TV Review: Roswell (They came in 1947.They never left.)

Liz Parker: “You’re not an, an alien… I mean… Are you?”                                                        Max Evans: “Well, I prefer the term not of this earth.”

I tuned in to Roswell in episode six of season one and was hooked.  “285 South” saw wildcard alien, Michael Guerin travel across state lines in search of answers to his past, with ticked off human, Maria Deluca in tow.  An hour later, I was hooked.  I can’t remember how I went about catching myself up with the first five episodes I’d missed, but I must have found some channel showing them because I have every single episode on video tape.  You remember tapes, right? Prehistoric recording devices before DVDs came along.

Maria & Michael

For years I’d been intrigued with the idea of aliens.  I’d watched The X-Files since I was 10 or 11, seen documentaries on the so called Roswell Incident, watched alien invasion movies like Independence Day, not to mention the yearly Christmas screening of ET in my house, and spent many hours glued to The Discovery Channel listening to people claim they’d been abducted by aliens.  Of course I was going to become addicted to a TV show dedicated to these extraterrestrial beings.  Back in the early days of the show, 2000 I think it was when Roswell made its way to UK TV, I read magazine articles describing it as Beverly Hills with aliens.  So the wrong description.  Roswell was way more sophisticated and witty than the story of rich, bratty kids of 90210.

Roswell came along right at the height of Buffy’s popularity, and I think it suffered by comparison.  The jokes in Roswell were more subtle, the drama and action a little less in your face, but the characters every bit as intriguing and vibrant as those from Buffy.

From watching Roswell, I fell in love with a lot of musicians I had never heard of.  Music was a big part of why Roswell resonated with me.  When I hear songs from the show to this day, key scenes come to mind and I’m right there with Liz (Shiri Appleby) and Max (Jason Behr) , Michael (Brendan Fehr), Maria (Majandra Delfino), Isabel (Katherine Heigl), Alex (Colin Hanks), Kyle (Nick Wechsler), Sheriff Valenti (Will Sadler), and even Tess (Emilie de Raven). I created my own soundtrack, Googling songs after each episode and tracking down the artist in my local music shop.  Sarah McLachlan’s “Fear”, Dave Matthews Band’s “Crash Into Me”, Sheryl Crow’s “I Shall Believe”, Counting Crows’ “Amy Hit the Atmosphere” and Sense Field’s “Save Yourself” will always remind me of Roswell and myself at 16.  Unfortunately, much of the music was lost in the transition to DVD due to budgetary reasons.  If I had known that, I wouldn’t have spent money buying the boxsets. It’s disconcerting and sad to watch a scene and not hear the music you’ve always associated with a specific moment between two particular characters.  For that reason, my boxsets are gathering dust while my video tapes are treated like treasure.

Liz & Max

The characters are what made Roswell the quality, intelligent show it was.  Max, Isabel and Michael struggle to deal with being the only aliens in a town that makes its living from the alleged UFO crash.  Their secret is jeopardised in the first few minutes of the pilot when ordinary, hometown girl, Liz Parker is shot in her family owned diner. Max has been in love with Liz for ten years and doesn’t hesitate to use his healing powers to save her life. This act of heroism is the catalyst for the next three seasons which see the aliens begin human relationships and maintain friendships with Liz, Maria and Alex, find out more about where they came from and find themselves hunted down by shady government types.

I cried three or four times during the last, emotional episode “Graduation”, but Roswell ended on a happy note and to the upbeat and cheerful “Shining Light” by Irish band, Ash.

If you missed Roswell, I urge you to check it out.  It remains my second favourite TV show of all time, beaten only by Buffy.

If you’ve watched Roswell, who were you favourite characters, and why?


About Emma

Buffy fan, avid reader, writer.
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22 Responses to TV Review: Roswell (They came in 1947.They never left.)

  1. Okay, if this is you favorite show except for Buffy, then I have to see it. I wonder if it’s on Netflix.

    I can’t really say what my favorite show of all time is. I guess it’s a toss up between Buffy and
    X-Files. Oh, and Moonlight.

    • Emma says:

      Oh, I really hope you find it on Netflix, Lauralynn. It’s a wonderful show. My three sisters and even my Dad would all watch it together.
      I liked Moonlight too; pity it didn’t last longer.

      • It WAS on Netflix. Yay! I added it to my queue.

        I was SO upset when they cancelled Moonlight. But the good thing was, they knew it enough ahead of time to end the show the right way. That was a phenomenal last episode.

  2. laurajc83 says:

    I loved Kyle & Sheriff Valenti, I think they had a great relationship together and they added much needed humour and grounding to the show, when all the other character’s lives were caught up in alien troubles!! I love the Christmas episode of season 2, I know Tess was there in the house with them, but I really felt happy for Kyle and his Dad as they seemed really happy for the first time in a long while! I love the songs Crash into me, Edge of the Ocean & Amy hit the atmosphere! I would say Buffy, Roswell & Moonlight are joint favourites of mine!! 🙂 I think u can watch roswell for free if u google free tv online! 🙂 🙂 agree with u on the boxset problem too! v annoying!

    • Emma says:

      Kyle & Valenti’s relationship was cute. Remember when the Sheriff dated Maria’s mom for awhile? 🙂 The Christmas episodes were great, especially when Michael gets a job as Santa so he can work with Maria who’s an elf! Edge of the Ocean made it on to the official soundtrack I think?

  3. Shannon says:

    That’s a pretty high recommendation! I also will have to Netflix it now. I tried to watch a couple episodes when it was on the air but I couldn’t figure out what was going on; I think I came in to it too late. I am especially intrigued by the Liz and Max relationship.

    • Emma says:

      Hope you do, Shannon. I think I could relate to Liz, always writing in her journal. Love in the first episode when she writes: “I’m Liz Parker and five days I died. After that, things got really weird.”
      Liz and Max have a really intense, soulmate kind of relationship, but I preferred Michael and Maria. They’re hilarious and more down to earth than the other two.

  4. beckyday6 says:

    Again this is one of the shows that I saw a few random episodes of and had no idea what it was. I remember thinking it was really good though, and that I was intrigued even though I had absolutely no idea what was going on, I remember there being all this crazy romance/tension and I didn’t understand why haha. But it made me want to watch it! Might have to give it another chance at some point, especially as I love Buffy too. 😉 On the missing music – how horrifying! That would drive me mad if they did it with Buffy. Maybe if your VHS tapes ever give up you should have all the songs ready on your iTunes when you watch it on DVD so you can play the tracks over the moments. 😛

    I have to ask though, what’s the so called Roswell Incident? I keep hearing the name and I’ve gathered that it’s something alien-ey but I have NO idea what it is! Could you enlighten me? 🙂

    • Emma says:

      You should check it out; I think you’d really like it.There was crazy, romantic tension, lots of laughs and scary parts too. I remember being so excited watching season one on DVD. I pressed play for episode one, and instead of the Eagle Eye Cherry’s “Save Tonight” which is the first ever song in the series, I heard something very different. I was like, “WTF?” and I had a look at the leaflet that was inside the DVD box and there was the explanation about the music. I nearly cried! But that’s a great idea about iTunes.

      In 1947 a UFO allegedly crashed outside the desert in Roswell, New Mexico. The government claimed it was simply a weather balloon, but many people don’t believe it. That started the conspiracy theory that aliens really landed and the government covered it up. Exciting, yest?:)

  5. I liked Roswell too, although I have to admit I didn’t see it up until the end. We need more extra-terrestrial-type-fun on TV. Maybe I’d take time to watch if TV was still fun.

    I miss Buffy, too. 🙂

    • Emma says:

      The third season was enjoyable but it focused more on the sci-fi elements than the romances between various characters, which I think hurt the ratings, but the finale was a lovely send off.
      So many of us miss Buffy.

  6. Intrigued!!! Been fascinated for years by the whole Roswell Incident thing but never saw this show, will check it out now. Love your references to films etc you liked in this genre, notable absence to me, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,”? I love it, could watch it again and again for all the little subtleties eg lines like “OMG this shows Einstein was right!”, “Whatcha mean, Einstein was probably one of them!!!”

    • Emma says:

      I’ve only seen Close Encounters once, quite recently actually, but wasn’t too impressed – sorry 🙂 But now I’m going to have to go back and watch it again and pay closer attention! I missed the subtleties.

      • Example, when the ship lands and people emerge among the first are the pilots of a training flight which disappeared without trace in the Bermuda Triangle in the late 1940’s, hmmm that’s Roswell time, right????

      • Emma says:

        Yes it was 1947 as far as I know. There are so many people who really believe an alien ship crashed. Maybe I’m one of them! Will def check out Close Encounters again and pay better attention.

  7. faithmckay says:

    I love Roswell! I love how the show ended. I always wanted them to pick up the show from there with a new story. Its such a fun and fascinating end.

    I always loved how izzy listened to cds and which they had that happen more.

    I was always curious about maria and michael’s relationship. I really liked michael, in part because he was so often a jerk, but he was trying.

  8. faithmckay says:

    Im trying to comment on my phone, and it looks like my phone just ate my comment. So if you get two from me, i apologize.

    I love roswell! I always really liked maria and michaels relationship. I really liked michael in general, in part because he was a jerk, but he was really trying to do the right thing. He got dealt a tough hand. He was interesting

    I loved the end of the show so much! I always wish theyd pick up with a new series off what happened after. Its such an interesting idea for the beginning of a show really.

    The crash down waitress outfits were the best thing ever!

    • Emma says:

      I always wanted one of those waitress uniforms, lol. Yes, the way Izzy listened to CDs was cool and they way she could just touch a nail and change the colour of her finger polish! Michael was a complicated guy. He usually came good after being a jerk and Maria was great at putting him in his place.
      Thanks for stopping by Faith.

  9. Debra Kristi says:

    OMG! Second only to Buffy? I had no idea you liked it that much. It’s been so long. I think it’s time for a refresher. I recall random episodes and details – not enough. Netflix!

  10. Pingback: Songs from TV Shows: Round One – Roswell | Emma's Ramblings on Supernatural Fiction

  11. Leonard says:

    Did you ever transfer your VHS tapes to digital? I’m in the middle of Season 3, recreating the episodes with original music in DVD quality. A few episodes need a little something here or there I can improve on, if I had another person’s copy of the original episodes digitally. The copies I was given in April were recorded from the exact same source my VCDs came from (some are no longer readable) some 7 or 8 years ago.

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