(1999-2002) was a short-lived Science Fiction
series that debuted on The WB
network in 1999. It was moved to UPN
in 2001 in a package deal with Buffy the Vampire Slayer
, and completed a run of three seasons.
The series was a combination of a Science Fiction
/Monster of the Week
show and a romantic Teen Drama
. Many audience members felt that the show never quite got the balance right.
The three main characters, Max, Isabel and Michael, are Antarian survivors of the Roswell UFO crash
, and were adopted by human families. Though Max and Isabel were raised in a privileged, loving family, Michael was raised in a trailer with his abusive foster father. Though the three successfully isolate themselves from the rest of their classmates through high school
, their plan is disrupted when Max saves the life of a girl named Liz Parker using his alien superpowers.
Liz's sidekicky friends Maria and Alex add the comedy
to this otherwise broody and dramatic lot.
Based on the YA novel series, Roswell High
. Often considered to have set the stage for (and been superior to) Smallville
, which uses a lot of the same themes, but with DCU
characters instead of original ones.
This TV series provides examples of:
- Aborted Arc: Upon the discovery of their spaceship's hologram message, the group is met with a projection of Max's mother/the queen. She tells them how their planet has been overtaken, their people are now slaves, and she begs them to save them (presumably the reason they were even cloned in the first place). We expect some resolution of this in the end, but the final episode gives us the happily ever after of between Max and Liz, who seem to have forgotten all about the crisis on their home planet -despite the Skins (the invaders) being repeatedly establish as bad guys.
- Subverted with The Reveal of Tess' intentions. The whole situation of why the character's Protector would abandon his mission of protecting them and die so Tess could return home, and why the Big Bad would even want Tess and Max's son to be the new heir when he's been trying to kill the Royal Three all series makes no real sense when you think about it.
- Makes more sense when you realize that there is a resistance who are loyal to the royal four and would willingly accept rule from someone who came from the royal bloodline and who would presumably hold the seal, even if in name only. Stands to reason that if you control the ancient bloodline of the King, you control the throne and it's people. Though it turns out Tess' pregnancy yielded no results on that front.
- At the end of the season one finale, the camera very deliberately pans across the four hybrids, and stops momentarily on each (as if to emphasize that there are four of them) as a slow, steady pulsing sound rises in the background... We then go to a scene of a handsome young man in a car, driving at night (the scene ends with him in New York City) with an alien device in hand; the device is the source of the pulsing sound. The device begins to flash with a spinning series of flashing lights; we then see a bright flash of light, and what appears to be a pulse of sound in response to the device), from four different locales across the U.S. (a farmhouse, a home in a suburb, a lighthouse on a seashore, and a high-rise in a large city). The young man looks up from the device and says, "It has begun." It seemed as if the next season was going to introduce a group of hybrid Evil Counterparts to the Roswell kids - but the entire thing was dropped without any further mention or explanation.
- Abusive Parents: Michael's foster father.
- Alien Among Us: The three kids are raised human.
- Anchored Ship: Good God, Max and Liz went through almost every variety of this trope and Michael and Maria toy with it as well
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other
- Applied Phlebotinum
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Michael and Maria ran on this trope
- California Doubling: The wilderness scenes heavily featured Kirk's Rock. The scenes of the town, including the Crashdown Cafe, were shot in Covina, CA.
- The Cast Showoff: Dang, Maria can sing. And have an arc devoted to her musical career.
- Cloning Blues: The main characters are clones of alien royalty, and there's a spare set running around Earth.
- Cut Short
- Dawson Casting: Jason Behr was 26 at the start of the show.
- Drunk with Power: Michael when he receives Max's royal tattoo.
- The Empath: All of the aliens, and whoever they heal.
- Evolutionary Levels: The Hybrids are supposedly designed to be at the apex of human evolution.
- Evil Twin: The "spare set", who got dumped in New York. Though its half of a subversion, with only Rath and Lonnie being actually evil.
- First Episode Resurrection: Liz dies at the beginning and is revived by Max, setting off the events of the entire series.
- Five-Bad Band—> Season 2 - The Skins and allies
- Five-Man Band: Season 1
- The Hero - Max Evans
- The Lancer - Micheal Guerin
- The Smart Guy - Liz Parker (Although Maria also is the "street smart" version of this in some episodes)
- The Big Guy - Tess Harding (she may be the smallest member in size but she has the personality and powers of a Big Guy
- The Chick - Maria DeLuca/Isabel Evans
- The Sixth Ranger - Kyle Valenti
- The Mentor - Jim Valenti
- Team Pet - Alex Whitman
- Season 3 is the same as season 2 but with Jesse Ramirez taking Alex's place as team pet
- Give Him A Normal Life: Max gives up his and Tess' son Zan so that he can grow up in safety and relative normality.
- Government Conspiracy: The Roswell Crash coverup, the Special Unit, and the second crash coverup. All including assassination and torture
- Half-Human Hybrid: The kids are later revealed to be alien hybrids rather than pure-up aliens to address the unlikelihood of Human Aliens.
- Happily Ever After: The last line of the series: "All I know is that I'm Liz Parker, and I'm happy."
- Healing Hands
- Human Outside, Alien Inside: fairly subtle for the most part, but Michael's reaction to alcohol, where he had electrical lines running through his body and every sense in overdrive, was one of the more obvious cases.
- I Believe That You Believe It
- Identical Grandson: Max looks like the old king of the Alien world of Antar.
- Actually, he would look exactly like his human donor, not Zan the king. The Hybrid Chronicles arc covered this up with Michael finding his family's donor, who were shocked at how similar Michael was to their father/grandfather. Of course he was the guy's clone.
- I'll Kill You
- Les Collaborateurs: Vilandra betrayed her people for her lover, Kivar. Likewise Lonnie (from the spare set) and Rath collaborate with the skins.
- McLeaned: Alex, after Colin Hanks left the show.
- The Men In Black: The FBI Special Unit, focus of the first arc. The Remnant of the deactivated unit returns in Season 3 for revenge.
- Mind Rape: Tess, to Alex.
- Multitasked Conversation: a convoluted instance involving a cell phone.
- My Death Is Just The Beginning: The series opens with Liz introducing herself and telling us that "five days ago I died".
- New Super Power: Michael's shapeshifting.
- More impressive and unexpected with Max's shield in the beginning of season 2. Also can be applied to Tess's sudden ability to wipe out and completely change memories, though no one seemed to be surprised in the show.
- Official Couple: Max and Liz.
- One World Order: Antar's government.
- Race Lift: Liz was Latina in the original books. On the show, she was played by the very white (or Jewish; close enough) Shiri Appleby, and her last name was changed from Ortecho to Parker.
- Room 101: The White Room
- Roswell That Ends Well: Of course.
- Servant Race: Shapeshifters like Nasedo, Kal Langley, and the two who died at the crash were genetically incapable of refusing an order of their king.
- Shout Out: Many parodies of Science Fiction shows in general, including discussions of Star Trek, and guest appearances by Jonathan Frakes (a producer) playing himself.
- Story Arc
- Ten Percent Of Your Brain: Humans have psychic powers, which they've forgotten how to use.
- Theme Tune: Dido's "Here With Me".
- They Would Cut You Up
- Touched by Vorlons: Every humans whom Max brings back to life gains powers similar to the hybrids. It is not clear if they become half-alien themselves or just become as evolved as them. (See Evolutionary Levels above)
- Town with a Dark Secret: Harvest, 2nd season.
- X Meets Y: Dawson's Creek meets The X-Files.