This is a pre-released article of our Roswell Turns 20 special.
Music not only supports a scene. Music amplifys feelings. Music evokes emotions within us. Music sets the mood, and it can boost our mood. Music affects our minds and souls. Music brings fans together. Music creates memories.
It just takes four chords of Dido’s “Here With Me” and the opening theme of ROSWELL starts playing in your inner eye. Some songs can trigger memories, connect them of your days at High School, college, concerts, parties or situations – or remind you of scenes and fictional characters on TV shows.
You will surely agree that the music on The WB/UPN’s ROSWELL is special and truly an uncredited leading character of the show. Well picked songs, many unknown artists, indie vibes, and amazingly fitting to the adventures and events our favorite inhabitants of the infamous city in New Mexico. If you discovered this cult hit after its three season run you sadly never saw the show like it ought to be seen. Please join Leonard and discover in depth information on the changed music and the way ROSWELL was meant to be.
Roswell – In Its Original Form
the way it was meant to be
If you watched ROSWELL when it originally aired, you are probably aware that when they originally released the show on DVD in 2004-2005, and re-released in the Katherine Heigl-ized* covers in 2008, a majority of the music used in the episodes were changed or removed entirely for budget and copyright reasons.
I just calculated as I’m writing this using Excel, the total is almost 80% changed (by contrast, The Wonder Years, a show long held back because of the sheer amount and the pivotal role music plays in the show, had only about 4% music changed out of 300+ when finally released in 2014). The music chosen in episodes was in my opinion always one of the show’s strongest suits. They always had a knack for picking the exact lyric from the right song to help dictate the moment.
“They always had a knack for picking the exact lyric from the right song to help dictate the moment.“
Sometimes it was something very subtle – like in 104 Leaving Normal when Liz is serving the orthodontists, the lyric “I’m missing you like candy” plays just as Max arrives, and then the moment Liz starts walking towards him, serendipitously the chorus is just starting up again with the lyric “baby won’t you come to me”. The song being played is pre-This Is Us and even pre-A Walk to Remember Mandy Moore’s 1999 song “Candy“, which if you think about it also is kind of ironic playing against the orthodontists. Even in episodes I didn’t like, like say 207 Wipeout!, having music from artists I liked like Good Charlotte, Vitamin C and Foo Fighters made the episode a little more tolerable.
Music is the lifeblood and soul of whatever show or movie you are watching. Change the music, and you can’t possibly feel the same way. You could feel something similar, but it will never be the same. I’ll give you an example. Imagine watching say Dirty Dancing, and “Do You Love Me” is not playing during the watermelon scene. Now here’s a more concrete example. Within the last year or so, you actually no longer hear Van Halen’s “Good Enough” in one of my all time favorite movies Spaceballs when they enter the diner for the Alien spoof scene near the end of the movie if you stream it or watch on demand. The 5 different DVD and Blu-ray releases I own all still have the Van Halen song on it.
Now check out these tweets from June 2018 from Liz Tigelaar, the writer/creator of Life Unexpected – arguably Shiri’s 2nd best show. She was responding to a fan that informed her a song was changed on the Netflix version of the show. I pulled out my copy of the DVD and checked the episode and scene referenced. The DVD has the correct song, when I pulled it up on The CW’s streaming site, the song indeed was different.
Now, back to ROSWELL. I bought the DVDs as they were released to support the show. I bought the original 3 releases and a Complete Series box set of the Heigl-ized* re-release. I never watched them. Not even once. I couldn’t watch these altered versions of the show I love. Despite the fact Jason Katims and the original music team from the show were picking the new music, the notion that I’d hear anything other than Eagle Eye Cherry’s “Save Tonight“ playing as Liz delivers the Will Smith and Sigourney Weaver at the start of the Pilot is sacrilegious, at least to me.
This is the note that was included with the first wave of the ROSWELL Season 1 DVDs in the US. As far as I know, it was not included in any other seasons or in the re-released Heigl-ized DVDs.
This is not to disparage the music team or the bands that they chose to replace the original music. The songs chosen I’m sure are fine music, and most would probably have worked great if ROSWELL was aired from 2004-2005 as opposed to 1999-2002. But again, it’s not the same.
Some Season 2 DVDs had the new songs sticker: “Includes new cutting-edge songs selected by the original Roswell music team.“ I have not seen a Season 3 DVD with it.
There are dozens I could choose from but I settled on these 6 particular examples of iconic moments during the show to focus on. I picked a group moment, a comedy moment, a Dreamer, a Candy and a Stargazer to be fair and 1 that should definitively prove my point that it’s not the same (it just happens to be another Candy). Again, I have never seen the DVD/Streaming versions of these scenes until writing this.
6 particular examples of iconic moments
(1) Group moment
First the group moment. From 221 The Departure, I chose the scene where they blow up the jeep and say goodbye to Valenti. For the TV version, the song used was Coldplay’s Trouble. For DVD/Streaming the song used is an appropriately titled song The Sonnets – City, Spark, Fire. The DVD song has a melancholic tone that fits the emotion they are leaving. It doesn’t however have the following moments that Coldplay’s Trouble has. It doesn’t have the haunting piano. It doesn’t have the drum kicking in just as the jeep explodes. It doesn’t have the subtle double entendres or pun-ability of the following lyrics – “oh no what’s this” as Max and Valenti hug – stark contrast to where they were in the Season 1 finale; “spider web and I’m caught in the middle, so I turn to run” as Max walks toward the rest of the Pod Squad; “the thought of all the stupid things I’ve done” as Max puts his arm around Tess; and then Chris Martin’s pain in the lyric “I never meant to cause you trouble” as they switch to a wide shot of the aliens walking away and finally “I never meant to do you wrong” as we cut to Liz lying on Maria’s bed.
(2) Comedy moment
For the comedy moment, I chose Alex’s stripper sequence from 203 Surprise. In the DVD/Streaming version, the song used is Almost Ugly – Superstar. The original song was Quad City DJ’s Cmon N Ride It. This is a no contest. Plus you can barely hear Alex’s dialog as he’s dancing over the music on the DVD/Streaming.
(3) Stargazer moment
For the Stargazer moment, I chose Isabel at Alex’s grave also from 221 The Departure. The DVD/Streaming song is Patrick Conway – Brave Goodbye. I didn’t get any real emotion watching it over the grave scene. It was even more out of place to me when the song plays again in 303 Significant Others when Isabel accepts Jesse’s proposal. On TV, Remy Zero – Perfect Memory played. To the Smallville people – we claim this song more than you do as ROSWELL used it a full year before they did as Clark and Chloe’s song! Also, for the grave scene, a raw acoustic or a demo version was used. The lyric used is “all your little songs it meant everything to me”, and then Isabel raises her head and then the chorus kicks in “I’ll Remember You …”. You felt everything in that raw version. I am still looking for this version by the way, so if you have the version used in Departure, share it with me.
(4) Candy moment
For the Candy moment, I chose the scene of Michael in the rain outside Maria’s window from 115 Independence Day. This scene is one of the definitive Candy scenes, and I was surprised this wasn’t one of the iconic songs Jason Katims demanded to keep. Highwater Rising – Life in Three Parts is the song on DVD/Streaming. Collective Soul – Run is the TV song. While the new song is nice, I feel like they only chose the new song because it has she, window, room and rain in the lyrics. The defining TV moment is when Michael starts shedding a tear with “I weaken with each voice that sings”.
(5) Dreamer moment
For the Dreamer moment, I could have easily chosen Max and Liz’s first kiss to Gomez from 109 Heat Wave. First kiss song being iconic is too easy though. Instead I chose the strawberries scene from 116 Sexual Healing. Last Days of April – All Will Break is the DVD/Streaming song. Just like the Stargazer song, I feel nothing. I don’t see what the music team wanted me to feel when they chose this song for this scene. On the TV side, they had Marcy Playground – Sex & Candy playing. Now let’s talk about this. Besides the obvious title, we start with the lyric “this surely is a dream” seeing as Liz was fantasizing before Maria so rudely interrupted her. After Liz asks for the umpteenth time on the show “what are you doing here Max” the lyric kicks in “hanging around”. The cat and mouse it’s trying to portray is embodied as Liz says “I understand” and heads back to the fridge for the next pack of strawberries. Max leans forward as she’s walking away smelling her hair and the chorus kicks in “I smell sex and candy here”. Then it comes back to the lyric looping “mama this surely is a dream” when Max spins Liz around and they start making out. Also remember – “I love aliens – they taste just like chicken”.
The final moment I chose should be definitive because the music IS what defines the scene and because it is the scene. The opening sequence of 109 Heat Wave, where Michael arrives at the Crashdown and makes out with Maria, then Liz comes downstairs and sees them is a dialogless scene. The music was the only thing telling you how to react to what was happening on screen. The DVD/Streaming song is Morphic Field – I Won’t Lie to You, the TV is Santana & Everlast – Put Your Lights On. They are two very different songs. There’s no way you can feel the same thing listening to both songs on the same scene.
This is a case of whatever you saw first is what you will probably prefer. Since I’m preaching the TV version – Santana is a man who talks to you with his guitar. The riffs at the end as Michael and Maria really turn up the heat is what moves me.
If you really dug around the internet back in the early-mid 2000s, episodes with original music had floated around on ROSWELL fan sites and message boards all those years. But upon the release of the DVD, combined with the rise of YouTube and streaming – Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and the like – slowly but surely they became harder and harder to find. They were being lost to the revisionist history Jason Katims was forced to adhere to. The fact that the show you watched/are watching be it on DVD, digitally downloaded or streaming is not actually the show in its true original form is not even remotely mentioned anymore. If you are a person who discovered ROSWELL post-2002, chances are you never saw what we fell in love with. I find this situation perfectly comparable to Star Wars.
“If you are a person who discovered ROSWELL post-2002, chances are you never saw what we fell in love with.“ – Leonard
If you are watching any of the original 3 movies – unless you are watching the 2006 Special Features disc (which is in lower quality no less), VHS or Laser Disc – regardless if you are watching it on any other DVD, on Blu-ray, downloaded, streaming or even on TV on TNT – you are watching 1 of George Lucas’ post-1997 edits and not the 1977/1980/1983 original versions of the movie that either you or your parents fell in love with (there are a bunch of versions and that’s a whole other can of worms).
But VHS tapes fade over time. A few months ago, I took a look at 1 of those tapes for the first time in maybe 5 or 6 years. I had my VCR connected to both my computer and the 65 inch in my living room. The picture on top of this page is a frame of Liz from Heat Wave is what my computer captured. Trust me it looked even worse on the TV.
And then Twilight happened. It actually was serendipity. I knew absolutely nothing about it until the commercials during one Monday Night Raw when I saw one of the TV spots saying it was opening later in November. I remember the exact words I said to myself was “that so reminds me of Roswell.” The following morning was Election Day. I went and voted for the first time and then realized I had nothing to do the rest of the day because it only took me maybe 10 minutes in total (I live right across the street from my station). So I decided to walk around NYC that afternoon and eventually I found myself in the Virgin Megastore in Times Square. Getting off the escalator the first thing I see is the beautiful box set of all 4 Twilight books on sale. The trailer was still on my mind, and I couldn’t help but admit that it had brought me as close to what I felt the 1st time I saw the ROSWELL trailer when it first aired in college about 7 years prior. So on a whim, I bought the books and I got locked in for about 5 years to the fandom.
I still maintain the opinion that Twilight is ROSWELL on steroids and everything ROSWELL could have been if the WB/Fox/UPN actually backed it in the way Summit did Twilight. The 5 year Twilight run brought me as close as possible to what I felt spiritually/mentally/emotionally during the 3 years of ROSWELL. I’m pretty certain this is the TV spot I saw of Twilight and this is the TV spot I saw of ROSWELL that sold me in college (sourced from my VHS tapes).
So with my VHS copies slowly fading, my original discs now incomplete and refusing to watch my DVDs, I spent about 2 years searching for someone with the same original episodes I have. I started with the guy I originally got them from but the e-mail I had returned now as undeliverable. His name is pretty common, so a Facebook search wielded no positive results. A couple other leads never responded or confirmed whether they still had what I had. Finally, in April 2018 I finally found a lady in Guatemala, Michelle, who had what I was looking for. She shared her files with me and it turns out most of them were sourced from the exact same files that my CD-Rs were. Every file quirk, every hiccup – identical – like 312 Ch-Ch-Changes had scrolling ads for that night’s news featuring highlights of the New England Patriots’ first Super Bowl Parade (seriously). While inspecting her files and the files I did manage to save from my CD-Rs, I also learned that Liz Parker was originally named Liz Porter and journal entry 1 was originally September 22nd.
“I learned that Liz Parker was originally named Liz Porter and journal entry 1 was originally September 22nd.“
When re-watching the Unaired Pilot on my computer, I had totally forgotten that different, more popular music was used for some scenes, songs which would never be cleared for air. I always thought it was only the two or three extra scenes added were the difference. But it had extended scenes, slightly different dialogue, maybe different takes used. Finding that out was like watching the Pilot again for the first time.
Then in August 2018, I came across another lady, Ines, this time from Australia, who had them too. At first she wasn’t sure, just that it had “different music”. I helped her confirm that they were in fact original episodes. Turns out her copies were in even better quality, almost DVD quality. So combining it with the DVDs, I’m finally ready to revisit ROSWELL.
Finally I have what I have been craving to see for about 10 years now – a watchable copy in 2019 of ROSWELL in its original form. The way it was meant to be.
* After Katherine Heigl won her Emmy in 2007 for Grey’s Anatomy, the 2008 re-releases of the 3 seasons and the Complete Series box set all had new covers and stickers on it saying “Starring Emmy Winner Katherine Heigl.” All the new covers also had been photoshopped to have Isabel moved to the front most position. [Crashdown: Check out our DVD page here.]
The Crashdown staff receives the most e-mails and DM’s with questions about the music. How amazing would it be to hear the original music again? We are crossing our fingers that the powers that be will notice that there is a huge request to watch the original show how it aired 20 years ago. We’d like to suggest a re-re-re-release of Roswell, but maybe this time on Blu-ray and going back to the start, back to it’s 90’s glory and giving this unacknowledged leading character named MUSIC the spotlight. It wouldn’t hurt to put it all on Blu-ray with all the Silverhandprint dot com specials/goodies on top – just saying.
Would you buy Roswell on Blu-ray again, if it had the original soundtrack?
This is a pre-released article of our Roswell Turns 20 special. Be sure to send us your feedback!