Starring Shiri Appleby, Jason Behr, Katherine Heigl, Majandra Delfino, Brendan Fehr, Nick Wechsler, Adam Rodriguez, William Sadler
Written By: Jason Katims, Ronald D. Moore, Gretchen J. Berg, David Simkins, et al
Directed By: Jonathan Frakes, William Sadler, Paul Shapiro, et al
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Buy on Amazon.com link
The beauty of the Roswell TV series was its balance between teen angst, coming of age and relationships combined with sci-fi, governmental intrigue and space aliens. Top that off with a healthy dose of comedy. When the series debuted in the 1999-2000 season, at the forefront was a story of three high school outsiders (and interactions with their human counterparts) who just happened to be the alien survivors of the mysterious 1947 Roswell incident (in case it wasn’t obvious enough, the show takes the stand that it was no weather balloon that crashed in the desert). The FBI’s pursuit of the aliens and the clues about their home planet were relegated to the background.
By the time of the second season, the sci-fi element was at the forefront, as battles with rival alien races, time travel, cloning and intergalactic peace talks were par for the course throughout the weeks. Both approaches to the show worked in their own ways, but let’s be real here, we were all drawn to the series because of alien Max Evans’ (Jason Behr) relationship to the human Liz Parker (Shiri Appleby). So with the third (and sadly, final) season of Roswell, they’ve come full circle. Here, the emphasis is back to its emotional core, while the otherworldly elements are the icing to the cake.
In the three short years we caught up with the likes of Max, Liz, Isabel (Katherine Heigl), Maria (Majandra Delfino), Michael (Brendan Fehr), Kyle (Nick Wechsler) and Sherrif Valenti (William Sadler), they’ve changed and matured a great deal. The aliens of this story (Max, Michael and Isabel) have finally settled into life on Earth, no longer concerned with finding ways back to their home planet. Even Isabel has become engaged to an enterprising young lawyer (played by Adam Rodriguez), unbeknownst to the fact that he’s actually tying the knot with someone not of this Earth. Meanwhile, Liz starts to mysteriously develop some of the same powers that her alien counterparts have and Maria starts getting serious about pursuing a music career. Oh yeah, and those dastardly FBI goons, exploitative corporations and rival alien clans just won’t leave our heroes alone.
Throughout Roswell’s run, the show always faced the risk of cancellation (but retained a loyal cult audience that fought to keep the show on the air). With this being the final season, it was time to find closure on a storyline that had enough creative potential to take it through at least a few more seasons. This is why watching this final season (especially the finale) is such a bittersweet experience. The show was still on top of its game, and while the ending was strong, you’re still left wanting more of the story told. Perhaps, that is only a testament to how well-written and well-developed the characters and storylines were, making any sort of short ending leaving you wanting to know some more.
Sadly, the DVD set’s Special Features are lacking, compared to the other seasons’ features. While the “Class of 2002” featurette was insightful, at only 13 minutes, it wasn’t enough for a behind-the-scenes look. “Shiri Appleby’s DVD Tour to Japan” assembles clips of the actress’ promotion of Roswell’s Japanese release. While it’s interesting to see her don Japanese garb, the contents were fluffy at best. Oh yes, and be sure to stay away from executive producer Jonathan Frakes’ lackluster commentaries for two episodes (relegated to generically narrating the action on screen… blah). However, writer Ronald D. Moore’s commentary for “I Married An Alien” (where he expresses his admiration for Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie, which the episode pays homage to) and creator Jason Katims’ commentary for the series finale keep the features side of thing afloat.
That aside, Roswell fans should be pleased with the set, preserving its posterity for those who missed the magic the first time around (myself included). Oh yeah, and Shiri Appleby is just damn hot. Nuff said.
NOTE: Due to licensing issues, a lot of the original songs broadcast had to be changed for the DVD (the same thing happened for the other seasons).
“Class of 2002” featurette
“Shiri Appleby’s DVD Tour to Japan”
Selected episode commentaries
ENGLISH 5.1 Dolby Surround
Widescreen 1.78:1 Color (Anamorphic)
English, Spanish, French
Favorite Scenes: “Michael, The Guys and the Great Snapple Caper,” “A Tale of Two Parties,” “I Married An Alien,” “Graduation”
Running Time: 792 minutes