Television / Science Fiction

Roswell: Season One

Distributed By:  20th Century Fox

Reviewed by Justine Manzano

            Ok, I know – it’s a little late for this, but that’s the beauty of DVDs – they are forever.  Roswell was a little television series that was released in 1999 and that I had about ZERO interest in.  It’s not really that I felt above high school based shows, as I was an avid viewer of Buffy the Vampire Slayer for a year at that point.  It just didn’t do anything for me – it wasn’t interesting to me.  So, the three seasons that the series was on came and went without me ever watching the series or thinking I had even missed anything.  And then, a few days ago, I got super ill and ended up home from work by 12 PM with nothing to do.  A good friend sent my husband home from work with some mental food for me to snack on – the first season of Roswell.  So I watched…

            Roswell begins following Liz Parker (Shiri Appleby, Swim Fan, Six Degrees), a waitress at a diner called The Crash Down, located in the heart of Roswell, New Mexico, famous for the alien crash that supposedly happened there years ago, and was supposedly covered up by the government.  Mocking her town’s disturbing fascination with aliens, Liz and her friend and co-worker Maria DeLuca (Majandra Delfino, Quarterlife) go through their days serving alien-themed lunches to psycho conspiracy theorists.  Then, one day, a gun fight breaks out in The Crash Down and when Liz is shot, a fellow student, the mysterious Max Evans (Jason Behr, Skinwalkers, The Grudge) rushes to her rescue, healing the gun shot wound with his hands and rushing to create an excuse. “You broke the ketchup bottle when you fell,” he tells her, and suddenly, Liz finds herself covering for Max’s strange ability. 

            Max, who has loved Liz from afar for years, eventually ends up explaining the situation to her – he, his sister Isabel (Katherine Heigl, Grey’s Anatomy, 27 Dresses), and his best friend Michael (Brendan Fehr, CSI: Miami) are aliens.  They were in the now infamous and supposedly covered up alien crash that landed in Roswell and their pods were kept in stasis until 10 years before the events of the series.  10 years ago, they emerged, and managed to get adopted by families in the surrounding area.  Now 16 year old high school students, they still aren’t sure where they came from or why and Max’s gamble to save Liz endangered them, cluing their enemies in on their presence.  Suddenly, everyone is scrambling to discover their secret – Kyle Valenti (Nick Weschler, Team Knight Rider), Liz’s boyfriend, wants to know why Liz is suddenly so drawn to Max, his father, Sheriff Jim Valenti (William Sadler, Wonderfalls, Die Hard 2) knows something is up with Max and wants to prove his father right about his belief in UFOs, the guidance counselor, Mrs. Topolsky (Julie Benz, Buffy, Angel and Rambo) is curious about them for reasons nobody can be sure of, and Alex (Colin Hanks, Untraceable, Orange County and yes, Tom Hanks’ son) wants to know why his two best friends, Liz and Maria, have suddenly become so secretive.  Together, the group will struggle with their relationships, find love, and try to understand the identity of the mysterious Tess (Emilie DeRavin, Lost).

            After watching the first season of this series (addictively, in one week, with all other shows but Lost hitting a backburner), I thought, HOW THE HELL DID I MISS THIS THE FIRST TIME?!!!  Sure, it had some cheesy moments (all teenage dramas do), and sure it could be a little too much sci-fi and not enough reality, but those small issues are no reason to miss out on this little gem.  This series is filled with wonderfully written scripts, brilliantly mastered plotlines (the way they keep the main love story interesting is quite innovative, to say the least), and pretty damn good acting.  Though certain characters occasionally seem slightly one-dimensional, they eventually grow into well-developed, full-grown characters, more complex than most television characters, so hold out hope.

            All in all, Roswell is a definite must-see for all fans of science fiction and teen dramas, or just one or the other.  Still, any television fan should find something interesting about this brilliant-but-cancelled drama.  So, go out and buy Season 1 – while you’re busy doing that, I will be quickly working my way through Season 2.


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