Roswell and Twilight: Which Supernatural Sweethearts are Superior?

By • Nov 14th, 2009 • Category: Roswell

Sherryn Daniel wrote an article about “Roswell” and “Twilight” for the pop culture website called Cincity2000.com and asked to publish her article on Crashdown.com.

Thanks a lot for the contribution Sherryn!

Written by Sherryn Daniel

With the premiere of New Moon, the next film in the Twilight series, less than two weeks away, CC2K contributor Sherryn Daniel reflects on whether the series has some hidden commonalities with a sci-fi offering of a decade ago, the WB series Roswell, and debates the merits of each.

Teens, tweens, and even young girls get flustered when they see or even think about Robert Pattinson, the sexy actor who plays vampire with a bite in the Twilight movies (based off of Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling book series). Many even seem to relate to the character Bella, the lonely, emo heroin from the books and in the movies. But what most Twilight fans don’t realize that in 1999, the WB had a teen drama called Roswell (watch the pilot here) that pretty much has the same plot with aliens instead of vampires. The show never had as much popularity as Stephenie Meyer’s creation, but it did have just enough to become a cult classic.

Twilight is the story about a lonely teenager from Forks, Washington, who gets saved by a supernatural hottie, vampire Edward, and she lets him make it his mission to protect her at all costs. Bella was saved from getting smashed by a car when her quiet yet hot biology class partner Edward Cullen uses his vampire strength to halt the car, he puts his secret and life at risk for hers. Of course, the relationship is fraught with other-worldy peril—but they’re soulmates, after all, so they can overcome all obstacles.

Roswell was based the Roswell High book series by Melinda Metz. The storyline in the first Twilight book/movie and Roswell’s pilot resemble each other tremendously. Roswell’s pilot is the story of a sensitive girl named Liz Parker (Shiri Appleby) who has lived in the hum-drum town of Roswell, New Mexico, her whole life. She has dreams of being a famous molecular biologist and has close knit friends whom she grew up with. One day, she gets shot at her family’s restaurant but is saved by her quiet yet hot biology class partner Max Evans (Jason Behr), an alien masquerading as a human teenager. By using his healing powers publicly, he puts his secret and life at risk for hers.

Both of the series have a gripping plot and an addictive romantic storyline that hooks viewers into being lifelong fans. But even though they have extensive similarities, there are distinct. It begs the question: which is best, Twilight or Roswell?

Roswell and the Twilight film feature voiceovers from the female leads but there is a stark difference between the tones they use. Appleby conveys warmth and sincerity when she talks about her life changing, whereas Stewart’s voiceover is shrill and simply pronounced words coming out of her mouth. Both female leads are straight-A students and highly proficient in science.

Another similarity is found in the attraction between the otherworldly hunks and their objects of desires in that Edward is strangely attracted to Bella because of her unique scent while Max has loved Liz from the moment he laid eyes on her, and they formed an alien-ignited bond after he healed her. Of course they fall in love, and Max’s alien roots gets in the way of their happily ever after. Since Bella’s scent tantalizes Edward, it makes him not only drawn to her but it draws in a murderous vampire who tries to kill her and Edward throughout the story, but they do love each other and form a bond over their time together.

Liz and Bella are both depicted as “average” girls. But Bella differs from Liz because she is portrayed as an angry, pretentious, loner who doesn’t seem to have any other dreams except chase after Edward and doesn’t put forth effort into making lifelong friends like Liz does.

Both stories feature sexual tension by way of biology (class). In Roswell, the tension can be found in Liz’s and Max’s soulful stares. However, in Twilight, the main tension consists of Bella reiterating in her head, over and over again, that yes, Edward is smoking beautiful.

Max’s alien family—his sister Isabel (Katherine Heigl) and friend Michael Gueren (Brendan Fehr)—oppose the budding relationship. The three of them play gorgeous loners in their high school. Similarly, Edward’s family members are also attractive loners who initially oppose his relationship with Bella.

One important difference between Roswell and the Twilight movie is that the secondary and tertiary characters are well rounded and also have their own storylines. In the Twilight film the audience can only grab bits and pieces from who the background characters, who are only on screen a very short period of time.

Both the show and the Twilight books and movie use Native American mysticism, and the music selection from Stephenie Meyer’s playlist (which she published on her website) list is very similar to the music selected for Roswell: largely dark with romantic tones. Older male authority figures also play important roles in both stories: Bella’s father is cop who complicates his daughter’s relationship, while Roswell’s Sheriff Valenti does the same exact thing.

Some may argue that Twilight does not resemble Roswell and that it’s better than this cancelled WB/UPN show. When I was a tween, I watched Roswell and fell head-over-heels with the story of an alien from the 1947 crash saving an every day girl. Of course, I had a mad crush on Jason Behr (the 90s version of Robert Pattinson, in my opinion). And when I watched Twilight in theaters, it felt very similar to my beloved alien TV show.

I personally think Roswell is better than the Twilight film because the pilot is warmer, wittier, and better plotted. Although both are enjoyable, you just don’t get as much realism and soul with the Twilight film as you do with Roswell. That said, Roswell also had three seasons to develop its characters and storylines, so perhaps New Moon will allow Twilight’s characters to grow and evolve the way Roswell’s characters did.

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13 Responses »

  1. I completely agree! I hear time and time again of people comparing Roswell and Twilight, and in the end, Roswell always win! Max & Liz beat Bella/Edward any day of the week! :)

  2. Wow.. I never linked those two before… but after reading your comparison bit by bit… i first became speechless.. then had this urge 2 post a comment..I ve yet 2 see a couple beat our lovers Max n Liz……. Their soulful stares..Amazing… Im a czry fan of roswell too n like u said i dont think both these stories can be forgotten in a lifetime…

  3. I agree..
    I’m new in Roswell world because I started and finished watching Roswell last year beacause I was like 6 when it was 1st shown in my country.. in the same time (last year) I started reading Twilight and I thought ”why is this plot so familiure”, then I googled Roswell&Twilight and then I saw that there are more people like me who thinks the same. I even put some simularities on my blog. xD
    I personally don’t like Bella, she is so awful.. Liz is smart, beautiful, nice, she has meaning in her life, she wants to became something…she’s awesome. and Bella is just…. BORING!!!!
    I love Max more then Edward because he never gave up on liz. okey there was this whole Tess problem but he still loved Liz whit every beat of his heart.
    Maria was awesome.. a perfect best friend…

    Roswell is way better, it has better plot, better looking actors and one of the most important thing is that they know how to act. In twilight there is just 1 actress who knows how to react, act, look etc. in front of a camera and that is Dakota Faning.

    ROSWELL please come back again……<3

    tnx for publishing this. :)

  4. I’m really glad you guys like this article. :)

  5. I agree Roswell still has my curiosity why a ten week summer filler for a ten to twelve year old group had such a international flavor. Roswell still out shines the Twilight and New Moon films. One can only wonder what a big screen Roswell would have made for the film company.

  6. I never thought of it like this. I absolutly love Roswell and I can’t stand Twilight and this makes me dislike even more. I will always watch Roswell over anything else!

  7. After reading the entire Twilight saga I stumbled onto the Roswell series at Costco. We recently moved to New Mexico so I took a chance on the series since I had never heard of it (I do not watch television, haven’t in over 10 years). I no sooner finished watching half of the first season when I was struck by the numerous similarities between it and Roswell. I emailed a Twi-hard friend with an exhaustive list of similarities, even suggesting that Twilight appeared to be a rip-off of Roswell. Mistake. Note to self: Twi-hards do not take kindly to the insinuation! Sherry’s analysis here is much more complete so I forwarded it to my friend :-)
    I saw New Moon today and it was heart wrenching when Edward left Bella, but nothing compares to when older Max convinces Liz that she must make younger Max fall out of love with her. The pain in that episode is so so powerful. I had to rewatch the episode three times. The acting is just so well done and believable. The use of Romeo and Juliet —oops!—The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is yet another similarity.

  8. I completly agree…

  9. I completely agree! I had such an urge to go home and re-watch the Roswell series after sitting through New Moon the other night. (I had never seen the original movie or read the books, so I wasn’t sure what to expect with the Twilight series). Yet even though there are striking similarities between the two, Roswell has much more to offer in terms of character development, plot and ACTING! And not to get on a soapbox, but kudos to the writers of Roswell who chose to give Liz greater ambitions in life (like becoming a molecular biologist) than Stephanie Meyer, whose protagonist seems to be content with merely being with her heart-throb and nothing more… yeah, that’s a great role model for impressionable teenage girls.

    Oh, and I still <3 Jason Behr even 10 years later :)

  10. I just started watching Roswell again(on DVD 3 Seasons) , I was so upset after they cancelled. I always hoped they would bring it back, or follow up with the next generation of Roswell, (great idea by way!!)

    After watching Twilight for the first time, I found similarities (romance & mystery), but of course their are differences.

    I just wish the networks would produce shows like this one, don’t they understand that woman love romance, intrigue, mystery, dark and handsome guys. (Enough with reality shows)

    Thanks for this article

  11. I am so glad this article is up. The world needs to know that Twilight is far from original. I am trying to convince a hardcore Twilight fan that it is from Roswell. She has always laughed at Roswell and now that there is a possibility she finds it hard to believe. O well. I guess ignorance is bliss for some! But it will come out one day and I cant wait until it does!

  12. I wonder where Stephenie Meyer’s idea for The Host came from? Roswell, third season! Remember the episode where Max heals the old man and dies in the process, and the old man takes on Max’s body? And Max’s “self” still resides in the body and is able to overcome the host because of his love for Liz, and the host (the old man) can feel all of Max’s feelings as well as his own? RIP OFF #2, thank you Ms. Meyer. Of course it was only one episode, but that theme with all its dynamic processes is central to the book The Host.

    We all need to start up a campaign to get Roswell back up and running. This time it needs to be shot in New Mexico since Governor Richardson is courting the movie industry big time for the state. If any of you want a real treat, rent my favorite movie shot in New Mexico called Off the Map. We moved to northern New Mexico after watching that movie! But I digress. If Denzel Washington can spend 9 months in Carrizozo, NM to shoot his upcoming film The Book of Eli, then the cast for a new Roswell could at least use parts of NM to film a new series. But if a new series picks up where season three left off, then that group has been on the run for 7 years now and they could resettle just about anywhere, but keeping with the name Roswell, they ought to just come on back home here :-)

  13. I completely agree also. I loved the show growing up, and after recently getting season 1 on DVD, I was surprised at the similarities to Twilight.

    Roswell is still the best in my book, and Edward and Bella are no match for Max and Liz. From the twilight movies, it seems that Edward and Bella are more like addicted to each other, than truely in love. Max and Liz are real soulmates, with a real pure love for each other.