Our daughter loaned us her DVD collection of a cable TV series called Roswell. She was certain we would enjoy it, which proved to be an understatement. Little did we know that it would become an addiction.
The series stars a cast of young, talented actors, including Tom Hank’s son and an incandescent Katherine Heigl. And, yes, it is based on the premise that aliens crash landed in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947.
PREMISE: Decades after the crash, three half-alien half-human hybrid children emerge from their incubation pods. A brother and sister are found and adopted by a middle-class couple but the third boy ends up in foster care. Years later, the three find each other and discover they are not completely human as memories surface and their powers begin to emerge.
For Max, Isabel and Michael, life becomes a struggle to hide their true identities and live normal lives–whatever normal is for hybrids. Until a fateful day when Liz Parker, a young high school waitress and Max’s secret crush, is shot in a random argument in the diner. Unable to stop himself, Max uses his power to heal Liz and breathlessly begs her not to say anything as he flees the scene.
As Liz writes in her journal, three days ago she died. And her life began again from that day… Well, at this point we were already hooked. But experience with TV series plots made us wonder just how long the writers could sustain the interest. With unusual story lines, so many bizarre twists often develop, the plot is blurred into chaos. Not so with Roswell. The three seasons were able to maintain a surprising amount of depth. True, a few episodes were a bit over-the-top, but we forgave this in order to live out the destiny of characters we had become quite fond of.
Roswell is high school angst and coming-of-age drama meets social/political sci/fi. Imagine the normal problems you would think aliens would encounter navigating high school and dealing with parents and the local sheriff, combined with the undercurrents of a small, UFO-crazy American town. Add new revelations concerning their origins and questions involving their destiny, with the salting of human friends and relationships. As Liz Parker says, “It’s complicated.”
INFECTING THE ADDICTION: We shared our fun in staying up too-late to view too-many episodes with a couple who also appreciate good media. They were interested to see the pilot; and we gladly watched it with them, curious to see if they enjoyed it as much as we did. Yup. Half-way through episode one, they were hooked. We took full responsibility for their addiction and sent them home with season one. A few nights later, they called. Forcing themselves to watch only a few episodes at a time, they had to know some of the plot direction to be able to turn off the TV. Such is the addiction…
Roswell became an entertaining escape my husband and I will probably purchase for ourselves, to visit whenever it takes our fancy. I think what I liked the most about it was the way the writers developed each of the characters, causing us to like them for their strengths and their weaknesses. As Izzy tells Alex, Hanks’ character, “We probably have more questions about ourselves than you do about us.” We enjoyed watching Izzy, Max and Michael discover themselves while “humans” are drawn into their secret through the inevitable consequences of Max saving Liz’s life in the Crashdown Diner… Many of the truths they discover, we discover about ourselves. That people need each other. That friendship can exist even between those who seem different…in the beginning.