Cinescape-Fall Preview-Roswell

This comes from a friend and I both-she typed it up for me but won’t let me give her credit for it since she read it to me over the phone. Also thank you to everyone else who sent this in. It’s the Sept/Oct 2000 issue (the Fall TV Preview issue with Jessica Alba from Dark Angel on the cover).

on pg. 53

ROSWELL
Mondays 9pm WB

The ‘I Was a Teenage Alien’ show Roswell probably doesn’t remind many
viewers of Cheers or Hill Street Blues. But those are exactly the shows that
executive producer Jonathan Frakes mentions when he talks about the sci-fi
series’ second season.

“I’m a big believer in this show,” says Frakes (who’s better known to Star
Trek fans as The Next Generation’s Will Riker). “We’re going to go for
something like The X-Files, Cheers, Law & Order, Hill Street Blues – all
those big second season successes.”

Roswell’s big break-out will have to come in its second year because it
didn’t come in its first: Ratings for the series weren’t exactly stellar,
and a renewal was far from a sure thing.

“I was always confident that this show had such a loyal following that we
were not in trouble. I don’t know if I was being a Pollyanna about it or
not. Others were less confident that I was,” Frakes admits. “They made it
feel like a nail-biter. But why wouldn’t you put this show back on? It’s one
of the best shows on the WB.”

Apparently, the WB agreed: It eventually picked up the series for another
season. But the show hasn’t received a complete vote of confidence from the
network. In the spring, the WB moved the show to a new Monday-night
timeslot. And network execs asked Frakes and his writers to steer the show
more toward science fiction and away from high school heartaches.

“We were directed to do it by the WB [in order to] separate ourselves from
the Populars and the other [teen-oriented] shows,” Frakes says, adding that
the shift in tone made dramatic sense given the alien conspiracies the
show’s characters have had to contend with. “They’ve been probed. Once
you’ve been probed, you don’t go back to high school.”

The show’s sci-fi pedigree will get a big boost in the coming season thanks
to a high-profile addition to the behind-the-scenes staff – former Next
Generation/Deep Space Nine writer/producer Ronald D. Moore.

“Ron is the creator of some of the great Klingon mythology of Star Trek.
He’ll help us with the alien mythology on Roswell,” Frakes explains. “We’re
going to see that culture. At the end of season one, it was suggested that
there is, in fact, another race of aliens, and we will get to see them, too.
They’ll surface early in the season and scare the shit out of people.”

Of course, just how many bowels end up being evacuated because of Roswell
depends on how many people actually tune in to see the show. But Frakes
exudes Riker-like confidence about the series’ uncertain future. According
to him, Roswell’s timeslot, combined with its new emphasis on science
fiction thrills and chills, will give the show the second-year sizzle he’s
expecting.

“I think that the audience really settled into our Monday night timeslot as
opposed to our Wednesday night slot, where we were competing with Voyager,
another sci-fi show,” Frakes says. “When the show became a sci-fi show as
opposed to a teen angst show, we needed to have our own little niche, and I
think we’ve found that on Monday.”
-S.H.