‘Roswell’ Rocks with Humanity

Thanks to Chix19 for sending in this article from Gannett News Service.

‘Roswell’ rocks with humanity

If we found out that aliens were living among us, how would we react?

The characters on “Roswell” explore various sides of that question in a suspenseful and touching new drama set in the Southwestern town that has become part of this nation’s folklore.

Everyone acknowledges that “something” fell from the sky on July 8, 1947, near Roswell, N.M. Army Air Corps personnel initially called the object a “flying disk,” but later that day, an Air Force spokesman said the object was a weather balloon. Through the years, allegations of a government cover-up
grew as some believed that the object came from outer space. In 1994, the Air Force said whatever crashed was probably the remains of a top-secret project.

“Roswell,” which airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. Eastern on The WB, tells the story of teen-agers Liz Parker (played by Shiri Appleby) and Max Evans (Jason Behr), who share a secret that could change the world. When Liz is accidentally shot, Max mysteriously heals her wound with a touch of his hand, and she learns that three of her high school classmates are survivors of the alien spacecraft that crashed 52 years ago.

“The show is a blend of science fiction, and a love story,” said Jason Katims, executive producer/writer of “Roswell.” “Everyone who’s a teen-ager feels like an alien at times, and we’ve got a wonderful vehicle to tell their stories. The aliens on the show are trying to find out where they come from,
and at the same time, they have to protect their identities.

“It’s a show about outsiders, and wanting to fit in. Every character is on a quest to discover the truth. In some ways, it’s like an immigrant’ s story — how much do you assimilate, and how much do you hold on to your own past? You can even extend the metaphor of the series to look at prejudice and racism.”

The teens on the show, both human and alien, experience all the emotions and struggles that come with adolescence. Questions like — who am I, why am I here, what is life all about — surge to the forefront in the teen years. The answers, of course, continue to change our whole life long.

While teens will be able to identify with the characters, adults will see themselves in the show as well.

“We look at the idea that people have to hide who they are, or they won’t be accepted,” said Katims, who began his television career writing for the
critically acclaimed series “My So-Called Life.” “For the alien characters, the teens fear they won’t be accepted and loved. But even more, they fear that their very lives will be in danger.

“Liz (the human teen) deals with her world being rocked because of what she’s discovered. She can never go back. The journey she’s going on in the first season is the journey from the known to the unknown.”

The sci-fi aspect of the show explores the unknown possibilities of the universe. The love story examines how life becomes more exciting, and more frightening, when our hearts are tied to another.

“We all want to fall in love, whether we’re 16 or 60,” said David Nutter, executive producer/director of “Roswell.” “Teen-agers often don’t have anyone to turn to with their secrets. Everything seems like life and death at that age. Hopefully, viewers will see the kind of people they want to be in our characters.”

Nutter, known for his work on “The X-Files” and “Millennium,” said it’s important to respect the intelligence of viewers.

“We don’t have stereotypical characters,” said Nutter. “The sheriff is not just the bad cop. He’s got issues of his own, and a purpose for finding out what really happened in the Roswell crash. He thinks he’s doing the right thing in his investigation. Things aren’t always clear-cut right and wrong.”

Does Nutter believe in the possibility of aliens living among us?

“We go through life and see so many wondrous things,” he answered. “You can’t help but think something’s out there. This is one subject in which no one can prove you wrong.”

Whether you believe in aliens or not, the magic of love is what makes life worth living, and humanity worth saving.

Tune into “Roswell” — it could rock your world.