Friday, January 18, 2019

Pilot Review: Roswell, New Mexico

Roswell, New Mexico (CW)
Premiered January 15 at 9pm

The CW isn’t a terribly old network, but it’s still managed to bring back and resurrect a whole bunch of shows. While there have been new takes on established superheroes and remakes of shows only a few decades old, this is the second time just this season that the CW is actually making a new show based on a series that used to air on UPN and the WB, the two networks that essentially combined to form this one, after “Charmed.” While I think that the original “Roswell” might have appealed to me at the time that it aired, I wasn’t so into television until around the time that it aired its third and final season, and have never seen it as a result. The formula here is pretty familiar, something that I’ve seen used in a handful of programs the CW has debuted over the past decade. The aliens crash-landed in Roswell as the stories go, but they’re not little green men, and can easily pass as human. There are definitely themes of the alien as a stand-in for the “other” in society, but this is hardly the most potent symbolism. The fact that Max left a physical hand imprint on Liz’s wound when he healed her after she got shot feels like something that would have gotten them caught a whole lot earlier, and it’s hard to ignore those kind of things when trying to take this show seriously. This is very typical CW fare that feels hopelessly dated, which is probably exactly what viewers of the non-superhero shows the network airs want to see.

How will it work as a series? Both Liz and Kyle just got read in on the biggest secret that Roswell has to keep, and they’re theoretically going to be approaching it from opposite sides. Teen drama and sci-fi antics are sure to follow, and there’s nothing especially creative about this show that seems to distinguish it from all of the other thematic fare that the CW has tried to launch over the past few years.
How long will it last? The reviews don’t seem to be too great, though most CW shows aren’t huge hits with critics. The ratings, which also don’t always register given how CW compares to the other broadcasters, were more optimistic, demonstrating that this show does pretty well next to the more established hits that have a greater automatic audience appeal. I’d give this show the edge to earn a renewal at this point, though it’s unclear if that’s definitely going to happen.

Pilot grade: C

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