to continue cherishing the Romance that was Max and Liz. There are many who will find it very difficult to forgive Max being so irresponsible by allowing himself to not only be seduced by someone he doesn't love, but also for not using protection. Now I know the 'dramatic' story would be ruined if the above had not occurred - but they are actions that a great many viewers will have difficulty coming to terms with - if indeed they ever will! We wanted the fairy tale because it gave us hope - because it was so unlike reality and yet felt so real. It's not a fairy tale any more.
Let's hope they are not miscalculating the level of sympathy we the viewers will have for Max's illegitimate son and his need to rescue him. That we can get by the fact that to save his son he let a murderess go back to the enemy having achieved at least part of an evil plan, but…
Let's hope they are not miscalculating the sympathy we the viewers might have for the Max and Liz relationship that is now severely challenged. How many of us will continue to hope that their once beautiful, pure and magical relationship can be repaired? How many of us will get by the sex and a baby just as Liz now must! Yes I know they probably believe that no relationship is pure and magical for forever - that our flaws will lead us to make bad decisions that will challenge even the most pure and innocent. They must believe that this will lead to a level of drama the pure and innocent relationship could not, but …
Let's hope they are not miscalculating the number of us who will still feel that the easily seduced, sometimes mean and less than human Max of season 2 can be redeemed. Yes I know they probably believe that they were very clever in showing us a Max without his humanity as a way of revealing how this King might have lost the war at home and succumbed to a murderess.
Let's hope that Season 3 will give us a reason why we should once again want Liz, Maria, Kyle and Valenti to risk their lives to save these aliens who have as yet failed to acknowledge their help.
Let's hope that Season 3 will entice us to care passionately again about Max and Liz as they repair the relationship so severely trampled on this season and let's hope Sean plays no factor in this!
Let's hope, that if Season 2 was about exploring their alien side Season 3 will begin with them having learned a lesson! As far as I can tell we didn't learn anything we didn't already know - except that without the love and interaction of their human friends they can be a pretty nasty, disloyal, clueless bunch and it's easy to see why they were killed and their planet enslaved. Or was that the BIG point?
Let's hope that Season 3 will actually provide some of the highly touted 'alien mythology' that promised to engage us and answer questions regarding their heritage and why they were sent here to earth as 'hybrids' and that Liz will figure prominently in this mythology.
Let's hope that Season 3, which apparently will be a trip through yet another rework of the Arthurian legend, will be a complex enough canvas to achieve all of the above!
Then again, dare we hope that it really is all a mind warp and that Season 3 will finally reveal this?
Let's hope that I am not the only one who will find a way to Cherish Max and Liz in spite of all the pain and baggage they are willing to endure for each other even into Season 3.
October 16, 2001 - The Day the Ratings Fell….
Well, well. Smallville creamed Roswell. And come to think of it - Roswell didn't do very well on its premiere night either. I wonder what the problem could be? Sure, UPN doesn't have the same market penetration as does the WB - but that didn't seem to affect Buffy's Premiere or Enterprise's either! What could the problem be? And yes there is that sort of Season One 'feel' in the first two episodes. And yes, Max and Liz are back in each other's arms, so what could the problem be? Actually, it seems pretty clear to me. Roswell lost some of its fans. Since the ratings indicate a growth in male demographics - and yet a decrease in overall viewers - this would indicate that Roswell lost mostly female fans. Some probably don't realize that Roswell has moved to the UPN but that isn't the whole answer. Part rests in the answer to this question: why would female fans NOT watch Roswell? Well maybe it's because despite a loud, long out cry of protest - Jason Katims went right ahead and kicked us all in the gut. Thank you Mr. Katims. I asked back then if perhaps you had miscalculated - on just how much distorted character behavior your diehard fans were willing to deal with - and it seems they've answered. Yep you insisted - baby real, sex real, Max's shallow, clueless, insensitive behavior left open to interpretation.
And with that, just whom have you attracted? Male viewers! Not exactly what UPN ordered. But, I can understand why male viewers would find all this attractive. Essentially it is a metaphor (I know how you love that word!) for every male who has ever thoughtlessly slept with someone and then regretted it later. A metaphor for his ability to rationalize a roll in the hay in a way that makes him the victim! And now Max callously revises history, oh wait, bravely admits that he was attracted to one of his own! Way to go Max! Liz should just fall all over herself forgiving you in light of that brave, manly admission!
And now, with the ratings low and stiff competition ahead - we get to watch Max search for his son. Given the reaction so far - I wonder just what kind of ratings grabber the next few shows will be? Any guesses?
But all does not have to be lost - there is still a chance to save Roswell. You are on the right track by trying to bring back some of Season One. But either you don't understand or don't remember what it was about Season One that was so unique and appealing. It was the counterpoint of the Alien Human interaction, the sincerity and honor of the hero, the faith and loyalty of the heroine and the love between them that was destined to change the world.
There are many ways to do this but the first is to restore Max's character to hero status. Restore the friendship and interaction between human and alien. Restore the need for them to all work together to preserve their safety and most of all restore the purity and soul mate status of Max and Liz! It's not too late!
There are still fans, including myself, who will continue to work for this show. A campaign is on going to raise awareness of Roswell and it's move to UPN. But all the efforts by all the remaining fans won't in the end save Roswell if TPTB refuse to read the writing on the wall, the day the ratings fell.
October 24, 2001 - Stop the Negativity - I want to get Off!
It really is rampant and most of it justified. But you know what? There is a limit and I've reached it. It's been obvious for awhile that TPTB were not paying any attention to the 'internet fan base' because they believed we were and are not indicative of the average fan. And as KKB so eloquently put it - if you don't like the show don't watch! Well apparently quite a few have followed that advice. So where does that leave us? Jason Katims is and has been hell bent on his 'search for son' story line. It isn't going away. Katherine Heigl is considered a 'phenomenal talent' by TPTB and underutilized - she isn't going away. Season one and two are distant memories or fodder for jokes. The ONLY story line carried over from S2 is the 'search for spot er son'. We get used to it, accept it or don't watch.
No amount of whining(Max and Liz fans) or intelligently pointing out the lack of consistency either of characterization or storyline(all other fans) is going to change what we will see this season if we do continue to watch.
So I'm done. It's all been said. It's been said in a thousand different ways by a thousand disappointed fans and ultimately the ratings will tell the tale. It matters not who is right or who is to blame or why it all went wrong. Jason Katims said very recently 'we've hit our stride!' So you see there are some who believe nothing is wrong. Roswell is what it is right now. And we can watch it for that - or not. I will forever cherish Season One but I refuse to lament and complain about its loss anymore. Maybe JK and TPTB really do know what's best - maybe UPN will give them time to build a new audience. But the only thing that matters is that they are in control. How does that prayer go? 'God grant me the courage to change the things I can, the serenity to accept the things I cannot and the wisdom to know the difference.'
I'm off the negativity bandwagon as of now and I feel serene already!
November 4, 2001 - Myth, Magic and Metaphor…..
(I'm on my soapbox again, it's no fun being serene!)
The following is a quote from a recent interview of Jason Katims. "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."
Well you are right about the science fiction not taking over what the show is about - but how dare you use the word magical! You who are totally responsible for destroying what was magical about Roswell. I cannot believe the audacity. Please point out to me at this moment what is magical about Roswell? Perhaps you think it's the holding up of a convenience store in the name of finding a spaceship? Or maybe it's the idea of stealing cases of Snapple as Michael adapts to life on earth? Maybe it's the rather rushed, mechanical marriage of 19-year-old Isabel to a character she has only just met? Is that what you mean by magical? Or maybe it's the magic of Max searching for his illegitimate son conceived with a murderess in a moment of hopelessness? Or maybe you meant to put back the magic with revisionist dialogue and revolting quips about 'still holding onto that?'
You had magic Mr. Katims and you deliberately destroyed it in favor of the ordinary. One of your most powerful episodes last season, End of the World, despite it's incredibly sad ending, was magical. But then you started ripping apart what made episodes like EOTW magical. Magical was the idea of soul mates finding each other across time and space. Magical were the flashes that allowed them to see into each other's soul. Magical was the idea that two people could love each other in this day and age and NOT be ordinary! Magical was the simple but profound idea that a boy could love a girl and change the world.
Metaphorically speaking, magical would have been the weaving of alien legend with today's humanity and discovering who we are and who we might become through the adventures of these aliens and their human friends and families. Now all we have are three aliens and 4 humans playing out separate, disconnected soap opera.
You further state in this interview: "UPN wanted to make sure that the back story 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." Definition of Myth - mythology: a traditional story dealing with supernatural beings, ancestors, or heroes that serves as a primordial type in the worldview of a people. A body of myths about the origin, history, deities, ancestors and heroes of a people.
Given the above definition, my question is 'what mythology'? Season one started to develop some ideas - but none ever came to anything and most were forgotten. What do we know of their heritage? The 'mommygram' told us there was a war and they were sent to earth to survive to fight another day. And that Max is a King and supposedly was married to Tess. That Michael and Isabel were betrothed.
Nasedo was sent to protect them but somehow lost them and then wasn't there when they emerged from the pods and apparently for a reason never explained the pod squad then left Tess behind in her pod. Why? The beginning of a great myth - legend - history - that was never pursued nor answered and one that many of us thought would involve Liz somehow. All forgotten in favor of forcing Tess upon the viewer and your hero Max who you reduced to clueless, weak, angry and inconsiderate in the name of Destiny to justify conceiving an illegitimate child. Retelling the Arthurian legend might be mythology but at least Arthur was coerced by magic into his undoing, all you've done is finish the destruction of the magic you profess to want.
Buffy is filled with Slayer mythology built up over 5 years and I bet a new viewer would have no problem getting involved in an episode the very first time. I think mythology is something that the Roswell creators talk a lot about but do not deliver and they are missing out on a chance to give Roswell some depth and texture and nuance. Mythology isn't something that a new viewer necessarily has to know to enjoy the show. Mythology acts as a backdrop, a canvas for an episode (just as the science fiction should) and is not necessary to enjoying the episode. However, if intriguing enough, the new viewer will tune in again to learn more of the mythology. If the viewer is familiar with all that has come before the mythology becomes the metaphor that exemplifies or illustrates Roswell's long-term vision.
Katims then goes on to say: "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."
What world? Where are the heroes? The legends? The history of Antar? What is the color and substance of Antarian culture? How can Max, Michael and Isabel decide "how much of the other world do we hold on to and embrace, and how much do we let go... [in order to] assimilate" if they know nothing of this other world? All they know and we know at the moment is that it's apparently filled with murderers, war and people you can't trust. No wonder Tess had to conceive a child to get Max to go home!
How amazing it would have been if the creators had slowly unfolded a mythology surrounding Max and Liz as soul mates! How they came to find each other again and make the discovery for themselves that they are meant to be! How exciting if Isabel had to come to terms with that part of herself that was capable of betraying her brother - how this might lead to a discovery that who they are now in their part human form is what their 'creators' had intended all along. That their interaction with and assimilation of humanity is the reason for their being on earth. If Jason Katims had built upon those vivid images of Max as a little boy noticing Liz on the playground, now that would have been magical! But they dropped any hint of 'magical' when 'flashes' became commonplace and then disappeared from S3 altogether and glowing hickeys just one more 'idea' dropped after an episode. If only the granolith had been something mystical as well as technological, if only Nasedo or that metal book or Alex's translation had yielded information about them and their culture and their existence. Then perhaps you could talk about myth and magic without making me laugh.
If indeed the creators of Roswell understood mythology and how to weave it into the stories from week to week, if they understood magical and if they used metaphor for more than rationalizing questionable behavior perhaps they wouldn't need to reinvent the show every season and perhaps we who still hold onto what was magical about Roswell and believe it can be again, maybe we wouldn't be once again campaigning for its survival.
December 2, 2001 - Where do we go from here?
They do not understand. The writers of Roswell! Here is a simple case on point. In the teaser for Behind the Music Max and Liz are looking at the bulletin board where Max's father has pinned up his clues to his question 'what is Max hiding?'. Max and Liz talk. There is a montage of Max's memories of his worst mistake and then he turns to Liz and says 'I need it back'. The pendant that Max had given Liz. It was so unsympathetic! No regret that he needed to ask for the pendant back. No sympathy for Liz even though Max knows it was the ONLY thing Liz has that he had given her. Liz's face was so sad and it was as if Max didn't even care. How difficult would it have been to have Max hug Liz after she gives him the pendant? It wouldn't have taken any more time and it would have shown the audience that Max does love Liz - at least that is what he says! The problem is the writers never think to let him show it anymore! Why is that?
Ron Moore made the following statement in a recent interview for Starlog Magazine:
Viewer resentment of the Tess-Max relationship was strong, but Moore insists it was NOT a factor in the decision to part ways with Tess. "We know that people were up in arms about that relationship, and we were fine with that," he maintains. "As long as people care enough to keep watching, that's great! It wasn't like we were writing Liz out of the show. We always knew we were going to bring [the core relationship] back to Liz and Max. But we decided to give them a season apart, and give them some problems, so that when they did hook up again, it wouldn't be simple or easy. Their relationship will continue to be complicated."
'As long as people care enough to keep watching?' The show has lost nearly 2 million viewers. Apparently the loss of so many viewers doesn't concern them. What do they attribute the loss of half of their audience to? Let's see…. UPN covers fewer markets than the WB. Ok I believe that amounts to approximately 10%; Jason Katims has made reference to the extremely difficult time slot, however both Buffy and Enterprise also have difficult time slots and they haven't lost 2 million viewers, though I do admit neither is competing head to head with a show that is nearly a carbon copy of Roswell's first season. (By the way it's doing bonkers in the ratings I wonder if this fact has also escaped their notice?) But I believe that any viewer lost to 'that other show' is a direct result of Roswell story lines that destroyed the very basis of the show's central themes. And I want to point out that the fans do not expect obstacle free relationships, but fans do expect that the integrity of a character be preserved. Fans also expect story lines slightly more imaginative than the 'other woman/guy'. This is a show with a science fiction twist after all. Why not weave some Antarian biological differences or legend restrictions, or a credible enemy to keep the lovers a part?
And it is not as if the writers can claim they don't know what fans want. Ron Moore goes on to say:
The Max-Liz connection works so well, as is so popular with "Roswell's" fans, because, in Moore's opinion, "It's very romantic in the classic sense of the word. Max is a young man from another planet, with secrets. He saved her life in the first episode, and they became soulmates across time and space. It's a classic set-up. Beyond that, the appeal of their relationship has a great deal to do with the chemistry between Shiri Appleby and Jason Behr."
Why not USE that popularity and amazing chemistry? Below is a reaction by one fan to the debate regarding the drastic change in the character of 'Max'. I believe it represents the reaction of the majority of fans still hanging on in the hope that Roswell will at least end well.
"Max cannot be defended in any way. The Pilot and the following episodes in S1 defined the character of Max. He had loved Liz since 3rd grade. He risked his life and the life of his sister and friend, to save hers. Liz knew his secret and still loved him. They had mutual trust. Given these plot points, none of the events that JK gave them would have given us the finished product that we have now. Max would not have let Liz walk away in the cave. Max would have not walked away when he saw Liz with Kyle. As many fan fics have shown, he would have stayed to see what was really happening. He would have trusted Liz. There would never have been the relationship with T*** or the baby from it. That was not in Max's character.
…I know how Max would respond and how Liz would respond after seeing them for 16 episodes. NONE OF S2 WOULD HAVE BEEN POSSIBLE THE WAY IT WAS WRITTEN. THAT'S WHY YOU CAN'T DEFEND MAX. That isn't Max as written in S1. JK is not a good storyteller. After you have the premise, you have to stay with the characters you have created. You can't make them suddenly different!"
Don't we have the reasonable expectation of at least continuity of character? In the end what's important is believable story telling - and Roswell hasn't had that since the end of S1. This isn't even about the cheesy sci-fi because even that would have been tolerable if the characters had remained true to themselves. And this is not to say that they shouldn't grow or change. But the growth and change should make sense with how the character was introduced. Their behavior and reactions should be understandable! TPTB at Roswell have not done this. They have sacrificed the integrity of the characters to force a story line they badly miscalculated viewer response to.
Roswell lost nearly one million viewers from the season finale on the WB and the season premiere on UPN. I believe the majority of that loss can be directly attributed to the direction of the storyline. And when the show lost nearly another million viewers from the premiere episode to the second episode - certainly some of that loss can be attributed to disillusioned fans. But still TPTB seem not to be listening! They give lip service to the 'return of relationships' thinking that will cure what ails Roswell. What we want are relationships that reflect the sensibilities of the characters as they were written. They have so corrupted the premise of this show and the characters personalities in favor of misguided story lines or meeting the demands of egos and network brass, that it no longer resembles the show we fell in love with. The show we fought for!
Viewers have to trust the storyteller - the fans of Roswell have been dealt so many twists and turns in the name of ratings and/or ego that we no longer trust the storyteller - and I believe that is the reason for the demise of Roswell. The arrogance of TPTB in not reacting to legitimate fan protest and their failure to understand the appeal of their own show.
Now they have 6 more episodes. Everyone knows the show will not be renewed and all of us are worried that the characters and the story will be left up in the air and we will have no closure. The fans are the consumers and we have been giving them feedback on a failing product that has been ignored. I am NOT suggesting the writers should always react to every fan outcry but when the 'false spoilers' being fed to us last season were actually better than what was aired and the loss of fans seems to support this - shouldn't they change the product? Why wouldn't they change the product?
March 4, 2002 - Am I a fool for Max and Liz?
NO! JK is the fool for ignoring me and you. I keep asking myself how these writers could have a heroic character say 'I could never be with anyone else' and then be with someone else. I guess that is the way real life is - and that's their excuse. Evidently, they never saw it as a fairy tale and we did - that was their first mistake. I should have known the minute Max left the CD after uttering those words to Liz and then kissing tess that JK would betray us all. He telegraphed his intent a long time ago.
And betray us he has. But then again, he has every right to. It's his baby (pun intended), his vision. He can write any damn story line he wants. It doesn't have to make sense to anyone but him. Tess is his creation - his vision and has been different than ours from the moment that character was introduced in Crazy. It's been downhill for anyone who believed that Max and Liz were special; who believed that their flashes were a sign of them being 'meant to be'; who believed in romance; who believed in this 'alien' who was more human than any of us and lived a higher standard in being so. JK tore him down in S2. Made him stupid, gullible, mean and inconsiderate. And the really, really sad thing is, JK doesn't see it! He believes that S2 just made Max more human. That we should have felt sorry for him as he threw those trash cans around while never once mentioning Liz! Yup, just what television needs, a hero who treats women badly and behaves like a child just because his feelings have been hurt. Talk about different visions.
And you got to give the man credit. I mean not even losing a million fans over the ending of S2 and another million after the S3 premiere has stopped JK from continuing with his vision. He wanted Max searching for spot and didn't care if he had to continue writing Max as selfish and stupid in the process. I can just see him stomping his feet and yelling 'It's my show damn it! Screw them all!' And so he has. Giving those of us still watching crumbs while he went about his story line and lost even more viewers. And, if you can believe the spoilers, the course is still set for what he believes is an 'emotionally satisfying' conclusion.
Any man who can use words like 'magic' and 'mythical' and 'emotionally satisfying' to describe the Roswell of S2 and S3 is definitely the fool. Not me. I don't care if he gets paid more money for one episode than I've made in my lifetime, I know good story telling when I see it. I know that the creator of a television show can not betray the audience and expect to succeed. I know that if the audience loses faith in the hero you have no moral center for any story. I know that you can't send out messages (metaphor's or not) that it's ok to mistreat women, that's it's ok to be irresponsible and that it's ok to betray and kill, without the show paying a price in failing ratings. Bad story telling is bad story telling and staying true to your vision at any cost is stupid and irresponsible and makes JK the fool, not me.
March 12, 2002 - The Unvarnished Truth
It is unbelievable to me that the beauty of S1 could end up so corrupted by the very person who is supposedly responsible for it's magic. This is what Katims says about the use of the song 'Fear' in the Pilot from the new Roswell CD: "The love affair between Roswell and music was born in the editing room while we were working on the first few minutes of the first episode. In early cuts, there was something unsatisfying to me about the moment Max healed Liz after she was wounded by an errant gunshot. This moment was so important. It was the foundation for the pilot episode and the entire series. I felt it needed to be not only a heroic moment, but also a spiritual one. It needed to be something that would create a deep,life-altering bond between Max and Liz. "
It makes one wonder how he could then purposefully destroy this 'life-altering bond' between Max and Liz. But he did. We all know now how much JK loves the character of tess because we are subjected to her every May sweeps. He has always intended that this character be THE BIG OBSTACLE. From what transpired after her introduction the only thng I can think of that explains it, is that JK truly must have believed that the viewer would be torn asking the question 'Should Max love tess?' or 'Or should he choose Liz?' His definition of 'spiritual and life altering' must be different than mine because he never seemed to either be aware of the amazing 'connection' that the characters of Max and Liz had made with the majority of the viewers or he ignored it (I think he ignored it). He may have described the connection in words we associate with it - but he also must have thought that he could create just as big a connection with the character of tess. And when he couldn't, he was unwilling to redraw the story. He just went ahead - and made it worse - trying to MAKE us LIKE tess. And then the WB only added to the destruction when they came down on the side of JK by the dictum 'to make it about the aliens' (no one will ever convince me that isn't in a memo somewhere!) and concentrate on the blonds.
Thus EOTW and its obvious intention of making Max 'available' for a romance with tess. Viewers were outraged (HA!) and that's when JK apparently dug his heels in and those last six episodes of S2 were written - JK always intended the 'tex' to be real - but he left it 'questionable' so he had an out (or perhaps all the questions and ridiculous dialogue are just more examples of inept story telling), in any event, he just never took it. It saddens me beyond words that the 'tex' scene was made so 'pretty'. It sickened me that he thought Max would succumb to tess in this way without being mind warped! JK apparently doesn't believe in soul mates and he doesn't think a man would 'save himself' for someone he pledged was 'the one, the only one.' JK's only interest was setting up the 'search for son' story line that as it turns out, he badly miscalculated viewer response and sympathy for. And now it's even sadder for me knowing that M&L won't get nearly as much time for resolution all because JK wouldn't back down from what he originally planned and go with what was WORKING! That makes him either stupid or arrogant. Sorry - if I offend anyone but I will never forgive this man and I put the blame for the disaster that is Roswell squarely on his shoulders.
And that doesn't even cover his total incompetence in telling a story! The continuity problems, dropped story lines and questionable science fiction are simply over-whelming and have degraded the show to the point of ridicule. The viewer doesn't know what to believe, what to remember; what's a clue to be filed away or simply one more unexplained event. He has no understanding for the fact that a viewer invests emotionally in these characters and providing an emotional pay off is what makes the viewer stay tuned. If JK thinks 'tex' is the big emotional payoff of S2 this only further reveals a total lack of respect for the viewer, his characters and a total incompetence for writing science fiction. The writers, under JK's direction, have broken so many rules of story telling that the viewer has lost faith in them and therefore the characters. It is a credit to the strength of the actors, most notably Jason (even on a bad day) and Shiri and their portrayals of the characters Max and Liz that there is any audience left at all.
So many of us have devoted our time and our money to 'saving' this show. Our thanks has been to disregard our feelings and treat us like we have no intelligence. The sane thing is to want this show to end - to want a stop to the emotional roller coaster - but then again the sane thing would have been to stop watching at the end of Season One. But Max and Liz have touched me so deeply, have invaded my life so completely that as insane as it is -
I hope that somehow, some way there will be a Season Four! Part of my insanity in wanting a S4 is knowing that once again Max and Liz have gotten the short end of the story telling in upcoming episodes. We are finally to see Max and Liz cement and marry...all in about 60 seconds. We were forced to endure 'tex' and the morning after and the crap preceding and following; we were forced to endure 3 episodes of Isabel wedding a character we didn't know and the honeymoon and more than one scene of them having sex or just finishing with sex. And now we are forced once again to relive 'tex' for another entire episode. And our reward for riding the roller coaster of Max and Liz is 60 seconds. Our emotional payoff for our investment in three years of suffering is 60 seconds. I suppose we should be grateful we will see any resolution at all but this again is something I place at the feet of JK and for which I also will never forgive because if he had any sensitivity, any brains at all - it would all be a mind warp and he would not waste an entire episode on a story line he lost a million plus viewers for and knows is a slap in the face to those fans who stuck it out! If he only had a brain, he would have resolved the issue and given us Max and Liz rejoicing in the knowledge that neither betrayed the other and we would be witness to a loving union and the morning after that is longer than 60 seconds!
I truly wish we could bring a class action suit against him for negligence. We sue manufacturers for faulty products all the time. Roswell has become a faulty product causing untold suffering and mental anguish and the one responsible is Jason Katims. But alas, we will have to settle for our 60 seconds and believing the adage 'what goes around comes around' and take solace in that.
May 26, 2002 - My last word…
'Love is the emblem of eternity; it confounds all notion of time; effaces all memory of a beginning, all fear of an end.' Germaine De Stael Too bad the creators of Roswell didn't understand this!
Kevin Kelly Brown, executive producer of Roswell, wrote a letter to the fans. In it he says 'what makes me angry is that I don't know why…' Roswell didn't succeed like Buffy or Smallville. 'Roswell had such great potential' and 'Even the most jaded folks in our business saw that pilot and said, "This one is special; this one can go all the way."'
I find your question very sad Mr. Brown. A man who puts up his own money and has so much at stake and in the end does not know 'why' Roswell failed, doesn't say much for his next project's success. So, I'm going to do you a favor and explain it to you.
I only suspect the villains in this story so I won't belabor who is at fault and refer to them as 'the creators' or 'the writers' or 'TPTB' (the powers that be). It is quite obvious to most fans what happened to Roswell. And it doesn't matter whether you're a 'Dreamer' or a 'Candy' or even find the character of 'Isabel' phenomenally fascinating. The problem with Roswell is that the creators never had a long-term vision for Roswell - They did not understand their own characters and they did not understand science fiction or mythology. And because in addition they profoundly misunderstood the audience Roswell did have, the results were inconsistent writing, badly crafted storylines, characterizations that changed suddenly instead of evolving; and badly conceptualized science fiction and mythology that in an effort to MAKE Roswell succeed, changed episode to episode, season to season. TPTB (whoever they were at any given moment) failed to hold onto what was 'good' about Roswell and build on it because they never really understood what was good about Roswell to begin with. In misguided efforts to 'broaden the appeal' of Roswell they ignored the audience that 'got' Roswell and sought out an audience that turned fickle when their efforts failed.
What was good about Roswell and made the Pilot 'one of the best' was the interaction of three aliens with their human teenage counterparts. What was best was the central theme that 'because a boy loved a girl he changed the world'. What was best was the beginning of a real 'mythology' (which is different from Science Fiction) that should have paved the way for many years of wonderful stories revealing that mythology in the context of the alien struggles to discover who they are, why they are here, while attempting to fit in - to find a place - in their new home. The irony of the 'alienated' teenager was texture not substance. The central focus of this struggle is the bond and unfolding love story of Max and Liz, brought to magical and vivid life by the actors who portrayed them. From the moment young Max sees the beautiful, happy Liz on the playground in his new home, Max and Liz are the embodiment of star-crossed lovers - soul mates - who were meant to be together and despite all odds of the universe find each other. Just as all lovers are in mythology, their love was 'special.' Not only are these characters the moral center of Roswell as we watched them discover just how special their love was, their love story touched a nerve in the audience because it was so special - so different - so magical - so unlike any other love story portrayed on television or found in most viewers real lives. But this difference was trampled and ultimately reduced to the ordinary by those who would 'change' Roswell to broaden its appeal. Those who apparently believe that love is not enough, that betrayal is inevitable, and that there is no place on television for loyalty, bonds that never break and a love so strong it can withstand even the weakness of humanity. The creators deemed such a love would prove boring and limiting. That indeed Max and Liz were boring. However, these beliefs only defined the limitations of the creative team. Struggle is a part of love and of life and struggle can be portrayed, obstacles provided to love without betraying that 'special' love. The 'tension' can be maintained and this one concept - steeped in the mythology of the aliens' planet - was a canvas so large it amazes me that TPTB couldn't see it. Couldn't see that the purpose of the aliens on earth was to merge with humanity and make a stronger more resilient humanity. (And further add to the metaphor of teenagers discovering their place in an adult world.) They could still have had their evil aliens and the action of constantly hiding from those that would destroy them while still evolving the relationships and the growth of each of the characters. They could still have found something for Isabel to do that didn't involve cleavage or throwing herself at the nearest unattached male. They could still have utilized Michael's edginess and distrust juxtaposed against Max's cautious and sensitive nature.
But, Season two unceremoniously dropped any themes having to do with mingling with humanity and focused only on the aliens. Selfish, rather dimwitted aliens fighting other bad, dimwitted aliens leaving any human contact to the end of episodes as afterthoughts instead of meshing the relationships into the alien struggles to remain invisible while fighting for their lives and the lives of their human friends. The aliens we grew to love were now more like cardboard cut outs fashioned after billboards flaunting their sexual appeal rather than their humanity or intelligence.
It is funny to me that as Season 3 began the party line about the newest incarnation of Roswell was supposedly brought about by the fans inability to follow a complex storyline. Aside from the inherent ridicule of this statement it is totally false. What was difficult to follow in Season 2 wasn't the complex mythology and science fiction but the badly conceptualized science fiction that prevented understanding or caring for that matter. Characters and stories were introduced and then dropped, alien powers materialized with no foundation and came and went or transferred from character to character for the convenience of a story line. Events in previous episodes were ignored in the next. There were no rules or limits or growing understanding of the mythology of these aliens. The lack of continuity was laughable. But the saddest change in Roswell was the loss of 'the love story of Max and Liz' and how their growing bond furthered the humanity of the aliens and their understanding of who they are and how they fit in. Gone were the growing friendships with the humans as they shared the danger that knowing these aliens presented to them and how these friendships affected all of them.
Instead we got the destruction of every relationship, of every character but most glaring was the destruction of Max. Apparently the 'search for son' storyline is what passed for vision but like the vision or not, it didn't have to be presented in the heavy-handed way that it was. The story could have been done without the decimation of the love story of Max and Liz. If only the writers had understood how this relationship had touched their audience! But the failure of the writers to comprehend the audience reaction to Max and Liz or their choice to ignore it is simply more proof of their inescapable inability to tell a compelling story without disenfranchising the faithful.
Either way it further eroded the Roswell that should have gone the distance. And the beginning of Season 3 only confirms this conclusion. By continuing to write their hero as selfish, shallow and emotionally distant to the one person who in the beginning he had 'risked' everything for was incomprehensible. It's hard to imagine how anyone new to Roswell would be sympathetic to either Max or Liz given this introduction! The only audience left for Roswell were those who had seen and felt what was special about Roswell before it was fleshed out and tampered with and who managed to still hope against hope that somehow it would find it's way back.
But in the end the damage was done. Not only had Roswell lost most of it's die hard audience there were no new viewers flocking to this third 'makeover' of Roswell. Neither the chemistry and wonderful acting of Jason Behr and Shiri Appleby nor the edginess of Brenden Fehr or the beauty and talents of Katherine Heigl could overcome the lack of creativity of those in charge and their inability to craft a science fiction love story steeped in an unfolding mythology of three aliens discovering their humanity.
In short Mr. Brown - Roswell failed because the creative people you chose to bring the project to life simply didn't know what the hell they were doing.
'The heart has reasons that reason does not understand'
Jacques Benigne Bossuel
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