January 16, 2019

SHOWBUZZDAILY Series Premiere Review: “Roswell, New Mexico”



CW has gone back to its WB/UPN roots for ROSWELL, NEW MEXICO, a reboot and update of the Roswell series that debuted on the first of those networks in 1999, then moved to the other.  Once again, it’s a story of romance between an Earth woman and an alien, but the action has been moved forward 10 years from high school, so Liz (Jeanine Mason) is a medical researcher, and Max (Nathan Parsons) is a local cop.  In addition, there’s an increase in social consciousness:  Liz is a Latina whose father is undocumented, and Max’s brother Michael (Michael Vlamis) is gay.

The underlying dynamic is the same, and there’s enough chemistry between Mason and Parsons to make the new Roswell appealing.  The first series, however, was created by Jason Katims, who would go on to become the A-level showrunner of Friday Night Lights and ParenthoodRoswell, New Mexico, while produced by CW guru Julie Plec (who directed the pilot), is created and run by Carina Adly Mackenzie, who worked with Plec on The Originals, and at first glance the writing is more functional and the story is rather thin.

The opening hour doesn’t do much more than establish the premise.  Liz, returning to Roswell for the anniversary of the death of her sister, who died under a cloud, finds out it’s also the weekend of her 10th high school reunion.  Before she’s even made it past the town limits, she’s run into Max, and a few minutes later, he’s brought Liz back from the dead, not focusing on the fact that his resurrection will leave an iridescent handprint on her chest.  No dummy she, Liz soon figures out there’s something odd about Max, Michael and their sister Isobel (Lily Cowles).  Meanwhile, the military and Kyle (Michael Trevino, another Plec-verse veteran) go on the hunt for aliens.

That’s about all there is, apart from a thoroughly predictable reveal about how the larger storyline connects to Liz’s sister’s death, and it’s not much compared to the dense mythologies of Plec’s Vampire Diaries series or CW’s DC superhero sagas.  As is usual at CW, the production values are just a bit above minimal.  So far, the side characters don’t have much definition, and we’ll see if there’s enough for a continuing series here, or if the complications in the relationship between Liz and Max is enough.  TV has come a long way in genre-based drama since 1999, and Roswell, New Mexico, while pleasing, may be a trifle earthbound for contemporary expectations.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."