Roswell Rolls On

LOS ANGELES ( – “The decision wasn’t made until the night before they announced their schedule,” says “Roswell” producer Ronald D. Moore about his show’s jump from The WB to UPN.

“There were many phone calls back and
forth between me and [executive producer Jason Katims] and both of our agents, who were talking to the networks.” “I got the phone call the night before the upfronts, and that was it. Then I left for vacation two days later.” Moore and his fellow producers are now back at work on their third season, which begins this fall on Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. EST, right after
fellow WB expatriate “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

“We’re in a good place,” says Moore. “‘Buffy’s’ a tremendous lead-in for us, that’s for certain. We’re in the perfect slot in the schedule at the moment.” One dark cloud is that the slot pits “Roswell,” a show about alien teens, against The WB’s “Smallville,” centered on the teen years of alien Superman/Clark Kent.”Hey,” says Moore, “we’re on the air. That’s all that matters.”

In the “Roswell” season finale, the aliens (Jason Behr, Brendan Fehr, Katherine Heigl, Emilie de Ravin) were preparing to abandon Earth for their home planet. In the end, only the duplicitous Tess (de Ravin) left, carrying Max’s (Behr) child. This launched
a new story arc and opened the door for the reunion of Max and human love Liz (Shiri Appleby).With the future of the show so uncertain, it would have been understandable if producers had yielded to the temptation to wrap up the story, just in case.

“Jason set the tone for the rest of us,” says Moore. “Early on, he said, ‘I just believe this is the show you can’t kill.’ They’ve tried, and they’ve tried, ever since the pilot was made, and it went from Fox
to The WB.” “It’s been down so many times, and this time he just believed, somehow, some way, it was all going to work out. He said, ‘Let’s just proceed on the assumption that we’re going to have a third season.'” “We sat down and plotted out the opening episodes for season three before the season was over. We just proceeded as if he was right. Until they tell us to go home, we’re just going to keep doing it.”

At this point, Moore doesn’t anticipate any
cast changes beyond the departures of Colin Hanks (whose character, Alex, was killed off to allow Hanks to pursue film opportunities) and de Ravin.

As for plot, Moore promises more of the same.”The template for what we want to do is
where we ended up in the last six episodes of season two. That’s the groove where we want to be. The character relationships were up front. The mystery was there, but it wasn’t too complicated.”

Next season, the human and alien teens will be seniors in high school, except for alien Isabel (Heigl), whose brainy character has graduated early. Where she would attend college became a question toward the end of season two.”We’re talking about that,” says Moore. “She’ll hang around. The show is ‘Roswell,’ so she’s going to be in Roswell, by hook or by crook.”

Ron Wolfe