Thanks to cindied for posting this on the message board!
From TV Guide Online:
Roswell (9 pm/ET, WB)
This would be the column where I annoy the WB’s programming department, assume a lowly TV writer knows more than a cadre of highly paid development executives and lecture them on the glut of beautiful-youth shows.
Except I don’t have to — the audience is already hammering the point home via the vote-with-the-remote process.
Did you catch Brutally Normal? My guess is no. And you’ve got plenty of company: The pretty-kid comedy — not especially horrible but not particularly good, either — went brutally unnoticed, expelled after five scant weeks. Zoe (née Zoe, Duncan, Jack and Jane; née Zoe Bean) has been suspended for now due to obstinate viewers who just won’t tune in no matter what they call it. It seems photo-rific, Aapri-scrubbed faces simply aren’t enough to shoulder a series in the absence of intriguing concepts and scripts. (Cue the exasperated suits: “What? Not edgy enough? Hot enough? What?”)
It’s not news that the WB espouses a canny strategy that works pretty well so long as Madison Avenue buys it — the overall size of the audience doesn’t matter as much as its demographic, in this case the Skittles- and Christina Aguilera-purchasing crowd with cash to burn. However, when even they don’t watch, everyone scrambles to figure out what went wrong. In this case, I argue for focusing on what’s going right — then doing more of it. You can start with Roswell.
Roswell does its most obvious selling points — good-looking kids, heart-on-the-sleeve teen alienation (literal and figurative) — one better with a talented cast, solid storytelling and touching moments that could easily come off badly in less skillful hands.
October’s pilot deftly laid out the promise of the then-fledgling series: As the festival crowd gleefully cheers the reenactment of the mythical spacecraft crash, we pan across the stricken, flame-lit faces of Max (Jason Behr), Michael (Brendan Fehr) and Isabel (Katherine Heigl). They’re not enjoying a live special-effects show — they’re watching their parents burn.
Powerful stuff subtly done, and the youth genre — comedy and drama alike — should favor such adroit touches over whooshing camera moves or MTV-esque smash cuts.
Tonight, Max, Liz (Shiri Appleby) and the others find that the key to the young aliens’ mysterious past might be to unseal it with a kiss… and maybe more than one. — Michael Peck