For a long time, my best friend Rachel has been bugging me to watch Roswell. She constantly talked my ear off about her love of both Michael/Maria, Liz/Max and just how well done the show was overall. I was hesitant to watch the show as I’m not really a fan of the sci-fi genre. But after spending time with one of the show’s stars, Nick Wechsler, at ATX Festival this year, I decided to finally pull the plug and watch it.
If you’re not familiar with the show, Roswell tells the story of three hybrid aliens, siblings Max and Isabel Evans and their friend Michael Guerin, who find themselves in Roswell, New Mexico after their spaceship crashed there in 1947. While they hid who they actually were for most of their life on earth, things change when Max heals his human crush Liz Parker after she was fatally shot in the stomach in a dispute between two customers at the Crashdown, the restaurant where she and her best friend Maria waitress. Based on the Roswell High book series, the show debuted in 1999 on The WB and ran for three seasons for a total of 61 episodes.
One of the reasons I enjoyed the show so much was how character-focused it was, which I personally feel is uncharacteristic of a lot of genre shows. They really dove into the backgrounds of the core five, Max, Liz, Maria, Michael and Isabel, plus eventually, Jim and Kyle Valenti. Each character was vibrant and intriguing, beyond the fact they were aliens or got some sort-of alien powers after being saved. They were relatable, even if a tad overdramatic at times; but hey, it was The WB — what else would you expect? These characters launched the careers of some Hollywood’s most well-versed stars: Shiri Appleby, Katherine Heigl, and Brendan Fehr, just to name a few.
The relationships, specifically, are arguably still the most iconic and lasting part of the show. There was Max and Liz, the show’s central couple who had a Romeo/Juliet-esque relationship. Their chemistry was electric and constant from the moment Max saved her life in the pilot. Unfortunately, fate kept them apart more times than not. I still think about how heartbreaking it was to have “Future Max” appear only to tell Liz that they must find a way to get Max to fall out of love with Liz in order to save the future and the lives of everyone they know. We did learn in the finale that Max and Liz get married and presumably live happily ever after, so I can’t really complain about them being kept apart for so long.
However, Michael and Maria were a much more impactful couple to me. I felt every moment between this opposites-attract duo. Despite Michael being stubborn and hesitant about opening up, Maria still stuck around and continuously risked her life for him, even when she probably shouldn’t have. Who will ever forget the time Michael showed up outside of Maria’s window in the rain and she just held him close as he cried in 1×14? Or the time he bought her the stage in Vegas so she could have her moment to shine? But my favorite moment between the two of them is without a doubt when Michael pours his heart out to Maria in the series finale and then rides off on his motorcycle. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” he tells her. “This meant so much to me. From day one, from the moment when I kidnapped you and stole your car, I knew you were the girl for me. I never wanted anyone else. I still don’t. Wherever I’m going, whatever I’m doing, know I’ll always love you.” I MEAN C’MON. ALL OF THE TEARS.
Roswell did lose me for a bit early on in season two. I really could have cared less about the Skins storyline; in fact, “Harvest” might be my least favorite episode of the entire series. I also had a hard time getting into the few episodes where the dupes of the Royal Four were present. Speaking of the Royal Four, Tess (another alien) was the absolute worst, and not just because she ended up coming in between Max and Liz. She was manipulative and cruel and just downright evil. I’ve honestly never cheered as loud as I did when Liz flung Tess across the room, using her newfound powers, at the end of season three.
Despite not having always been popular in terms of ratings, the show has an undeniable legacy, one that has continued to this day. In fact, it was recently announced that The CW picked up a reboot aptly titled Roswell, New Mexico. It initially received a lot of backlash and hate from the OG Roswell diehards when it was announced. However, the show’s creators and writers have made it clear that the show is not necessarily a reboot or a revival of the beloved classic, but rather a re-imagining of the book series. You can watch the trailer and make up your own mind about whether or not this show looks promising. Regardless, the fact that the original show has enough of a lasting impression to spark a reboot of any kind speaks for itself.
Even though it’s been almost two decades since the show first premiered, I still think Roswell holds up and is definitely worth a second look, especially by fans, like myself, who aren’t typically fans of the sci-fi genre; there is something in this show that you’ll enjoy.
Have you seen the original Roswell? Are you excited for The CW’s re-imagining? Let me know in the comments below!