EW-Space Out-Ken Tucker Mentions Campaign

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Space Out?

Why the WB should save ”Roswell” — Ken Tucker looks into the populist campaign to save the faltering new series

If I was the sort of guy who liked to glug Tabasco sauce as if it was Diet Coke (and I knew a guy in high school who fit this description), I’d be a very happy man right now. My desk is filling up with little bottles of the stuff, sent by fans of the apparently endangered WB series ”Roswell.” It’s all part of a campaign devised by a group of ”Roswell” devotees who’ve created a website urging admirers of this ”teens from outer space” show to send TV writers some hot sauce because, well, as the letters all say, ”Roswell Is Hot!” (You can check out the How to Save Roswell website.)

Now, it won’t be news to you, media-savvy reader, to know that reviewers of all kinds are forever being prevailed upon to help ”save” this or that TV show/movie/book/whatever. In my experience, these efforts are frequently masterminded by the creators of the piece of popular culture that needs promotion and therefore suspect. As far as I can tell, however, the ”Roswell Is Hot” campaign is convincingly grassroots, real ”bubbling up from the fans” stuff. (If it’s all a big WB-organized hoax, I’m sure some of you cyber-cynics out there will be happy to enlighten me and make me look touchingly naive.) I have hand-written letters from people in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Washington State, and North Carolina, all expressing dismay that ”Roswell”’s dicey ratings may get it canceled.

I think ”Roswell” is a pretty good show; when I reviewed it in Entertainment Weekly, I gave it a solid B. The lead actors are charming, and there’s an undercurrent of emotionalism to it that’s lacking in some of the other teen-oriented dramas in prime time; I think it’s due to the unoriginal but nonetheless potent power of the show’s metaphor — that young people often feel like aliens in the world around them. As one letter writer put it, ”There is a sweetness and truth in the stories that is hard to find anywhere else on TV.”

How ”hot” ”Roswell” is — which is to say, how ”hot” its hottie stars are — is a fannish qualification I won’t pretend to fathom in my present old-fogey state. But I can say that, while I usually feel manipulated by organized pleas to write about a show, the ”Roswell” campaign strikes me as a heartfelt effort. They did it: My vote is to save ”Roswell,” please, WB.

Now, please stop sending me those hot-sauce bottles — I’m running out of EW staffers to give them to, and I can’t remember the name of the high school classmate who used to chug-a-lug it.