December 17th People magazine (Slightly Spoilerish)

Thanks to Rayven1 and the others that sent this in


UPN (Tuesdays, 9 p.m. ET)

Going into mid- December, this third-year drama series (in its first UPN season after two on The WB) appeared in need of a creative overhaul. The writing wavered between teen angst and tongue-in-cheek, and each plot turn seemed more desperate than the last.

Human-looking alien Max (Jason Behr), a Roswell, N. Mex., resident and former monarch of the planet Antar, and his human girlfriend Liz (Shiri Appleby) went from convenience-store robbers to jewel thieves in the season premiere. In late October, Max motored to Los Angeles and auditioned for the role of an alien on UPN’s Enterprise. (Blatant plug? Nah.) While in L.A., he got involved with an alien shape-shifter disguised as an arrogant movie producer (a shouting, swaggering Joe Pantoliano from The Sopranos), but that story line petered out. Than Max’s sister Isabel (Katherine Heigl) married human lawyer Jesse (Adam Rodriguez), only to be stalked on her honeymoon by an alien lover from her previous life. There were signs that viewers weren’t intended to take all this too seriously, but I started to suspect that Roswell had simply ceased believing in itself.

Now the Christmas episode (Dec. 18) has me reassessing. An autistic boy speaks to Max and he jumps to the conclusion that the child is a medium for interplanetary communication. Turns out he’s nothing more than a human kid who needs help, and the well-meaning Max tries to befriend him and his mother. Max and Isabel’s alien superpowers come into play, but subtly. In this touching storyline and the lighter subplots, the characters – alien and human – share earthly concerns and emotions. Maybe Roswell should keep its feet nearer the ground. Bottom Line: The less alienating the better