Binge Report: ‘Roswell’ Season 1 – You Don’t Know What You’re Missing

As the characters on the show are divided into two groups–those who are in the know and those who are not–I now realize that the world is divided into two similar groups: those who have watched Roswell, and those who haven’t.

That I am writing this article 13 years after the show ended its run is both shameful and incredible. I have been living for so long without this show in my life and it is only now dawning on me how much of a blindspot it has been in my understanding of the origins of the teen-sci-fi-romance phenomenon. At the same time, it feels so wonderfully fortunate to be able to discover a gem like this and enjoy it for the first time now, when most of the show’s fans had been grieving for it for over a decade.

What is it about this show that makes it so special? For one thing, the chemistry that exists onscreen between all of the principle actors is remarkable. The deep connection that Liz (Shiri Appleby) and Max (Jason Behr) share is so easy to buy into because the actors successfully convey their longing every time they look at each other. The brilliance of their different worlds and the ways that it is used to keep these two desperately in love people apart is as heartbreaking as it is captivating. Michael (Brendan Fehr) and Maria (Majandra Delfino) experience similar challenges as Liz and Max, while also grappling with more typical teenage struggles like fear of commitment and rejection.

The teenage experience works well on television because the stakes are always high. Everything is important when you’re 16. Roswell jumps on this concept and deepens the stakes even further, making the usual teenage emotions even more intense with the knowledge that their relationship choices could actually be matters of life and death.

Watching Roswell makes me feel like I have uncovered a secret. Sixteen years after the show debuted on the WB, this Netflix binge is time travel. A nugget of Jason Katims’ genius in a world before Friday Night Lights and Parenthood. A glimpse into the magnificence of Shiri Appleby before she blows us all away in UnREAL. A chance to love Katherine Heigl before the rumors of her difficulties on the set of Grey’s Anatomy. All of this while telling truly compelling stories about characters that are extraordinarily easy to love.

If you haven’t watched Roswell, I used to be you. And my life was just fine. Now it’s a little bit better, though.



  1. Roswell was one of my staple shows on The WB. I read the books and was interested in seeing the screen version translation. There were some changes but for the most part, the tv version kept to the premise of the novels. Katherine Heigl being on Roswell was the reason I started Grey’s Anatomy and the primary reason for me watching Unreal was Shiri Appleby. Additionally, Roswell’s theme “Here With Me” was how I discovered Dido, now one of my favorites. Great points stated in article. But I must warn, Season3 of Roswell felt like a different show and wasn’t as enjoyable.

  2. Roswell is still my all-time favorite show 13 years after its cancellation. It is still the standard that I judge shows in the same wheelhouse against. Sure it wasn’t always perfect but when it was, there was nothing better in my opinion. I never felt more connected to a show physically, mentally and spiritually than when this was on.

    And as great as Shiri is on Unreal, you also have to mention her in Life Unexpected. There was an episode in Season 2 where Emma Caulfield throws in a Roswell reference. When that happened I was geeking out big time.

    1. Love this comment. I completely agree. Having now watched half of season 2, I do think season 1 stands out as nearly perfect from beginning to end, but I’m still enjoying it. And I haven’t watched Life Unexpected…I’ll add it to the list, thanks!

      1. The end of season 2 is where it becomes a horror show. It loses the beauty of season 1 completely. I’ve never seen a show destroy its original golden premise so utterly. In the first half of Season 3 you’ll see the Heigl factor which added to its doom. The end of season 2 and the start of season 3 feel so loosely connected because they pandered to Heigl, left the actual important character stuff until last and ran out of time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *