Welcome to another edition of Friday Flix. Since the BFF and I recently visited New Mexico, interesting in watching Roswell spiked, and as it’s available on Netflix, I gave it a go. I knew what this show was going into it (teen drama) but I’d watched Dawson’s Creek back in the day, so I figured it would probably be something like that.
For those that don’t know, here’s the Roswell description from Netflix:
In Roswell, New Mexico, human/alien hybrids Max, Isabel and Michael closely guard their true identities from enemies while forging romances with classmates and gradually discovering their destiny to save their home planet.
Seems like the perfect formula for a teen drama right? Girl meets boy who’s not human, and he’s the forbidden fruit, but he can’t stay away from her and no one can know their secret. (Sounds like a few other familiar plots out there, right?)
ROSWELL THE CITY
Having been to Roswell in person, they didn’t do a bad job pretending the part of California they filmed in was New Mexico. But I did notice the mountains in the background a lot (not really the case in Roswell), and sometimes the city looked way bigger than it actually was. But for those that have been dying to know, no, there isn’t a Crashdown Cafe in the real Roswell. Not even anything close. In fact, the real Roswell could take lessons from the show on how to promote tourism when it comes to restaurants. Not that I’m complaining too much. Big D’s Downtown Dive is still calling my name with those ridiculous Monte Cristo sandwiches.
Anyways, I’d be willing to let these details go if the rest of the story was more interesting. And it was… for awhile. I made it 10 whole episodes before I decided lits (life is too short).
Roswell was out right in the height of major WB (now called the CW) popularity. We had Dawson’s Creek, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Smallville for that matter. So a lot of these characters feel the same across the teenage drama-verse. Which is interesting to note a lot of this stuff is almost formulaic, but in the right hands can be fantastic, and in the wrong, boring.
Okay, if we’re being honest, I probably couldn’t stand a re-watch of Dawson’s Creek for the same reasons. The leading man. He had mysterious going for him, but once we realize he’s an alien pretending like he knows anything about what’s going on, blaaaah… He’s got that too perfect character vibe. He could be a robot and show the same amount of emotion. By episode ten I’m already ready for Liz to break up with his “yes-let’s-get-together-no-wait-I’m-an-alien-so-we-can’t” attitude.
Supposedly the leading man, Max, has loved Liz his whole life and risked everything saving her life, but risking a romance is too dangerous. Why? It worked out all right for Superman. Geez, it even worked out for Edward and Bella. I guess Max’s excuse is, well, I want to protect you from the difficulty being with me could be. *eye roll* *gag* I know, it’s all for drama, but Max is a robot who probably likes feeling like he has to suffer. *yawn*
Let’s take Clark Kent from Smallville in the almost exact same situation. You know more than anything he wants to be with Lana (then Lois). And he’ll take whatever risks necessary, even to his own detriment. He’s a character of action. And when he can’t have Lana, he tries dating other girls in the meantime to see if she’s really the one.
Maybe that’s the problem. Roswell is too much about their relationship while Smallville is more about the superpowers and the relationship is a subplot. I don’t know. Feel free to disagree with me in the comments. Max is just dry, boring toast. Period.
SPEAKING OF BORING TOAST
It’s bad when everyone else on the show is more interesting than the leads. I found myself caring more about what happens to Michael and Maria or the Sheriff and the FBI chick than Max and Liz. Maybe the other thing is I see Max as kind of a wimp, and wimps Jae no likey. I don’t mean necessarily physical. Take Chuck, for example. He’s totally a wimp in the beginning, but you know he’s going to try his darndest to save Sarah’s life whenever she’s in trouble.
Dry toast will brood about it for awhile, then come and be lame and not charming and leave you wondering what exactly Liz finds intriguing about him (other than that he’s an alien).
INTERESTING CHARACTERS TAKE ACTION
Even if you’re the super good guy, you can still be interesting by taking action. Max seems content to just let life happen to him. There was a stint in an episode where he decided to take action and he was suddenly more interesting. But don’t worry, a few more episodes killed that off real quick.
Let your characters make mistakes, embarrass themselves, get into trouble, realize that being a stick in the mud sucks, etc. etc. And if they can’t take action, give us sufficient reason to believe they have to stay on the sidelines (though already that sounds boring).
Something I learned from my Pitch Wars mentor about my character was he didn’t arc enough. So I set out to make him less likable in the beginning, a tough task which I may still not have taken far enough (I’m still polishing. Probably always will be). But because I dared to give him some arc, he’s become more interesting and it gave him a little more depth.
I just wish Mr. Dry Toast had been written with more depth.
If you love teen drama like crazy, I guess you might find this series okay. But I’d easily recommend Buffy and Smallville over it, even re-watched a dozen times before Roswell. I suppose you could watch it to see what I mean about dry toast. Though I understand if you’d rather call it lits and watch Boys Before Flowers or something instead. 😉
All right, is it disagreement time? Were those fighting words for you or do you think Roswell was a lot parts boring too? What teen shows, aside from Buffy and Smallville did/do you like watching? Or what reasons make you steer clear from teen shows altogether. Let me know below.
29 thoughts on “Friday Flix: Roswell”
I never got into Roswell, so I can’t form an opinion on it. I was in college and tv consisted of Simpsons, anime, movies, and WWE wrestling . . . I regret nothing! I did watch Buffy when it started, but I was more of a Hercules & Xena watcher back then.
I should watch Xena in its entirety. Maybe that can be my show, now that I’ve given up on Roswell.
There is a point where it got rather goofy and silly. I don’t remember the exact point though. Once I hit college in 1998, I dropped most of my shows. I did have a Callisto action figure because I liked the character, but that proved to be a mistake in a guy’s dorm. Especially since she came with a staff that you could stick into the base of her stand, so I would keep coming back from class to find her in stripper poses.
When my daughter was born, I watched anything during midnight feedings. Somehow I always ended up on TeenNick and watching Degrassi: the next generation… It was great for that purpose, but didn’t remain a habit in my life. Aside from Buffy, I can’t think of any teen shows I’ve watched since then.
It should also be noted that when I was in high school and came home at 2am from marching band competitions, nothing beat watching Teletubbies! It was brilliant television! (In other words, my half awake brain is not trustworthy!)
Degrassi huh? I’m going to have to google this so I know what you’re talking about. *off googling* Sheesh! Degrassi seems intense. o.O Is it like Saved by the Bell usually or hands down more dramatic?
Think Beverly Hills 90210, with actual teens acting, realer stories, and super INTENSE!
Liberty’s storyline attracted me during that time. She got pregnant with J.T.’s kid, gave it up for adoption, and then J.T. got stabbed/killed. She had to endure like a mofo!
Yeah, one of the promos I watched seemed super intense. Maybe I’ll give it a go. Never hurts to watch a few YA shows when your target audience is YA.
I’ve never seen the show, although I’ve heard of it extensively throughout my viewing sessions from surfing the channels. It’s one of those shows that has been on the back burner for me to watch for a long time. Thanks for the reminder!
Good luck. You’ll have to let me know what you think.
Season 1 was the best. The rest sucked in my opinion. I agree with your assessment. Best episode if I remember is when Max gets drunk. I’m not going to re-watch to find out. Buffy is good though. I get weird looks when I mention it to people, doesn’t stop me! 😀
I know, right? They’re like, “Buffy, really?” And I want to say, “So, did you like the Avengers? Firefly? Yeah, the same guy who directed that created Buffy, so take a chill pill and give it a watch.”
Hahaha, if we could just convince people to watch Buffy and Doctor Who, I think it would stop wars and make people happy. 🙂
If I ever run for president, now I’ve got a platform. “My fellow Americans, we’ve had a long, tough road, but if we could all just get together and watch shows like Buffy and Doctor Who, I think we’d find world peace just around the corner.” 😉
Well, you’ve got my vote, lol!
I feel as if this is the sort of show that sounds great in the pitch… but has the chance to go either way once it actually gets made. I’m always on the look out for great new suggestions for film or TV… but there are a lot of gems out there… don’t think I’ll be adding this to viewing list! Thanks for the warning!
I think you’ve described it perfectly. I think it would help a lot, too, if the lead guy wasn’t dry toast.
I felt the same way about this show!
I was curious to see how you’d respond. Somehow I’m not surprised. Our tastes are quite similar. Argh. The concept was decent enough. We just needed less dry toast…
Now I can scratch that one completely off of my list! I’m a huge Buffy fan. Smallville was okay, and I might have to check it out again. Thanks!
Smallville I would say seasons 1-4 are great, 5 is ok, 6 & 7 are thumbs down, then 8-10 are awesome again.
Good to know! Thanks!
Smallville has to be the best series ever, but Xena was awesome!!! My favorite season was when they went to India. You should definitely check it out.
By the way, I nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Take a look: http://writingpiecesofme.wordpress.com/2013/04/06/very-inspiring-blogs/
Have you seen Double Dare? It’s a documentary about Xena’s stunt double. Kinda cool.
I haven’t. I’ll have to go watch it. Thanks!
I have a couple of characters who react more than they act, which is really annoying. As you said, it also feels not enough to say “well, he doesn’t want to act because he’s knows he’ll get into more trouble and not be able to help the MC…and *maybe* he’s starting to believe that his ambiguous father is right.”
Yeah, react tends to be on the boring side. I had that problem with my MC early on.