Roswell� Aliens Have Soul (Spoilers)

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Roswell� Aliens Have Soul
By Catherine Seipp

Far be it from me to reveal the secret identity of the long sought-after fourth alien, which is revealed in the Apr. 24 cliffhanger episode of “Roswell”–part of a storyline leading up to the May 15 season finale. But I’m not really giving anything away to say that naturally the whole situation centers around breeding. These are aliens, after all. Disappointingly, it looks like the season is going to conclude without even a hint of a rectal probe, but let’s remember that The WB is still a broadcast network, after all, not–at least, not technically–cable.

The WB has been deluged lately with thousands of bottles of tabasco sauce, part of a grass roots Internet campaign to “save the show” and show support by mailing in the aliens’ favorite condiment. “Roswell” has been actually enjoying solid ratings since settling into its new post-“7th Heaven” Monday night timeslot at 9, so I’d be surprised if it weren’t renewed. But given the cancellation-happy mood of network execs lately, I suppose fans can’t be too careful.

The “Roswell” team invited a bunch of TV reporters over recently for an informal chat, and it was gratifying to get a close look at the Crashdown diner set and its fascinatingly detailed decorations: aliens in formaldehyde, sad-eyed crying-clowns-on-velvet-style aliens, alien paintings out of foil, etc. All this was quite soulful, but still not as soulful as the little “Roswell” Scooby gang…to borrow a favorite “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” phrase.

Given the background of showrunner Jason Katims, a veteran of the Marshall Herskovitz-Ed Zwick adolescent angst dramas “My So-Called Life” and “Relativity,” such soulfulness is not surprising. “It’s the first time I’ve worked in this kind of thing,” Katims noted. “Most of the stuff I’ve done has been basically putting three people in a room and waiting for one of ’em to cry.”

In the Apr. 17 episode, though, Liz (Shiri Appleby) sees alien boyfriend Max (Jason Behr) kissing mysterious new-girl-in-town Tess (Emilie De Ravin) outside the diner, in the rain. So rest assured, there will be crying.


An interesting footnote to “Roswell” is that it’s been the big acting break for Colin Hanks, Tom Hanks’ son. Colin Hanks, the sixth lead down in the credits, plays the slightly dweeby human boyfriend of alien Isabel (Katherine Heigl), Max’s sister. (Except she keeps having these dreams about their moody friend, alien Michael (Brendan Fehr), and…) Anyway, Colin Hanks is quite charming and already has the whole self-deprecating thing down pat.

“I’m just happy to work,” he said of his supporting “Roswell” role. “The first two months here I worked like a total of seven days and I was the happiest kid on the planet.” And he likes the theme of the show too. “I sort of dig aliens like girls dug unicorns in the ’80s,” he noted.

How does Tom Hanks feel about his oldest son following in his footsteps?

“He stays pretty much away and lets me make my own decisions,” Colin said. “If he were a butcher or plumber maybe I wouldn’t do it, but like he always says, it’s the greatest job in the world: you don’t have to wear a suit and you keep your own hours. He watches the show a lot. And every once in a while I’ll get this call– ‘Hey, man, that scene with you and the thing in the kitchen…that was good.�”