Thanks to Tanya for telling me about this! This artilce appeared in the Harvard Law Record, and is also online at The Buzz, a very cool site if you haven’t seen it!
Networks are currently deciding which new shows to renew for next year and which to ditch. NBC has renewed Law & Order: Special Victim’s Unit and The West Wing. Tragically, the charming Freaks and Geeks will most likely get the ax. FOX appears to be in danger of having no shows left next year, 90210 and Party of Five have called it quits and it is still unclear whether David Duchovny and Chris Carter are willing to commit to an eighth year of The X-Files.
But the real drama is happening over at that other netlet, the WB, whose ratings have plummeted 24 percent since last year. The plunge was somewhat expected after Chicago station WGN dropped the WB last summer, costing it 11 percent of its national viewership, but teens have apparently soured on the once-hip Dawson’s Creek and newly shorn Felicity. Facing threats from FOX to steal two of its highest rated shows, the WB renewed Buffy, the Vampire Slayer and Angel recently and mentioned that the freshman show Popular will be back for another year. That leaves at least three shows battling it out for one remaining renewal slot on the fall schedule: Felicity, Jack & Jill and Roswell.
Ironically, Roswell has the highest ratings of the three, but it is likely to lose out to Felicity because its viewership is – ready for this? – too old. That’s right, with a median age of 27.2, Roswell is too successful outside the coveted 12-17 demographic. I am a big fan of the WB and their targeted approach, but I will have to reconsider my support if they cancel Roswell, one of the brightest stars in a bleak network television landscape.
Co-produced by Star Trek’s Commander Riker (a.k.a. Jonathan Frakes) and created by David Nutter (The X-Files) and Jason Katims (My So-Called Life), Roswell follows a group of teens in Roswell, New Mexico. Three of the gang are aliens who look like humans (Jason Behr, Katherine Heigl and Brendan Fehr), survivors of the famous crash. A few humans are in on the secret (Shiri Appleby, Majandra Delfino and Colin Hanks) and have paired off with their dishy otherworldly classmates.
Like Buffy, Roswell explores the nuances of high school life through this ultimate metaphor for teenage insecurity over fitting in. An intelligent and classy show, Roswell does not condescend to its audience or disrespect its characters, which probably explains why it does so well with adults. I’d tell you all to tune in, but too much support from our demographic would probably sound Roswell’s death knell. So find some teenage girls and urge them to check it out. New episodes start in April on Mondays at 9 p.m.