Roswell’s Alien Teens at Home on UPN (spoilers)
Thanks to Shadi for sending this in!
Roswell’s beautiful alien teens now at home at UPN
By BRIDGET BYRNE
Entertainment News Wire
LOS ANGELES – A door slams in the face of a good looking, dark haired young man. A beautiful blonde girl sits on her bed, weepy and disconsolate, distractedly fingering a guitar.
It’s the set of Roswell, the aliens-are-us series, in which gorgeous young things – whether descendants of an alien culture or homegrown Americans – are bursting with all the glorious mood swings of teenage passion.
The hour long science-fiction young adult drama now airs on UPN, Tuesdays, 9-10 p.m., ET/PT. This third season of the show, which previously stuttered along for two years on rival network The WB, is now in a prime timeslot behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer which also jumped networks.
Roswell is the small town in New Mexico rumored to be the site where an alien spaceship crashed in 1947. Enter the possibility for these hot alien teens to be living and loving there.
This day an episode entitled “Beyond the Music,” planned to air at the denouement of November sweeps, is taking shape in Hollywood on the Paramount stages that contain sets of the town’s homes and the Crashdown Cafe, where the seasoning of choice is Tabasco sauce.
Not surprisingly the cameras are focused on a potential love triangle. This one is between Maria and Michael and new arrival Billy, described in the script as “the classic archetype of mysterious drifter and soulful artist,” but sardonically dubbed by Michael in a line of dialogue as “Billy Bob Thornton.”
Clayne Crawford is guest starring as Billy opposite Majandra Delfino’s (pretty human) Maria and Brendan Fehr’s (alien, but much better looking than your average human) Michael. Maria’s bedroom is the setting.
Director Jonathan Frakes keeps the levity high as the actors prepare to act moody and mysterious.
“My philosophy is that if people are laughing it’s more likely they will be spontaneous,” he says, while praising the talents of the show’s clan of “sexy, smart, talented, bright, young” stars.
Both Frakes and the show’s executive producer Jason Katims mention the multi-layer aspects of this series; the challenge of weaving science-fiction, teen angst and comedy together to play to a new audience on UPN without alienating the small but intensely devoted group of fans who have been there since the beginning.
“UPN wanted to make sure that the backstory wasn’t too complicated… that it wasn’t so drenched in mythology that you felt like you had already missed the boat on the show if you tuned in now,” says Katims. “That was very good news to me because I felt the second season got a little too complicated from a story point of view… and when we do that I think we get away from what is the core of our storytelling, which is just very relatable story lines… I think the science fiction part of the show is what should lift the show up to metaphor. It should make it feel magical, but it shouldn’t take over what the show is about.”
Although the main characters are still teens this season they are faced with more mature issues. “We’ve extended the canvas a bit by taking them into the workplace, on to the road, into a precipitous marriage… [they’re in] territory we haven’t really explored before,” says Katims, whose previous credits include the insightful, emotional shows Relativity and My So-Called Life.
“The crux of the metaphor of this whole show is that when we are teenagers in a certain way we all feel like aliens and, as I’ve been doing this for a couple of years, I will go a step further and say we all feel like aliens no matter what age we are,” says 40-year-old Katims, stressing he is also working to strengthen the “family drama” aspect his show. “It speaks to outsiders. In a weird way I have always thought of this as an immigrant story – dealing with how much of the other world do we hold on to and embrace, and how much do we let go… [in order to] assimilate.”
New writers this season include Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz, friends and co-workers who as editor and writer at the publishing company Daniel Weiss Associates created the Roswell High books, the first volume of which inspired this series, produced by Regency Television and Twentieth Century Fox Television. Those books were aimed at the tween market, but Burns’ notes this series has clearly grown into “less of a high school show.”
Max (played by very handsome dark-haired Jason Behr), and Max’s sister, Isabel, (played by very pretty Katherine Heigl) are teens of alien heritage trying to feel at home in Roswell. The series also stars Shiri Appleby as Liz, another pretty human teen who knows the aliens’ secret as does Kyle, played by Nick Wechsler. One of the few adults who knows the secret is Sheriff Valenti, played by William Sadler.
Metz and Burns, entertainment buffs who tease each other about their “hokey” tastes and “nerdy” obsession with movies and television, are amused by, and amusing about, their transposition from New York to Hollywood. Their first script will be about a New Year Eve’s party. Their office is a trailer on the Paramount lot. Being on site enables them the benefit of dropping by the set, a valuable insight for this embryonic screenwriting team who had sold some previous scripts but had never seen them produced.
And what do these young women who first dreamed up this fictionalized Roswell think landed at the real Roswell?
“I believe the spy weather balloon story,” says Burns.
“I feel that I should have [an opinion] but I really don’t know,” admits Metz.
“But I certainly don’t think it was beautiful teenage aliens,” laughs Burns.